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Archive for August, 2009

scrooge-side_12No doubt you’ve already heard the news that the Walt Disney Company has purchased Marvel Entertainment (to the tune of $4 billion), and while I’m not quite sure just how I want to react to the news just yet — given that both DC and Warner Bros. have an awful lot of successes following their merger and that this could potentially go the same route — what I am interested in at the moment is how this effects the Disney-related comics currently being published by Boom! Studios, as Newsarama pointed out in their article this morning:

The acquisition also calls into question the relationship between Disney and BOOM! Studios, the publisher who acquired the comic book license for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck from Disney earlier this year.

Disney could certainly choose to remain with Boom! but I have to wonder if that’s as viable a strategy in the long term given the vast creative control, resources and exposure they would have through Marvel Publishing? Seems they’d be tying a hand behind their backs if they didn’t take advantage of the new brand to produce their own comics as well. Time will tell, so stay tuned for more on how this effects our favorite Duckburg residents…

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Metroid_HD1By all accounts I’ve really got a couple of great games to look forward to in the next few days. In addition to Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) that should arrive next week, I also pre-ordered the Metroid Prime Trilogy collector’s set, which compiles each of Nintendo’s 3 Metroid Prime games onto a single disc to wholly immerse myself in. And while I own each of the games already it didn’t take me long to conclude that the ability to play the first two Gamecube titles in the series with the updated (and much  more fluid and intuitive) Wii controls, widescreen capability, graphical and game play tweaks, it was too great an opportunity to even think about passing up.

The Metroid series has fascinated me ever since I picked up that original NES game some 20-years ago in no small part due to its haunting atmosphere, metroid boxcompelling heroine in Samus Aran, and addictive game play features that, somehow, only get better with time. My sincere thanks to Texas’ own Retro Studios for all the blood, sweat and tears that went into these games because dang did they do the franchise proud. Happy hunting folks!

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sgt rock 1I wanted to apologize for my absence, as I had meant to post something before leaving, but I just got married and spent the last week or so honeymooning in South Texas, and Florida for several days. My wife and I had a great time, got to take in some time at Sea World and Disney World, and enjoyed some great food along the way.

As far as comics go, I didn’t have a lot of time for much (we literally left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. one morning, for example) but I was able to pick up a copy of Wednesday Comics (the scope of which really is impressive) and stole a few minutes to read Ed Brubaker’s The Marvels Project #1 (which I also really enjoyed). Beyond that, I’ve got an itch to finally read all of Joe Kubert’s Sgt. Rock mini-series “The Prophecy” in one sitting, which I hope to be able do this week now that I’m home and settling in with the Mrs. Ah, and I finally decided to bite the bullet and order the Showcase Presents Hawkman figure based on Kubert’s legendary run with the character.  I made a concerted effort to cut down on these types of purchases in recent years due to both space and cost, but every now and then there has to be the exception. So cool!

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batmanarkham

I had some time to spare last night and was finally was able to download the PSN demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum, something I’d been itching to do since it was released last week, and dang was that fun! I put out all the lights and spent about 20-minutes taking in the game and its atmosphere, which really does a fantastic job of pulling you right into Batman’s brutal world and makes you feel as if you really are experiencing it first hand. Having played the demo, the video below is indeed a very accurate depiction of what you’ll be doing in the game and if that 20-minute run is any indication then it’s going to be every bit as fun as it looks. The combat is as addicting as you’d expect and the stealth strategies are a perfect compliment, allowing you to approach the game as best suits you.

Arkham first caught my eye several months ago for the fact that it…actually looked like a good Batman game (the Caped Crusader has had his share of bad luck in the video game department, notably due to unfortunate game play decisions that have consistently pulled you right out of what should be an experience you can happily immerse yourself in). Word of mouth about it being the real deal has spread quickly and I’ve become more and more anxious to play it following all of the numerous combat features that Eidos has been releasing featuring the advanced combat system, and plenty of stealth options for Batman to utilize as he methodically hunts the Joker through the Asylum.

I pre-ordered the game recently and was looking for the demo to help me justify the purchase. It certainly did so and the release can’t come quick enough. Ah, and did I mention that voice actors Kevin Conroy & Mark Hammil return to reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker respectively!? Plus, Paul Dini. Just a few additional reasons that the game is one of the years most anticipated titles.

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Futurama-trio-1I’ve been waiting for the right deal to come along for who knows how long now, but as of this weekend I can finally claim to be the proud owner of Futurama: Volumes 1-4! Now, I’ve loved the show since its inception, but with only so much for the entertainment budget each month I’ve had to pass on the DVD collections far too many times. Well, with the news that Futurama (and it’s voice cast) will indeed be returning for more I was in the mood to celebrate and with a little extra fortitude I managed to find a great deal on all 4-volumes for just under $50. Snatched that deal up right quick and I can’t wait to spend the next several months laughing myself to sleep!

Of course, now I’ll have to keep an eye out for the movie collections, but you’ve got to start somewhere…

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hawkman-hawkgirl_1smA futile effort, I had attempted to avoid spoilers for DC’s Blackest Night over the next several months (while I wait for the collection) knowing full well  that I would likely be spoiled somewhere along the line to one degree or another, and wouldn’t you know it, yesterday I stumbled upon a big ‘ol spoiler as it concerns Hawkman & Hawkgirl in the first issue.

[Blackest Night #1, SPOILER ALERT!]

It’s probably not news to anyone else at this point, but Blackest Night #1 ends with what certainly appears to be the “deaths” of Hawkman & Hawkgirl at the hands of Ralph and Sue Digney, reanimated and possessed Black Lantern incarnations that is. I was actually able to see the scenes in question and let me first say that I really appreciated the care that Johns and Reis were able to take with these two characters in their final moments. These two lovers have been through ‘seven hells’ and back together and it was extremely gratifying to see them reconcile their emotions with one another before they were attacked. As a long time fan I really was moved by it, though it made the ending all the more sad and tragic.

Of course, there’s that part of me that wants to be angry that two of my favorite characters were “killed” when they’ve got so much potential to offer, but then I happily remembered that Geoff Johns is indeed steering the ship and that there’s probably a plan for the two of them beyond their role of reanimated corpses in the Black Lantern army by stories end.

In fact, thanks to the The Stonechat Museum I was able to…ahem…unearth a few comments by Johns at this year’s SDCC spotlight panel as to the role Hawkman & Hawkgirl will play in the mini, why they were chosen by the Black Hand, and that there is something that they specifically offer him as member of the Black Lantern Corp.:

Why Hawkman and Hawkgirl are chosen specifically by Black Hand is a part of the bigger story. They’re characters obviously that have escaped death over and over and over, and so there’ll be more on that and why they’re absorbed into the Black Lantern Corps.

And later, when asked about the possibility of a Hawkman relaunch next year, Geoff Johns in effect tells us we’ll have to ‘wait and see’ Hawks_1but that right now Hawkman can’t reincarnate.” Now, I’ve no clue as to if that means that one day he’ll be able to, that the curse will be modified, or that they’ll be going an entirely new route with the Hawks, but whatever happens, I’m fairly confident that Geoff Johns will do good by these two, and by the Hawkman mythos in general. He’s spent too much time carefully crafting their story (and doing a fantastic job of it) over the years not to have something up his sleeve beyond their reanimated corpses. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. In the meantime, here’s to Carter and Shiera/Kendra!

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MARVEL_MYSTERY_HANDBOOK_c2I’ve benefited from Michael Hoskin’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Universe for years now. In fact, there was a time when he and a small handful of gifted posters at Alvaro’s Comic Boards could be counted on any given day to blow us away with a post detailing anything from every appearance of The Serpent Society to the twists and turns Marvel’s continuity as it weaved through titles like Captain America, The Eternals, etc. I would then copy that information to a word document and file it away for a future reference.

Well, Michael (“MH”) Hoskin still does that, only now “The House of Ideas” pays him for his efforts and the Marvel Universe is a little richer, and certainly more coherent, as a result. If you’ve not had the opportunity to see him weave his way through the M.U. I can think of no better project than the Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special to see that skill at work. He’s awful close to these characters and I know he’s got to be pinching himself to see if he’s really spending time on that side of the Golden-Age characters that he’s admired for so long. Here’s what he had to say about the 70th anniv. special on his blog:

The Golden Age of Marvel Comics has been one of my passions for a very long time so I’m quite excited about the opportunity I had here – getting to write up all the starring heroes of Marvel’s first year makes for an eclectic bunch of profiles. It may not be the most popular handbook I’ll ever write, but it’s the one I’m most proud of right now.

Not unlike MH, I’ve long loved Marvel’s Golden-Age characters and really appreciate the renaissance of sorts that they’re currently enjoying, and am glad to see that he’s a part of it. Just wanted to make sure this issue was a big ‘ol blip on the radar as you hunt down your comics this September. Looking forward to this one.

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