final fantasy iv is back, and it's baaaaaaaaaaaad.
Short answer: Yes. It's a nicely polished remake of a great game, with additional features to boot.
Long answer: FFIII was okay, I guess. It was a good remake of an okay game, and thus it ultimately lacked any real draw for me. Class changing was a hassle and the story was reeeeeeeeal light. FFIV changes all that. It's a remake of a great game, so the foundation is more solid. What it adds, however, is what really makes it.
First off, the Active Time Battle system isn't much changed. The meter still fills, you still pick an action, and then perform said action. Nice touch: you know see how long it will take until the spell you just selected is cast, as the gauge starts filling up again, in a different colour.
Secondish, also related to battle: Each character's battle commands are now customizable. Do you think Edward's Hide command is useless? Replace it with a shortcut to a potion. That's right, instead of just being able to pick "Items" to throw on their list of five battle commands, you can specify which item. Same with magic-users. Why dig through the menu to cast Cure or Fire, when you can put it smack on the commands list up front. The only ones that must stay static are Attack and Items. The other three slots are flexible. AND, since characters now have the full complement of actions they had in the Japanese version of the original 16-bit game, there's quite a variety. Rosa now has Pray, not just Aim. Edward can use Salve, to use an item on every party member. Palom and Porom, Yang, too — every character I've used has extra commands.
Thirdforth, also also battle-related (let's face it, the bulk of time you spend playing an RPG is spent in battle, so it better be good and tweaked): Auto-battle. No longer must you sit and pay attention to every single random encounter. Push X and the party will fight for you. What's awesome about this, aside from the time savings? It's completely customizable. You choose the command. If you want Cecil to fight, Tellah to cast Thundara, Yang to use Kick, and Rosa to heal, you can do it. It's all set up in the same menu as their battle commands. Reeeeally tricky, Square. Nice.
Fourthwise, and this is a plus that potentially was a minus: Cut-scenes and voiceovers. Any time you take material this old, with a following this large, you run the risk of shattering everyone's mental impressions of characters, which have been established for what, about 15 years now? I'll admit: at first I hated the voices. Cecil sounds younger than I always imagined. Kain sounds too growly. Everyone else, however… has been pretty spot-on. I've even started to accept the others. Combine them with cut-scenes — thankfully NOT FMV — and it's a nice touch. Cut-scenes use the same character models as the rest of the game, so there's no shocking switch from 3D to FMV. It's a nice touch, and I don't usually like these things. I do, however, wish that you could skip them, which you can't.
So what's not to like about it? Not much. It's hard, for one. You will die. You will probably die multiple times. You will have to level your party or face death at every boss, and occasionally in random encounters. For serious. I also don't understand why they missed out on a couple little tweaks that would've made a big difference. For example: You can't set the cursor to memory mode, meaning you have to pick your action again and again every time you're in a battle. That's an annoyance. Also not configurable is the battle message speed, so you'll have to sit for five seconds after you're done reading, every time someone says something in-fight. Not major items, but silly just the same.
To summarize: If you like Final Fantasy IV, you'll like this. If you don't, you should. If you want something easy, don't get it, and miss out. It's up to you. I just can't imagine passing this gem up.
2007 in review
Thrice â€“ The Alchemy Index, Volumes I & II: Fire & Water
The California four-piece that is Thrice continues their evolution with a sonic tribute to the four elemets: Earth, Air, Water & Fire. Each album attempts to create the atmosphere of the element; Fire is heavy, destructive, agreesive, while water is soft, calm, melodic. Each CD also feartures a sonnet for the named element.
The Fire Album is amazing. The aggression is forefront with heavy riffs, thundering drums and vocals to tear one's face off. But, the band manage to blend in meleodies, harmonics and even choirs to remind that fire isn't just a destroyer, but also a creative force.
Water is a calm tempo, featuring the phenomenal instrumental track, Night Diving. This album makes ample use of electronica elements; keyboards, synth pads and the like.
Coheed And Cambria â€“ Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume II: No World For Tomorrow
The saga continues. As Clauudio Sanchez, the vocalist/lead guitarist/mastermind behind the plot of Heaven's Fence takes us deeper into the Keywork. This album cements Coheed And Cambria as the leading guitar-rock gods in modern music.
Anberlin â€“ Cities
I cannot say enough about this release, one of the most diverse pieces of plastic in my collection. Anberlin moves away from their agro-punk roots and delves into a more indie/punk/rock territory. The end result is a CD I cannot stop listening to, with every song being completely unique to itself, but telling a greaster story of love, loss and redemption. Bonus points for the anamzing finale song, *fin.
Funeral For A Friend â€“ Tales Don't Tell Themselves
This album was a toss-up as to whether I wanted to include it on the list or not. For the sake of the fact that some of the songs are utterly epic in scope, I've left it on. However, the CD tires me quickly, FFAF have yet to master diversity on an album.
NOFX â€“ Wolves In Wolves Clothing
It's NOFX. I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Verdict: It's surprisingly good, if not predictable. A good tie together for the events between movies.
Scrubs â€“ Final Season
A show I loved through the first three seasons, the last few have been a flunk with pointless plots, side-tracks and fourth wall-breaking. I'm sad to see it go, but at the same time hope something better will take the time-slot.
The Office (US Version)
This show really only seems to appeal to those that work in an office. The humour is fantastic, and the cringing moments of Steve Carrells character, Manager Michael Scott, remind me of so many well-meaning, but ill advises managers.
Proof that Seth Green should quit Family Guy and do this full time. One of the most diverse shows, with amazing stop-motion work. The Star Wars episode, full of Star Wars parody, leaves me in stitches every time.
Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe
If you've ever wondered about those disgusting jobs that nobody would ever want to do; like clean out a sewage tank, this is the show to watch. Mike travels around the US and the world to show the jobs that people do, to keep society moving.
Halo 3 (XBOX 360)
The "conclusion" (?) to the Halo trilogy introduced new gameplay elements, brought us across the universe, and then ended worse then ended with a complet WTF moment that left me googling to make sure I hadn't skipped a level or gotten a faulty disc. It's not that the story ended badly, it justâ€¦ended. Without a real climatic battle. I was expected to actually play the huge Diorama Bungie had constructed. Oh well, maybe for Halo Wars.
Call Of Duty 4(XBOX 360) â€“ Apparently you can beat a dead horse a little too long. Activision finally brings the COD series into modern times, after 3+ games themed in WW2. The result is an amazing, if too short, single player campaign and the strongest online contender since Halo to the XBOX Live market. Outstanding graphics, great weapons and a challenging game play still abound.
Mass Effect (XBOX 360)
Bioware is known for creating in depth games, but I think they've not only beaten their own bar, but soared over it at Mach 5 from 40,000 feet. Mass Effect contains, literally, Thousands of voice acted dialogue trees, where your answers determine the tone, length and helpfulness of a conversation. React to sarcastically and a friendly NPC may stop giving you vital information. Only complaints: Combat system is a littlee touchy and the land-roaming Shark is an annoying side-track.
BioShock (XBOX 360)
What if a game allowed you to have super powers like an X-Man and use guns like Rambo? BioShock does both beautifully. Use Plasmids to modify your skills; Shoot flames, suspend enemies in the air, mind control your foes and more. The game's setting can't be overlooked either; a creapy dystopian 1930's underwater cities, with hundreds of kilometers of pathways, rooms, hidden passages and more to explore.
And for the bonus roundâ€¦.
Switching from a GSM phone to a CDMAâ€¦.bad choice. I can't get along well with such a locked down handset that won't even let me edit the configs.
Awful for the first month, once the kinks were worked out it's been great. Would still prefer cable, but at the deal I got (Free Wireless Modem/Router, Free XBOX 360 Elite + Forza Motorsport) + XBOX Live Gold Membership + Wireless Adapter) I can't really complain.
What a waste, we used 20 mintues total over 4 months.
Living in the United States for 6 weeks
Enjoyable, not paying for anything was great. Houston is a great city, I'd go again.
Need to stop losing money at some point before I retire.
Are fantastic, please buy yourself one or twenty.
Equally as fantastic. Better than most entry levels I've used.
My father bought one, after I spent 3 hours cleaning the crap off it, it still runs slow as hell. Dell says the performance in Normal, I find background processes that won't die properly. Advise my father to return computer. Two months later Dell refunds him.
At 13c a package, by far the best juice in existence still.
Hurts my neck, but touch-stylus games are incredibly fun.
First on the list for reviewal: Tang. Now with Fruition. If you don't know all about Tang, I'm not sure we can be friends. Tang is one of my passions. It's easily my favourite soft drink in the entire god damn universe. Recently, they changed the decades-old formula, added more vitamins, removed some sugar and replaced it with artificial sweeteners. I usually drink sugar-free, anyway, but that stuff is harder to find, and doesn't come in a large tub, anyway, sadly. ANYWAY, the point of this is: you'd think that Tang had slaughtered some babies or something, the way people freaked when they removed that sugar. SO I was a bit apprehensive when I spend four dollars for a container of this sweet orange powder. UNNECESSARILY. I'm honestly not sure what the hubbub is about. It tastes good! Not quite the same, but it is still very Tang, and superior to Kool-Aid for sure. So, I give you 4.8/5, Tang, but your drooling fanatic freaks score a Jesus, worry about something that matters/5.
NEXT: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. It's good! Any Dragon Quest fan should enjoy this. Who among us has never wanted to create a super-powered Drakee, capable of casting Kaboom, healing the party, and using Omnislash, all in one fight? I HAVE DREAMT OF IT. It's repetitive, sure. It's kind of trite and predictable, yes. It involves hours and hours of level grinding, definitely. BUT IT'S DRAGON QUEST. Those are things are the foundation upon which the franchise is built. It's typically a love or hate relationship with Dragon Quest, and I happen to be weeeellllllll on the side of love. For all of this, I give DQM:J a Level 40 Slime/10.
Lastly, before the speed round, let's take a look at my living situation. Those of you who know me know the shack as well, and my opinions and experiences in it. It's been on my mind lately, because I'm looking at my finances and realising that all this rent is not building me any equity whatsoever. On the flip side, however, I do love this house, with all its flaws. I sometimes wish I owned it, because I think I could very much improve it for not much money. Alas. So, I rate the shack 45/68 for all its charms, minus a penalty for costing me money without building equity. Also penalized for squirrels in the chimney.
- Between Hell and Reason: Albert Camus at Combat: quatre.cinq/cinq!
- New Super Mario Bros.: LOPSIDEDDIFFICULTYCURVEONWORLD8/5
- Not having any mice in the house since Christmas: yay/10
- The Asus Eee PC, or Eeep, as I like to call it: i-don't-really-need-one-but-i-just-got-bonuses/neat
- More days of way-below-freezing weater, but still no snow: so depressing/5.
- Being responsible for 90% of the projects going out the door at work: i used to have an assistant/get me a new one please.
Would you guys hate me if I moved my two sentence blogs to here, instead of using my blogspot? Because I totally will, if it means dovka will have something on it regularly. It just seems like one of those things that would annoy the populace. Opinonions?
hello, my name is: rogue galaxy
9:28pm, 15 March 2007: I just put Rogue Galaxy in the PS2. Immediately, I am taken by it. Level 5, you are amazing. The style of this game is exactly what I hoped it was. Why more people don't make Space Operas, I'll never know. I am Jaster Rogue, who is more than a little Luke Skywalker. From a desert planet, doesn't know his real father (yet), fights with a sword/sabre and a blaster. You get the idea.
9:38: First battle. Combat is fast! Not in a bad way, but when you have five baddies on-screen, it gets a bit hectic, and I wasn't prepared for it in my overtired state.
9:44: Second battle. I died. Little cactus creatures slaughtered me in two hits before I could hit triangle to use a potion. Whoops. That's discouraging, just a bit. Restart! Skip intro this time, and head back into it, only this time a little smarter.
9:58: Wow, I'm bad at this. I died. Again. Ethan needs more random encounter practice, and needs to learn to dodge.
10:07: This time I manage to hack up a whole lot of enemies, and roll on down to the first boss, after a bunch of cutscenes, and allies coming and going. I especially appreciate Steve, the robot, because who names a robot Steve? I find that hilarious.
10:28: First boss cleared. It took me forever. I have a habit of wanting to wander around looking at everything, instead of just killing stuff. I'm also having a conversation as I play this game. This was an interesting fight. I was handed a gun that forms platforms over its back, so I can jump up on them, while it's moving, and hack away at its exposed heart. Nuts!
10:42: Ethan, you are a dumbass. I forgot to save after my big boss victory… and ended up dying in a huge, hectic, random encounter. Restart again…
10:58: I finally managed to level up, upgrade my equipment, and get ready to head out of town into the desert, ALL WITHOUT DYING. Hooray!
Since I have to work tomorrow, that's it for day one. I really do enjoy this game, despite the whole… dying three times thing. But, to be honest, I suck at any sort of action game until I play it for forever, so it's to be expected.
Friday: 5:01: Time for space! After a couple random battles, and a new flamethrower, I head into the desert. Lots of cutscenes ensue. They are GORGEOUS. Lots of craziness involving giant worms and cute space girl and big flying ship. I am assuming she will become the love interest at some point, because hey… that's just how these things work.
5:10: Finally, I am a crew member on Captain Dorgengoa's (The Greatest Space Pirate in the Galaxy) ship, the Dorgenark. Not the most creative name, I know, but its second in command is a suspiciously Meowth-like cat. He is highly entertaining, though, so I'll let the plagiarism slide. After all of five minutes aboard, CRASH, and we land on a jungle planet, and I get the chance to roam around free, battling and levelling and DYING but only a couple of times, and that was from the mimics. Note to anyone playing: save before you wander to the end of the stream. That chest is a mimic, and it most like will kill you, as it does about 90% damage to all your characters at close range.
And there you have it. My first 48 hours with Rogue Galaxy. I spent a little more time with it tonight, and still, I do love it. It is almost on par with Dragon Quest VIII, though that is a Dragon Quest game, so it naturally wins out. I've discovered a couple of clunky menu design flaws, but nothing major. On a scale of zero to one, with zero meaning don't buy, and one meaning buy, I give this: 1.
Now, I'm off to play Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime until I go ZZZZZ. ….When did I become such a gamer?
dovka comic overview week :: 17-01-07
And I've just realised the cover of this apple juice carton looks like someone got a bit too excited over an apple, ewww. I can't drink anymore of that.
This week I bought: Aquaman #48, 52 #37, Green Lantern #16, JLA Classified #32, Spider-Man Reign #2, Spirit #2, Star Trek The Next Generation: The Space Between #1. Nothing at all was bad; I found Green Lantern a bit flat but it was one of the best issues in this volume. Aquaman introduces a new twist to an old villain and also has a double splash page of a map of the seascape which I know I'll be coming back to again and again. I really enjoyed reading Slott's Justice League which has sat in a draw for about 2 years - but reminds you why Slott is so loved by fanboys around the globe. I bought IDL's new Star Trek TNG comic just because I am a slight Trekky and I was very surprised of how much it felt like the TV series. I would suggest any fan of the TV series to at least give it a try.
Two Covers of the Week ::
Cover by J.G. Jones
I honestly think J.G. has outdone himself this week. I think the biggest challenge in this cover would have been doing the curved reflective surfaces. Having Supernova reflect off the golden body of Skeets, and then off the "legs" of the evil little robot. Then having Booster Gold reflect off the insides of the "eyes" of Skeets - almost like Skeets is seeing the truth I suppose. Then having Booster holding the bottled city of Kandor which is another reflective surface. I think to put all them together takes such skill and talent I must also mention Alex Sinclair's colours on the cover. A lot of times he really makes the cover pop with the colours he adds and this week especially works well. All the different colours and tones must have been hard to do - reflecting Gold and Blue. They both pull it off fantastically though. And not to mention that the cover spoils or a better word reveals one of the biggest mysteries through 52 - OK many people had called it but there was still a lot of doubt. It was fun to see people walk into the comic shop and see the cover and just exclaim "whoa!" "oh shit" "oh snap" "hey!". Everyone was really excited by it and it worked a treat. However looking at J.G. Jones' Blog I can't help thinking I would have loved his concept cover. It looked like a great idea.
Y: The Last Man #53
Cover by Massimo Carnevale
I think this cover really jars your senses. You have a barely dressed supermodel woman on the front which first catches your attention. Then when you've stopped to stare for a while you see she is actually working as a trash collector. However, she isn't just any kind of trash collector - she is collecting the rotting remains of Men who were killed off in a mysterious plague. Bearing in mind the plague was well over a year ago - these bodies are pretty rotten now. It's not the most pleasant of jobs. But yes since you've stood there at the stand looking at this cover absorbing it all in, you want to read the comic. Adding that I'm sure we haven't seen this character in Y since the first volume (she was the first woman to find out Yorick was a man) I think it checks all boxes for an awesome cover.
Two Comics of the Week ::
Written by: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
Break Downs: Keith Giffen
Art by: Pat Olliffe & Drew Geraci
Before I read this issue and just from the cover I knew it was going to be fanboy joy for me. I've been a huge fan of Booster Gold for many, many years. Since reading JLI stuff and then Giffen/DeMatteis' Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can't Believe it is Not the Justice League. Where obviously played for laughs but you could see the sentiment behind it and it plays out really well. I have to applaud DC for using Booster in a much more serious role in recent years since Countdown to Infinite Crisis - which annoyingly was the best Blue & Gold story ever written and obviously the last.
So yes Booster Gold is Supernova (and it seems Rip Hunter is Daniel Carter too - but against we will see). He learnt about Skeets' true intentions in Rip's lab and after a meeting with the Time Master he faked his own death to go undercover to stop Skeets, using a lot of stolen technology and using a Phantom Zone projector to have his teleporting powers. A fight between Skeets and Booster in the abandoned Fortress of Solitude ends up with Skeets somehow managing to absorb the Phantom Zone and hints at the fact that Skeets may be being controlled by some outside force. Rip and Booster then escape using the missing 52 seconds… I love Time Travel stories I have to say - they aren't for everyone at all and paradoxes and lost time can confuse and just annoy people. But I revel in it actually - maybe it's watching too much Star Trek or Quantum Leap but they are my favourite types of stories and 52 is working just fine with Rip Hunter and time travel. I think after reading most of JSA that Geoff Johns is writing the majority of Booster Gold stuff. It just seems more like his style, along with probably Mark Waid too. Whoever is writing it they are giving me fanboy pleasure of seeing a favourite character kick ass. Now keep him alive for the remaining weeks!
The last part of the issue catches up with the funeral of another favourite character of mine, Animal Man. A nicely written funeral that is lead by Minister Lobo. However after everyone leaves Buddy wakes up shouting "DON'T LEAVE ME!!!". I think I let out one huge "YES!!!" after reading it. It's a pure fanboy moment which really made this week a fantastic comic for me. On top of that you turn the next page and two characters and standing there that haven't been seen in maybe 15 years. The two yellow aliens that gave Buddy his powers and also have shown they have the ability to rewrite continuity at their whim. When they "And so it begins." you know something major is going down.
The origin story is of the newest Firestorm Jason Rusch beautifully drawn by Jamal Igle. It's a shame that they do this origin story the same week that they announce his solo series is cancelled.
Just an issue full of fanboy moments for me which makes me just want to keep reading.
Spider-Man: Reign #2
Written and Art by: Kaare Andrews
I had just about decided which two were the best of the week and then I realised I hadn't read Spider-Man Reign #2 and whoa I was shocked by how much I loved it. So sorry Spirit #2 - you were a fantastic read but I'm afraid you were knocked out by fanboy loving of 52 and now a pure shock surprise for me - I enjoyed a Spider-Man comic.
I haven't enjoyed a Spider-Man story (in comics the movies are great) since I read Todd MacFarlane's stuff in trade when I was first getting into comics around 7 or 8 years old. Bearing in mind these stories were written before I was born it's been one hell of a long time since I think there has been a Spider-Man story. I know people say Ultimate Spider-Man was good when it started but I know the same people are now saying it's "trash with staples" so I'm happy I never bothered with any of the Ultimate stuff.
The shame is, this Spider-Man story isn't in continuity. But it's also a good thing, most people are fed up with the doom and depression that Marvel has to inject into everyone one of their comics. They kind of seem to have forgotten how to write heroes (which for me is a stark contrast between what is happening in DC especially 52) and yes this story has a dystopian future with depression being the main focus. But maybe it's about the light out of this darkness which will make this story one of heroes. What I do love about this future is that I can see this happening in the Marvel universe. They have never been a universe which loves their superheroes - I think the main difference between the DCU and the Marvel Universe is that the citizens of the DCU on the whole celebrate their heroes, they have Superman Day, and they cheer and look up into the skies when the superheroes are about. In the Marvel Universe you get "Spider-Man is a Menace" on the front of the Bugle. If he ever disappeared for a while I bet the papers would read "Finally Spider-Man has Left" where as in the DC is Superman leaves you get "Where is Superman?". So leading out from this difference you get a future that has banned masks, where there are no superheroes and only a government maintained police force in every city. This is not far off from where Civil War the Initiative is going (a registered Superhero force in every state) take off the masks and you have this future. So I appreciate however accidentally it might be that Kaare Andrews has made this feel like the Marvel Universe.
Obviously the other thing is that this does feel like the Dark Knight Returns. The style, the newscasters, and old hero coming out of a retirement to give hope to people once more. But it does play out differently which to me makes it not just a copy.
J. Jonah Jameson is the break out in this issue. Calling out for his old adversary Peter Parker to put on the mask once more and lead the civilians to freedom. In the first issue he comes across as a quack and old man who has completely lost it all looking to maybe tie up the bad blood he had with Peter when they were younger. In this issue you realise he needs Spider-Man, the knows the city does. He has become the voice of liberty and freedom with a group of kids following his lead and a voice that they have never heard.
Peter is a man crushed, he was always the poor guy who was down on everything, late, no rent, unable to have a good relationship. Whose only escape was Spider-Ma. Now he is a crushed old man who doesn't accept the death of his wife, who is just stumbling through life. It plays out beautifully to the moment when Peter "unknowingly" straps on the costume and accepts his place again the police force "the Reign". He is witty again â€œThere are three kinds of people in this world. Those who can count … and those that canâ€™t.â€ You accept the old man under the mask is Peter and you cheer for the fact he is back.
You see the inspiration that the world needs, the Hypno Hustler nearly makes his most triumphant return - but forgets fresh batteries. The people start fighting back against the Reign.
However Peter is beaten to a pulp and then pulled away by the arms of Otto Octavius after being beaten by a government sponsored Sinister Six (which is also not too far away from what we are seeing in Civil War).
I want this story to be in canon because I think it has played out so well. Seriously if you love the character or have ever enjoyed Spider-Man buy this mini. It's beautifully written.
dovka comic overview week :: 11-01-07
Two Covers of the Week ::
Cover by Jo Chen
Runaways, even though I resigned to collect the series in trade, has constantly been a fantastic book from Brian K. Vaughan (who also kicks ass with Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Dr. Strange: Oath. Amongst other things) which is now a shame as he is leaving the book hopefully Joss Whedon can continue the good work. One constantly good thing about the book is the covers from Jo Chen (and it's great that she is continuing on with Joss). I just love the composition on this piece how Jo uses the loop on the staff to completely draw your eye to make eye contact with Nico. Honestly, it grabs you from the other side of the shop not to mention how flawless the pencil and colour work is. Great cover.
Cover by J. G. Jones
I've got a feeling that up to the end of this run this comic will make regular appearances here because the covers are constantly amazing by J. G. Jones. We have here Lobo, after weeks and weeks of pacifism finally breaking loose and beating the holy crap out of Lady Styx's zombie army. It's just a kick-ass Lobo cover which really does feel like a good 90's Lobo cover. Here we see the moment just before impact which according to J. G. Jones is from Frazetta. One of the things he would always say about cover drawing is "never show the moment of impact, say of a sword or axe cleaving a body. Rather, depicts the moment just before or the moment just after the action. This lets the mind's eye fill in the moment of impact." and we see this in action here, just before the arm swings down onto the zombie warriors. The red of Lobo's eyes set off by the smallest bit of blood running out of Lobo's mouth makes it so eye catching too.
Two Comics of the Week
Justice Society of America #2
Written by: Geoff Johns
Artist by: Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose
I've said some unfavourable things about Geoff Johns since Infinite Crisis. I think Green Lantern is committing all the sins that previous Hal Jordan series have done showing none of the personal flair that Geoff has shown in the Flash before, I think he is writing a Superman in Action Comics that is so out of touch to what Superman should be in comics, I think Teen Titans has been long winded and ultimately dull. Causing accusations of overwork and burnt out. Apparently he was just saving it all for JSA because this title already is showing the flair, the history, the love for the JSA and for comics in general that made the previous volume of it so popular and one of the best on goings. This added to the wonderful pencils of Dale Eaglesham (I've been a fan since his Green Lantern stuff and he is so much improved that he was then too) just makes this title a must have for comic book fans. It's a shame Alex Ross has resigned himself to drawing "character on black background" for every cover - Dale's alternative covers are so much better.
This issues continues on to introduce the death of the newest Mr. America, an introduction to I'm sure who will be a new Commander Steel (the grandson of the original and the cousin of the JL Detroit Steel), continues on to Wildcat talking to his newly discovered son, a quite stunning return of Hawkman, Maxine gets shown how a superhero gets a costume, a discovered plot killing off Golden Age bloodlines, and a shocking and continuity-woven revelation of the newest and craziest Starman. Which all makes one hell of a good issue.
I love Grant having a son, I love how similar but yet completely different the two are. Grant is always portrayed as the most hardest man on the planet but yet time and time again it is awesome to see times like this when cracks appear and the old man shows he is human after all. I'm hoping Commander Steel doesn't fall into the same trap of "I feel pain in my Steel bones" which made the others such fodder for death but I do trust Geoff not to string out the character to that point. I'm not the biggest fan of Hawkman ever - except under Geoff's pen so I'm happy he is in this book and his entrance was just awesome.
Then the last page "all blown to Kingdom Come" this crazy Starman seem to be the grown up Starman from the Kingdom Come universe - who is the original Thom Kallor from the Legion of Super Heroes. Now explaining why Dawnstar was shown in last issue's previews. Incredibly interesting and just want to read more.
Of course this all drawn by Dale is making the plot figularily pop off the page.
Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
Break Downs: Keith Giffen
Artist by: Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne
You know if I had started posting these on dovka before the last few weeks then 52 wouldn't be in the top comics every week, but my God at the moment as they are finishing the third part of this story heading into the final part of the series they have really, really risen to the task and 52 has just been awesome. I'm really hoping they can maintain this gear until the end now because if they do it will be maintaining a best comic position in many lists and reviews.
This issue focused on three of the stories this week. Opening is the seemingly culmination of the space opera. Lobo takes Starfire and Animal Man to see Lady Styx and to collect his "bounty". After she insults his manhood and his religion Lobo cuts loose and does what he does best and attacks everything in sight. This has actually been a great story for Lobo - someone I have to say never cared for (even though Lobo vs. The Mask is great fun) but this has given Lobo drive and characterisation that I have never seen from the Main Man. I have to say the Space Opera story has been very strong all the way through 52 where as other stories may have drifted off course. Lady Styx then takes a ride into a Suneater on the Head of Necron (we know this isn't the last of her though because she is showing up in Mystery in Space) I enjoyed Buddy clutching a tattered picture of his family during the fight too really showing his character. This battle all culminates in Buddy "Animal-Man" Baker getting hit by a Necro-Toxin dart and collapses in Starfire's arms. I think his death was written very well - first telling Starfire that she doesn't need to tell his family he loves then - they know. Then telling her that the universe is cheering them all on - that they do love him (Buddy breaking the fourth wall all the way to the end) then he dies asking Starfire to make sure he doesn't come back as a zombie. Though I can't help thinking this isn't the end for Buddy - it would be a waste of a very unique character (the family man side and his powers) and he's far too loved by fans and creators alike. Despite the fact that Buddy has died before - even in his origin he died when he met the yellow aliens.
The other stories is Montoya decides to take "Charlie" Question to Nanda Parbat to try and cure his cancer. Then we meet up with Supernova and Rip Hunter. Who have been hiding out in Kandor. Rip is trying to build a weapon to combat Skeets… who we see at the end is hovering right outside Kandor. I just know that Supernova is Booster Gold now - he faked his own death after learning of Skeet's evilness from Rip Hunters lab (all the way back in week 6) and went undercover to help Rip combat him. But I'll guess we'll see on Wednesday.
Jamal Igle has been one of my favourite artist on 52 and his artwork looks beautiful throughout the issue. Same with the two page backup of the origin of Power Girl drawn by Adam Hughes is wonderful perfect to look at.
dovka comic overview week :: 04-01-07
Two Covers of the Week ::
Cover by: Phil Hester
I just love this cover, it's got something so crazy 60s horror about it or maybe that's 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' this image is just what comic books should look like. You have the newly crowed Ant-Man getting attacked by one huge ant. In this case it seems the ant has the upper hand which is just excellent, the ants finally get back at Eric for burning them with a magnifying glass when he was young (knowing Eric you know he did that). I just see the cover and have to know what happens next. It's eye catching it's fun and Phil Hester draws stuff perfectly. The shame is this comic is not selling well and will probably end by issue 10.
Cover by: J. G. Jones
This cover is beyond cool really. Luthor watches from his office window as thousands of Superheroes, that he created, fall from the sky and at the stroke of midnight on New Years Day. He just watches like it is a party. That's cool, that menacing, that's Luthor. The foreground tells you everything you need to know about him too; carved Ivory Horn, desk made out of a Giant Red Wood (both of these showing his ego and his contempt for nature), his laptop with Lexcorp logo - Lex ever the business man and the folder which is why he is so pissed. Plus, J.G. Jones could make a poo look gorgeous I don't think there has been a bad 52 cover and this is certainly one of the better.
Two Comics of the Week ::
Writers: Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison
52 even when it is at it's worse has kept you wanting next week, at it's best it is stuff like this week just out and out shit hitting the fan exploits. Lex's everyman project story comes to a peak when this week he decides to remove the powers of all of them (apart from Infinity Inc.) which is bad news for anyone currently flying or lifting a mountain above them. Most of the comic is pure panic on the streets of Metropolis while loads of superheroes rain from the sky and innocent bystanders die, Supernova dashes about trying to save all he can, unnamed Everyman heroes trying to understand why they can't do anything "Gravity Null Gravity Null Gravity Null it's not workingâ€¦! RUN RUNNNN!".
The best thing is Lex, he casually watches all the destruction while on the phone to his scientists claiming no knowledge at one point he casually steps out of the way of a falling hero. Lex is best when he is the guilty person but no-one can prove it and he is best when he is completely cold hearted about it all. Just excellent. The end we catch up with the space heroes who are about to go see Lady Styxâ€¦ we'll see next week.
P.S. Don't kill Animal-Man.
Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art by: Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino
I just love Busiek on this title. He seems to know Superman better than any other person in the world. In this story Arion (an ancient Atlantian sorcerer) is shows Superman the future - possible future scenario 404?. Where Humanity is left in small groups after major disaster after disaster and eventually are left extinct with Jimmy Olsen actually playing a Kamandi role as last Human on Earth. Catching up with the future Humans is the most interesting part the team of Humans is led by Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor with members like a Wonder Woman, a Green Lantern and a Flash, Parasite is there after absorbing so much of Clark's powers he actually believes himself to be Clark Kent. It continues on after last month where Khyber - the supreme lord of the future Earth seemingly kills Superman. The full effect of the story is that Superman needs to stop protecting us otherwise humanity will be wiped out. Arion explains that Civilizations have to fall (like Camelot, like Atlantis) and Superman has to allow this to happen for humanity to be strong enough to survive the aftermath.
In this, in almost direct opposition to 52, Lex plays the hero of Humanity he is at his strongest when he is forced to save and protect humanity. He is actually the ultimate humanitarian and seeing that play out here is just excellent. Which makes it more annoying when you see what a bastardization of his character is portrayed in movie outgoings.
Busiek is at his best his, like Astro City he has a real grasp of characters, makes stuff epic but relatable and annoying because you can't wait to read more. Carlos Pacheco joins up with some beautiful artwork to compliment the book and I can't wait to see where this is going to go in volume two of Camelot Falls. And how can this story not play on the mind of Superman â€“ every time he acts is he dooming Humanity?
That's right. Everything. I am in a reviewing mood, so let's do this.
First up: this Caffeine Free Diet CokeÂ® I just finished. I've been drinking Diet CokeÂ® for most of my life, since my mother is diabetic. I've grown to like it, and now I typically find regular sugared-up soft drinks to be too sweet. That being said, the caffeine free variety leaves something to be desired. Namely: caffeine. Oh, and good flavour. I give it a 2.5/5, for at least making me unthirsty, and not containing empty calories.
Next, let's move onto this [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AGK8NI/102-3614741-2750511USB notebook cooling pad[/url] that I just unboxed. Coincidentally, my laptop shut itself down not long before this, becuase I left it running all day, and it overheated. Since plugging this thing in however, the notebook is running much cooler, and the fan noise of the computer and pad combined is less than the pc fan running on high ALL THE TIME. For not making me feel like my months-old laptop is going to explode, you score a 4.5 out of 5. It would be perfect if it had a built-in usb hub, but alas.
Third, let's review my brother. He owes me 50 bucks, which he said he'd pay me back on December 15 "when we get paid." "We" being him and my sister-in-law. It is currently the 4th of January, and no word or sign of this. Essentially, I paid for my own xmas gift. For this, he scores a 0.1/17. The 0.1 is simply because it really is a pretty nice rice cooker.
Moving on, we come to the Carbon County Commissioners' plan to demolish the old Packerton Yards building. The only remaining structure which belonged to the now-defunct Lehigh Valley Railroad left in the region. Despite multiple developers coming forth with plans to use private money to clean it up and repair it for use as retail space, and preserve the building as a historical site, they still insist it needs to be demolished for "industry" which would pay less in taxes to the local government, and create fewer jobs than retail would. You can read about it hereherehere. Sign the petition while you're at it, if you don't disagree. For this completely illogical act of historical demolition, you score a -2/2859.
Time for the speed roundâ€¦
- Death: The High Cost of Living (Vertigo, TPB): 4.8/5!
- Sandman: The Dream Hunters (Vertigo, TPB): 4/5
- Peeling a Clementine this morning only to realise it was kind of moldy: shit-all/5
- Not being able to find the length of tube I was using to siphon water out of my fish tank, causing my fish to live in filth: :(/5
- The fact that it is January 4th and we've accumulated only about a quarter-inch of snow: depressing/5.
- Properly html-ing an unorganised list to keep this list looking fancy, and realising it breaks the css and looks shit: jonfixit/5. (fixed now -Jons)
In the coming days, I will actually probably maybe possibly review some things for serious. But, this will do for now.