Sunday, February 28, 2010

Triple Comic Review: Blackest Night# 7 and Green Lantern #50-51!

Before February goes off into the light, I'll cap things off with the review of the highly awesome and zombified powered series to ever hit the comics medium - Blackest Night! Yes yes, the space ghoul miniseries returned this week with issue #7 hitting stores, but the story has been ongoing even with the main title's presence, specifically within the pages of the other flagship tie-in title - Green Lantern. 2010 began with no Blackest Night due for the month of January, but Green Lantern #50 tided things over with a tale so overly awesome and consuming, it deserves being called "Blackest Night 6.5", as coined by the master scribe of this space battle drama itself, Geoff Johns. That angle wrapped up with this month's issue #51, but Blackest Night #7 just delivered the most unexpected twist yet, and if you saw the post in the blog a few days, you know what I'm talking about. Regardless, this entry will cover my thoughts on BN #7 and GL#50-51, so hop on board and know that if you've only noticed Blackest Night now, you've missed the wildest ride that the minds of DC could ever offer to hungry fans around the globe.

Green Lantern #50 & 51
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke

Blackest Night #7

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis

After deputizing several unlikely warriors to their cause, Hal Jordan and the rest of the light brigade continue to fend off Nekron's assault on Earth and life. However, an unexpected obstacle appears in the form of a Black Lantern Spectre, who wants nothing but to claim the soul of his former host, Hal Jordan. Faced with a problem that eludes a simple solution, Jordan comes up a scheme that has a good chance of working as much as it may backfire on him completely - freeing Parallax and getting repossessed by the entity. Like the wild rider he is who acts first before thinking of the consequences, Jordan reunites with the being that nearly destroyed his life, and challenges the authority of the Spectre, who has yet to yield from his path of destruction. Meanwhile, the lie of the Guardians is about to be revealed, and the balance of life itself will depend on the actions of those willing to make the ultimate move. With the entire universe in danger and life as we know it threatened by the forces of death, can the corps of the emotional spectrum work together to turn the tide? Only destiny can answer that.

WOW. Geoff Johns just keeps the emotion engine clicking with every issue he works on! Clearly, it's never a smooth a ride where all things Blackest Night is concerned, but Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Carol Ferris, and the gang of colored warriors do what they can to save the day and take on the black zombie chaos surrounding the universe. It's amazing that so many things can happen at an instant within these three issues, and because I had to digest the information and panels in each and everyone of them a tale at a time, it's best that I give an overall review, especially since it's being written by the meister himself!

Like I said earlier, Blackest Night skipped a month, so GL #50 is where the story picks up after BN #6, and there we see Jordan and the rainbow brigade confront the black ring empowered Spectre. With their newly deputized recruits on their side - namely Blue Lantern Flash, Red Lantern Mera, Indigo Lantern Atom, Green Lantern Ganthet, Orange Lantern Lex Luthor (yes, LUTHOR), Yellow Lantern Scarecrow (FEAR), and Star Sapphire Lantern Wonder Woman; Green Lantern and the emotional spectrum lanterns do their best to fend off Nekron's new slave beast, but their rings can only do so much to turn the spirit of vengeance, so Jordan cooks up his idea of becoming Parallax again. GL #51 picks up right after the possession is done, and the Lanterns watch as Parallax confronts Big Black Lantern Spectre. Key here is the dialogue, mischief, and banters each of the colorful personalities involved give, and nothing's ever dull when Geoff Johns is on the case! Cutting to the chase, Jordan/ Parallax manages to free Spectre, with the latter returning the favor for Jordan with Carol Ferris help. However, Specty is useless against Nekron and his posse, and he is banished from the scene, with the heroes again back to square one with the leader of the undead corps himself. Blackest Night #7 is where the kicker comes in. Lex Luthor acts like an ass (as usual), and the LIE of the guardians is finally dug up by Nekron himself. As the revelation shows itself, it takes one Lantern with guts to make the ultimate dive... and if you haven't been reading the clues throughout the story of BN, it's probably the person everyone least expects. Case in point, Johns delivers the ultimate twist, and now all we have to do is wait for the final issue next month, where destiny final unveils itself! AWESOME.

Of course, while the story is great and all, it couldn't have been livelier without the art support from talented artists Doug Mahnke and Ivan Reis. Their works on GL and Blackest Night, respectively, have been the light illuminating the brilliant storytelling Johns has conceived since the get go, and I couldn't have seen better and polished artwork than these two right here as they continue to deliver excellence with each issue. There's so much going on, and so much to describe that it potentially keep readers glued to their seats for hours just admiring the work they see from panel to panel. Hoping to see more powerful stuff just as Blackest Night ends, and from what I've seen from Mahnke and Reis so far, I bet they're sure to deliver.

Right now, Blackest Night is really shaping up to join the classic comic tales of all time. The creators have done so well to keep the pace great, and the story gets exciting and gut wrentching at every turn. True, the event is about to wrap up in the next month, but I see bright things still ahead for Geoff Johns and crew, and that's literally putting things straight, since "Brightest Day" is coming up this April! I'm sure this triple review will be a rare thing for me to do, but every now and then, some stories just scream EPIC, and this is one of them. Destiny Awaits. That's all you need to remember for now.


Green Lantern #50 - 8/10
Green Lantern #51 - 8/10
Blackest Night #7 - 9/10

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kicking The Weekend WIth Some Street Fighter!

I recently got Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix from the Playstation Network sale, and for somebody like me who appreciates all things Hadoken and Sonic Boom, I've been enjoying the game for the most part, especially with the updates sprites and graphics courtesy from the guys at UDON entertainment, who also work and publish the official Street Fighter comics. This game has been out for a long time now, but I didn't have the opportunity or motivation to grab it back then, especially since Street Fighter IV came into the picture and swamped everyone with its 2.5D system overhaul. Flashforward to today, and I finally grabbed SSFIITHD Remix. It may be "old school" SSFII gameplay with new school graphics, but I can still play this game like it only came out yesterday, and it only increases my anticipation for Super Street Fighter IV, which is closing in and coming this end of April. This game is great for nostalgic purposes, and if you're ever on the mood for some competition, online battles are still active and feverish as ever via multiplayer. Or you could do things the old fashioned way, and play against the CPU or call a friend and let him pick up a controller to fight you one on one. Either way you choose, this is Street Fighter at its best. Check out these series of trailers here that impressed me a great deal when I saw them before. They still look fresh to this day, and make use of a classic Karate Kid song that fits the mood altogether.

Round 1!

Round 2!

Round 3!

On the side, I noticed this impressive looking fan made "movie trailer" of Street Fighter that definitely should be checked out by the hardcore fan. For all intents and purposes, it's a "teaser" to the original world warrior tournament, and features Ryu training and honing his skills in preparation for the fight, ending the clip with a mighty "Hadoken!" that fans will definitely get a kick seeing. Check it out.

Street Fighter (World Warrior) Fan Made Trailer!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blackest Night Just Got Brighter...

Before reading this post, you must read Blackest Night #7. Otherwise, if you don't mind spoilers, hit the jump and see the bright light shining through!

Those of you following Green Lantern and Blackest Night can definitely agree that all of us have gone on one heck of a ride courtesy of the puppet master writer and new DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns. With issue #7 out and things slowly drawing to a close, DC just HAD to tease the cover to next month's Green Lantern #52 in their daily blog, The Source. Purists who haven't read the penultimate chapter to Blackest Night may want to SHUT THEIR EYES NOW, because something bright and colorful awaits below... and it's not the most likely candidate to get an upgrade.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The King Of Fighters XIII Is Coming...

All we get is a logo and announcement, but everything is official, and SNK Playmore has announced the next entry to their 2D KOF series, The King Of Fighters XIII. The news was posted in Kotaku, though details about the game at this point is everything but null. The only thing confirmed at this point is the game will be running on the Taito Type X2 arcade hardware... and nothing else is said about who's going to be in it or whether it'll be handdrawn again like the last lukewarm entry, KOF XII. The official preview is expected to be around the end of next month, so until then, let's hope for a better installment this time around with a DEFINITE story and boss worthy of the SNK Bossy Syndrome legacy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Walk In The Heavy Rain...

Anyone still holding out or finding reasons to buy a PS3? Well, here's another damn good reason to get one if you haven't yet.

Since buying the game yesterday, I've been nothing short of impressed about Heavy Rain - the latest Playstation 3 exclusive to come from the minds of Quantic Dream and Sony Computer Entertainment. Today's graphical standards in gaming are pretty high when expectations come into the picture, but this game takes the cake when delivering a full blown 3D game that almost borders into realism. While there's no question about how great the visuals are, how does the gameplay fare on this one? Well it's pretty much an "interactive 3D movie" experience that's chalk full of quick time events and situations that demand fast fingers and timed button presses, more than your typical action adventure game. It's a pretty linear adventure, but you actually guide characters and their movements. You can play out their thoughts, make their gestures, control their habits, and do just about anything that a normal person would do when the situation calls for it. It's great implementation of the DualShock 3 controller's capabilities, not to mention the SixAxis Motion Control, which has been put to good use in this game, in more dynamic ways than one. In many ways, it reminds me a whole lot of SEGA's Shenmue series for the Dreamcast... minus Ryo Hazuki's kung fu fighting and almost whole world exploration.

Story wise, I've got to hand it to director/ writer David Cage, he's blended in gaming with a pretty good suspense/ thriller plot that could pass for Hollywood film material. Placing you in the shoes of four unrelated characters that are searching for clues and answers to the whereabouts of the Origami Killer, the mysterious antagonist of the game, the game's plot is divided into several chapters that slowly converge each of the main characters' tales, with every outcome and decision dependent on the actions you make. Yes, there are multiple paths to explore, and characters CAN DIE depending on your actions, though the story will progress no matter what happens to one or two of them. It's one game that truly puts the player in the director's seat, and choices made and what the end of the tale will be is entirely up to you. Take a look at the trailer below, and see how things play out if you aren't convinced by my words yet.

Heavy Rain Trailer

As brief as it may sound, that's about the gist of what Heavy Rain is. I'm not going to go into detail and say what happens, because that's part of the fun and drive in playing the game. As far as reservations go, some sound cuts and hanging issues because of disc loading can be a pain, but you'll be mesmerized by the visuals, and caught up in the story so much that you'll want to see everything to the end no matter what. As short as I found it when I wrapped up my playthrough of the game, everything was worth the dive and experience. Based on the critical acclaim and reception the game's had so far, I'm hopeful we'll be seeing another title of this presentation in the future.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

See Street Fighter IV On The iPhone!

Announced this month, Street Fighter IV is getting a port for Apple's iPhone, and it's coming out this March already! Screens and captures have been seen so far, but how does the game run on the little portable cellphone device? As previewed in numerous SF Fansites, take a look at this video found youtube to see the game in action.

Wow... For an iPhone game, this looks neat! Even with the limited character roster, the graphics and animation are pretty decent for portable system standards. I'd love to see this on the PSP though, so Capcom, make the port and bring more SF goodness to other systems!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bare Witness To Super Street Fighter: The Movie!

Forget everything you've heard or seen about Super Street Fighter IV. THIS is where SUPER IS AT!XD If Capcom releases this beast, it will be awesome. Now... who wants to go home... and WHO WANTS TO GO WITH THIS?!XD

Ah yes... it's the 90's and JCVD all over again. Ah satire, can't get enough of it.XD

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Update: Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley Gameplay Trailers!

It's been an exciting week for all things Super Street Fighter IV related, and now that the newbies have been introduced, it's time to see them dish out their skills in actual gameplay trailers! As shown in, Capcom shows off the recently announced three Street Fighter III fighters in action, as ninja girl Ibuki takes on the spunky martial artist Makoto, while the ever gentleman boxer Dudley squares off against the emperor of muay thai himself, Sagat!

Makoto Vs Ibuki Gameplay Trailer

Dudley Vs Sagat Gameplay Trailer

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Final Kick Ass Redband Trailer!

Via Newsarama and you tube, here it is - The final redband trailer for Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s Kick Ass! Pack 'em up and watch what it takes to be a true hero... and kick ass!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Update: Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley Ultra Fever!

Yesterday, Capcom unleashed a new Super Street Fighter IV trailer that revealed Street Fighter III Characters Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley as three of the four missing fighters to seal the line up of Capcom's 2.5D fighting game update. While the tease at the end of the trailer signaled the coming of the final fighter (reported to be Hakan), that alone will warrant another trailer to come soon. In the meantime, Capcom has released more footage of the SF III characters in action, and in this particular case, it's Ultra fever time! Check it out!


Ibuki's First Ulta - Yoroi Doushi

Ibuki's Second Ultra - Hashin Shou


Makoto's First Ulta - Seichusen Godanzukicenter>

Makoto's Second Ultra - Abare Tosanamikudaki


Dudley's First Ultra - Rolling Thunder

Dudley's Second Ultra - Corkscrew Cross

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Update: The SFIII Fighters Trailer!

Super Street Fighter IV's going to get Makoto, Dudley, and the lovely ninja Ibuki as playable characters. While that's already a given as far as the fans are concerned, an announcement from Capcom and the last fighter's debut has yet to be made, and there's still a few months off til the game's release, so more surprises could be in store for the fanbase. However, things get as official as they can with this uber jamming, stylin' and profilin' trailer that shows the three "SFIII" fighters in all their hype and glory!

Super Street Fighter IV "SFIII Fighters Trailer"!

Ah yes... tease us away til the end! Let us fight like Gentlemen, and Prepare to strike on April 27!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Update: Famitsu Reveals Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley!

Looks like the Street Fighter IV craze this week is turning up a notch!

Reported in Kotaku, it appears that images from the latest issue of Famitsu confirm that Street Fighter III veterans Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley are confirmed for Super Street Fighter IV! No official announcement has been made by Capcom yet, but the screens and teased boxing glove with rose earlier this weekend suggest that the fighters are indeed making their grand comeback to the fighting realm in the Capcom's 2.5D brawler update! Check them screens out!

Ibuki and Makoto... two of the SFIII babes are back!

SF III's Dudley... fighting like a gentleman once more in SSFIV!

Alright, that's three of the four fighters shown so far... now where's the fourth one, rumored to be the Arab Grappler, Hakan?! Stay tuned, but in the meantime, read up more on the news in Kotaku!

Avengers Update: Two More Members Revealed!

A few weeks ago, Marvel slowly unveiled the roster for their new "New" Avengers team that will unveil itself during the "Heroic Age" this coming May. So far, the confirmed members were - Captain America (Bucky Barnes), Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, and Hawkeye (Clint Barton). Five members seems a tad short when compared to the previous rosters of the past, but Marvel recently launched their full comic solicitations for May via Newsarama, and with the debut of the cover to Avengers #1, we see two more members joining the fray, and they're no strangers for that matter!

Well, it's official... Spider-man and Wolverine are still part of the Avengers! Depending on fans take of things, this could be a good thing or bad thing, but regardless, that's a mega-powerhouse team of Earth's Mightiest Heroes debuting in the Heroic Age! Spidey's banter and Wolvie's aggression are badass assets to have for the new team, and while the Logan's going to be ridiculed for being "everywhere at once" again, it's great to see writer Brian Michael Bendis retain most of his "New Avengers". That's the variant cover shown above, and here's the regular cover drawn by series' artist, John Romita Jr!

Avengers #1 hits stores on May! Check out the other Marvel May Solicits in Newsarama!

Capcom Also Wants Street Fighter IV On The PSP!

Most of us know by now that Street Fighter IV is heading to the iPhone next month, but would it be a surprise to hear that Capcom is also interested in a PSP version of the game too?

As reported on Destructoid, Capcom's Natsuki Shiozawa said she wants a PSP version of SFIV, and many of her colleagues expressed the same interest. So yes, there is a possibility that we'll be seeing Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and crew make the jump to Sony's portable gaming platform, joining the many numerous fighting game titles already available for the system such as Tekken 6, Soul Calibur, and soon to be released BlazBlue. As someone who enjoys the PSP and considers the portable a good system for fighting games, I don't think it's impossible to make the game a reality. Namco was able to scale down and bring a pretty neat translation of Tekken 6 to PSP, so why not the same with this game? Please Capcom, bring SFIV to the PSP!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Street Fighter IV... On The iPhone?!

What would have been a "No Way" moment turned upside down rather quickly with this announcement.

As reported in IGN and Kotaku, it seems Capcom is bringing the lovely and decorated brawler known as Street Fighter IV to Apple's mobile accessory device, the iPhone, this coming March. Now how and why they decided to bring the latest sequel of the brawler that started it all to the iPhone I do not know. But like all fighters and gamers out there who just got wind of this news, the questions that come to mind is "why?", and "how will it play?". Hopefully we'll be getting more detailed answers soon. In the meantime, only stalwart Ansatsuken fighters Ryu and Ken are confirmed for the port, along with a few other oldies and newbies from the 2.5D fighting game. You can read more about the news from Kotaku's link here. I just hope with this game coming up, there's a PSP version waiting to be made and announced for the real portable fighting game experience.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman and Robin #7 and 8...

I've been ignoring my time with DC comics lately, partly because of the numerous storylines I've had to follow, and the long waiting gaps of titles that were delayed due to a brief hiatus period. Batman and Robin falls in the latter category, and as a true blooded bat-fan, I've only recently given myself the time to reacquaint myself with the new Dynamic Duo's adventures. In a way, it's the flagship title for now until Bruce Wayne's eventual return, and with Grant Morrison handling matters, things are bound to get worse before they get better, and that's just what's happening now with "Blackest Knight".

Batman and Robin #7 and 8
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Cameron Stewart

When we last left the new Batman and Robin, they had a final confrontation with the Red Hood and Scarlett, which ended with Jason Todd's arrest and a paralyzed Damian Wayne brought to his mother Talia for spinal surgery. Before being put away by the cops, Todd vehemently shouts out to the new Batman, Dick Grayson, that he could have brought the original back to life through a Lazarus Pit - a device utilized by the great assassin Ra's Al Ghul, which brings the user back to life, but drives them unpredictably insane as well. Jason's words strike deep into Dick's heart, and his conscience wrestles with the prospect of finally bringing his mentor - the true Batman - back to life. With no second thoughts about the matter, Dick Bats brings the charred remains of the Dark Knight to England, where one of the few remaining Lazarus Pits remain. To find it, Dick enlists the aid of Britain's resident caped crusaders, Squire and Knight, and go through the local criminal connections to find its location. After a go around that involves the Pearly Prince and Pearly King, Knight eventually finds the Pit and alerts New Bats and Squire to its location, but not without a few surprises and hijinks involved. After battling henchmen of the insidious King Coal, Batwoman is suddenly found in a coffin, and after a brief misunderstanding, joins the team to find the body of the "Real Batman" rising from the newly found Lazarus Pit. Now that the deed is done and his heart's desire seemingly fulfilled, can Dick Grayson finally pass back the torch to his mentor... or has he made the gravest mistake of his life?

Right at home and at the element he wants to be in, Grant Morrison is having a hell of a time taking Bat fans to where no caped crusader has gone before, and in this case, it's Dick Bats who will take the ultimate plunge by playing with forces not meant to be tampered with. This story is more of a tease than the actual return of the original Dark Knight, and explores a side that not too many stories in the comic world address nowadays - your good old fashioned "back from the dead with reprecussions" tale. Besides bearing no relation to the DC event monstrosity that is "Blackest Night", "Blackest Knight" is a well though off tale that practically wraps up loose threads that faithful readers have been puzzled with Morrison's other stories, particularly "Batman R.I.P" and "Final Crisis". Rest assured, it answers questions many have directed and postulated over the demise of The Dark Knight, and evidently, it's priming everything up for the "Return Of Bruce Wayne", which is a separate miniseries due this May.

As an adventure out of Gotham, it's fun to see Dick Grayson on a solo adventure that's more of a personal crusade than an actual call for action in a foreign land. His progress as the new Batman has been stellar, and while one may point out that he's far too lax and less menacing than the original, he handles the role quite well on his own, even succeeding in areas that his mentor could not. Damian is excluded from this adventure, but his recuperation under his mother and Alfred's care is seen when the story drifts to check on his progress. New Bats does get help though with Squire and Knight, and these two offer a cheerful dynamic than the cynical and brash attitude Damian offers to Mr. Grayson 24/7. Also, the lovely Batwoman gets to guest star in this story, but for what reasons besides offering fillers in the plot I don't know. Probably all will be revealed and everything will come full circle in the final part of this tale. While the last chapter of this nefarious tale is still due next week , those keeping a close eye on things will notice the subtle hints and pieces Morrison has placed fall into place, particularly in issue #8, when the deed has been done and the once charred remains of "Batman" are brought back to life.

Frank Quitely takes a break from art duties save for the covers, and stepping in for him is another talented artist - Cameron Stewart. While his pencils may be quite different, Stewart's art is pretty neat on its own and does well to tell the story and illustrate this big and challenging situation in the new career of Dick Grayson. It gets the job done in a good way, and the bat action scenes are nicely drawn to perfection. In a way, it's art that takes inspiration from Batman Animated, and it also tries to mimic Quitely's art for consistency purposes. All in all it's a different take and a good change for the meantime.

Overall, I like the "Blackest Knight", and what becomes of Dick and Damian because of the events here will probably change the dynamic of the "dynamic duo" for the future.There will be consequences, I bet, and knowing Morrison, we'll be treated to more twists and turns before there's actually resolution involved that people will be happy about. Anybody looking for the best Batbook around, you've come to the right place.

Ratings - 7/10 (Issue #7)
8/10 (Issue #8)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Heart Of A Tiger!

Done by the boys from Capcom and the Super Street Fighter IV Team, I thought this image would be somewhat "appropriate" for today's dual festivities. Not only is it a day for hearts and flowers, but today also marks the beginning of the "Year Of The Tiger", so celebrate Chinese New Year with a growl and pounce on your heart's desire!

If that doesn't roll you into the lovey dover mood, surely these next images will, or check out some other videogame lovin' pics courtesy of Kotaku!

Happy Valentine's Day and Kung Hei Fat Choi, everybody!XD

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Update: Gutter Trashing Teasers!

It's been a while since the last bit of interesting news hit the Super Street Fighter IV Horizon, but those thirsting for updates on the end of April gaming release will be happy to know that more surprises are in store for fans, especially in regards to the four remaining unrevealed characters of the SSFIV roster! Recently, Jeff Gertsmann of GiantBomb fame received a special delivery from Capcom that was not only a surprise, but a very revealing clue that potentially confirms one of the mystery fighters identities! Anybody taking a wild guess who this is?! Think "Gutter Trash" and you'll remember!XD Also, check out Jeff's reaction in the vidlink below!

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gertsmann receives a "special package" from Capcom!

Happy news for SF fans everywhere! Also, check out the latest official SSFIV trailer featuring the gorgeous female cast!

Super Street Fighter IV Trailer - Juri, Chun-Li, Cammy Trailer

Secret Avengers Update :Two More Shadows Join In...

There's a mystery streak running for Marvel ever since the announcement of a "Secret Avengers" team. Fans and readers alike have been speculating who's in the roster and who may play a part in the Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato book, which is scheduled to come out by May this year as part of the new Heroic Age. So far, names have been suggested, but the guessing game still remains, and now two more members appears to give everybody some more comic book gossip talk. Check the pictures below via Marvel and Newsarama and take a lucky guess if you can:

Hmm... one acts by their convictions... while the other leads by example. Interesting info and clues that may give away the identities of these two individuals, but until official word is given, anybody fitting the description is a likely candidate. Something tells me Steve Rogers may figure somewhere here. Let's see how this goes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Secret Avengers Update: Mystery Man #4

Marvel has just released another teaser image of yet another member of the mysterious "Secret Avengers". This time, the shadowy figure is charging through the image in a mighty flight pose, one reminiscent of the armored knight himself, Iron Man. Could it possibly be a fellow armored being like ol' shellhead's comrade at arms, War Machine? Or is it a cosmic being or force like Captain Marvel? The only thing to guide us is the quote "I Excel Through Adversity". Keep your eyes peeled for more updates and the eventual reveal of the characters soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Age Of Heroes!

Don't let the title fool you. It may sound like the subtitle from Marvel Vs Capcom 2, but it's actually a new thing for the Marvel Universe!

More Heroic Age madness hits the comic news and websites today, and aside from promoting new Avengers and Secret Avengers in May, Marvel has announced a new anthology book that will not only be a gathering of big time names and heroes in the Marvel Universe, but also explore their stories and lives during the chivalrous new times, courtesy of the multiple and talented writers of the House Of Ideas! What I'm referring to is the new series, Age Of Heroes, and to get a glimpse of the bright heroic things to come, check out the cover to the first issue!

After so many years of doubt, mistrust, and controversy, the good guys are finally back in the spotlight and seen for they truly are - champions, defenders, and protectors of society. That's the Heroic Age for you. For more info on Age Of Heroes, Newsarama's article got you covered.

Also, yest another teaser has appeared for the "Secret Avengers", and the latest mysterious member to be inducted is... a female. Who she is and what she plays is up to discussion, so fire away with the speculations!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alternating Resident Evil 5...

It's almost been a year since I played and finished Resident Evil/ Bio Hazard 5, and even as a devoted fan of Capcom's signature Survival Horror game franchise, I wasn't too impressed with how things turned out in the game. Besides the controversy surrounding the game's location in Africa and racism issues stemming from the main characters fighting the locals there, the game just wasn't much of a thrill to me compared to the last installment, Resident Evil 4, which reworked the genre and took it to a new level. Gone was the element of surprise and suspense, replacing it was the world of "Survival Action", opting for an over the shoulder, "Gears Of War" style combat and adrenaline rushing gameplay that just made the game different, yet fun to play. RE5 followed suit with that system, and tried to liven the experience up a bit more by introducing a renewed Partner system with co-op gameplay. It was an interesting concept to ponder on at first, but as more information revealed itself, things drifted from the norm too much already, along with the fact that RE creator Shinji Mikami was not involving himself in the project whatsoever. Still, I held my resolve to play Resident Evil 5 upon its release, and now almost a year later, I still find the game "meh". Gameplay was pretty much a chore all over again, and while I enjoyed it at the time, there were a few nitpicks I didn't like, which involved the partner and inventory system in particular. Characterization wise, Chris and Sheva were fine, but Wesker's was just downright disappointing and a waste of a good role. That shouldn't have been the way to wrap things up, but with all things said and done, that's probably it for RE5 already. But then, now comes RE5 Alternative/ Gold addition, promising two new scenarios and a plethora of extras fans of the series will enjoy playing. What exactly are these extras? Here's a quick round up of what was announced.

To be released as DLC in mid February/ early March and in disc form on March, RE5 Gold Edition will feature two extra scenarios - "Lost In Nightmares" and "Desperate Escape", new costume packs, and new characters for the retitled mercenaries mode, "Mercenaries Reunion". The Lost In Nightmares scenario will take place in 2006, in which Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrate the Spencer Mansion in Europe, coming to an eventual confrontation with Wesker himself. The second scenario, Desperate Escape, will chronicle the events where Jill teams up with BSAA member Josh Stone, as they make their way to assist Chris and Sheva. For the costumes, Chris and Sheva get cool and mean looking new looks to wear in the main game and such. Finally, the Mercenaries Reunion adds new 8 characters to the line up. Rounding up the 4 slots are Chris and Sheva's new outfits, while the other two vacancies are for Josh Stone and Wesker's female partner in crime in the game, Excella Gionne.

The last two slots were originally a mystery, but Kotaku just posted some hopeful and nice news longtime fans will be happy to hear. Old School Resident Evil characters Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton have been revealed as the final playable characters in the latest issue of Famitsu, meaning that the remaining original members of S.T.A.R.S are all in Resident Evil 5!

Now there's a small but sweet incentive for those who played the game before to play again, and those who haven't even started can now acquire the whole game and these new extras once Gold Edition comes out in disc form this March! Looks like RE5's Director's Cut approach got my curiousity pirked again, hehe.

More Marvel Heroic Age Teasing!

Marvel has been slowly unveiling the goodies to expect come May when the Heroic Age shines down on their universe, and with that being said, it's time for another round of announcements and reveals, courtesy of the House Of Ideas and comic news site Newsarama!

Revealed the other day, writer Ed Brubaker and artist Mike Deodato are teaming up for a second Avengers book, aptly known as the "Secret Avengers". Unlike the official team that gets its roster revealed slowly and surely, this faction will get images with the characters blacked out, so it's a guessing game everyone will have to play until just before the book comes out I guess.

A second teaser has popped out, showing a cape wearing individual whose tagline is "I Strive For Redemption". That possibly puts up a former villain or messed up guy on the list, so any hands up for The Hood? Taskmaster? Sentry even? Let's wait and see.

Onto Captain America, Bucky Barnes is still going to continue wielding the shield as the official Cap, and while some fans of Steve Rogers may be dismayed by this fact, I actually think it's a good idea to keep around at least for a while longer. The original may be back, but Bucky has grown into the role quite well, and Brubaker has utilized the character effectively during his run that it would be a waste just to hand the role back to Steve right away. The new Cap's got heart, soul, and plenty of adventure in him, and now that he's an official member of the Heroic Age's Avengers, he's going to have a lot on his plate to live up to his mentor's legacy. Case in point, the above pic is the cover to May's Captain America #606, and Bucky's going to come face to face with an old adversary of the original - Baron Zemo.

Also on the Horizon, a new Thunderbolts team will debut in Thunderbots #144. Known to be a black ops team under the supervision of Norman Osborn during the Dark Reign, the new roster will feature some of the biggest villains and messiest characters the House Of Ideas has to offer! Rounding up the returning veterans Songbird and Ghost, while the fresh faces are Crossbones, Man-Thing, and Juggernaut... and leading them all will be none other than former Hero-For-Hire and New Avenger, Luke Cage?! Having a tough force of villains and misfits to handle is one thing, but how will all of these guys coexist together? And Man-Thing on a team?! All the news has just gotten my curiosity up for the Heroic Age.

Early February Of Awesome!

We're into the second week of February, and the awesomeness just keeps on piling in everywhere! I've got several updates I wanted to share and get off my chest, so to start things off, let me introduce you to a new friend of mine...

Unexpectedly, I managed to get myself a decent priced and nice looking PSP-3000!. While my trusty and faithful 2000 still remains with me, I thought it was high time to get one of these prestigious units because, aside from the built in mic and subtle cosmetic changes, I needed a second unit for my multi-tasking and gamer needs. Also, Playstation Network services are a real joy to use with this baby, and unlike a PSP Go, UMD's can be used anytime you want. The 3000 is pretty neat, and for those still wondering if a PSP's worth it, trust me, it is for gamers and multimedia users who are always on the go.

Speaking of PSP games, I recently tried the Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Demo with the newbie shown above, and it's just making me all the more excited for the late May 2010 release. All I can say is that Hideo Kojima is still a genius, and his latest take on Portable MGS gaming is simplified yet intuitive, breathing new life to the portable and giving more Snake time the fans can appreciate, single player or co-op wise. Awesome.

Next generation console owners will have a heavy summer ahead of them, as the big games are slowly making their way to a retail store near you. The PS3 is no exception, and for this month, my first gaming purchase will take me straight to the depths of hell and beyond:

Loosely based on Dante Alighien's epic poem, The Divine Comedy, Electronic Arts and Visceral Games video game adaptation of Dante's Inferno is essentially a God Of War clone. I say this because the gameplay is almost entirely similar, with only the story and some play mechanics to distance it away from Kratos' adventure. You play Dante, a knight from the Third Crusade, who returns to find his beloved Beatrice dead and her soul whisked away to Hell, where he follows suit to rescue her by any means necessary. Combat, gameplay style, and mini games are in your typical GoW fashion, but some unique elements like judging souls and using Castlevania inspired magic elements are inserted here. Dante uses a combination of divine and hellish powers like a holy cross or Death's trademark scythe to combat the forces of the underworld, and he can upgrade to more powerful abilities as he collects various orbs and artifacts throughout the game. With God Of War III coming out next month, this game is just ripe for people looking for a new game to practice on, and I don't mind playing an epic that just resonates with mindless aggression and rage. Check out more brutality samples with the trailer below:

Dante's Inferno Gameplay Trailer

On the movie side of things, some exciting superhero film news came in too!

Take this piece of news as you will, but the latest Batman 3 developments have rolled in... and then some! Movie news and fansites like SHH have just gotten word that not only will Christopher Nolan be returning as director to the third Batman film, but he's also slated to handle and take on the other half of DC's World's Finest - SUPERMAN! Now that's some surprising and mindblowing news to chomp on, and if everything becomes official along with the fact that David Goyer and Jonathan Nolan are returning for third Bat-film, DC and Warner Bros. are going to have some serious awesomeness on their plate once the movies start getting made.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who Are The Secret Avengers?

After announcing a relaunch for Avengers with a new ongoing series this May by the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr, Marvel is paving the way for a second Avengers book, which will apparently be titled as "Secret Avengers". To be written by "Captain America" scribe Ed Brubaker and penned by Dark Avengers artist Mike Deodato, this series will also launch in May and will be the second new book to usher in "The Heroic Age". Marvel has released the news and teaser pic via Newsarama, so check out and speculate just who the mysterious first member of the Secret Avengers will be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Comic Book Review: Siege #2

Last week's comic haul was one of awesome and it kept the reading pace up in a nice way. In fact, Siege #2 was part of the assortment, and it prompted a lot of people to head on out and see what the second chapter of Marvel's latest event could offer after last issue's short ending. After grabbing my copy and reading through it, all I can say is... BOY, DID IT DELIVER! By leaps and bounds, this book came, saw, and just landed the biggest excelsior and selling point that fans were feverishly expecting. The big pay-off that would solidify this as a must read for Marvel Comics fans is in this baby, and if you haven't hopped on board yet, now is the time to read on and find out why this will be the staging ground for the big changes the MU will experience in a few months time.

Siege #2
Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated By: Olivier Coipel

Norman Osborn and his forces have launched a full scale assault on Asgard, home of the Norse Gods and of Odin's son, The Mighty Thor. Among those leading the charge against the Asgardians is Ares, who clashes headfirst with the city's new king, Balder The Brave. Their duel is cut short though, as an injured Heimdall reaches out to the God Of War, making him realize the folly of his judgement. Now knowing he has been used by Osborn, Ares plans to rip the megalomaniac to shreds. However, swift retribution may be harder to grasp, for standing in his way is the highly unstable yet powerful powerhouse of Osborn's Avengers, The Sentry. While all the chaos unfolds, the newly returned Steve Rogers assembles his team of heroes to confront Osborn and his cronies once and for all.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed with Brian Michael Bendis right now, and yeah, he just did another one of those "OMG" moments that definitely make Siege an attention getter for the definite Marvel affectionado. I wasn't too big on the "Osborn vs Asgard" idea as a climax for the Dark Reign, but looking at how everything comes together here and now, everything feels just as it should be, and I'm enjoying the ride for all it's worth. Truth be told, the first issue was just a warm up, and now that we're building up to the main course with the second one, the appetizer delivers some sweet cheese people can salivate and talk about until the next month arrives. The best moments are the action driven parts, as well as the scene were Cap "pep talks" his posse into getting ready for battle - you know he's pissed and he's the man who's going to do something about it. However, The focal point of this issue is definitely the Ares vs Sentry throwdown, and just as the solicits and promo ads promised, an Avenger died a gruesome death in this issue. I won't spoil who goes, but it should be fairly obvious who it is. The reprecutions of this act will probably be felt later on, but Bendis has planted the seeds of it already, and who knows what chaos will be derived from it afterwards. Osborn's the guy you just gotta hate, and I can't wait to see his ass get kicked in a big way... which may just happen next issue!

While Bendis is known to incorporate plenty of dialogue into his books, this issue strikes a good balance between that and Olivier Coipel's fantastic art, which do great things in telling a completely mesmerizing tale visually. True, he's gotten more fans impressed with his work on Thor, but he also delivers a mean looking Sentry here, and the images do the talking of how badass the man with the "power of one million exploding suns". Certain characters and sequences are portrayed differently with some inconsistencies, but there's no doubt that the man has talent, and he draws action scenes and story driven moments on an epic scale level. Marvel did a great job picking him to pencil this event, and since it takes place on Asgard, I find no other suitable candidate for the job.

Overall, Siege #2 did a very good job than the previous issue. I personally enjoyed the hell out of it, and without collecting the tie-ins, it can stand on its own as a big and major event to read. I said it before and I'll say it again - it delivered the big wow fans drawn to the first issue were expecting, and this is the appetizer people will dig into before craving for the main course - which is the final battle to decide the fate of the entire Marvel Universe. I haven't seen this kind of excitement from a Bendis written event since Avengers: Disassembled, and judging on how good this series is building up to be, I'm not so surprised either. Disassembled was a four issue book, and now Siege will end things with four issues as well. It's a cycle that comes full circle, and with chaos comes the harmony that will eventually fold into the new and bright Heroic Age. Pick this book up if you want epic and awesome guaranteed.

Rating - 10/10