Thursday, April 27, 2006


Infinite Secret Civil War Identity Crisis One Year Later

From PvP!

Monday, April 24, 2006


Neverwinter Nights After Action Report

Last night, we continued Legacy of Oslan. Some observations:

1) Every square inch of this world is covered in approximately 300 feet of fire beetles.
2) It is generally a VERY bad idea to go stumbling around in the woods after dark. Stopping for the night? Posting guards? Yeah. We figured that out about fourteen deaths later.
3) The DM rigged us a portable resurrection device because a bug in the game was preventing us from raising the dead. We only discovered this only AFTER lugging dead bodies all the way back to the "community center." I'm not sure why it's a "community center" and not a temple, since it has a priest. Maybe it's like Catholic Charities.
4) This game seems to have only two spawn settings--constant and none. We were either literally having fire beetles constantly and endlessly appear right up our asses, or we were spending endless hours running hither and yon, finding nothing, and bitching at each other.
5) And speaking of endless hours, the magical maze is a good idea. Especially if it's cool-looking, and this one was. But the thing was frickin' ginormous and there were, maybe, a dozen monsters total in the entire thing. Needless to say, it got boring after awhile.
6) At third level, trolls are seriously mean mother-fuckers. I nearly soiled me armor when three of the giant bastards came lumbering down the mine shaft after me.
7) My pet peeve about NWN? DM's who put realistic lighting in all their caverns. I only have so many damn Light spells per day and you can't fight and hold a torch at the same time. Sure, pitch darkness is more "realistic" but c'mon! How "realistic" is it that caverns are packed to the walls with hundreds of vicious, giant, hungry predators and NO prey? Give us the damn glowing lichen or whatever plot device we need to justify being able to see underground.
8) A bug in the game kept randomly taking people's armor or primary weapons. Nothing like a bunch of guys running around half-naked to maintain that underlying tone of homo-eroticism role-playing games are famous for. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
9) By the time you get to be my age, doing ANYTHING for nine straight hours is probably not a good idea.


Saturday, April 22, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

Batman #651: One Year Later...Gordon is back as Commissioner for no apparent reason, Robin has a new and much suckier costume, and, well, everything is back to normal. Don Kramer's art is so stiff, the characters seem carved out of wood.

Battle Hymn #4-5: I had heard relatively good things about this series, and maybe I should've picked it up from the start, but frankly the idea of Golden Age heroes who are all, virtually without exception, assholes was not very appealing to me. And the ham-fisted political message was about as subtle as a rocket-powered enema. The idea of trying to draw some sort of moral equivalency between the Allies and the Nazis during WWII belongs on bizarre conspiracy-theory blogs.

Captain America #17: Better artwork this time. Cap and Sharon team up with yet another AIM fragment to fight Crossbones and Sin. Yet more clues about Bucky, triggering a Pavlovian response of rage within me.

Green Arrow #60: Yes, I read this out of order, but it hardly matters. The entire issue is a teaser for #61. I like Scott McDaniel's artwork; it's sort of combination of Mignola and Frank Miller. And personally, I like the return of The Longbow Hunters-style hood for GA; the little Errol Flynn hat was always pretty silly.

Invincible #17: Yet another one I read out of order. Mark graduates high school.

Iron Man #7: Daniel & Charles Knauf take over from Warren Ellis. Not sure yet if I like Patrick Zircher & Scott Hanna's art or not. Evidently, Iron Man's new powers are transforming him into a paranoid, self-absorbed, brutal asshole. My God! He's becoming Batman from All Star Batman & Robin!

Ms. Marvel #2: EXTREMELY annoying; I found out only after I had bought this book and gotten it home that there was a printer's error in the middle that cause two pages to be ripped and virtually unintelligible. Ms. Marvel fights the Brood (who we haven't seen in a long time) and something that is apparently hunting them down. Looking good, so far.

New Avengers #18: I had no idea who the Bad Guy was until I read a spoiler. STILL don't like Deodato's art, though this issue seems better. Avengers seem rather, uh, disorganized and sloppy. I hate Spider-Man's getup with the white hot intensity of a thousand burning suns.

Squadron Supreme #2: On their first mission, this dysfunctional gang of neuroses fight an African dictator with super-powers (because, you know, only Third World countries EVER have dictators). Despite knowing in advance what his powers are, they blunder right into a trap.

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Friday, April 21, 2006


Ultimate Star Trek?

Apparently, the new movie is supposed to revolve around the early years with Kirk and Spock meeting at Starfleet Academy. Remember, you heard it here first.


Saturday, April 15, 2006


Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger, by David Mack

A new TOS novel set immediately after the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Harbinger is the first of a series set in and around the mysterious new Starbase 47 Vanguard. Kirk and Spock make a brief appearance, but most of the novel revolves around an ensemble cast of original characters. As you might expect from the first work in a series, very little is actually resolved, but numerous mysteries and conflicts are set up for later books. This was my first David Mack novel (not to be confused with the comic book writer and artist David Mack), and I was very impressed. The writing was good, the characters well-developed and interesting, and as an added bonus, there is a gatefold diagram of the Starbase by none other than Masao Okazaki. Overall, the feel is more like a TOS version of DS9. After being disappointed by several recent Star Trek novels, Harbinger was a pleasant surprise. I recommend it and look forward to the next installment.

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Friday, April 14, 2006


Recent Comics I Have Read

Captain America #16: Crossbones and Sin on a Starkweather-like crime spree. Bucky is mentioned and every time that happens I feel the desire to destroy something. Art is fairly decent, but still rather dark and mushy, plus Mike Perkins can't seem to decide what Steve Roger's face looks like, since it changes almost from panel to panel.

Green Arrow #61: So, One Year Later, Ollie Queen is Mayor of Star City. Fairly interesting, and I like the presentation of Ollie as a kind of liberal Ross Perot, including his plan to generate economic growth by turning Star City into a gay Las Vegas by performing same-sex marriages. Interesting random side-note: the seal of Star City is almost an exact copy of the Great Seal of the State of Texas. Also, this may be nit-picking, but on page two it clearly states that Ollie is the newly ELECTED mayor, but on the last page, the plaque on the wall says he was "appointed." So which is it?

Invincible #30: At last the stupid space saga is over, and Invincible brings his completely improbable half-brother back to Earth (species canNOT interbreed; that's why they're called "species"). I'd really love to know what the Robot is up to. Extremely crappy back-up feature with CAPES.

Iron Man: Extremis #6: Final battle between the new upgraded Iron Man and the bio-enhanced terrorist Mallen. It's a good fight, though Adi Granov's artwork isn't really up to epic super-conflicts. The ending is cheesy, though, and you probably saw it coming five issues back. Plus, Mallen remains more or less one-dimensional. We never really learn that much about him, beyond his hatred of the government and the fact that his parents were shot by the ATF.

Ms. Marvel #1: I was never a very big fan of this character, but this is a good relaunch. The writing is pretty good, with sharp though not Bendis-quality dialogue. Some excellent interplay between Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers. I love the idea of a PR firm that specializes in superheroes.

New Avengers #17: Okay, so I do not like Mike Deodata, Jr.'s artwork. Howard Chaykin is supposed to come on board for #21, so that's something to look foward to. I do like the idea of Luke Cage applying the "broken window" sociology theory on a superheroic scale. I also like the idea of epic superhero battles occuring in cities other than New York from time to time.

Noble Causes #18-19: Issue 18 starts off with a scene ripped off pretty blatantly from Powers, but the story recovers as we see the Blackthornes manipulating public opinion. Sadly, in issue 19, Jon Bosco takes over the art duties and, well, it's pretty bad. He has Liefield's range of facial expression (i.e., blinding fury and jaw-dropping surprise, but nothing else), so bad that you can't even really tell the characters apart, which is pretty important in a comic book where the heroes don't usually wear masks. Yeah, Fran Bueno's stuff was almost like a Bruce Timm cartoon, but at least you knew who was who.

Outsiders #35: One Year Later, everyone thinks the Outsiders are dead (why, we don't know) and superheroes are disguising themselves as non-superheroes (in gimp masks!) and using silly radio codenames while torturing suspects. Apparently, the Outsiders are going to be what the Justice League Elite was supposed to be, doing covert operations and so forth. I wasn't very impressed, frankly.

Powers #17: Bizarre, Clockwork Orange inspired cover completely unrelated to the storyline. Sadly, I'm smelling shark. We've gone from a very well written, very cool concept (police in a world with superheroes) to what is more or less just a very well written superhero comic. Oh, and the whole "Club Cinderella" bit is now officially annoying. Not entertaining. Not edgy. Annoying.

Squadron Supreme #1: I liked the Supreme Power run, but haven't kept up with the Nighthawk or Hyperion titles. This looks like it could be interesting; even though they've dropped the MAX imprint, it never really seemed all that important before. Most of the MAX-worthy stuff in Supreme Power struck me as fairly gratuitous and unnecessary.

Ultimate Extinction #4: I missed an issue, so now I'm a little lost. The inking on Brandon Peterson's art is way too dependent on cross-hatching; it looks like you're viewing almost every panel through a fine wire mesh. The storyline remains interesting, and I like the twist on the concept of the Heralds of Gah Lak Tus.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #28: President Thor, Part 2. Apparently, in the Ultimate Universe, superheroes are catastrophically stupider than in the Marvel Universe, as the FF fall for the single most blatant set-up ever. Millar's writing is not usually this, well, sucky, so I can only hope there's some kind of twist to this and I'm just not getting it yet.

Young Avengers #10-11: Okay, it's space stuff and it involves the Kree and Skrull, who are the epitome of lame Silver Age aliens, but the writing is sharp, and the art is great and we are slowly learning the origins of individual team members, and that is also good.

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