Thursday, September 30, 2004

Comics to Check Out

People who've been to my site regularly know that I read comics. And while I've only reviewed two titles, so far, I actually read more than those.

So I've decided to take a minute and reveal to you what books I read on a regular basis and why.

First we have 100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I started reading 100 Bullets around issue 26. I didn't know what the hell was going on. But I thought the characterization and dialogue were both great. So great that I went and found the first couple of trade paperbacks that reprinted the first year or so and from there I was hooked.
I even went back and got Jonny Double, a trade that reprinted Azzarello and Risso's mini-series that they did before 100 Bullets. It has a lot of the same feel as 100 Bullets and it's also reccomended.

Next is Daredevil, by Brian Micael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Bendis and Maleev have done a splendid job of taking a "just another superhero" and turning him into a living and breathing character that grows emotionally. Turning the book into the comic equivalent of The Sopranos, Daredevil (in no short time) sets himself up as the Kingpin (translated as the Godfather) of Hell's Kitchen. Why? Because someone else would have if he didn't. Maleev's art keeps the story grounded in reality, even when some weird stuff does happen at times.

Gotham Central, written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark, tells the story of the cops of Gotham City, the stomping ground of Batman, Catwoman and other costumed menaces. You would expect a cominc book that was set in such a place would cater to Bat-fans and play up the super-heroics of the environment. Nope. What we get here is in-depth character stories of the people who are at the very bottom of the Bat-food chain: the cops. Kinda like Law and Order or CSI meets very dark city with crazy people who wield more than just guns.
The characters are given more dimension than you see in most other comics and you really start to care for them after a while.

The Ultimates, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, is not only a beautiful piece of work to look at, but also one of the best comibinations of super-powers and real world sensiblity. This isn't a world where people are expected to fly and shoot lasers from their eyes. Told in what many people call "widescreen entertainment", the stories are grand and the budget is high. Expect to be thrilled. Volume 2 starts in December and I'm looking forward to it.
Warren Ellis is doing a trilogy of sorts with the Ultimates characters, starting with Ultimate Nightmare, drawn by Trevor Hairsine. I'm reading these as I'm waiting for the return of the regular Ultimates title. Also, I would like to say that Trevor Hairsine does a fantastic job of filling in Hitch's shoes. I hope this guy gets a regular gig soon.

Birds of Prey, written by Gail Simone and drawn by Ed Benes and Alex Lei, fills my need of plain fun storytelling. I find that throughout my comics reading experience I've had at least one book that was lighthearted that balanced all the other books I was reading. Birds of Prey seems to be the one at the moment. And Gail Simone has proven herself to be a great character writer with this book and Rose & Thorn. Although the latest story seemed a bit lackluster, I still find enjoyment in reading the main protagonists' interactions with each other.

A book that I've just started reading, and one that's doing a nice job of impressing is Manhunter, written by Marc Andreyko and drawn by Jesús Saiz and Jimmy Palmiotti. It's a much more realistic look at "what if someone took the law into their own hands" and added the extra element of being set in a super-powered universe. There are consequences, as we're starting to see.
And the one thing that keeps me interested is that the writer manages to keep everything grounded in the "real world".

And then there's Black Widow, written by Richard K. Morgan and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. have to say that I was also impressed by this book.
Sienkiewicz's art truly fits the subject matter and Widow is portrayed to have much more of a backbone than has been in recent years. The cold nature of being a spy is made more evident in this series than any of her previous appearances.
I went into this book expecting Marvel superheroics with a b-list character, written by an unknown and drawn by an artist who's seen better days. The only two redeeming factors being that Widow is currently appearing in Daredevil and the aforementioned artist is someone who I respect.
What I got was a non-superheroic story set in a gritty, realistic world, with top-notch plotting and dialogue, and art that reminds me of why Sienkiewicz is a great storyteller.
Black Widow has matched Daredevil and found a secure place in my reading list.

Bloodhound, written by Dan Jolly and drawn by Leonard Kirk, is slowly getting a spot on my must reads as the book is very realisticly driven. While the character is a little abrasive, he's been set up with a past that just demands interest. As a cop that was possibly framed for the death of his partner and sent to prison, serving time with those he put there himself, the main character finds himself given a chance at freedom when he's needed to track down a killer. One of the pulls for this book for me is the art. Kirk does a great job of making it seem like it's a real situation with real people. And still manages to keep it energetic.

Honorable mentions: Human Target, The Losers and Mystique, all of which I dip in and out of on a regular basis.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Devastation Begins

Let's all take a moment to pray (or whatever you might do to wish well for others) for the people that are having to deal with all these hurricanes.
The picture above is Ivan as he's making landfall. As you can see it's almost as big, if not bigger, than the states it's slamming into.

"Two people were killed and more than 70 homes were damaged when at least five tornadoes roared through Florida's Bay County." one report says. Here in East Texas, we get more than our fair share in tornadoes and I've had come very close to one or two. It can be a very scary thing.

Also, "More trouble lingered out in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Jeanne could become a hurricane late Wednesday in the Caribbean as it moves westward across the north coast of Puerto Rico. It could be near Florida's east coast as early as the weekend."


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

MP3: Underworld

Time for another MP3!
This one is Pearls Girl by Underworld.

Pearls Girl had the honor of being the first video ever played on MTV's AMP series. Those that have been reading my blog know that AMP was one of the shows that I loved the most. It only ran from 1996 to 1998, but it introduced me to a lot of cool music.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Guess what I got today...?

Let's see... can you figure it out?

Hmmm... Not yet..?

Want me to give you a hint?

Nah... that would be too easy...

Having trouble figuring it out?

I know you know now... right?

Do I have to spell it out for you???

How about Season 3?
Yep... Gonna fire up the DVD player. Whoo-hoo!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Another Galaxies Screenshot

Here I am sitting on the steps of the Jedi Temple Ruins on Dantooine.
I have just caused a big change in my character's life.

You probably think I became a Jedi.

See... I have this tendancy to shoot first... then think...

When I first started playing the game a couple months ago I wanted to work for Jabba. I thought it would have been cool to be a smuggler or bounty hunter working for him. And I'd get to rub elbows with Boba Fett (one of my heroes).
Well... it just turned out that I stumbled upon a mission to kill some guys that were causing trouble in the outskirts of Mos Eisley. I didn't think much of factions at the time. And once I finished plowing through their resistance I discovered they were Jabba's men and that I had totally screwed my chances of working for him. So I ended up trying to work for his competitor.
To no avail...

Anyway... this brings us to last night's fateful "Oops, I did it again" moment.

I was exploring Dantooine and found the Jedi Temple Ruins. Just outside of it was a man who wanted to give me a quest. The quest was to kill this "horrible beast" that was guarding the temple. I figured it was a test to see if I could prove worthy enough to enter the temple.

It really was a "guardian of the temple". And I killed it. This ancient reptile thing. All dead now.

I went back to the guy and he told me to do another mission for him, during which I discovered that I've started down the path of the dark side. Oh, joy!

Last I talked with him, he wanted me to kill who he said was the last Jedi alive in a cave nearby. I just left.

After I sat on the steps for a very long time.
Thinking of how royally screwed I was.


Okay... so the word doesn't look that great... but just say it. Sounds cool, doesn't it?

I've now got three X-Box games in my collection: Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and XIII.
Do we see a trend here?

I've checked out Ninja Gaiden and Halo. Ninja Gaiden is tough! But damn it's friggin' cool! I thought it was through surprising me until I got slung on a pike by a horseman...
Halo isn't as impressive to me, seeing that I've been playing first-person shooters on the PC since I left consoles back when PS2 first came out. What is nice, however, is that you know that you meet the system requirements- and it runs very smooth! That's the one advantage console games have over PCs.
PC game publishers aren't making games for your computer. They make them for the next computer.
Console game publishers have to have their games playable on the current systems or no one can play them. Hence, no one would buy them.

My computer had a hard time playing XIII, but my X-Box is happy with it.

I also had someone else reccomend Psi-Ops, so I may check that out once I'm through with Halo.

2000 AD #1405

A.B.C. Warriors - The Shadow Warriors: Book 2 (Part 6)
Caballistics, Inc. - Creepshow (Part 5)
Judge Dredd - (This is not a) Mega-City Love Story #1: Callista
Judge Dredd - Placebo
Tharg's Future Shocks - Opiate of the Masses

Includes free Placebo poster:

2000 AD Official Website
DC Comics

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Video Game Commercials

Look what I've found! This site has over 1500 video game commercials from America and abroad. And it's still being updated.
I actually found the link in a video game magazine and couldn't believe what they said. But there they are! And you can download them. The format varies, but all of them seem to play with Winamp, QuickTime, RealPlayer or Windows Media.

BTW- The pic above is a screenshot taken from the newer page. Note Halo 2 at the bottom.