Thursday, April 30, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum combat video

It's no secret that Batman kicks ass (both literally and figuratively). This will be partially the case in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game, blending stealth with action for what could quite possibly be the best Batman game ever made. To whet your curiosity whistle about the possible awesomeness of the game, Rocksteady Studios has released a video showcasing the silky smooth combat moves of the Caped Crusader. Check it out after the jump. From watching the video, it seems that there's going to be some sort of "bullet time" in the game, where you can most likely hit a button to slow time down to unleash some maddening combo attack. There also appears to be a variety of different attacks, so that bodes well as far as the repetitive aspect of the game goes. We also get sight of what appears to be Croc (so expect the reveal video any minute), as well as a nice nod to the comics. During a fight with Bane, Bane says "I will break you Batman," to which Batman responds "No Bane, this time I break you." That line in the game makes me realize that really this thing has almost limitless potential.

X-Men Origins: Sabretooth

Real Name: Victor Creed (possibly) Aliases: Slasher, El Tigre, Der Schlachter (“The Butcher” in German) First appearance: Iron Fist # 14 (1977) (I know, right!? Weird!) Powers: A lot. Born a mutant, Sabretooth possess a healing factor on par with Wolverine's. He heals from even the most brutal injuries in a matter of seconds. In addition, this healing factor makes him relatively immune to disease and slows his aging process considerably (making it difficult to ascertain his exact age and the chronological events of his life). Sabretooth has an enhanced sense of smell, vision, and hearing- even taste. He can use these senses to “track” targets, even under adverse conditions (he can see in the dark, for example). Sabretooth’s agility and reflexes exceed normal human capacities. In addition, his strength is superhuman. Over time, Sabretooth has been involved with a number of organizations or individuals who have tampered with his genetic structure. The most lasting change of this manipulation has been to increase his strength substantially- while in his original appearances he could crush iron weights with ease, nowadays it might not be out of Sabretooth’s capacity to lift a car and throw it, if he exerts himself. Sabretooth has retractable claws on the tips of his fingers. These are sharp enough to tear through flesh and bone with ease, which Creed’s victims can (or would) attest to. Recently, Sabretooth’s dealings with the latest incarnation of the Weapon X program has resulted in the bonding of adamantium alloy to his bones and claws- making him Logan’s match in almost every way. Background: Creed’s past is an even bigger mystery than his long-time rival Wolverine’s. He was likely the son of an abusive, bigoted man who feared the feral tendencies that emerged in Victor at the time his mutation became apparent. It’s possible that at some point Creed and Logan were actually friends. This friendship ended abruptly, however, with Sabretooth’s envy for Logan’s good luck with women driving him to brutally rape and murder Logan’s love-interest Silver Fox (see past post). At another point in Creed’s life, he became an operative for the Weapon X program- apparently serving alongside his old foe. During Victor’s tenure with Weapon X, he was the subject of many experimentations- possibly including memory manipulation. It’s unclear how much of their history Creed and Logan were aware of at the time that they worked together as covert operatives for the program. On the other hand, it’s even possible that Sabretooth and Wolverine’s past history is a fabrication- a memory implant. Regardless, Sabretooth’s psychopathic, conscienceless tendencies and get-the-job-done attitude made him an ideal candidate for messy, bloody military/mercenary services. Not long after Creed mastered the military skills Weapon X trained him in, Sabretooth began to show signs of ambition towards selling his “services” on an open market. Among the contacts he made in the field was a mysterious mutant-soldier of fortune who went by the alias Leni Zauber, aka Mystique. At some point, Mystique and Sabretooth got it on- although there was little romance between them. More likely, Mystique intended to use Creed to breed- hoping their genetics would produce a powerful candidate for the Brotherhood or simply a powerful child that could assist her in pursuing her own agendas. The end result was a child that was completely human. Mystique abandoned the kid not long after. And that baby grew up to be? Graydon Creed: long-time anti-mutant crusader. It kind of gives you a new perspective on the guy, right? I mean, you might hate mutants too if your father was a two-hundred pounds of muscle predator with razor sharp claws and a penchant for tearing people open. Just a thought. Sabretooth’s resume of contacts in the Marvel underworld is loooonnnnggg and stretches from criminal organizations like the Hellfire Club and long-time heroes-for-hire villain and international crime lord Montenegro to the enigmatic Apocalypse himself. Most notably, however, Sabretooth served on Mr. Sinister’s mutant genetic-cleansing strike team, the Marauders. The Marauders frequently clashed with the X-Men, and among their most heinous acts was the slaughter of a large portion of the Morlocks living peacefully under the streets of New York- simply to “wean” some of the “excess” from the genetic pool. That is, Sinister decided that these mutants contributed nothing to the evolution of the mutant race- they had to go, or they’d clutter up “mutanity’s” DNA. The plot twist that snapped the heart of every female X-Men reader of the late nineties in half was this: lady-killer, thief-with-a-heart-of-gold, and long-time X-man Gambit helped Sinister do it. In fact, Gambit even brokered the deal that put Sabretooth on Sinister’s payroll (Gambit knew little about the X-men at the time...still- NOT OKAY). Sabretooth has worked with the X-Men and even Wolverine himself, when it met his needs. He has never -ever- shown a single ounce of remorse for his life. A textbook sociopath, Creed takes advantage of anybody who shows an ounce of empathy for him. Any attempt by Charles Xavier or others to rehabilitate the man have met with little to no success. Others like Wolverine and even -surprisingly- the gentlemanly Beast don’t believe Sabretooth deserves rehabilitation. Creed is obsessed with Logan and will do anything (and kill anyone) to get at him. While Creed is a killer-for-hire, he’s also just a killer; he gets off on it. Most of the time, there’s no “angle” to his vendetta with Wolverine, just bizarre, unresolved childhood rage. Nobody pushes Wolverine’s buttons like Sabretooth does, because he so openly is all of the things Wolverine is fighting NOT to be. Be sure to check out the profiles of the other mutants in the film: Agent Zero Beak Blob Cyclops Deadpool Gambit Silver Fox White Queen William Stryker Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Deadpool

Real Name: Wade Wilson Alias: Deadpool, The Merc with the Mouth Powers: Possesses a superhuman healing factor derived from that of the mutant Wolverine that allows him to regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of his cellular structure at a rate far greater than that of an ordinary human. As such, he can regrow severed limbs or vital organs. The speed at which this healing factor works varies in direct proportion to the severity of the damage Deadpool suffers. This healing factor also affords Deadpool a virtual immunity to poisons and most drugs, as well as an enhanced resistance to diseases and an extended life span. Unlike Wolverine’s natural healing factor, Deadpool’s is mentally driven to a partial extent. This power allows many of Deadpool's natural physical attributes to have been enhanced. Deadpool's musculature generates considerably less fatigue toxins than the muscles of an ordinary human being, granting him superhuman levels of stamina in all physical activities. His natural strength, agility and reflexes have been enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural limits of the human body. Deadpool's agility and reaction time are superior to those of even the finest human athlete. Another factor that makes Deadpool deadly is that he uses a wide assortment of weapons that will allow him to get the job done, but most of the time he uses swords or guns. First Appearance: New Mutants #98 (1990) Background: Now this guy is one of my favorite Marvel characters as of late because the comics are always action-packed and feature some great jokes. Deadpool isn’t known as the Merc with the Mouth for nothing. Not much is known about Deadpool growing up or how he got into the mercenary business, but needless to say he was good at it. Whenever he failed a mission he resorted to plastic surgery to give himself a new identity and thus continue his work of killing. During one mission Deadpool learns that he contracted terminal cancer and did not have long to live. This is where he becomes a part of the Weapon X program as he was drafted by Department K of the Canadian Government. His cancer was kept under controlled when the healing factor of Wolverine was implanted into Deadpool and attuned to work specifically for him. He served with the Weapon X team for a time until while on a mission he killed one of his teammates and was subsequently kicked out of the program and sent to a program ran by Doctor Killebrew. It was in this program were Wade earned his name Deadpool, because this program was a place for Doctor Killebrew to experiment on subjects and then pit them in fights against each other while others placed bets in a “deadpool” to see which one would live. It was an odd turn of events that lead to Deadpool escaping from the facility. When he killed another patient he was sentenced to death by the doctor and had his heart ripped out, but Wade’s will to live and thirst for vengeance kicked his healing ability into growing a new heart (but being scarred forever). After escaping he returned to his mercenary ways and become the best there is. He has worked with numerous other mutants and for some of the most powerful ones, such as the Kingpin and Hammerhead. Throughout his time as a mercenary he fights Wolverine quite a number of times and even goes back to the Weapon X program at the suggestion of Sabretooth and he gets his healing factor upgraded. As of late Deadpool was a part of the Skrull Invasion working for Nick Fury to recover secret data for them and is ultimately responsible for ending the Secret Invasion. After this Deadpool goes back to being a Mercenary again, continuing his adventurous lifestyle. Be sure to check out the profiles of the other mutants in the film: Agent Zero Beak Blob Cyclops Gambit Sabretooth Silver Fox White Queen William Stryker Wolverine

Wonderland Annual sneak peek

Yesterday word broke that Zenescope would be continuing the Wonderland trilogy. In an almost separate universe you have the Wonderland Annual that will be continuing in the near future with a family moving into a house infected by madness. A house that goes by the name of Wonderland. Zenescope wants you to take a peek at the book, and have published a few of the interiors for your perusal. The mirror to Wonderland sits in the basement of this house formerly home to the Liddles. Things went south on them and the remnants of that madness still linger in the home, eagerly awaiting the next family to move in. The story was created by Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Joe Brusha and is written by Dan Wickline, with art by Dave Hooker. Check out the interiors below. Unless you're scared of ruthless metal snakes. There's plenty of those.

Wolverine costume guide

Naturally, May is Wolverine month over at Marvel. Most likely has something to do with the film due out May 1 that you may have heard of. It is yet another way to get you caught up on your Wolverine lore so you can go in fully armed to nitpick the continuity issues in the film (you know you will). The latest in this endeavor seeks to let you peer into Logan's historic wardrobe, tracking all his costumes from then until now. Not quite all the costumes, but ten at least. Which ten you ask? The costumes are pretty much the main ones you would think of when you consider Wolverine. Original, Fang, Brown and get the idea. From the previews it appears that Wolverine will be going with the leather jacket route in the film, despite the black leather body suits that the heroes wore in the X-Men films. His costume isn't going to necessarily make or break the movie, but it does add a certain bit to the film as a whole. Anyways, check out the list below, and click on over to Marvel to get a beefier explanation regarding the switch to the respective costume. Costume #1: Original - First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK #181 (1974) Costume #2: New Mask - First Appearance: GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Costume #3: Fang - First Appearance: X-MEN #107 (1977) Costume #4: Brown and Tan - First Appearance: X-MEN #139 (1980) Costume #5: Black - First Appearance: WOLVERINE #1 (1988) Costume #6: Weapon X - First Appearance: MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #72 (1991) Costume #7: Feral - First Appearance: WOLVERINE #100 (1996) Costume #8: Black Leather - First Appearance: NEW X-MEN #114 (2001) Costume #9: Astonishing - First Appearance: ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 (2004) Costume #10: X-Force - First Appearance: X-FORCE #1 (2007) Wolverine's Top 10 costumes

Peter Laird on TMNT reboot

Damn you Christopher Nolan! With the success of Batman Begins as a "reboot" of the franchise, more and more filmmakers and creators are seeking to reboot their franchises. Unfortunately, not all of said reboots are as good as Nolan's, but one that we're hoping is at least as good (no offense, but it probably won't be better) is the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles reset. Peter Laird has made some comments to MTV Splash Page that seeks to allay some of said fears about quality of the reboot. As we all know, the film will be live-action. Well, live-actionesque. Laird says that nowadays it would be impossible to make animtronics/puppetry actually look good, so he's envisioning some blend between CGI and live-action. “The basic idea, as I understand it, is to do an all live action shoot, with actors and stuntmen in full Turtle suits,” explained Peter Laird, co-creator of the original comic series. “To add expressiveness to the Turtles’ faces which would be difficult if not impossible to get with animatronics and/or puppetry, there would be ‘face replacement,’ with CGI Turtle faces superimposed on the live action performers’ heads.” We kind of saw this in reverse a bit in Beowulf and it looked kind of unnatural (which, in all fairness, it was). It kind of makes sense for a movie like this because this type of story screams CGI, but we've already seen the CGI version of the Turtles. Motion-capture with CGI faces? Little leary of that, but after seeing what was done in the Lord of the Rings trilogy I'm expecting something along those lines. Now, since this is a reboot it will most likely be an origins story. And with anything involving the origin of the Turtles, the talk of Shredder comes up. Laird mentioned that Shredder would be a necessity for an origins story, as well as including both April O’Neil and vigilante Casey Jones. The story may revolve around a slightly lesser known villain in Baxter Stockman. “Simply telling the story of what happened in the first issue of the ‘TMNT’ comic book would be a pretty short movie, so I suspect other things from the Turtles’ history in the comics might be brought into it,” continued Laird. “I would not be unhappy to somehow see the tale of Baxter Stockman and the robotic ‘mousers’ folded into this movie, as well as some elements possibly setting up the TCRI connection for a possible sixth (or seventh) movie. But I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself there.” All positive news, and I'm glad to see that at least right now Laird et al. gets it. Stay tuned for details. Peter Laird on TMNT reboot

Preview: Power Girl #1

You might be confused on May 6, as you will see Power Girl #1 in a comic shop near you. The confusion might be in you thinking that surely this character has had a comic before now. Not so much. Until that day at least, when writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti team with the very talented Amanda Conner to launch everyone’s favorite Earth-2 Kryptonian into her very own ongoing series. And courtesy of DC's The Source, check out a slew of interiors and variant covers for the issue after the jump.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

The Hidden S ponders the long, twisted and uh, kinky, history of Wonder Woman...

Warner Home Video has just released the animated film Wonder Woman, produced by Bruce Timm. The vocal talent includes Keri Russell as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman as well as Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Rosario Dawson and Virginia Madsen.

The narrative is a relatively straightforward re-telling of Wonder Woman’s origin/back-story and mirrors some of George Perez’ work in the “Gods and Mortals” arc from the late 80s. The key elements of the Wonder Woman mythos are in place with Diana/Wonder Woman winning a tournament for the right to transport pilot Steve Trevor back to civilization as the Amazonian envoy. Ares is the adversary here as he raises his ugly head in the 21st century.

The feature itself is just OK. It doesn't seem that original in its animation and it has a heavy 300 influence that seems slightly played out. Keri Russell is too much like a co-ed at NYU (Dawson who plays the amazon Warrior Artemis might have been a better choice for the Amazing Amazon).

The real films of interest in this release are on a second disc with some very interesting documentaries included in the mix: "Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream" and "Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth." Both documentaries trace the odd backstory of not only Wonder Woman, but also her influences and the odd resume and life of her creator Dr. William Marston.

It would be hard to find a more eccentric originator of Wonder Woman than Harvard educated comic creator Dr. William Marston. Marston was fairly well known as a psychologist, early feminist and inventor of the lie detector. Marston also notoriously lived openly with both his wife and mistress in the same household. Marston was an early advocate of the educational positives of comic books in a series of articles he contributed to the magazine Family Circle. These articles caught the attention of the comics industry, in particular Max Gaines, publisher of the DC predecessor All-American Publications, who hired Marston as a consultant.

In time, Marston developed the idea for the creation of a superhero with a unique twist. Wonder Woman is possibly the oddest and most idiosyncratic of major comic characters. First of all, she is rooted in classical mythology; the first such hero dreamed up in this manner (Marvel has a whole universe of characters with ties to classical mythology-DC less so). Second, and of course most crucial, was the fact that she was the first female superhero. The very early superheroes were male and grew out of the pulp heroes of the thirties like The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Spider. These characters helped influence Superman, Batman and lesser lights like The Sandman.

There were no female pulp heroines and probably no one thought that there was any need to create one (Doc Savage, a kind of mortal version of Superman had a sister named Pat who was a kind of early version of Emma Peel, but she was just a minor character in Doc Savage’s universe).

Wonder Woman was something completely different. Superhero comics were thought to be the exclusive domain of young boys. There was a whole separate category of comics for girls which were some of the florid, melodramatic romance comics that catered to the tastes of young girls. It took a guy like Marston, an early feminist, helped break this stereotype. The origin story of Wonder Woman is rooted in classical mythology and is therefore in a different vein than Batman/Superman’s pulp and science fiction origins.

This nod to classical culture was no doubt a reflection on Marston’s liberal arts education. In addition, the early issues made much of Wonder Women’s tendency to bind up men and women with her golden lasso of truth (in turn, she was often bound as well). The lasso of truth mimicked some of Marston’s interest and innovation in lie detection, but also seemed to betray more than a hint of sexual kink. No doubt, this kind of thing sailed easily over the heads of young reader, but to look back at some of the stories today is to see some of the first examples of bondage in popular culture.

Wonder Woman has a surprisingly convoluted history. She actually morphed into a Emma Peel like character after deciding to live in the “man’s world” for a significant time in the 60s and worked with a wizened Oriental mentor named I Ching (not very original) as a kind of super spy/mercenary. ** This was not a popular phase for Wonder Woman and comic fans, typically sensitive to even slight changes, did not embrace this evolution/reboot of the Amazing Amazon.

Eventually, she returned to her star spangled glory in the 70s in part as a result of the popularity of the Linda Carter Wonder Woman show that premiered in the mid-70s.** **An oddity that connects with this interpretation was a television film that was likely some sort of pilot called "Wonder Woman" that was on ABC in 1974 that featured a "C" level actress and model Cathy Lee Crosby as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince-This interpretation was closer to the comic interpretation of the late 60s and early 70s where Wonder Woman was a kind of Martial Artist/Girl From Uncle Type with a catsuit-Check it out in full on YouTube-very weird...

What the Adam West Batman series of the 60s was to young boys the Linda Carter Wonder Woman series was to young girls: a groovy role model with a flamboyant outfit and an out-of- this-world mode of transportation (Wonder Woman’s invisible plane). The documentary interviews authors and journalists and they recount how they spun around and around in imitation of Linda Carter’s transformation into Wonder Woman until they got nauseous.

So then what is the legacy of Wonder Woman? The documentaries (especially the subversive dream doc) make a case that she was equal or even more influential as a symbol of female empowerment (famously appearing on the cover of Ms. Magazine at the height of the women’s movement in 1972) than she ever was as a comic character.

Indeed, she is the rare first rank superhero with no great adversaries; she doesn’t have a Lex Luthor, a Joker, a Brainiac, a Green Goblin, etc. She is the starting point for all female superheroes, however. There would be no Supergirl, no Black Canary, no Elektra, and no Hawkwoman if not for Wonder Woman. No Buffy, no Xena, no Alias, no Matrix, no Aeon Flux, etc. etc if not for the Amazing Amazon.

The other legacy of Wonder Woman is the sexual fetish and eroticism that is part of the subtext of her image. This has been tapped into a couple of times by Frank Miller (notably in both Dark Knight series), but most writers are afraid to go there for the most part; however, the character’s sexiness is part of her appeal in the way that say Supergirl is not a sexy super heroine (at least in my book). If you google Wonder Woman it doesn’t take long for a bunch of fetish sights to (ahem) pop up. This is not a total surprise as her outfit and accessories have bondage overtones and role-play connotations.

Which brings us to the fate of the live action Wonder Woman. One of the interviewees in the documentaries included said that Linda Carter as Wonder Woman is the most perfect casting in the history of live action superhero TV or film. This is a tough thing to argue against as Carter combined a pinup's carriage, physical grace, poise and decent acting skills to imbue Wonder Woman with an unbeatable combination of regalness and humanity.

It has been no secret that this film has been in one stage of development of another for several years. The difficulty in proceeding with a WW film no doubt has been that there aren’t a lot of actresses who can fill out Wonder Woman’s red, white and blue maillot. In the last decade, actresses as dissimilar as Megan Fox, Jennifer Lopez. Charisma Carpenter, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sandra Bullock and Jessica Biel have all been rumored to be on the casting short list for the Amazing Amazon. Actually, all of these actresses are alarmingly wrong for the role and honestly it is hard to think who might be “right” in the role (a decade ago Uma Thurman might have been a good choice as would Lucy Lawless).

The actress Rebecca Hall, who was in the Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona and Frost/Nixon, seems close to what I would imagine Wonder Woman to be like: statuesque and aristocratic, vaguely foreign with a warm voice and a sensual quality. In any event, it is hoped that the producers of the film won't rush the process and stick a "hot" but miscast actress in the role. I guess we will see...

Blackest Night Rundown (redux)

Editor's Note: I ran this post last week, but DC has just been cranking out the new posters with the different colored Lanterns. So I'm posting again with updated summary posters to get you up to speed for Blackest Night. Blackest Night is almost upon us. Blackest Night #0 will debut on Free Comic Book Day, while the first issue of the mammoth multi-colored galactic fight hits this summer. DC wants to make sure you're up to speed on all the key players of the war, and have decided to draft you some pretty nifty (and handy) posters. Will looking at the pictures completely fill you in on the setup for the Blackest Night storyline? Not at all. But at the very least you have a pretty good primer in regards to who you should be rooting for, and who you should be rooting against.

Top Cow on Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day is more than just free comics. It's a chance for publishers to give back to their loyal fans. Top Cow plans on going the distance for this year's FCBD, as they have arranged numerous talent signings throughout the US on that glorious day. First, the comic. Top Cow is giving away Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer First Look for free as an enticement to get you into the crossover. Mark Waid provides the words while Kenneth Rocafort provides the drawings for the epic crossover. Not only that, but Waid will be making an appearance in CA and Rocafort in Puerto Rico for signings. Who else is making appearances? Michael Broussard and Filip Sablik will be in California, while Jeremy Haun will be in Nebraska (?). The bulk of the talent will be in California, so hopefully you're in the state to take advantage of the talent that will be floating around and signing autographs. Full press release below. TOP COW UNVEILS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY PLANS Includes Numerous Hometown Signings and Events LOS ANGELES, Calif., April 27th, 2009 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced its plans today for this weekend’s Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 2nd which takes place in comic shops across North America. Free Comic Book Day is an annual event where participating direct market stores give out free comics to anyone that walks into their store. Top Cow is participating again in the event with their Free Comic Book Day offering, Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer First Look. The issue serves as an introduction to the publisher’s summer event of the same name, which brings together the two popular teams Cyberforce and Hunter-Killer. The series and Free Comic Book Day offering is written by Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man, Irredeemable) and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort (Astonishing Tales, Madame Mirage). Both teams were co-created by Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri and Hunter-Killer was co-created by writer Mark Waid. The teams have been absent from a regular series for several years and this marks their return to the forefront of the Top Cow Universe. Writer Mark Waid will be appearing at Collector’s Paradise in Winnetka, CA and artist Kenneth Rocafort will be appearing at the Puerto Rico Comic Con in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Other Top Cow creators making appearances in Los Angeles include Michael Broussard, Rob Levin, Nelson Blake II, and Rick Loverd. Additionally, Top Cow mainstays Ron Marz and Phil Hester will be appearing in various parts of the United States to celebrate the annual event. Complete details follow below: Collector's Paradise 7131 Winnetka Ave. Winnetka, CA 91306 (818) 999-9455 Signing 12pm-3pm Mark Waid (Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer) Joe Benitez (The Darkness, Magdalena) David Wohl (Witchblade, The Darkness) Puerto Rico Comic Con & Pop Culture Expo 100 Convention Boulevard San Juan, PR 00907 Signing Kenneth Rocafort (Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer, Madame Mirage) Beach Ball Comics 3024 W Ball Rd. Ste. G Anaheim, CA 92804 (714) 826-6127 Signing 11am-2pm Michael Broussard (The Darkness) Ryan Winn (The Darkness) Rick Loverd (Berserker) Comic Bug 1807 ½ Manhattan Beach Blvd Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (310) 372-6704 Signing from 3pm-5pm Joshua Hale Fialkov (Cyblade, Pilot Season: Alibi) Earth-2 Comics 15017 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA (818) 386-9590 Signing from 12pm-2pm Filip Sablik (Publisher) Sheldon Mitchell (Witchblade Annual, Freshmen Summer Special) Metropolis Comics 16509 Bellflower Blvd Bellflower, CA 90706 (562) 263-0277 Signing from 11am-1pm Joshua Hale Fialkov (Cyblade, Pilot Season: Alibi) Capes Comic Book Lounge 6208 Maple Street Omaha, NE 68104 (402) 558-0212 Signing Jeremy Haun (Berserker) Earthworld Comics 537 Central Ave Albany, NY 12206 Signing 12pm-6pm Ron Marz (Witchblade, Broken Trinity) Krypton Comics 2819 S. 125th Street Omaha, NE 68144 (402) 391-4131 Signing 10am-6pm Phil Hester (The Darkness) End Zone Hobby Center 133 South State Clearfield, UT 84015 (801) 774-5050 Signing Tyler Kirkham (Broken Trinity: Aftermath, Fusion)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trailer

Update 2: The trailer has officially been unleashed upon the world, so check it out in non-shaky, muffled glory. Update 1: The video has been taken down from YouTube, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the official, high-res version released at 3 PM EST. You can still check out a brieft synopsis of the trailer after the jump, because no DCMA takedown can erase your memory (not yet at least). This won't last long, as I'm sure the Paramount lawyers are prepping the letter to YouTube to take it down. Transformers Live Action Blog posted thie earlier, but below is the new trailer for the epic sequel due this summer. This is the trailer that will premiere with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and be available tonight as part of the special Transfomers screenings across the US. Spoilers after the jump. Sam is off at school, while Mikala is working in a body shop on motorcycles where the work uniform is daisy dukes and knee-high boots. The fight for the All Spark has left a lasting effect on Sam as he can now flash (a la Chuck style) and begins to see symbols everywhere. Optimus Prime returns to make sure Sam is ok, and of course all hell breaks loose. Tons of new footage, including a giant Transformer that sucks up everything like a vaccuum. And somehow the fight is taken to the Pyramids in Egypt, no doubt capitalizing on the alien connection that location boasts.

Zenescope continues Wonderland trilogy

If you've got something good on your hands why stop it right? I'm pretty sure that's what Ralph Tedesco over at Zenescope Comics believes, as the publisher has just announced that the third installment of the Wonderland series, Escape from Wonderland will be published this July. For those not in the know (and the know really is where it's at), the story of Wonderland is loosely based on Alice and her "adventures" in Wonderland, however in this she's a little older. And she has a strong-willed teenage daughter named Callie, and the both of them must stop an eminent evil from crossing over from Wonderland. Full press release below. Zenescope Entertainment has announced plans for a third and final mini-series installment of their Wonderland series entitled ESCAPE FROM WONDERLAND. The seven issue mini-series is the final piece of the epic trilogy with issue #0 due out this July. The first two miniseries, Return To Wonderland and Beyond Wonderland were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively. For those unfamiliar the comic, it is a supernatural horror story loosely based on the classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and is also presented as a sequel of sorts to Lewis Carroll's original. It follows a now adult Alice and her strong-willed teenage daughter, Calie, as they deal with putting a stop to an evil entity intent on crossing over from Wonderland into this world. Says Zenescope Executive VP and series co-creator Ralph Tedesco "We have such a supportive and passionate fan base who have given the series a chance and have responded extremely well to it so we're more than excited about this final installment and bringing the story full circle. But love it or hate it, one thing is true, our version of Wonderland has definitely struck a nerve these past couple of years."

Batman: Arkham Asylum PC specs

Some of you out there still game on the PC, despite the rising popularity of consoles and the proliferation of online gaming for said consoles. And for that devotion, I salute you. If dealing with maddeningly inconsistent system requirements and constant hardware upgrades is your thing, well then more power to you. That being said, I know you've been waiting for it, so here it is. The PC specs for Batman: Arkham Asylum! The forums for the game at Eidos have the specs posted for you to make sure your rig is up to snuff this June when the game comes out. What should you have as the guts? Minimum: • CPU: Intel single core 3 Ghz or AMD equivalent • Memory: XP = 1 GB, Vista = 2GB • GPU: Shader Model 3 NVidia 6600 or ATI 1300 or higher Recommended: • CPU: Pentium D 3Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (Dual core) • Memory: XP = 2GB, Vista = 3GB • GPU: NVidia 7900 GT or higher Enhanced for multi-core The game is also Live for Windows, so you achievement loving folks out there that don't have an Xbox 360 can still hear that gratifying chime every now and then. No word on Mac compatibility as of yet (I'm guessing somewhere down the line we'll see it released for the Mac). Batman: Arkham Asylum PC specs

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Arrivals: April 29, 2009

This is a tricky week for new comics because technically there are two new release days. Because Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, comic book fans will get new comics on Wednesday as well as pretty decent books on Saturday (for free nonetheless). FCBD used to be a throwaway day for comic book shops to purge their back inventory with the lure of free comics. Most of the time though those comics weren't exactly the highest caliber. But now publishers are seeing the day is an excellent chance to get more readers in their proverbial doors. So I'll be making two picks this week, one paid and one unpaid. For Wednesday's releases, I'm picking Mad Magazine #500. Just reread that and say it to yourself for good measure. Number 500. The book that started as a rebellion against the backlash against comics has been around that long that it's at 500. Insane. Mad even. While the news is fabulous it does come with some negativity. The book will move to quarterly after 57 years of monthly (damn economy). $5.99 is a little pricey, and this isn't your typical comic book, but come on. This is a milestone here. For FCBD, I'm going to have to go with Blackest Night #0, which is the precursor to DC's massive Lantern battle this summer. The first issue doesn't officially hit until July, but this will help bridge a few gaps and get you primed to jump right into the story when it hits stores. Enjoy! New Arrivals: April 29, 2009

Defense with BoomPick

Everybody loves a good murder mystery right? Well this fall Robert Downey, Jr. will bring it to you in a way never done before as the new Sherlock Holmes. If you can’t wait till this movie comes out then you are in for a treat as tomorrow the first issue of a new comic from Dynamite Entertainment is gonna fill the gap until then. Coming out tomorrow is Sherlock Holmes #1. Written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, the story takes Sherlock Holmes to a new level with witty dialogue and lavish Victorian style of drawings that make Sherlock Holmes more modern while still keeping his investigative nature and chilling suspense. With mystery at every corner and harrowing storytelling that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you'll be enthralled by his adventures and taking on the seedy underbelly that challenge this man. So go pick it up tomorrow and enjoy a tale about a great hero of old and a guaranteed adventure.

Yet another custom made Batmobile

Ok, this is getting slightly out of hand. Yet another extremely industrious individual has made a working Batmobile. This time, it's the Batman Forever Batmobile (please note the actual vehicle is much cooler than the film. The TechEBlog has the hard work of sculptor Bob Causey on display, and watching the video for it is really awesome. He managed to make the car actually drivable, and included a retractable top for stylish entries and exits as well as three LCDs on the interior. You can check out a brief video of said top in action after the jump. The full picture gallery is here.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine to have multiple endings

Iron Man had Nick Fury. The Incredible Hulk had Tony Stark. Even X3 had Professor X interacting with Moira McTaggert. Point? Marvel is no stranger to secret endings after the credits. So why would X-Men Origins: Wolverine be the exception? Slight possible spoilers ahead. Sci Fi Wire reports that the film will have at least two secret, different endings. Director Gavin Hood wouldn't elaborate on who would get what ending, but he did say that one of them will center around Deadpool, possibly leaving a door open for his own movie. Which makes sense, because his character already has a fervent following and I have no doubt in my mind that Ryan Reynolds will only fuel that fervor. Hood also mentioned the differences between the final, theatrical version of the film and the leaked version that hit the internets a few weeks ago. Some 400 unfinished effects shots have been completed, Harry Gregson-Williams' score have been added, and the entire film is properly color-timed. I'm really not sure if color-timing is going to have that great an effect on the actual story, but I'll play along. So yeah. I'm still psyched for the movie, but my excitement has definitely been tempered somewhat by the buzz surrounding the leaked print. All reports I've read indicate that it's good, but not great. So at least it has that going for it. In any case, it's Wolverine on the big screen in his own film. Brace yourself for nearly two and half hours of snkkt-ing. X-Men Origins: Wolverine to have multiple endings

Confirmed: Frank Welker lending his voice to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Fans scrapped, begged, pleaded and even bitched. And now those efforts are coming to fruition. Frank Welker will be lending his voice to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. UGO (via Transformers Live Action Movie Blog) has an interview up with Roberto Orci, one of the screenwriters the film. In it, he essentially confirms that Welker will be in the sequel as Soundwave. Jordan Hoffman: Who’s voicing Soundwave in Transformers? Roberto Orci: Welker. Jordan Hoffman: That’s official? Roberto Orci: I think so. Jordan Hoffman: Uh oh. Roberto Orci: Might be something I just told you for the first time, but I think so. Jordan Hoffman: Good to know. So yeah, Soundwave. He most likely won't be voicing Megatron since Hugo Weaving has already confirmed that he has recorded voiceover work for him. But at least the remnants of our childhood are continuing to make their way into the sequel. Frank Welker lending his voice to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

New photos of Megan Fox in Jonah Hex was gracious enough to unleash upon the Internet these pictures of Megan Fox. What's so special about these pictures of Megan Fox? They happen to be her in her Jonah Hex outfit. And yeah, they're pretty damn hot. Check them out after the jump. The film featuring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Will Arnett and Michael Shannon is due in theaters August 6, 2010.

Review: Heroes - An Invisible Thread

This is it. The last episode of this season. I'll be reviewing the episode as well as the season as a whole, so if you've been reading the reviews as they've posted you have a good idea as to how I feel about the season overall. Still though, read on and feel free to agree/disagree in the comments. If you haven't seen the finale then I highly recommend not reading ahead until you have. Huzzah for batshit insane Sylar. The first five minutes of last night's episode was awesome. First, he morphs into Danko and kills the new officers. Then, he turns into the standard officer and arrests Danko. Once Danko is gone, he then turns into Nathan and convinces Claire (by touching her pendant) that he is Nathan. They then go together to shake the President's hand. Sylar's plan to become the President is the closest thing to a plot we've had all season, and I'm glad that these past few episodes have been building up to that eventual event. Nathan is passed out in the back room when Claire arrives, and I don't get why Nathan's assistant doesn't see Sylar shapeshift in front of her. Yes, his back was turned, so I'll give him that. We also know why he didn't die as a result of the back of the head thing. See, he moved his weak spot with his new shapeshifting ability. We have a supervillain with know known weakness now? I don't get why Danko wouldn't have tranquilized Sylar first and then stabbed him. In all fairness though, I do suppose that he wouldn't have expected Sylar to switch the weak spot. Can't say I approve of the techno intro that Danko gets when ushered into a cell with HRG, but that's why I don't score TV. Danko and HRG have a philosophical conversation that actually has a great line. HRG says that he would be in the exact same position that Danko is in if he didn't have Claire, to which Danko responds he is. That is, they're both in a prison cell when they decide to break out. Until time freezes! I'm a very big fan of Hiro's escape plan. He replaces all the mutants with the employees on the gurneys in an attempt to rescue them. In the process though he has another nosebleed and further weakness, and Mohinder's quick diagnosis tells him that Hiro can no longer use his abilities, I guess because he's not sleeping? Where did all the mutants go though? Ando hurried them out the door and then went back to Mohinder and Hiro, but we don't know where the mutants actually went. HRG and Danko are on the verge of escaping when Danko whips out the elephant tranquilizer. The plan is to use it on Sylar. When HRG's back is turned however, Danko goes to stab him with it. Hiro once again proves his mettle and stops time, taking the syringe and stabbing Danko with it. And then he passes out, using his time stopping power for quite possibly the last time. Until Parkman's kid comes back I suppose. At the end of the episode Hiro is standing and appears to be ok, but who knows what they decide to do with him from here. Will this be explained next season? Will everyone's bodies start rejecting the powers, or is it just Hiro? Sylar and Claire. The only time that Claire really matters now is as a foil to Sylar in a strange sense. Sylar has a thing for blondes it seems, and it would appear that he realizes Claire is the only one that will live long enough to survive with him. She's essentially holding them until Nathan and Peter get there, and upon arrival the two of them go in guns blazing. We didn't see any of the fight between Nathan, Peter and Sylar, but the tension was ratcheted up a zillionfold. Nathan and Sylar ended up out the window, while Peter and Claire left to find him. Peter can't fly anymore, and he can't heal. So what power does he have? And they didn't hear the piano crash behind them as Sylar and Nathan burst back into the rom? Regardless, Sylar went there. Straight slit Nathan's throat with his mind. It was the last move he needed to get close to the President. A little Nathan shapeshifting until he meets with the President's right-hand man. Turning into him to get close to the President. Which of course is Peter. Somehow the one power he took was the shapeshifting, allowing him to get close enough to Sylar to tranq the hell out of him. Does this mean that Peter only has the shapeshifting power? Or did he get all the powers? What would be really cool is if Peter eventually becomes Sylar through the same method that Sylar became Nathan (more on that in a bit). Sylar making his way to the President was truly a frenzied and tense scene, and for a moment there was the possibility that his plan would actually work. Ok. The ending. In any other show, I would say it was straight shenanigans. But when you have a show loosely based on comic books, well the ending better be damn comic book-y. Parkman wiped Sylar's mind of all his memories, while at the same time convincing him that he was Nathan. This also led to Sylar involuntarily shape-shifting into Nathan. Permanently. Now Sylar is trapped in Nathan (or Nathan is trapped in Sylar) for who knows how long. The episode managed to kill off both Nathan and Sylar, while keeping them alive at the same time. See, if the world found out that a mutant killed a senator, there would be a lot more attention put on them. Attention they don't want. So "Nathan" is needed to convince the President that the program needs to end and that the mutants aren't really a threat, and they can go about living their lives merrily. Parkman did end up saving Nathan per Angela's premonition (I could've done without her overacting upon discovering Nathan's death), although probably not in the way we all expected. It's clear that he was not completely on board with the plan, but he thought of his son's future and that was convincing enough. Volume 5 is titled "Redemption," and we're 6 weeks in the future at Kent Harper's apartment. Someone left the water running. That is, Traci is the water running. That tear she shed was foreshadowing (at the time I didn't think the show was capable of that), as her powers have manifested as water as opposed to ice. She's on a killing spree, going after the agents that were part of the master plan. Nathan is shown second-guessing himself until he sees the clock. He realizes it's running fast and resets it, looking like it actually means something to him. Sylar is still alive. Well, the remnant of him is still alive. I've been very vocal about this show. It started off intense, waned in the middle and then really picked up at the end. Many will credit that to the return of Bryan Fuller. I will say that the writing definitely tightened up and helped the story make a lot more sense. A lot of loose ends were tied up in a very neat fashion, and the spectre of Sylar in Nathan looms large as a potential villain down the road. And I like what they did. They killed Sylar, but left an out. So next season we're going to keep waiting for Nathan to revert to Sylar and realize what the renewed Company did to them in convincing him he was Nathan. Parkman was clearly not completely on board with it, so that's an interesting sub-plot as well. Hiro and Ando are returning to Japan for whatever reason, while the new Company will no doubt regroup. Traci is another subplot that will idea where her path of vengeance will take her. Clearly there will be a lot of "redemption" next season when the show returns. I've been watching the show to this point out of a sense of closure. But this season finale has given me incentive to pick up again next season. I'm actually really excited for the psychology that will be going into the new season. Sylar as Nathan as Sylar is tremendously intriguing, and when coupled with the other sub-plots mentioned above this show really has nowhere to go but up. Hopefully the season doesn't follow the same routine as the past few seasons and remains strong throughout. No doubt the fewer episodes will lead to less filler and more substance, and with fewer characters to be focused on we can expect tighter storylines. The season finale was a fast-paced and satisfying end to what had been a rather so-so season. Overall score: 95 out of 100

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 returns

You know, there was something about being able to play as the team of Spider-Man and Jill Valentine (of Resident Evil fame) that was quite satisfying. And it was in a fighting game no less! Marvel vs. Capcom 2 pitted fighters from the Marvel and Capcom universes against one another in tag-team fighting action (for those of you that don't know). Some of you may not have been around in the halcyon days of Sega Dreamcast, but playing able Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was just sheer enjoyment. Now, we all get a chance to play. Marvel and Capcom just announced that the game will be making a long overdue but triumphant return to home consoles this summer. The game will set you back 1200 points on Xbox Live and $14.99 on the PSN (don't fret...they're equal prices). What's even better is that Thursday, April 30, PS3 owners will be able to download a demo featuring the following: Two-player local matches Six available characters – Ryu, Chun-Li, Strider, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine Seven selectable environments Upscaled 1080p graphics Widescreen or 4:3 aspect ratio Two graphic filter options for character sprites The game won't be an upgrade like SSFIITHD, but it will have some upscaled graphics. (Honestly though, if you're playing this game for the graphics you're probably not really dying to play this game). Also, a quarter mode is being added that allows up to four people to watch and chat while two others are battling it out. Check out the video below, and start ratcheting up that excitement level. And if you don't have either console, now is the time to get at least one. And yes, this game will take you for a ride in your Sunday best.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum site live

Alright kids. The official site for Batman: Arkham Asylum is now live. Nothing up there that's too new, but I'm sure there will be tons of goodies uploaded as we get closer to the release date. Full press release after the jump. Batman: Arkham Asylum website is now live! The official website and community hub for DC Comics’ Batman: Arkham Asylum - the forthcoming action-adventure game developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos, Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in North America has officially launched! You can visit the page at the following URL: Over the coming months will be the main resource for all the latest news and information on the game; including the new screenshots, videos and announcements, along with features and insider content such as developer blogs, interviews, podcasts and more. The site will also serve as the primary hub for the Batman: Arkham Asylum Community, housing the official game forums - where you can speak directly to the team working on the game, enter competitions, and stay up-to-date with all community news and activity. Based on the core Batman license, Batman: Arkham Asylum takes the DARK KNIGHT on his greatest challenge yet when he becomes trapped with all of his most dangerous villains inside the insane asylum of GOTHAM CITY - ARKHAM ASYLUM! With amazing graphics and a moody, immersive setting, Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum – Gotham City's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies, and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains, who have taken over the asylum. Be sure to check the game’s new website regularly for updates. You won’t want to miss out! For more information, please visit: About DC Comics DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN and the SANDMAN. These DC SUPER HEROES and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics’ Web site is located at BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM Software © 2009 Eidos Interactive Ltd. Developed by Rocksteady Studios Ltd. Co-published by Eidos, Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. Rocksteady and the Rocksteady logo are trademarks of Rocksteady Studios Ltd. Eidos and the Eidos logo are trademarks of Eidos Interactive Ltd. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Defense with the BoomStick

Alright, alright, alright. It's that time again already so let me get to it. Hey everybody it is your buddy Brandon here coming at you with my weekly broadcast to keep you survivors out there updated on what I know and hear over the airwaves. So to start off I'm gonna go over some news that I caught wind of a few days ago. I picked up a tip that Northern part of Montana is getting cleared out quite thoroughly and is becoming a safe zone (good for you if you are in that area and can head that way). Also, up the Rocky Mountains they are doing wondrous things at a great pace clearing out parts as zombies can't survive in the extreme cold. So head that way if possible. My tip today is gonna help you in the area that you might have to go through to get there.

Everyone knows that the Midwest is referred to as the Great Plains and you have a vast amount of open land ahead of you until you get to the mountains of Colorado and Montana.

Today I am gonna go over the best way to make it through the plains area and improve your chances of surviving en roiute to your destination. If you are just making your way through plains area then remember that zombies can see you as much as you can see them, which is both good and bad. If you do see a zombie that has not spotted you yet then get as low to the ground as possible and move slowly but keep your eye on the zombie. It is possible to get past zombies in plains as you have a good wide area to move but just make sure if you do have zombies trailing you that you keep moving and stay ahead of them. If you are heading to a plains area to clean it out then the vast open space is to your advantage; just make sure you have some sort of escape route as zombies have the ability to see you from far away and if your shots carry far enough they could hear them and head your way. You might be in the process of clearing out a few zombies when over the horizon a mob is heading your way. This is where your escape plan comes in handy and having a truck close by is key.

The added bonus of this terrain is a group good with long range rifles and who are good shots can clear out an area with no zombies really getting close to them at all because you take them out beforehand. Watch out in what parts of the plains you are travelling in because sometimes zombies can be hiding on the ground. They might have been injured and are the crawling types that can happen upon you and get you just the same as one walking. There you have it. A tip for getting through the Midwest and to a safe zone. I’ll keep my ears open for any news that comes over the airwaves. All you out there listening remember to keep fighting and keep surviving so we can win. Till next week this is Brandon signing off.