Welcome to a new quickie feature for Playfeed, in which I attempt to distill a game review into a bite-size chunk for you to feed on demurely. At E3, I was singing nothing but praises about Bayonetta, and that was primarily from a one-level demo. Demos, of course, are either used to
- Sell a product by giving you the best of the best so you salivate like Pavlov’s dogs when you pass the retail copy over
- Give you the only part of a game that is not festering, abject crap.
So now the retail copy has launched, and I am left to tell you what to expect, because I am forever carrying the cross of the game reviewer. Hit the jump for Bayonetta in 3 paragraphs.
NOTE: This is the Xbox 360 version of the game. The PS3 has been known to have some nasty framerate issues.
Rating: *** 1/2*
Marvel Comics is promoting their latest blockbuster crossover Siege as a project that has been seven years in the making. It began with Avengers #500 when writer Brian Michael Bendis first took over the title. The storyline was called Avengers Disassembled where the Scarlet Witch went crazy, the Vision was destroyed, and Hawkeye and Ant Man (Scott Lang) were killed off. It was a good story and a huge turning point for the team that left many fans very angry as fan favorite Hawkeye was killed in an unsatisfactory manner and the New Avengers were then launched with a non-traditional lineup which included the Sentry.
As the years have gone by, we’ve had various crossovers such as Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign which further complicated the lives of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe in general. All of this has lead us to Siege, which is a storyline that will focus on Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers invading Asgard to expel it from the Earth. This was a very good start. Osborn wants power and looks at Asgard as a roadblock. With the assistance of Loki, Osborn is able to get a reason to invade Asgard.
During the Civil War, innocent civilians were killed during an incident involving the New Warriors. Loki is able to replicate a similar incident using the Asgardian Volstagg who battles the U-Foes which results in the death of thousands of civilians at Soldier Field in Chicago. Osborn’s Dark Avengers are not too willing to go along with the invasion - especially Ares who promises Osborn if this is a trick of some sort, he will kill him personally.
Well, I’m not sure why Marvel Comics released this one-shot epilogue to Captain America: Reborn when the series still has one issue to go, but it’s here. Reborn was originally slated to be a five issue mini-series, but at some point it was decided that an additional issue was needed to tell the story. So Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield is shipping on schedule because last week should have been the last issue of the Reborn series. I’m not sure why Marvel did not just push this issue back to ship the same day issue six comes out or make issue five a double sized issue. Money? Probably, but you could still make money by doubling the price of a double sized issue.
Whatever the case may be, Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield still stands as a great comic book even with all the nonsense of it coming out prior to the completion of Reborn. Even before Reborn was even announced, we all knew that Steve Rogers would come back to land of the living at some point. It was only a matter of when, the how was almost meaningless because fans just wanted their guy back in action. The issue opens with a flashback to the days of World War II and Cap and Bucky fighting I believe the Japanese - not the Germans, as you normally see during Cap flashbacks to the war.
If you are a new reader of Brian Michael Bendis‘s run on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and if you think that things are moving a bit slow, do not worry. Look at the pace that Bendis is presenting in his story as if it were a fine dining experience. When you are eating a fine meal, you don’t wolf down your food as if you’re at McDonald’s. Instead, you take your time to savor every moment of every bit of food. Bendis’s take on the Spider-Man character is so perfect, that you want more after every issue you’ve read. What’s the old saying? Leave with them wanting more. I guess that’s the best way to describe how I feel when I’m reading his Spider-Man - I want more.
Although the comic audience is mostly adult males, Brian Bendis writes Ultimate Comics Spider-Man as a comic geared more towards a tween/teenage audience. I can see a kid in that age range who has enjoyed Harry Potter and Twilight really enjoying this book more than an adult would. Spider-Man really acts like a teenager here. You don’t get the feeling of a writer trying to write dialogue that a teenager would say - particularly towards the end of the book with Peter and Gwen.
Our story continues the opening arc of this relaunched title with Spider-Man battling Mysterio. When we last left off, Spider-Man was at the mercy of Mysterio. It looks grim, but thanks to the arrival of the mysterious new cloaked hero that first appeared in issue one, Spider-Man makes it out alive. Thanks to this intervention, Spider-Man is able to recover and duke it out with Mysterio. The cloaked figure knocks out Mysterio’s technology and we see his face. As a result, an explosion happens, but all survive and Mysterio swears revenge.
Everyone who knows me knows that I love the comics that are out there on the fringes of the industry. You want to make everyone turn into apes or zombies or contestants on So You Think You Can Dance? and I’m right there, eager to throw my $2.99 in your direction.
So when I saw Tony Moore’s “iconic” cover on Victorian Undead #1 (Wildstorm) on the rack with a blurb that says “Sherlock Holmes Vs. Zombies,” my hand shot out faster than John H. Watson, M.D.’s revolver. And I wasn’t disappointed. Far from being as “out there” as its B-movie subject matter might suggest, it actually feels like a real Sherlock Holmes adventure but with, y’know zombies. And Automata (aka robots). Following a celestial event in the skies of London in 1854, there are rumors of the dead coming back to life and desecration of the bodies by beheading. By 1898, when two London workmen succumb to zombiness, leaving one in the custody of Inspector Lestrade, the call goes out for Sherlock Holmes who’s busy on a seemingly separate case trying to figure out who’s behind the robot that just tried to kill him. (I’ve read stories where Holmes has gone up against the aliens from War of the Worlds, and also Dracula, Jack The Ripper and The Invisible Man, so zombies and Victorian robots don’t feel out of place in my personal Holmes canon.)
If you were a fan of the run Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins did on The Flash, this book is for you. I wasn’t a fan of Kolins’ work on The Flash at first, but the artwork grew on me and the stories that Geoff was pumping out were classic. This issue picks up during the Blackest Night event and after the Flash: Rebirth series.
I was a bit confused by the story in this issue at first because we see that Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom the Reverse Flash appears as a Black Lantern, which got me wondering how could he be a Black Lantern if he’s been resurrected? Then I remembered that when Zoom returned in the Flash: Rebirth series, he stated that he was from the future after he was resurrected by a friend of Barry’s. This is what happens when series get delayed. Flash: Rebirth has yet to end so we don’t know what has happens to Zoom at the conclusion to the series. One can assume that he’s still alive at the end. Who is the “friend” that resurrects Zoom? My guess is it’s Hal Jordan as it seems he will get possessed by Paralax once again in Green Lantern #50.
This series will also focus on the Rogues as they battle the Black Lantern Rogues. Geoff has done a great job in developing the Rogues characters. He really writes them as characters who walk the line between good and evil - especially Captain Cold, my favorite of the Rogues. The current Captain Boomerang Owen Mercer makes an appearance at his father’s grave here. I’m sure his father the original Captain Boomerang will be resurrected and we’ll be seeing father and son battling it out sometime during this series. Boomerang is buried at the special Rogues cemetery and it is here that a Black Lantern ring find the grave of Zoom and resurrects him as a Black Lantern.
Yo-ho-ho. If you love your pirates and you’re a little bit burned out by Johnny Depp and the many, many Pirates of the Caribbean, you might be looking for something a little different in the “pirate” category. If you can expand your definition to include Bow Street Runners, flintlocks, and “flying things that aren’t supposed to fly?” then February 2010 has something for you. It’s the start of a new four-issue mini-series by Warren Ellis (Supergod; No Hero) and Raulo Caceres (Gravel; Crecy) from Avatar called Captain Swing And The Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island.
Described as “an electrical romance of a pirate utopia thwarted,” Captain Swing is set in London, 1830. That would be the Warren Ellis London of 1830 in which copper Charlie Gravel starts seeing things, including the legendary Spring-Heeled Jack. I love the Bow Street Runners. They figure prominently in the mystery novels of Bruce Alexander (Blind Justice) and Richard Falkirk (Blackstone), and I’m curious to see what this new incarnation will be like.
This is an Avatar book, so expect some cover variants and a retailer incentive, but best of all, it’s a new Ellis mini-series and I’m looking forward to it.
[Artwork: One of the covers to Captain Swing And The Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island, © Warren Ellis]
Read More | Avatar Press
Avatar publisher William Christensen deserves all the kudos he can collect, even the signed, alternate cover, limited edition, convention special kudos. He started out as a fan, became a secondary (or tertiary) sub-distributor with a sharp eye on market trends, and expanded that into a publishing company where talent like Warren Ellis, Jaime Delano, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis and Alan Moore can find a non-Marvel, non-DC home for their more outrageously adult work.
Ellis has made Avatar Press a second-home for himself, regularly turning out original, thoughtful, violent and/or quirky material that I find far more interesting and satisfying than his work for the corporatists. That he and other creators come to Avatar and stick around also speaks highly of Christensen’s ability to not just attract but keep talent.
Now Ellis - with artist Garrie Gastonny - has a new 5-issue mini-series called Supergod. Whatever it is that Ellis is drinking, let me be the latest to say, “I need me a couple of pints of that, yes, please.”
In England, Simon Reddin is relaying “an oral history of how we all died” before he loses power and spends the remainder of his life “in the bloody stone age.” In the events leading up to to that, it’s revealed that London, you see, had its own super-hero, as did India, Somalia and Iran, and the US, and who knows what other country dabbled in the creation of their own Big Daddy Protector And Savior.
I’ve got to hand it to Eisner-award winner Eric Shanower. He’s taken the mythology of L. Frank Baum, the creator/writer of The Wizard of Oz books, and turned it into a nice niche business for himself. And he does it with such loving care, that you’d think he was somehow related.
Shanower’s off to see the Wizard again in his newest project, an 8-issue Limited Series from Marvel Comics (yup, that Marvel) called The Marvelous Land of Oz. Billed as “a sequel to The Wizard of Oz” and “being an account of the further adventures of the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman” the series starts off with Tippetarius, a young boy who lives “in the country of the Gillikins, which is at the North of the land of Oz.”
Sorceress Mombi has been caring for the young, seemingly abandoned Tip, but she’s hardly a candidate for Mother Of The Year. Grumpy, cantankerous, and demanding, she treats Tip more like a servant, and she’s clearly had enough of having a child underfoot. When she takes off to buy some potions, Tip carves a pumpkin and sticks it on a wooden body to scare Mombi when she returns. But she’s too clever and uses one of her potions to bring Jack Pumpkinhead to life. He’ll be a better servant than Tip, most certainly, and she won’t need to be bothered by the boy anymore. She makes plans to use another potion to turn Tip into a marble statue for her garden. Tip believes it’s a good time to hit the road, and he takes Jack Pumpkinhead along with him – and off they go towards Oz where the Scarecrow rules the Emerald City.
Read More | Eric Shanower on Amazon
I love the old Rankin-Bass holiday classics, but my favorite is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. It used to be appointment TV, but then along came DVD and the ability to watch it anytime.
Now that I have kids, we watch it pretty much year-round. In 2009 so far, I’ve racked up at least 20 viewings. And when you watch something that many times, you start to notice some things that escaped me when I would just see it once a year. Here’s my list:
Mrs. Claus: She’s a chubby chaser and an enabler. Santa finally gets his weight down during the off-season - which no doubt would help his cholesterol and blood pressure and help him live longer - and yet she can’t wait to start stuffing him again, upping the ante by reminding him that everyone loves a fat Santa, including her I’m guessing.
Santa Claus: First off, he’s a jerk. Rudolph is a super-achiever compared to the others in the Reindeer Games, and Santa’s too worried about the red nose thing. Since no one on Santa’s route will ever actually see Rudolph, this is really all about Santa’s issues.
Read More | CBS
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