Friday, September 9, 2011

52 Flavors: DC's New 52 Week 1 and 2 (Part 3)

Flavor # 7:
Justice League International

This one is a tough read, even for a superhero comic veteran such as myself.  After being spoiled by some superhero comics at the turn of the century (The Authority, Stormwatch, Wildcats 3.0, among others) reading old-school-ish superhero comics is very hard for me to do.  Comics that don't push the superhero narrative in its various forms and functions into new levels.  I had to stop reading this comic, find the credits screen and learn who wrote it.  Upon that information, I wasn't surprised.  Dan Jurgens.

Most of you know who Dan Jurgens is without knowing his name.  In the mid-1990s, DC Comics did a MASSIVE COMIC BOOK EVENT THING regarding the Death of Superman.  You remember it, don't you?  I was there, Superman was there, Doomsday was there... Dan Jurgens wrote that comic, I do believe, and drew it, too.  Wikipedia says I'm correct in that belief.  I'm not a big fan of Dan Jurgens, but not because of the Death of Superman storyline EVENT THING, but because he was the guy on writing duties for a horrible comic called "Supmerman/Aliens."  Y'know, the H.R. Giger designed monsters that gestate inside you, then erupt violently from your chest like a maniacal birthing sequence that had two really great films under the directive fingertips of Ridley Scott and James Cameron.  Yeah, those.  It's a superhero comic book oddity, the crossover thing -- although it didn't begin with superheroes, nor is it limited to superheroes.

Continuing: The book begins like something ripped out of WildStorm Production's past with the United Nations piecing together a superhero team of their own.  I'm supposing these guys are getting paid for their heroics, like the original Stormwatch, while everyone else does it for the GREATER GOOD.  Like the old folks from HOT FUZZ.  The book loses me when Batman shows up, after the team is assembled, and basic superheroic stuff goes on.  Y'know, fighting big monsters and such.  It's not the kind of superhero comics I like to read unless it's being done in a manner that blows my brain apart and then reassembles it from scratch.  This is the first comic that hits the definite removal from my brain like a cancerous tumor pile.

Flavor # 8
Animal Man

I'm not too familiar with the character of Animal Man.  I know that Grant Morrison wrote him in the 1990s at one point, and did something pretty interesting with the character, but I've yet to read those comics.  Animal Man is a guy that can tap into a THING which has a name, but I'm forgetting it, and he can take his superpowers from animals attached to that THING.  It's kind of a quirky little skill that could make for some humorous situations and doesn't seem like it would be all that interesting to read about.

But the catch is, Animal Man doesn't really play into the costumed heroics that other superheroes play into all that much.  There's one instance in this first issue where he kind of does, but it's very different.  Animal Man is an animal rights activist instead of the costumed vigilante thing, he's also married with two kids, and is having an independent film made about him, which makes for some very interesting drama in the book.

And it's good.  Did I mention that, yet?  No, well there it is!  Animal Man # 1 is really good.  There seems to be a minor section of the New 52 that read more maturely than the rest of the line does, and it seems that they're still closely tied to the incarnations of the books that were published through DC's mature readers/creator owned label, VERTIGO.  Animal Man is one of them, Swamp Thing is another.  These are the kind of superhero-like comics that one could read if they cannot man up to their juvenile fascinations with Godfigures and Heroes (like the Greek Age) and are embarrassed by reading comics with bright colors, funny costumes, and crazy situations.  Of course, I'm not one of those people, but YOU MIGHT BE.  This is a comic for you.  Animal Man gets into the dark and twisted sort of superhero storytelling techniques towards the end of the book that give it a very ominous tone.  It's a fantastic read that comes highly recommended from me.

Flavor # 9:
Green Arrow

This is another comic that just isn't for me.  Oliver Queen is a rich character in the name of a Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, that dresses up like a modern day Robin Hood, equipped with techno-gadgetry in the tips of his arrows to fight crime in his spare time.  My only familiarity with the Green Arrow character comes from a brief appearance in Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and  in that book he was a bit different than what I'm reading here.

This one gets the ax from me just like Justice League International does.  Uninteresting, bland superheroics that don't differentiate itself well enough from the comics of the past that were just as bland and uninteresting to get new people excited or interested in what's going on.  Less drama, too much over the top comic book action with lots of talky-talky going on during.  Sometimes I wonder if some of these comic book writers have ever been in a fight.  When a fight is going down, there's no time for discussion.  Yet, regularly in comics, there's full on conversations going on while someone's getting kicked, punched, or shot through the hands with super-arrows.

Green Arrow is a dull arrow-tip launched at a new crowd from a limply crafted bow, entirely missing it's target.

Flavor # 10:
Hawk & Dove

This one is a weird one.  I'm only familiar with the Hawk and Dove characters because I know that's where Rob Liefeld got his start in comics a long time ago.  Before his Marvel work, before New Mutants and X-Force.  Before he stamped my brain with the images of Cable and Deadpool.  Before he, and several other popular artists, left Marvel Comics in search of greener pastures with their own creations and formed Image Comics.  Rob was just a penciller guy on a series called Hawk and Dove.  I never bothered reading it, 'cause it's taken me a very long time in nerd years to get over my nerd dislike for DC Comics' characters.

This one begins with some bland superheroics going on.  The Hawk and Dove characters are stopping a cargo plane filled with zombie-like monsters from crashing into the Washington Monument, an act of terrorism concocted by some deranged mad scientist character, then boils down into some basic drama type stuff that's actually pretty interesting.  The drama unfolds with the two characters discussing their partnership with other individuals.  Hawk's talking about his dad -- and we get a brief flashback of the origins of Hawk and Dove -- and Dove is talking to her boyfriend which happens to be Deadman.  What an odd person to be in a relationship with.  Over the span of the pages, we get some mysteries floating around that are interesting enough to come back for a second issue, that culminate in the arrival of a tan-and-brown costume wearing character that looks a little bit like Hawk who has some obviously bad intentions towards the heroes.

Be warned though, the book is pencilled by Rob Liefeld and if you've never been a fan of Liefeld's work, this probably won't get you started as one.  Me, I've always had a fondness for his anatomically incorrect, teeth-gritting comic art, so I'm perfectly fine with it.  You may not be however. The book is worth a look, though.

And that concludes part three.  It would've been up sooner had I actually written it last night, but I really could not pull myself away from reading a few trade paperbacks that I added to my library recently.  Alan Moore's Complete WildC.A.T.s, Wildcats Volume 4: Battery Park, Wildcats Version 3.0 Year One, and Wildcats Version 3.0 Year Two.  I was completely wrapped up in them that I forced myself to stay awake while I made it through the last volume.  More on those later, I imagine.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

52 Flavors: DC's New 52 Week 1 and 2 (part 2)

Flavor # 3:
Detective Comics

Batman.  Can you believe I used to hate the Batman character?  When I was younger, really young actually, I associated all things Batman to that horrible television show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, so I never read the comics.  I carried this through life, even through Tim Burton's Batman film from 1989, until I finally read Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS sometime in the early 1990s.  How things change!

Detective Comics is one of DC's flagship titles, mostly because of the title, I'm assuming.  DC Comics was named after Detective Comics way back in the day.  And I gotta get this outta my head first and foremost.  I wouldn't have relaunched this title as a Batman only title.  I would have done this, and Action Comics, as big black and white books like Shonen Jump that featured serial detective or action based stories featuring characters of those types.  Batman, the Question, and others for Detective, Superman, Lantern, and other lesser knowns for Action.

Anyway, the cover here is pretty morbid, and I like that.  I am a horror nut after all.  This would make a really awesome horror movie poster at the theatre.  It has Batman posing all menacingly over what very well could be the severed head of the Joker among severed doll heads.  Tony Daniel outdid himself with this cover.  And I haven't mentioned this yet, but DC's new trade dressing is pretty eye catching.

The book opens with a claustrophobic action sequence done in lone, vertical panels that messes with your brain a bit, covered with some thought-boxes from the Bat himself.  The Joker is in a fray with some unknown assailant then moves to a shot of Batman somewhere atop the massive buildings of Gotham City.  It's a very nice opening sequence, I think, 'cause it prepares you for the rest of the book.  The claustrophobic play with the panels and the heavily detailed environments of Gotham City.  The City, I think, is just as much of a character in Batman's world as Batman himself.    Over the course of the twenty or so pages we're given the opening stages of a mystery, which suits the title well.  From previous readings of the former Detective Comics title, I never understood why there were less detective stories going on in that book than straight out Batman slugfests.  And this book is well suited for people who are familiar with other representations of the Batman character, specifically the Christopher Nolan films.  It jumps head first into a mystery featuring the Joker and is done in a very plausible atmosphere.  The Batman story being told here is almost a universe away from what's being told in the Justice League books.  It's gritty, detective work that fits the Batman character and sets up his relationship with Comissioner Gordon and the rest of the Gotham City Police Department.  Another significant detail is during the fight sequence between Batman and the Joker towards the book's closing.  It shows that Batman is just a man and makes mistakes, which is very appreciated for reasons I can't rightly explain.  I like knowing Batman is just a man, not a super bat-god as some people are complaining that they've turned him into again.  The end of the book is such a gruesome shock that I had to re-read it multiple times on two different readings.  I loved it, again the horror fan rears his head, and I'm still very pleased with what I'm looking at.

The single image is so disturbing that it's almost frightening, and the dialogue that goes with it makes it so much more so.  I have no idea what Tony Daniel is planning with this story he's giving to me, but I'm going along with it to the end.  I wanna know.  And no, no spoilers.  You'll have to read it to see what happened, or go somewhere else.  I will say it's one of the most delightful illustrations of the grotesque I've seen since Hellraiser.

Flavor # 4:
Action Comics

I am not a Superman fan.  I never have been, but that's slowly changing, and most of that change is coming courtesy of Grant Morrison.  I had no expectations of this comic except that I was probably going to like it.  I'm a Grant Morrison mark -- or fan if you're not up to wrestling lingo -- and I'm not ashamed to say it.  Morrison's run on New X-Men is my favorite X-Men run ever, his work on All-Star Superman got me to really recognize what's wrong with the character (it isn't him at all, it's the people that write Superman stories) and The Invisibles is in my top five all time favorite comic books ever.

All that said, I did not expect to like this comic as much as I do.  It's simply fantastic.  The cover starts the book off with the tone and pace that it keeps throughout the twenty-something pages.  It depects a younger Superman wearing a blue t-shirt with the Superman S symbol on it, blue jeans and boots, with a much shorter cape than normal being chased by what could be a whole prescient of Metropolis' Police Department.  This is not the costumed Superman we've seen all our lives, this something different.  Something youthful, arrogant; something brash and temperamental; it's something fresh.

There's a second cover, too, which has nothing to do with the story inside, but it's pretty cool looking nevertheless.  It's a Jim Lee drawn cover that looks like it takes inspiration from the old Fleischer cartoons with Superman in his future costume.  And, y'know, I have to say that I really dig the new Superman costume.  I was never a fan of the original, even after I learned its inspirations.  A lot of older comic readers and fans call it things like "Iconic" and all that, but most people I know that don't read comics call it, "Stupid."  I tended to agree with them.  The S is iconic, 'cause, y'know, it's an icon, but the whole of the costume was absurd and outdated since 1940.  It was based on circus strongmen outfits of the 1930s, for Pete's sake, it has no relevancy past its use by date, and it never looked cool.  Jim Lee's redesign of the costume looks more like armor which implies that it has some significance beyond being a superhero costume.  It has more story to it, and, well, I think it looks hella cool.

Anyway, as I said, this is a fresher, younger Superman.  The story, as I understand it, takes place a while before the Justice League story which took place five years ago.  Maybe a few months or so before then.  Superman, or Clark Kent, has only arrived in Metropolis six months before that, so we're getting a look at a Superman just starting out, and he's a far cry from the Boy Scout image that everyone associates with Superman in my non-comic reading circles, or my Marvel only reading circles.  This Superman is brash, and he's ballsy.  If I'm guessing right, Morrison is basing the new Superman on the Old Superman, the original Superman from the late 1930s where didn't go after small time criminals -- like in Superman the Movie's beginning -- and went after something much bigger.  In the opening sequence here, he's going after Mr. Glenmorgan, a corrupt CEO of sorts who's responsible for much more heinous crimes that cat-burglary.    Morrison and Rags Morales paint a really awesome picture that is almost complete -- too complete for a first issue to be believed -- not only of this younger Superman who cannot fly yet, cannot throw planets around, cannot do everything we've learned he can do in the past twenty years since his last reboot, but of Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, the Daily Planet, Metropolis and Lex Luthor.

This is by far my favorite of the New 52 so far, and I recommend it to everyone.  Especially people that hate Superman.

Flavor # 5:
Swamp Thing

This is almost like the mystery meat in a straight on superhero sandwich.  It was totally unexpected, probably completely overlooked, and one-hundred percent worth your time.  It's also where the idea of a reboot-slash-relaunch becomes very fuzzy.  I knew some things were going to be carried over yet not entirely sure what, here it's almost implied that everything Swamp Thing has experienced has.  At least to some extent.

But let's start with the cover!  It's beautiful!  Yanick Paquette delivers a cover that's rich in detail from cover to bottom and lets you know from the beginning that this isn't a superhero story told in the traditional sense, if at all.  I'm no foreigner when it comes to Swamp Thing.  Before I knew he was a comic book character, I was a big fan of the horribly made movie from the 1980s.  When you're a child, you're allowed to like really crappy forms of entertainment.  It's forgivable.  Later on in life, when DC republished them, I became very familiar with Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing.  I loved it because it was so non traditional superhero, yet almost superhero at the same time.  Several of the big names appeared in the book, but what it was about was so distant from the costumed heroics of Superman and Batman and there was this rough touch of horror icing the entire cake, that the end result was quite delicious.

This book, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Yanick Paquette, seems to invoke some of that old Alan Moore Swamp Thing in it as it goes through it's pages.  It begins with a moment of horror, at least that's how I saw it, and we're off in running at a slow and deliberate pace.  Alec Holland is no longer Swamp Thing, he doubts he ever was, and is working construction instead of his biological science shit he used to do.  Sorry, my brain literally farted upon trying to think of what it was he used to do before the Swamp Thing gig.  The book is methodical compared to the other titles of the relaunch, which is very appreciated because it doesn't let the book let go of its roots in Vertigo.  It's still an alternative type comic that relies on horror type stuff to tell its stories, regardless of the brightly colored Superman appearing in a few issues.

The book is a delightful read, that's for sure, and it's quite mysterious and compelling.  This is a keeper for me.

Flavor # 6:

I really don't have much to say about Batgirl.  I know I should because it's really good, but other than that, I just don't KNOW what to say.

I love that it doesn't forget nor does it forgive.  This is Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.  Without trying to ruin anything for anyone, Barbara Gordon hasn't been Batgirl since the 1980s, after a crippling gunshot delivered to her by the Joker in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke.  She's served as Oracle, the eyes and ears of the digital age for Batman and all related Bat-books for the longest time.  Here she is, back on her feet, back in the costumed for good time romps, but the book hasn't forgotten.  The events that took away her legs are still fresh in her mind, they still happened, and even cause her to choke up towards the end of the book during its finale.  Gail Simone handles the subject matter with amazing skill and pulls off a book that's not only really well written, really well drawn, but is incredibly fun.

As I said, I don't have a lot to say about this comic other than I really did like it and enjoy it, and I feel bad for not being able to say more.  But it's one you should read.  You should definitely read Batgirl.  And keep reading it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

52 Flavors: DC's New 52 Week 1 and 2 (Part 1)

Welcome to the 21st Century!

It's eleven years late, but it's only now that I'm starting to feel the ripples of that time change.  The futuristic 21st Century arrived and I had virtually nothing to show for it.  No flying car, no time-travelling DeLoreon, no Virtual Reality; but eleven years later and I have a game system that blows my mind on a regular basis and delivers virtual realities I'm fond of visiting; I have super 1080p HD visuals that run at 120hz per second that emulates another form of virtual reality by playing tricks with my eyes -- I feel like I'm actually on the set more often than not -- and I have a cell phone that's one part Star Trek communication device and one part DO EVERYTHING.  While it won't give me medical readouts of people just by pointing it at them, it does allow me to watch movies (also in 1080p), read books, socialize on all sorts of networks, text, call, email... and read comics.

Yes, my definition of now living in the 21st Century is the ability to read comics on my phone and with the conception and birth of day-and-date releases, the 21st Century has come to life on my favorite hand held device in a way I never imagined.

I'm a 21st Century Comic Book Reader.

Done are the days of making weekly trips to the comic shops to get my fix.  Now I just tap the phone's screen a couple of times and the comics come to me!  No more straining myself to get a sold out issue, no more driving from the tip top of Northern Utah to the Southern most point of Salt Lake City to find a copy of Whatever Man # 182 with the SUPERAWESOMECOLLECTABLE cover.  No more let downs of not getting my favorite comic, no more disappointments.

Do I miss the comic shops?  Certainly.  But ever since the birth of the 21st Century I've had my own personal Crisis of Infinite Comic Shops where the evil villains overtook my time and replaced it with not-enough time.  I couldn't make it to the comic shops regularly because of these villains and even the superpowers of the Pull List Reserve System couldn't stop them.  I had deemed it a time to hang up the single issues and went trades only, it seemed the only way to stop them.  But now, the 21st Century has brought the comics to me, and the Crisis has been eliminated.  Permanently.

And it's great!  It brings a great amount of delight into my life, being able to get things delivered right to my phone.  Any time, anywhere, I can pick up the device, browse the comics and in a moment have it ready to read.  It comes in real handy at movie theaters while waiting for the room to go dark and the picture to begin.  Long trips or car rides, being somewhere I don't want to be; at any moment I can have a new comic, and that new comic will bring me joy -- whether it's bad or good.  And there are other delights, too!  One such delight of digital comics is storage.  No more long boxes, bags, boards, or single issues filling up the continuously shrinking space in the house I live in.  It's all stored for me in the magical nothingness of digital media.

Do not fret!  I'm not 100% pro-digital.  I'm very pro-trade paperback, and I buy them regularly.  By the metric shitton.  Preferably in hardcover.  Tomorrow, for instance, the Year Round Santa Clausmen (or UPS as most people call them) are bringing me three epic tomes of Comics Past that I've been eyeballing for a long time: The Complete Alan Moore WildC.A.T.s, Wildcats Version 3.0 Year One and 3.0 Year Two.  Excitement!

As a result of me being a 21st Century Comic Book Reader, I'm going to drop my thoughts on the first real experiment in 21st Century Comics: DC's New 52.  The set up is easy: DC's head honchos thought it was time to relaunch the entire line of their superhero comics.  They've called it a relaunch or a soft-reboot, essentially saying they're starting over from the beginning, but not really.  Only some of the books are effected by a complete overhaul, other's still remember things of years gone by.  But each of the New 52 Flavors of DC Comics has a different taste to me and I'm going to describe those tastes to you!

Don't you feel lucky?

Flavor # 1:
Justice League

I feel stupid about this comic.  I really do.  I've read this book three times now and the first two times I thought it was a really bad example of superhero comics.  Now, I have to publicly retract everything I've said about this comic because I obviously don't know how to read.  I stated that it felt like generic superheroics without any buildup to anything.  Well, this IS the buildup, apparently.  I missed a single caption in the comic twice over that change the overall dynamic of the story I was reading.  A single caption that read "FIVE YEARS AGO".  I really can't explain how that single caption changed the entire book for me, but it did!  And I feel like an ass about it.  A complete and total ass.

This is the set up of how the Justice League came together, and while it still does lack in some areas of world establishment and character buildup, the comic by itself doesn't really nearly as bad as I had earlier exclaimed.  Because of that one caption box.  The dialogues between Green Lantern and Batman were more interesting, and funny, and the entire premise became something a lot more tolerable.  While it definitely isn't one of the best superhero comics I've ever read, it's very well done for what it is.

I still think this comic would've been better read at the end of the relaunch.  Making it the 52nd instead of the first would've allowed everyone to relearn the DC Universe as it is currently being presented and better know the characters of Batman and Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern, as well as let us know full force why the Gotham City Police Department's Death Troops (I call them that because of the Death's Mask faceplates they wear that look like they just fell out of Modern Warfare 2O) are shooting at Batman.  But I do apologize for not taking my time with the book and reading it so quickly, then giving a false opinion of it.

But, in order to save nerdface, I have to say something negative about the book.  So, I'm targeting the secondary, variant cover drawn by Dave Finch.  Where Jim Lee's cover is a symbol of the second coming (of sorts) of DC's superheroes, Finch's is this really weird, darkly shaded cover that really makes no sense in the context of the stories being told.  Six of the seven members of the League are standing in front of the seventh member, Superman, who is flying above them I'm assuming, but he doesn't look like it.  All the characters have this dead-serious, menacing expression on their face that, when accompanied by the dark shading, make them look evil instead of the heroes we know them as.  Then there's Superman.  He looks, with his arms and fingers stretched out, like a deranged, maniacal puppeteer and the other six members look like his equally maniacal marionettes.  It's a very weird image, and a very horrible cover.  Yikes!

Flavor # 2

I'm doing these in the order that I read them.  Just so you know.

I just read this comic a second time with a more open mind.  Shedding off the history of a comic I enjoyed as much as I did with Stormwatch and, eventually, the Authority is pretty hard.  You have to forget a lot of stuff and start over from scratch.  A lot of the things that were very intergral issues and components to characters is no longer there.  I'm reading these characters for the first time again.  Which both sucks and wasn't too bad.

I was meh when I first read it because of that detachment issue.  But after just reading it a second time, it's really not that bad at all.  There are some moments that are hard to wrap my head around.  The Engineer is one of them.  They just show her, they don't really get into who she is at all.  Hawksmoor is another -- who looks goofy as shit in this comic -- who kind of explains his powers, but not the trauma he went through to get them.  There's the Century Babies that makes no sense whatsoever if you've never read the previous Stormwatch comics, or the Authority, or Planetary.  And then there's Apollo and the Midnighter.  Both are represented here in a good way, they're not negative depictions of the characters.  My issue is that there there to begin with, only because the characters of the previous works went through HELL.  Without that HELL, brought upon them by Henry Bendix, it makes the new versions of them completely new and almost mysterious.  I don't know if I'm comfortable with it, quite yet.

The premise is a bit of a mix between the old Ellis Stormwatch, the old Ellis Authority, and the early WildC.A.T.s comics. Stormwatch is a secret team of superfolks that's been fighting off aliens on this planet for centuries.  There's a brief history run down of that stuff and there's a few glimpses of the Demon and some other characters that hints at a much longer, and stranger (a tip of the hat to Planetary, maybe?) history than the five year one that DC's giving us now.

Second reading of the book definitely has me curious for more.  I wanna know if these characters share more with their WildStorm counterparts than powers, names and visuals.  I hope so.  I miss Ellis' Stormwatch and the Authority.  I also hope that Apollo and the Midnighter are homosexual as they were positive images during Ellis run, I thought.  I think Millar took that a bit too far and over the top at times, but even during his run they were positive homosexual characters.  We'll see, I suppose.

I didn't quite intend for this blog to be simultaneously long and short at the same time.  I only got through two of the books of the thirteen I bought.  But this has taken me almost two hours to write, so I think I'm going to close it off here and finish the rest of the books throughout the week.

Come back tomorrow and I'll have my thoughts on Detective Comics # 1, Action Comics # 1, Swamp Thing # 1, and Batgirl # 1.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bits and Pieces 13: Open With the Pull Tab

Use By Date

I don't know.  I really don't. 

When the New 52 was first announced -- DC Comics' soft reboot of their entire superhero line -- I was kind of excited for the possibilities of what was coming.  A fresh new start for the oldest superhero universe in American comics, a breeding ground of new possibilities and stories to be told; a brand new day.

Yet, when the first day came, August 31st, 2011, of this relaunch and the first comic given to us comic book readers was on the shelves, or, as it is in my case, available for download on the excellent Comixology app for my delightful little pocket device of preference, the end result left me wondering what had happened.

JLA # 1 (short for Justice League of America) reads like a very badly written fan-fiction version of the Justice League, but drawn by Jim Lee.  That shouldn't be the case, as Geoff Johns, the author of this little episode, is anything but a bad writer.  He's really good.  Yet for this particular comic book he gave us a team book with no team, a hit-the-ground-running adventure with no build up, no set up, no attempt at rebuilding the DC Universe for the potential new readers that are supposed to be flocking in droves to this new comic (which evidently happened).  It features Batman chasing some kind of glowy creature, being shot at by Gotham City PD, and running into the Green Lantern midway through.  Lantern joins him in his chase after this glowy creature only for the creature to blow itself up, then the duo runs to Metropolis where Lantern gets sucker punched by Superman.  It's nonsensical, it's light reading in the greatest sense but in that it loses the sense of awe that a superhero comic should have.  It's a very badly written comic by people that know better.

Almost twenty years ago, Jim Lee was involved in the Image Comics Exodus with his little comic book WildC.A.T.s with co-author Brandon Choi.  This book was accused of being derivative of Lee's former work on X-Men, which it may or may not have been, but I never saw it.  The book unraveled at a kinetic pace, rapid fast, but even there, in that single issue of a book that so many people hated was a better story being told than what we saw in JLA # 1, nineteen years later.

JLA # 1 reads as though it's the next adventure of several characters that everyone should already know, but this is being retold for the first time.  The soft reboot relaunch rewhatever reset the DC Universe, so long time readers and new readers alike are being exposed to Batman, Green Lantern and Superman again for the first time again.  I'm thinking that this little book, the first chapter in this universe-wide reboot, is meant to be read after the rest of the 52 have been read.  My theory is that this book should not have been read (or published) until the other 51 books have been read.  I'm going to attempt this at the beginning of October -- or whenever -- I get those 51 issues read, money provided, to see if I'm right about it.  I think I am.

Then again, maybe I'm just not the target audience of this reboot; this relaunch or rebirth of an entire universe.  I've been reading comics for a very long time now, and I've seen, literally, every trick the superhero genre has to offer thus far.  In this new age of superhero comics, the one that comes after the nastiness of the Dark Age and everything wonderful that lead up to this point (including my favorite Post Costume Age that gets very little attention), that this stuff is just not for me.  This new age being marked by the reboot (and a few other new #1s being issued by Marvel Comics) could very well be for a younger audience, or an audience only familiar with the superheroes through their big, silver screen variations.  Even with that in mind, I really can't see a justifiable reason for the likes of Geoff Johns or Jim Lee to dumb down their storytelling techniques and skills to appeal to a wider audience.

I suppose we'll see.  I actually told myself that JLA # 2 wasn't a comic I was going to buying because of the lackluster performance given to me in the first issue.  However, Jim Lee posted the pencils of a two-page spread of JLA # 2 featuring Batman and Superman and it looks brilliant.  And me, ever the artnut, really wants to see this spread inked by Scott Williams and colored by Alex Sinclair.  In the end, we shall see.

It's Official, You Suck

I remember getting Mortal Kombat 3 for my home console of choice back when it was released 199whenever.  I had already spent a high-school fortune on the arcade edition of the game at Aladdin's Castle, learning combos, playing other people, and performing fatalities.  At that time it was almost impossible to play a single player game to the end without someone else jumping in and taking you to the edge of your competitive skills.  I love playing people within proximity of myself (I despise online play because it's not the same as chilling at home or in the arcades playing other people), but I have this thing about the fiction of fighting games.  I love playing these games by myself, learning the stories of each character, and finishing the game with each of the characters available.

It wasn't until I got Mortal Kombat 3 (the first iteration, not Ultimate or Mortal Kombat Trilogy) home on a console I can't even remember (was it the PlayStation? probably) that I learned of the rude taunts of the game's boss character, Shao Kahn.  I knew of them from Mortal Kombat II, having played that game on the Super Nintendo for an unrecordable amount of hours, but this was something different.  There was the Mortal Kombat II taunts, of course, but then there was this one little line that both made me laugh out loud while playing games by myself and feel a little insulted.

"It's official, you suck!" shouted the sword and sorcery dressed Emperor of Outworld as he kicked my ass completely.

That taunt, once again, reared it's nasty head with the new Mortal Kombat released earlier this year.  This time, I scoffed, and delivered him multiple defeats as cheaply as I could.  Revenge was mine after the horrible ass beatings that Shao Kahn put on me in Mortal Kombat Trilogy -- one of the games with the worst AI opponents I'd ever challenged.

However, the joyous nature of my revenge from all those years was relatively short lived.  Yes, I had defeated Shao Kahn multiple times in the new Mortal Kombat game on several different modes of play.  I lost several battles along the way, I was even murdered by his hands with two relatively grotesque fatalities on occasion, but for the most part I told the Conan wannabe who was the real boss in his massive, Colosseum-like arena.  Then the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection came out a few weeks ago and once again the taunt echoed in my ears as my digital avatar's face was pounded into a red mess.  Yet, the taunt wasn't being said by the Emperor Shao Kahn this time, at least not at first.  Oh, no.  It was echoing in my own ears from those memories of Mortal Kombat 3's first release on that unrememberable console as EVERYONE beat my ass into a red oblivion.  I resulted in pushing the difficulty down to the easiest setting imaginable for the game, and yet, the AI still knew how I was going to perform better than I did.  It knew the moves before I knew I was going to perform them.  It knew I was going to take flight to deliver an airbased arsenal of combatitive fury and promptly took to the air and knocked me out of it like a rabid surface to air missile.  PEW WOOSH BOOM _______ WINS.  That's how my first assault on the Arcade Kollection went for almost a week.

It almost seems that a lot of developers of games that primarily focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game (such as fighting games often do) forget about the single player aspect of that same game and either go out of their way to make it as unfun as possible, or simply neglect the fun factor of the game at all.  Games are supposed to be challenging, I completely agree with that, but when the challenge is to take down an opponent that can and will constantly render your entire offense moot and useless, it becomes unfun.

Unfun is no fun; unfun is bullshit.

However, I was fed up with the bullshit this morning.  After suffering the onslaught of a full-fledged migrainal attack at 9:30 this morning and sleeping the fucker off until 4:35 PM, I turned the PlayStation 3 on, picked up the military green DualShock controller, and loaded up the game.  I selected Mortal Kombat first, and picked Sub-Zero.  It's always Sub-Zero with me, even though Scorpion is my favorite of the two.  I don't understand that myself.  And I played through Mortal Kombat until it submitted to me the way I wanted it to.  I made it sit, I made it lay down, and I made it roll over and, inevitably, play fucking dead.  I had to result to a cheap tactic of hitting the opponents, especially Goro, with as many jump kicks as possible, but finally it succumbed to my offenses and the game's credits rolled.

[My biggest complaint about the Arcade Kollection's AI is that I've played newer games on their hardest difficulty settings, including the new Mortal Kombat, with the same resistance.]

Then it was on to Mortal Kombat II.  I decided to take a different route with the second feature by selecting Kitana instead of my favored ice-cold assassin.  Kitana was a favorite of mine when Mortal Kombat II hit the 'cades back in the day, and I used her diligently to destroy the arcade mode of the console version on the Super Nintendo.  Kitana's dehabilitating raising fan attack makes for a good use if the AI's defenses aren't ready for it.  The opponents put up their attacks and several continues later, the cast of Mortal Kombat II fell to Kitana's deadly fans and I was facing off against Kintaro and, subsequently, Shao Kahn with his cruel taunt.  Unfortunately for them, I remembered fully Kitana's cheap as hell tactics against these two, and both fell with a single attempt.

Two down, one to go.

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, like Mortal Kombat 3 before it, and Mortal Kombat Trilogy after it, has the cheapest AI of the series.  As difficult as the two games were before it, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's AI controlled opponents know everything you're going to do before you can even think about doing it.  There's a term called SNK Boss Syndrome out there in this fabulous world that was coined to describe the insane difficulties of SNK's fighting game bosses.  Rugal Bernstein, Geese Howard, these guys were relentless in their difficulty.  It seems that Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's base characters contracted this apparently contagious syndrome and it's on full display after your first three wins in the game.  Unfortunately for me, the character that I ended up fighting against when the SNK Boss Syndrome kicked in was Jade with her projectile-proof glowy attacks and all that fun stuff. I lost count on how many continues was necessary for me to reach the first boss of the game, but I was changing characters left and right.  Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Smoke, Kitana and Kabal.  After almost acing through the Endurance Match -- where you fight against two opponents with one health bar, in this instance it was Jade and Reptile -- I met the biggest asshole of Mortal Kombat's elaborate mythology that isn't Shao Kahn: Motaro.  The centaur bastard of unrelenting offense.  It took several continues to get the rhythm of the bastard which was jump kick, jump kick, jump kick.  No other offense I could muster up was successful, but this aerial onslaught seemed to work until he was done.  Then Shao Kahn.  Shao Kahn and his bastard taunt which came again and again and again, and seemed to accompany every loss when the continue option was presented.

Finally, he fell, too.  A cheap tactic using Scorpion's spear attack over and over and over until the big bastard fell and the game was over.

After what felt like a literal lifetime, I learned that only two hours had passed.  Two hours of unrelenting martial arts supernature for the struggle of our very dimension and I was done.

I loved these games when I was younger, and here they are, arcade perfect in almost every way.  Yet, because of the AI difficulties I'm not entirely sure I can resume playing them with the same adoration I had almost twenty years ago.  Perhaps I'm just getting too old.  Perhaps again, the digital gloves need to be hung up and retired and greener pastures of easier explorations of my digital fascination with martial arts need to be explored.  Perhaps still, that's even more bullshit and I just need to avoid games with ridiculously cheap AI.

Earlier this summer I attempted to take on Marvel vs. Capcom 3's hardest difficulty setting and found it too relentless for me to tackle.  I'm not particularly good at the vs. game series in terms of consciously putting workable extravagant combinations together that also look quite beautiful, but watching the characters I've chosen being ritually destroyed by such combos at the hands of AI opponents had proven too much for me to handle and the unfun began and I gave it up. Until a couple of weeks ago.  I attempted it again and made the AI my bitch by adopting my own version of SNK Boss Syndrome by using Sentinel and repeating the same attack over and over again.  If the computer can do it, and it works for them, why can't I?  The game proved to be less difficult this way and I felt somewhat accomplished in achieving the objective.

But, playing a series of games almost twenty years old on the easiest difficulty and having the same issues with the AI and resulting to the same cheap tactics that do not expand my interest or skills within the game? 

Well, that just sucks.

So, I say to you, developers of the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection:

"It's official, you suck."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The two Street Fighter Ultimate Editions were books I wanted in my library immediately when I learned of them. Unfortunately I missed out on the previous editions of these two books, including a limited edition boxed set that has Gouki and M.Bison on the covers versus Ryu and Ken. There's an alternate version of the first book, too, that has Ryu in his white gi, whereas the edition I now own, off to the left of this text there, depicts the "Evil" Ryu version of the character -- or the Satsui no Hado ni Mezameta Ryu -- which suited me just fine, as I like the black versus red trade dressings.

But before I start gushing over what's between the covers, I have to issue out a huge warning to anyone who may be interested in these books: handle with care. The production value of these two editions is pretty top notch in every aspect except the binding. The binding began to fall apart the moment I opened the front cover of the first volume, and it was a relentless assault on the glue as I turned each page. This is literally a four-hundred-fifty hit combo on the books binding as each page brings it closer and closer to coming completely undone. It was very disappointing. The second book held together a bit better in the glue-and-pages department, but the cover came away from the rest of the book before I finished it. It really is a damned shame, 'cause these books are really pretty on the outside, but they don't hold up when compared to Street Fighter: Eternal Struggle or SF20: The Art of Street Fighter both are books that Udon published here in the states. It makes me a little sad on the inside.

Moving on, however, we have what's between the covers, and although it's a mixed bag in what it has to offer. On the bad side, we have some very wordy pages that ruin the art that they're covering, and they ruin the martial arts motif that Street Fighter has. I think the Udon team could've benefited themselves by watching more martial arts films than they did (and I think they watched a LOT) during the production of the Street Fighter comics. Sometimes you don't need a whole lot of words to tell a story when you have the expressions to give away the emotional context of the character. The scene that stood out for this was Sagat taking out his frustrations of losing to Ryu and monologuing the entire time. There's a few of those moments as well as some where there's too much talking while fighting. Not as bad as some comics I've read, but it's excessive. The last two complaints I have about the entire series is that the focus isn't centered around all of the characters and some are rendered as background noise only, and it instead centers around the "main" heroes of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile and Cammy. It takes away from the draw that a fighting game has in that the only main character is whatever character you choose to pick, and the Street Fighter games covered in this series has a very large cast of characters. The last part is the Street Fighter II tournament itself that takes place in the second volume. It has too much build-up and the actual tournament isn't given a whole lot of time. Most of the fights are ridiculously short -- like Ken vs. Zangief -- and there's not a whole lot of drama to them until the later fights.

Now, for what I like:

The two volumes here are about nine-hundred pages of Street Fighter goodness. Unlike previous Street Fighter comics that have been done in the United States, this one devotes all its time to telling the story that is somewhat detailed in the games, and as close to the actual canon of the series as possible. The names are still changed, which isn't too big of a deal except where Gouki is concerned, but the story, the plot of it, is heavily influenced by the actual Japanese canon. Gouki isn't possessed by a demon, so on and so forth. Some of the American nuances made it into the series, like Dee Jay fighting with Capoeira and Ken and Ryu being Shotokan fighters -- he doesn't, and they're not.

The books cover the game's storyline, pretty closely at that, from the moment Ryu used the Satsui no Hado to defeat Sagat in the finals of the first Street Fighter tournament through the Street Fighter Alpha stories and ends with the Street Fighter II tournament.

We get a few short stories that appeared as back up stories in the original comics that begin to set things up with a wide variety of artists. For instance, the fight between Ryu and Sagat is drawn by Joe Madureira and it goes on from there. The main plot of the first half of the book deals with Ryu and Ken seeking out Gouki for the murder of their master, Gouken, while Chun-Li and Guile try to bring down Shadaloo, the criminal organization run by Bison. The second half deals more with Chun-Li, Guile and Cammy bringing down the rest of Shadaloo after Bison's apparent death, with Ken and Ryu somewhat caught in the middle.

It's pretty good stuff, and Udon's team of artists render the book brilliantly, which compensates on a big scale for the sometimes awkward writing. You can tell when Ken Siu-Chong hits his stride with the writing which is about the start of the second volume. He's not bad at all, but his hiccups are easy to spot. The art is something else, though, especially for the main chunk of stories. When I first started reading the monthly comics, I was a little more than weary about the action and the martial arts scenes. They were too game centric in my opinion, and by that I mean that the characters do a LOT of their moves from the games. But as the series goes on, the pacing of the action sequences puts this at the tip-top of martial arts comics. I don't think anything has been done better that I can remember reading with the exception of two Japanese comics: Lone Wolf and Cub and Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal. This stuff is really well done. Everything is well paced and plotted, and the way they angled the "camera" for each panel or frame is a delight each and every time. The two fights that really stand out in the first volume is a fight between Ken and Ryu versus Gouki, which they lose miserably, and a pretty awesome Bruce Lee styled fight between Fei Long and Chun-Li versus a whole lot of bad guys. There's also a battle royale worth mentioning at the closing of the book featuring Chun-Li, Guile, Ken, Ryu and Sakura vs. Vega, Balrog and a bunch of Shadaloo leftover cronies.

The second volume really kicks into high gear as we follow Ryu on his quest to become the best martial artist he can to face Gouki, lots of Shadaloo stuff as Vega takes control of the Bison-absent organization; lots of Cammy, Guile and Chun-Li stuff. Cammy's struggling to find herself, Guile's dealing with a failing relationship, and Chun-Li wants to bring Shadaloo down completely. We also get treated to a short but sweet battle between Gen and Gouki that Street Fighter IV has rendered absolutely senseless. Gen is suffering from Lukemia, but feels that way of dying is beneath him. He wants to fight to the death, and Gouki obliges him -- which is what happens in the games (however, Gen is in Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV, which are separate games with separate plots, and SFIV takes place after the Street Fighter II tournament, and post Gen's death). Then Bison is resurrected. Upon his resurrection we learn the significance of his connection to Cammy (she's a clone of him of which he was intending on downloading his consciousness into if he needed to) and his connection to Rose (his soul resides in her). Ryu continues to struggle with his inner demon. The Satsui no Hado ni Mezameta version of Ryu is a fantastical character that exists only in Ryu's mind, his darkside, if you will. The Satsui no Hado is the true form of the martial art taught to Ken and Ryu by Gouken, although Gouken toned it down considerably and turned it into an art. The art was intended to kill, which is what Gouki uses. In the Street Fighter mythology, it's a special power-like version of the art that only a select few can use, Gouki and Ryu both have the ability to use it -- Gen uses a similar form of Chinese martial art. What this hints to, and seems to almost have always hinted to, is that Ryu is the son of Gouki, but I think Capcom has denied that time and time again. So Ryu gets in these huge fights with his evil, darker version of himself that all take place in his imagination.

Then the tournament invites are sent out. The rest of the second volume is all buildup to the tournament followed by the tournament itself. The buildup includes a series of qualifying matches that are pretty cool. These matches feature some of the characters that appear in the Street Fighter Alpha series like Sodom, Rainbow Mika, Guy and Cody, Dan Hibiki and a whole slew of others. A couple of characters, Hugo and Poison, weren't featured in a Street Fighter game until Street Fighter III, but it was nice seeing them. The Japanese qualifier is hard to follow as it seems to be a battle royale between Zangief, E. Honda, Rainbow and Sodom, but it eventually boils down to Honda and 'Gief being attacked by a bunch of "Geki" ninjas and destroying the lot of them to make it into the tournament. Geki is a character from the first Street Fighter game that has seemingly disappeared. In these two volumes we learn that there's a whole clan and they all look the same and one of them was killed by Gen. Tangent. The Hong Kong qualifier has a pretty funny fight between Dhalsim and Adon where Adon gets schooled without laying a finger on the Yoda-like Dhalsim (Dhalsim is very much written like the Yoda character that appears in Empire Strikes Back, not the prequels, but one that is a lot more curious and not afraid to get into the mix of things). Then there's two fights that happen at the same time with Fei Long and Chun-Li where the both of them have to fight a large group of characters. All of the characters are unfamiliar to me in terms of Street Fighter, but bear resemblances to other fighting game characters. Fei Long dispatches his pretty quickly, Chun-Li gets blinded a la Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport and gets help from Yun and Yang. The USA qualifier is pretty funny. Balrog is in charge of it and he decides to pull a Willy Wonka and place four golden tickets in an abandoned building that's set to explode in a very short time frame. So Guile, ThunderHawk, Ryu, Ken, Rolento, Hugo, Poison, Cody and Birdie all have to scramble to get the tickets. If you've played Street Fighter II at all, you'll know who gets them, if not, I'll spoil it for you: Guile, T.Hawk, Ryu and Ken. The fight between Cody and Ryu is awesome, though. Cody is a lot like Ryu in that the fight is almost everything, except Cody's not looking to better himself. He's just looking for more fights. The tournament itself goes by way too fast with way too many fights being ridiculously short. It ends just as epic as it should have, though. The final fight of the tournament is Ryu and M.Bison, but it never happens. Gouki steps in and with some minor help from several other characters that blow up Bison's Psycho Drive machine, Gouki destroys him with the Shun Goku Satsu. Then it's Ryu versus Gouki, which is an awesome fight to read almost as much as it is to play.

The only drawback is that there's no epilogue that gives any hints to Street Fighter IV's continuation to the series, which I would have liked. A small explanation as to why a lot of characters have been resurrected (Bison, Gouken, Gen, Rose, etc.,etc.) and how Seth took over S.I.N., Shadaloo's science division.

Other than the slight drawbacks of the production quality and some iffy writing early on, these two books come highly recommended from me -- a very long time Street Fighter fan -- to anyone who enjoys the Street Fighter games. The production -- aside from the binding -- is very high-quality, the art is awesome and fits with the Street Fighter vibe of things head to kicking toe. The writing starts slow and iffy, but gets a lot better as the story progresses. There's some really great philosophical moments going on in the books all over the place that are very much a part of the Street Fighter world, martial arts movies everywhere, and from the likes of Bruce Lee, Sun Tzu and many others that have written about the combatitive arts. They're surprisingly good reads and turn out to be a great deal of fun.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The First of Many.

And So It Begins

My adventures in the self-publishing world of Amazon's Kindle begins today. It's a bit rough edged -- not the story, but the product details and the complete lack of a cover and my rusty skills in selling my own material -- but it's there. It's there for everyone to read and I really feel like I just conquered the world. A bit childish, perhaps, but I've never been one to grow up.

A Childhood Terror is the first short story in a trilogy of short stories that'll all be available before too long. The second one, Ebeneezer the Scrooge vs. Santa Claus (just humor me, okay) will be up within the next week, and Another Childhood Terror will follow shortly after that. They're short little attempts at humorous horror that I'm quite fond of (as a reader, no less!) and I hope other people are, too.

The fourth and final installment of the "Terror" series is going to be novella length and it's called The Third Terror. I hope to get it finished before December 25th of this year, so we'll see.

I have other short stories coming as well, Along for the Ride is one of them. 1 Mouse, 2 Mice, 3 Mice, 4 is in the works, but that one's only going up if I can make it something truly worth reading. Several others. The one I'm the most proud of probably won't ever be published there because of the content. I'll try though. See how long it can stay up before being taken down or something. Haha. It's Splatterpunk horror, so it pulls no punches, and is explicit in every definition of the word. I dunno!

I'm also working on the Chiliad somewhat regularly, but that's still far off. I'm gonna go back and revisit my first novel, the one without a title, and see what I can do with it and make it readable. Then I'll revisit Effin' Vampires as well. The first one shouldn't take me too long either. I hope.

The covers. I decided to go without a cover just as a test to see how well it would do. I can't do covers on this laptop, so maybe I can get a regular ass computer to be able to do them. Or maybe I'm just not trying hard enough with the laptop. I don't know. They will have covers, I promise that. Even this one.

Anyway. There it is, folks. A Childhood Terror.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bits and Pieces 12: COMIC-CON EDITION.


Yeah, it's Comic-Con time again, and with all this griping about keeping Comic-Con comics, you'd think that comics creators and comics publishers would pull no punches in delivering things that'll get people excited for what's to come. I can say that, so far, reading the news sites -- or trying to, rather, as I've not found a site that's covering the convention in a satisfying manner at all -- all the comic book related news is on a serious meh level. The only thing I've seen worth mentioning is Marvel's Day and Date digital release services, but with that comes no announcement of Android support. You'd think Marvel would want their product in as many hands as possible, and seeing as how the Marvel Reader for iPhone is running off the same system as Comixology, Marvel's product would be readily available on Android based phones. But they're not.

Other than that, it's usual business for the big two, Marvel and DC, with their OMGEVENTS, relaunches, and other very unexciting publications. Don't get me wrong, love comics, but this is just lacking now days. I will say that there is some very pretty art going on in the DCnU Relaunch and I'll be checking out a lot of those books, but Marvel's got nothing interesting me.

That's not to say Comic-Con doesn't have some exciting news for me. It does. And it's all related to fighting games!


Earlier this year, Capcom released a game that was literally ten years in the making. Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The vs. series of games that began with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, pits Marvel's finest superheroes, mutants, and villains against the finest martial artists, robots, and monsters from Capcom's various video game franchises. This installment was more of the same running on a new graphics engine, a beautiful one might I add, with a new assortment of characters along with a decent gathering of the classics that had appeared in the games before.

At Comic-Con earlier this week, Capcom announced Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that will featured rebalanced gameplay, twelve new fighters, and eight new stages. Most of the additions were planned as DLC, but due to the earthquake in Japan earlier this year those plans were scrapped in favor of releasing all the DLC as one big disc-based release with a very cheap price tag. On Marvel's side they've added Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova and Rocket Raccoon. Capcom's new onslaught of characters are Firebrand from Ghosts'N'Goblins, Frank West from Dead Rising, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, Phoenix Wright from Ace Attorney, Strider Hiryu from Strider, and Vergil from Devil May Cry. A very interesting selection of characters with very few returning ones from previous games. I think Strider is the only one that's appeared previously.

Still no Mega Man and the like, but I can do without re-appearances as long as the new characters are exciting and fun to play. If the videos shown are anything to go by then they certainly do look fun to play.

The Fight of the Century

Street Fighter X Tekken also got some news this week from Comic-Con. Dhalsim, Sagat, Steve Fox, and Hwoarang were confirmed for them game, even though they had character teasers a few weeks ago. Then they announced Poison and Yoshimitsu as well. Poison is from Final Fight and made an appearance as Hugo's manager from Street Fighter III. Yoshitmitsu is, well, Yoshimitsu. He's almost like Namco's Gouki character as he appears in almost every fighting game Namco develops like Tekken and Soulcalibur. Then another cinematic trailer was released featuring a wrestling contest between Marduk and King against Mike Haggar (I dunno if he'll be in the game, but he was in the trailer), then Poison comes along and unleashes Hugo on the duo. Epic fight followed up by Cody and Guy coming in a little too late.

New gameplay footage also showed all four characters being used at the same time which could hint at two on two play? We shall see!

Still no sign of Gouki and Heihachi, though. They better get on that crap!

BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL's a reference to the sword... like Soulcalibur...

Anyways, Ivy and her tits are back for that game.


And neither will the Darkstalkers. Apparently, Yoshinoro Ono is really trying to get another Darkstalkers game made, and I'm backing him completely with my words! I loved Darkstalkers and I want more Darkstalkers games. Although I would like one that's a little bit darker. The Darkstalkers, as awesome as they were and they were hella awesome, were very brightly colored and happy games that dealt with a lot of monsters. I'd like to see them running on the NT Framework engine and be a little bit more monstrous.

But it needs to happen!

1, 2 Freddy's Coming for You

And the last chunk of info coming out of Comic-Con that I'm really excited about is that Freddy Krueger is trying his hat (heh heh) as a martial artist as a downloadable character for the new Mortal Kombat game.

I love this idea. In fact, I had this idea almost twenty years ago while playing the original Mortal Kombat in the arcades. I love horror anything, and I'm particularly fond of slasher movies. A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween (yes, even the remakes!), and I thought it would be awesome to see these characters put in the game. No, they don't have to fit into the storyline framework of Mortal Kombat, because sometimes it's great just to have characters that are fun. MK is known for this, but always tries to push them into the narrative of the MK universe. Like MOKAP, or Meat, or Blaze. Useless, not very well thoughtout characters, but fun nevertheless.

Freddy fits. This is a world, the MK universe is, where ninjas come back from the dead as vengeful spectres, people are converted into cyborgs, sorcerers can assume the shapes of anyone and anything (Kintaro morph for the win!), ninjas also come back from the dead as weird shadow creatures, other ninjas have sprinklers in their hands, a there's a 10,000 year old princess that acts like a seventeen year old valley girl -- and is twice as dumb. A dream monster, such as Freddy Krueger fits. Stop trying to argue it.

There's been a bit of a backlash about Freddy's inclusion in the game. The first part is that there are so many other worthwhile Mortal Kombat characters that could be included that are being ignored for Mr. Krueger's favor. No, there isn't. All the good MK characters (with the exception of ONE) appeared in the first three Mortal Kombat games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. After that, they were all filler and pretty much worthless. I've seen people wanting Tremor, a shit-brown Lin Kuei ninja that appeared in one of the horrible MK offshoot games. I've seen people wanting Tanya, the yellow female ninja introduced in Mortal Kombat 4 as a replacement for Kitana, Mileena and Jade, but sucked excrutiatingly hard. Frost, 'cause we need another freezing character. Two isn't enough. Shinnok who, while the character I've read he's based on is awesome, was little more than Shang Tsung without the morphing in all his appearances.

The only Post-Mortal Kombat 3 character that is even remotely interesting is Quan Chi. He's a badass, and he's already in the game. It's sad enough that Kenshi was put in the game; a character without a name, but a title. Kenshi, if you didn't know is Japanese for "swordsman," or "fencer". Not a really cool name at all, just a title. And he's not that cool. A telekinetic character has already been in the game with Ermac, adding another one but with SLASH HACK action is superflous. I dig him enough to buy him and play as him, but he's a weak character from a line of weak entries in the franchise. And then there's Rain. Really? People like this guy? His moveset in Mortal Kombat Trilogy was atrocious and here, in the new Mortal Kombat, it's just as atrocious. He even has a sprinkler in his palm this time that washes the wounds of his opponent clean. Maybe they should create a new ninja of some various color or another that could tag with Rain and use Neosporin and bandages to heal they're opponents. He does have a cool fatality, but other than that he's just as useless as he was in MKT. The rest are an uninteresting lot of misfits that need to go back into the brainpan of those that created them.

I've even seen demands for Mokap and Meat over Freddy.

Really, people? Really?

I even saw a guy saw that the announcement of Freddy was the saddest day in Mortal Kombat history. Yes, even more sad than the original movie that was directed by a guy that didn't understand the source material, let alone what an effin' martial arts tournament is. Sadder than the horrible sequel that was so nonsensical that it made the latter to Matrix films seem brilliantly written. Sadder than the animated series, sadder than the horrible comic adaptations; sadder than the bankrupcy of Midway that brought the further existence of Mortal Kombat at all into question. Sadder than Mortal Kombat vs. DC fucking Universe. Yes, adding the homicidal dream monster from A Nightmare On Elm Street -- which is entirely optional by the way -- to the game is sadder and worse for the franchise than censoring the entire concept of Mortal Kombat so they can trade punches with Superman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League.

The second complaints are coming from the Freddy fans. The fact that he's wearing two gloves is just WRONG apparently. Because it's totally inconceivable that a monster that exists in the world of dreams could wear two knife-fingered gloves. A monster that can do anything, literally ANYTHING, except wear two gloves. That's sarcasm. Freddy has done all sorts of crap from becoming a giant skybeing in Dream Warriors, to a video game character, to even a fucking superhero in the later movies. How is it so preposterous that he'd wear two gloves to fight with when taking on fuckers like Scorpion, Goro and Shao Kahn? Then there's the folks that are complaining about him looking like the Freddy from the remake instead of Robert Englund.

Blah blah blah. If I hear another complaint about the remake from someone who doesn't understand the original Nightmare on Elm Street, I'm gonna punch them in the face. I'll email it to them if I have to. Freddy has always been a pederast. It was more implied through psychological imagery in the original than it was in the remake, but it was there. In the original screen play, Freddy wasn't a child-killer at all; he was a complete pederast/pedophile. It was toned down (almost completely removed) by Wes Craven at the time of filming because of high profile cases at the time that dealt with pedophilia. People need to know that their memories of things are often better than the actual things they're remembering. The remake hit all the proper notes and despite a few CGI mishaps, was a very well done retelling of the original Freddy Krueger story all the hate it gets (along with Rob Zombie's Halloween remake) just baffles me. Especially when compared to some of the sequels of the original film.

ANYWAY. Freddy's in the game, he looks like he fits from the gameplay footage I saw, and I've no complaints about him being included at all. I'm more excited about him -- and the potential for a Jason Voorhees release -- than I was about Skarlet, Kenshi or Rain.

People're acting like they put fucking Santa Claus in the game. Sheesh.

I'd also like to see Satsui no Hado ni Mezameta Ryu (Or Evil Ryu) and Gouki added into the game at some point, 'cause they're the two Street Fighter characters that fit. Also Iori Yagami from King of Fighters and Kazuya Mishima from Tekken.

...and Santa Claus...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bits and Pieces 11: Gorgon Rage


I don't care who they get to direct a live action version of Akira, I won't be seeing it. Ever. The track record for American renditions of Japanese anythings has gone down a shitty hillside since The Magnificent Seven. And some films that come out of Japan, or novels or comic books and animated anythings, shouldn't be touched by any American film companies, because they won't get it. Two such things are Gojira and Akira. Why? Both of these works are anti-nuclear weapons and anti-nuclear warfare type stories that no one can really do other than the Japanese as they are the only ones to be on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon. It's just how it is. You cannot take something like Gojira and slap some nice CGI paint on it, throw in a few semi-name actors and come out on the end doing the original 1954 film any justice whatsoever. That's how we ended up with Godzilla in 1998 or whenever. It just doesn't work. There was NO real strong voice for the sentiment of anti-nuclear anything in that movie, and it became a silly little romance that had Matthew Broderick chasing a giant mutated iguana around New York City. And somewhere along the line it became a rejected sequel to Jurassic Park; and it all became the French's fault.

You see in the 1954 film, the original Japanese version without Raymond Burr's totally awesome performance (re: sarcasm), it was a note on how ALL mankind needs to avoid this sort of technology when it comes to warfare. In the 1998 Americanized version, it became: THE FRENCH DID IT, 'CAUSE THEY'RE WEIRD AND THEY'RE PUSSIES. It was a hollow piece of fiction with stupid jokes, lame effects, and no real statement behind it. Which a lot of the Gojira films eventually became, but not the original that this one was supposed to be "retelling."

Then you have Katsuhiro Otomo's masterpiece: Akira.

Akira is pure Japanese fiction, even to the point where it addresses that frustration of the Japanese people during US occupancy post WWII. It's not a very American friendly book in the United States sense of the term. Trying to retell this story with American sensibilities in mind won't ever work, because it will, again, fall flat and become a completely hollow thing with lots of CGI. Setting it in Neo New York and centering it around the 9/11 disaster, as I've heard it was intending to do, doesn't work because no matter how you look at it, the September 11th tragedy, while being awful, does not compare in any way, shape or form to what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Altering the relationship of the two characters, Tetsuo and Kaneda, from being friendly to familial lessens to meaning of those characters' relationship. Hiring all white actors to portray something that is uniquely Japanese also weakens the material, regardless of who they are or how talented they may be.

The only way I'd watch a live action version of this story is if it was told from an entirely Japanese perspective. Japanese director, like Ryuhei Kitamura or Takashi Miike or even Katsuhiro Otomo himself for instance, with an all Japanese cast (save the few American characters that appear in the massive comic book), and so on and so forth. Watching an Americanized version of this picture would be like watching a Japanese movie about our Civil War, or the Declaration of Independence even, with an all Japanese cast while being refitted to fit in Japanese society. It wouldn't work. Just stay away from it.

I don't have a decent closing to this blog. I'm too tired.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces 10: The Current Status!

The Blog

I'm kinda shocked by the "success" or whatever of this blog recently. No comments or anything, but I've been getting around 300 views in the past two months and June isn't exactly over yet. Not bad for a blog of random nothings that are merely here to fuel my own enjoyment of them.

That being said, I think I'm going to amp it up a bit and post more frequently, especially since my posting has died off a bit since I started it in September of last year. Which means I'm going to include a lot more writing orientated stuff than normal. So, that should be fun.

The Games

Since this started as, primarily, a blog dedicated to fighting games and the like, I'm definitely going to continue that theme throughout. I've not been playing too many fighting games as of late, though I did have a spat with the PSP not too long ago playing Street Fighter Alpha 3, Tekken 6, and SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny quite a bit. I've dabbled with Mortal Kombat here and there after beating it with every available character and I'm working through the entire cast of Super Street Fighter IV to do the same thing. After losing my save file for that game twice over since its release, that has become quite the daunting task.

That being said, though, I did download the Arcade Edition DLC expansion for the game and it was so worth it. I can see a lot of differences they made to the game aside from the four new characters (Yun, Yang, Oni, and Evil Ryu) like the Ultra combos not doing nearly as much damage as they did unless the meter is full and the like. I'm a huge fan of fighting games, but I am by no means an expert, especially when it comes to online play. I cannot adjust to the input delay and any lag that pops up and I get my ass handed to me a thousandfold. I do enjoy playing as Evil Ryu and Oni, though. My favorite Street Fighter character ever is Gouki so playing an even more amped up version of him is always fun for me. And Evil Ryu is always nice simply for the fantastical aspect of it; it's like watching an alternate version of Star Wars where Luke became a Sith instead of a Jedi.

Mostly I've been playing a lot of Warriors: Legends of Troy, inFAMOUS, inFAMOUS 2 and L.A. Noire. Since I play so many games, I'm gonna broaden my game postings to include non-fighting games. I might do reviews, I dunno.

Non-Game Stuff

I'm still gonna review non-game game related things, if that makes sense. I've got two books that collect UDON's Street Fighter comic series and I'm gonna review them relatively soon, and we'll see anything else I can find. Maybe that Tekken movie, some other comics I can get a hold of, but I might start doing reviews of other books and movies and whatnot, too. I'm just throwing it out there.

Writing Stuff

I'm working on two books right now, off and on, and I'm gearing up to take the writing thing full time and self-publishing stuff on Amazon's Kindle. e-books and all that. The first book is titled The Last Tournament: A Tale of The Chiliad, which is heavily influenced by the fighting games I've played over the past twenty years since I first plunked some quarters into a Street Fighter II arcade cabinet. It's basically my version of a fighting game without the game aspect. It's a sixteen fighter tournament with a lot of those crazy story aspects one can only find in a fighting game. Like Bison cloning a female version of himself that he hopes to one day download himself into. Yeah, I don't get that either, and it won't be QUITE that crazy, but it certainly doesn't operate in a really-real world setting. It's a different kind of fantasy that I've never read outside of the fighting game world, or anything based on a fighting game that ultimately fails to do the games justice. This is something I've been working on for a very long time and all the details are just now falling into place in a very wonderful sort of way. And yes, you can totally expect fireball projectiles, electricity dancing from fingertips, teleportations, giant monsters, boss battles, and probably a lot of things that just don't make sense. At least not right away. Gotta leave room for potential sequels, right?

The second book I'm working on is called Effin' Vampires, which is straight on horror for the Call of Duty generation. It started as a joke, really, that I wanted to write a story about a thugged out gangsta sort of character that hunted vampires down and punched them in their pompous faces 'cause I was absolutely sick of the romanticization and wussification of the vampire from horrible monster of our nightmares to glittery clusterfuck of a thing that young women want to hump rabidly. Now it's somewhere along the lines of Call of Duty meets Predator meets Near Dark meets Darkstalkers. It needs a lot of refinement, but yes there is a thugged out gangsta character that punches vampires in the face.

I'll update on them regularly without giving too much info away, and I'll post links when I actually get them finished (which may or may not be a long while from now).

Anyway, that's the current status of things as far as blogging goes. Yeah!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bits and Pieces 9: Authentic Blend

The Random Section

There really needs to be a section of every book store, entertainment store, video game store, movie store, library or any other collection of things called the Random Section. I think it would be a blissful thing, myself.

I've been doing a lot of random odds and ends lately as I've been out of work with a bad back injury -- I pissed off a previous injury by doing something completely mundane --hence the title of this portion of the blog. The first thing that stands out is a lot of brain storming going into the book that no one'll prolly read but me (which I'm perfectly fine with at the moment) and a lot of headway being made on it. I'm almost ready to start writing the actual thing. Almost. I've also been thinking about a lot of things that I would never be able to write, but have some pretty nifty ideas for. I may start up a sub-set of blog entries about things you'll never read written by me. We'll see. I've done it before. Did a bit of reading here and there. A couple zombie short stories, one by Richard Matheson and his son, Richard Christian Matheson, that was hella cool. Loved it. But I am hella biased about that 'cause the Matheson collective of father and son are two of my favorite authors.

I also tried reading The Essential X-Men Volume 2 again for what feels like the fiftieth goddamned time. And here's where the ranting begins. I can't do it. I'm gonna try it again, I'm sure, but I really cannot do it. I'm at a complete loss at how Chris Claremont and the various artists he worked with over the twenty year span of his run on Uncanny X-Men made them so effin' popular. I just don't get it. The guy is not a good comic book writer. I've never read one of his novels, but I'm sure his style of writing works more in favor of direct prose fiction than comic book scripting. And -- I could be wrong about this -- I think these books were written in the old Marvel Way of writing comic books. I'll get to that in a second.

This book collects issues 120 to 144 of the main X-Men comic book that went from being just X-Men to Uncanny X-Men somewhere down the line. And the reason I bring that up is because this big book reprints two of the most essential X-Men stories of all time: The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past. I have read these stories and I remember liking them. But that was back in the late 1980s when they were being reprinted in a book called Classic X-Men, and I skipped over any and all chunks of text that wasn't dialog. At that age, I loved reading comics, but I hated reading. That's pretty odd, ain't it? Somehow I loved these comics, especially Days of Future Past.

Getting back to the point: Chris Claremont is not a good comic book writer. And if these were novels, I'd say they were pretty well written. But comics are a mixture of words and pictures combining together to make a single thing. When there's too much art, it doesn't work. When there's too many words, it doesn't work. And in Claremont's X-Men work, there are always too many words. So much so that they render the art completely moot at times. There's a scene early on in this collection where a character called Sasquatch throws a plane -- don't ask, it's superhero comics, people. The art does a pretty good job showing you the Sasquatch character grabbing the plane and then chucking it into a hanger and destroying pretty much everything. But at some point in Claremont's life he thought it would be good to fill up the page with huge caption boxes with copious amounts of text describing the character throwing the plane in overabundant detail. It's not a good idea. It's like watching a movie with someone who has already seen it and telling you everything that's happening as it's happening, which is actually worse than someone seeing a movie then telling you everything that happens before you get a chance to see it yourself. A lot worse. Maybe I should not read the caption boxes when I try to read it again?

Now, here's the bad part -- at least bad if I'm correct, this section is purely speculation based on my fallible memory, so take it with a grain of sugar: the Marvel Way of writing comic books was created by Stan Lee during the early days of Marvel's superhero publishing days. The early 1960s and the like. Stan was writing pretty much everything Marvel was publishing at that time, and working with several different artists, so he would give them the basic plot of the comic's issue, or discuss it with them in a meeting or on the phone, all that sort of thing. The artists, like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko just to name a couple, would then draw the comic how they saw fit, then Stan would write the dialog and whathaveyou after the art was completed. So, if these books were done after the Stan Lee fashion of writing comic book stories, then there was a point when Claremont said to himself, "It's a very good idea to cover up so much art with these giant boxes of unnecessary text."

And that's bad comic book writing. And it makes it very hard for that book to be readable to me. I didn't make it through two issues before I just started thumbing through it and looking at how bad an idea it is to keep comic book characters ageless. What's really amusing is reading the dialog from the White Queen, Emma Frost, in this book and then jumping into Grant Morrison's run and reading her dialog there. In Claremont's and John Byrne's run here, she's written as though she's intended to be a bit older than most of the X-Men characters themselves and she's drawn a bit more mature as well. In the face, not in her choice in dressing herself. Flash-forward to Morrison's run which was written twenty-one years later or so, and she's a much different character. She's a snobby, stuck up sort of character that's very high upon herself, and declares that's she's only twenty-seven years old. She's been twenty-seven for twenty-one years. That's pretty neat.

Moving on past that stuff. I played a lot of Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Tekken 6 the past few days as well. I picked up my PSP and refamiliarized myself with the little gadget and reminded myself of why I bought it in the first place. Such a charming piece of technology, that.

One of the better things about getting lost inside the world of a fighting game is that... it's always just about the fight. Regardless of the individual characters' justifications for their actions, it's ALWAYS about the fight. You can pick Ryu in Street Fighter who's fighting to perfect his own martial arts discipline, or you can pick Kazuya Mishima from Tekken who wants to murder his whole family and uses his martial art to get the job done. It's great stuff.

Speaking of fighting games...

Eee Three!

E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is going on this weekend. Which means gamernerds, such as myself, and technophiles are going to be either geeking out, or flailing about spastically in fits of nerdrage at all the announcements that'll be going on.

And I've already got my geek on pretty hardcore. Even in my cyclobenzaprine induced state of constant sleepiness. I just like writing that word. Cyclobenzaprine. It sounds like some kinda Cyclopean disorder. Like when their one big eye gets all infected and stuff and they have to go to a Cyclopean doctor and he says, "Damn, son, your eye has the Cyclobenzaprine!" I'm on the crap because I'm two steps away from being a cripple. Or handicapped. I prefer cripple, but I'm also as politically correct as a Bill Hicks bit.

Moving on.

I've got my geek on pretty bad, and the Expo hasn't even started yet. WHY?! you ask in all caps as though you're shouting at me through some digital interface or another? Well, that's simple. First, I saw that KONAMI used their own code on their own heads (UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT BEE AYE BEE AYE SELECT SELECT START, FOOLS!) and are whipping out a Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for me to have in my very own home! The collection is slated to come out this November, and yeah, I already have all three games that are in the package, but I don't have them in HD! Or with Trophy support! In this collection are Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Peace Walker was a PSP exclusive title that was on par with even the most recent MGS game, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I'm not too sure why the first MGS game isn't in the package, but I'll take it anyway. For those of you reading this and don't know, Metal Gear is a SUPERSECRETSPY sort of game where you sneak around and try not to kill everyone to battle giant robots at the end, all told with a Japanese sensibility so everyone has some weird superability or another. Except you. You're just Snake and you've got pretty much nothing but a pack of smokes. You gotta collect all your gear as you go. And it's my favorite non-fighting game series out there. Yup.

KONAMI also announced a Zone of Enders HD collection, a Silent Hill HD collection, and they teased that they're bringing back Contra, one of the games that featured the KONAMI Code quite prominently.

Sony was also showing of the NGP, which needs a new name, although the thing is a work of technological beauty. It's Sony's new handheld gaming platform, a sequel of sorts to my favorite handheld of all time, the PlayStation Portable (I don't like Nintendo, sorry), and it looks fantastic.

Just a few short hours ago, I saw the first footage-slash-trailer of Soul Calibur V, and that got me all sorts of stoked. It looks really pretty, and I hope its better than the last three installments. My favorite of the series is still plain ol' Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast. Which makes me the odd man out, I think, 'cause everyone else that plays the kinda games I do says that Soul Calibur II is the best of the series and I didn't care for it all that much. During that same time frame I watched a teaser trailer for Aliens: Colonial Marines, which I hope is a good game 'cause there needs to be a good Aliens game for once, and a newish trailer for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus in their HD presentations for the PlayStation 3.

And just a couple of seconds ago, I watched a killer trailer for Spider-Man: Edge of Time, the new Spider-Man game from Activision and Beenox. It's a follow up to my favorite Spider-Man game I've ever played, Shattered Dimensions, and I'm a geek for good games made out of comic book properties. I'm still waiting for someone to make badass games out of Erik Larsen's The Savage Dragon and a book called WetWorks, though I don't think either of those things are ever going to happen.

I'd provide you links to these things, but I am too busy clacking at the keyboard making words to be bothered with copypasta.


Maybe there was some sort of Apocalypse that happened at the turn of the Mielelenerennenium. You know what I mean. Everything needs to be rebooted, repackaged, relaunched, reincarnated into something it isn't, and regurgitated to audiences everywhere! And I really don't know what to think about it, and I'm not so sure I even care. They could reboot something I'm literally quite fond of right now, and I don't think it would bother me one bit.

But the most recent reboot that's making headlines all over the nerdosphere is the relaunch of the entire DC Universe that's happening in September. I ain't gonna lie, 'cause I never tell no lies, it has me quite curious. Of course there's the conspiracy theories that are raging about concerning why DC as the collective whole are going this route, but I don't pay them no mind much either. There's at least one monthly comic coming out of this that I'm interested in and that's Justice League. Why? 'Cause it's written by Geoff Johns, who's pretty good, and Jim Lee, who is one of my favorite comic artists ever and has been since... 1989? 1990? I dunno, whenver it was that I saw that awesome cover of Uncanny X-Men drawn by him that had Wolverine crucified on a giant wooden X. That left a visual imprint on my brain meat that's rather tattoo-like in concept. ...whatever that means...

The entire universe is getting the reset button switched on it, and that's perfectly okay with me. Why? 'cause that's what people fuckin' do!

Every time you retell a story that you've already told someone before, you're rebooting the fucking story. Did you know that? Prolly not. Why are you rebooting it? 'Cause you never tell the same story the exact same way. Never. I know this 'cause I'm quite the observant one, and I pay attention to people when they tell the same stories. I don't even interrupt them most of the time when they're telling me a story they've already told me.

The reboot, relaunch, reimagining ranting and raving from the cool kids in the corner should just launch itself off the highest cliff in the world and land right into a very spikey and pointy bottom, 'cause you're constant squaking is hurting my ears and it's making my eyes bleed like a rabid anime flick.

I'm just hoping that WildC.A.T.s (which is a fucking pain in the ass to type, just so you know!) and StormWatch get thrown in the mix somewhere. Not so much the Authority, 'cause to me, the Authority died when Jim sold WildStorm to DC in the first place, and we really don't need TWO effin' Justice Leagues in one superhero universe. Oh, yeah, I'm talking nerd shit.

I've read that Grifter is being thrown into the relaunch stuff, which is interesting, so I'm hoping that a lot of my other favorite WildStorm characters appear somewhere as well. yeah, I just repeated myself. Don't care. Boom.

Now I segue into something different: digital comics are too expensive. Especially since alongside the DC Relaunch of Everything (Crisis of Multiple Relaunches?) they're doing day-and-date digital releases... which means that the same day the physical comic comes out, the digital comic will also be released out into the digital world of... I got nothin'. But for the same price. It irks me that companies, corporations, publishers, all them sorts somehow can justify to themselves that a physical copy and a digital copy are worth the same amount of money. Physical copies are harder to make and take more people involved, thus they are usually worth the money you pay for them. A digital copy? It doesn't take a whole lot of work other than taking the digital files provided by the folks that made the comic physically, having someone upload them, and me downloading them. Cutting out those pesky middle men like publishers, paper folks, staple machines, distributers, Diamond Comics, comic book shop people, UPS, FedEx, and so on and so forth.

Not to mention the fact that it feels weird to pay three bucks or so for something on my phone that's going to give me between five and fifteen minutes of entertainmental joy, when I can download Angry Birds for free and that's got entertainment for DAYS. Maybe even WEEKS. In the epic battle between comics and video games, video games always win. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't think anyone really knows how to use digital distribution correctly. Ninety-nine cents for a song sounds a bit much. And that's a good place to end this.