I had an incredibly difficult time deciding where to begin in writing this review. So I’ll start where Frank Miller started. The epigraph of his newest graphic novel, Holy Terror, is this: “If you meet the infidel, kill the infidel. – Mohammed.” I did some searching but was unable to find where that exact phrase is located in either the Qur’an or Hadith. Sure, there are some variations and translations that sound similar, but that exact phrase? Nope, not there. And Frank didn’t provide us with a citation, either. We are left with zero context for this phrase, a context that would entirely change its meaning. And that ends up being the greatest issue for Holy Terror – the lack of context. Read more
First off, I’ll straight up admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of comics in the form of issues. I’m not sure if it’s the irritation at not being able to finish a story in one sitting, or the fact that all of the existing issues have usually been running for years and I wasn’t interested in figuring out the back story.
I’ll also straight up admit that Animal Man #1 has changed that. Shout out to Tom who suggested I go read it, and to DC for rebooting the new 52. I had no idea who Animal Man was until about an hour ago, but none of that matters. I’m in on the ground floor and I’m hooked.
The highly (or not so highly, depending) anticipated pilot of Terra Nova premiered last night. All of us here at NNAR went into the premiere with differing expectations. Jon thought it was going to knock it out of the park. Wade and Chris expected it to be horrible. Third really, really likes dinosaurs, so… yeah. And Tom… well, Tom went to go see Drive instead – a respectable decision. So once the pilot concluded, the four of us and our fellow nerd Jacob convened online to discuss. Below is our review of Terra Nova’s pilot – conversation style, and edited to save you from the abundance of childish banter, fart jokes, and Third-provoking comments. Read more
If The Notebook made you fall in love with Ryan Gosling, you may not want to see Drive. That said, the one thing both of those movies have in common is the intensity of Gosling – intensely romantic in The Notebook, and an unstoppable force in Drive. As it turns out, Drive is not just an action movie – it is a self-aware reflection on, and deconstruction of, 80s action movies. It does for movies that starred people like Van Damme, Cruise, and Stallone what Watchmen did for superhero comics. Bold claim? Maybe. But I think you’ll believe me by the time I’m done. Read more
In the entire DC pantheon, perhaps no character was more deserving or more in need of a relaunch/reboot than Wonder Woman. Although she’s officially considered part of the Trinity, it’s not exactly breaking news that Wonder Woman has often, if not always, been the distant third in DC’s big three (not to be confused with Studio 60‘s big three). I was excited when the creative team of Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello was announced and even more excited when Azzarello described the title as a mythological “horror book”. For a character I had very little invested in, Wonder Woman had somehow become my most anticipated book of The New 52.
So how did they do?
Before we can jump into the new book, I think it’s important to take stock of both the character’s history and of DC’s recent turmoils, as both inform my (and, I would assume, many other comic book readers’) reactions to and reception of the new Wonder Woman. Gird your loins, it’s about to get real.
I recently saw a quote about Gears of War stating it was the most influential franchise of the current era, and I think they might have a point. It has some of the most unapologetically gritty (and bloody) story and gameplay around. Think about these game elements and where they came from: Deus Ex’s intuitive cover system? Gears. No health packs? Gears. Resident Evil’s over the shoulder style? Gears. Modern Warfare’s knife executions? Gears (who are we kidding, that was absolutely born out of Gears’ melee executions). For a shooter, the Gears franchise has contributed mightily.
Gears of War 3 simply takes the great gameplay the franchise is known for and applies it one more time in a single player campaign that closes the door with finality. At times it’s a little like watching a good action movie. The characters often do things that are patently absurd but really fun to watch, and every once in a while you get a serious moment that’s actually quite powerful. That’s one of the things I like about this game – it has no illusions about what it is and why it’s here. Where Deus Ex (which has also received significant playing time) is a masterpiece artfully composed, Gears 3 is steroid filled entertainment, plain and simple. And at that, it’s damn good. Read more
A couple of weeks ago, we announced that Cipher Prime‘s Fractal was on sale in anticipation of their launch of the game for the iPad. The game has since launched, and I have had the chance to take it out for a spin. This latest offering is every bit as good as previous titles from the Cipher Prime boys, and is, in my opinion, far superior to its original incarnation on the Mac and PC. Read on for my thoughts. Read more
Some of the team here attended the always excellent (and comic-focused) Baltimore Comic Con this weekend. Comic conventions are enjoyable for a variety of reasons:
- The people who attend are awesomely nerdy – there’s something to appreciate about a gathering of thousands of people that involves scores of stormtroopers patrolling the grounds. Plus, our wristbands were checked by a Jedi and a Jawa when we first went in.
- Meeting the creators and artists. There are some absolutely incredible artists and writers in the comic book world, and it’s stunning to wander around, watch them draw and chat with them. A special call out to the guys from Top Cow, who were awesome to talk to.
- Finding new comics to read. I’m not a person who religiously seeks out new comics to read, so I relish the opportunity that a Comic Con provides to pick up and thumb through random comics as I walk around. It’s probably the primary method I use to find new comic books.
We’ll have a couple more posts talking about what we heard, saw, and thought about at BCC, but in honor of #3, those of us who went are going to call out a couple of the comics we got this weekend.
Proper story’s supposed to start at the beginning. Ain’t so simple with this one.
Now here’s a kid whose whole world got all twisted, leaving him stranded on a rock in the sky.
If I told you that was the narration for the opening sequence to a game, would you get excited? You should, because that’s exactly how Bastion starts. It’s a live action RPG available on Xbox Live Arcade for about 2000 Microsoft points (that’s about 30 wampum beads for those of you who like made up currency, $15 for those who do not), and it is excellent. Editors Note: As of August 16th, Bastion is also available for Steam.
Bastion shows that in the world of multi-million dollar blockbuster games like Modern Warfare 2 (which is honestly just so-so), a great game can be made that retails at a much lower price point. All it requires is a little innovative thinking and playfulness. The result is a game that’s intriguing, fun to play, and supremely casual. This isn’t Oblivion, which more resembles a garden out the back of your house – requires constant tending and you’re never quite finished with it. No indeed, Bastion is more like a game of pickup basketball – you play it when you feel like it, when you have a moment to spare, and you enjoy yourself when you do.
On Dictionary.com, the second listed definition of mash-up is “a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources.” Clearly we are all familiar with how this translates into the medium of music, but with movies the term is not so easily conjured. Until now, anyway. Cowboys & Aliens is an unabashed film genre mash-up, and it most definitely mixes content from its two source genres: alien and cowboy movies. The question becomes, then: just how creative a combination was it? Find out after the jump.