I'm already waiting for this second Batman/Superman story arc to wrap up. The series got off to a very solid start in its initial storyline, but much of what made that appealing is lost here. The dynamic between the two heroes is diminished, the conflict is wholly uninteresting, and the widescreen format seems little more than a gimmick.
It's strange how much Batman and Superman still come across as young, brash, inexperienced heroes in this storyline despite the jump forward in time from the first arc. Their relationship just doesn't seem reflective of two men who have worked and bonded together for five years. And without a solid Batman/Superman dynamic in place, this series is pretty much dead in the water.
I'm a little torn on the current state of Earth 2. On one hand, Tom Taylor has quickly settled in and made the book his own. This feels very much like the Earth 2 James Robinson was writing, but with a greater sense of desperation and some more nuanced character dialogue. The problem is that the series is slowly losing some of what distinguished it. The whole point of Earth 2 was to showcase a world where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are gone and a new generation of heroes were forced to carry on their legacy. But with Superman back from the dead and a new Batman hogging much of the spotlight, there's suddenly less room for characters like Flash, Sandman, and Mister Terrific to stand out.
If Superior Spider-Man has had a problem recently, it's that there's just too much going on in any given issue. Unfortunately, even with "Darkest Hours" clocking in at slightly longer than the typical story arc, that problem is as pronounced as ever in issue #23. There's plenty to enjoy in this chapter, but not enough space for the various subplots and character conflicts to properly breathe.
The focus of Kieron Gillen's new Iron Man arc continues to be showcasing the two Stark brothers in action. And it's a partnership that works, with Tony being the muscle and Arno the brains of the operation. This relationship is quickly helping to distinguish Gillen's run from past efforts, and it leaves the reader crossing their fingers that Arno won't fall to the dark side like his Iron Man 2020 namesake.
Gillen builds on the fallout of Matt Fraction's run more directly than he generally has in the past. The Stark brothers set their sights on the abandoned ruins of Mandarin City as the city of their "Iron Metropolitan" super-city. But before they can start rebuilding, their are a few Triads and other assorted goons wielding Mandarin tech to clear out. These past two issues have made it abundantly clear that, while Gillen is certainly willing to make use of Iron Man's most iconic foe, he's not going to be delivering a take like the ones we've seen in the past. Frankly, I've had enough of the original Mandarin to last me quite a while, so I'm all for the idea of a corps of ring-wielding Mandarin recruits.
The pain of Red She-Hulk's cancellation still lingers after several months. The good news is that writer Jeff Parker has been given another chance to dabble in Hulk's world with Indestructible Hulk Annual #1. If the thought of an Indestructible Hulk issue without Mark Waid attached doesn't appeal to you, then you must not be familiar with Parker's work.
This issue should appeal to anyone that prefers good, simple, standalone superhero adventures over event tie-ins or continuity-driven conflicts. Parker frames the issue around a team-up between Iron Man and Hulk. The early pages flash back to Banner and Stark's college years, as an ornery professor schools them on the realities of funding and government intervention in the scientific community. From there, the script focuses on a team-up as both heroes encounter the same professor on a remote tropical island.
At this point, Otto Octavius has been Spider-Man for almost a year now. And even if you're not among the devoutly anti-Superior Spider-Man crowd, it is nice to get a classic dose of Peter Parker Spider-Man now and again. That's the goal of Amazing Spider-Man #700.1-700.5. This series is billed as a sort of lost story of Peter's Spider-Man days. But while the choice of numbering for this book suggests that it's set specifically in Dan Slott's pre-Superior ASM run, it's actually a much more standalone, even retro-flavored take on Spidey. So basically, if you pine for the simpler days when Peter was a struggling photographer, J. Jonah Jameson still ran the Daily Bugle like a tyrant, and Spidey had no Avengers ID card or marriage to donate to Mephisto, this is your kind of book.
At one point, Terminator Salvation was intended to jump-start a new movie trilogy - one that would chronicle the ever-escalating war between man and machine in the future. It's not necessarily surprising that those plans fell through considering how mediocre Salvation turned out to be. Still, some of the rumored plans for Terminators 5 and 6 sounded interesting, particularly in how they dealt with the concept of the future being uncertain and threats like the T-1000 emerging sooner than they should. But it's all pretty well moot now. That trilogy has been scrapped, and when Terminator finally does return to theaters, it'll be in the form of a reboot.
The good news is that Dark Horse is giving us a different glimpse of what unfolded after the events of Salvation. The better news is that they tapped J. Michael Straczynski to write the story. Salvation: The Final Battle moves the Skynet War forward a decade to the pivotal year of 2029, when John Connor and his Resistance either successfully destroy Skynet through the magic of time travel or are wiped out completely.
We love the Xbox One, but there are a few puzzling interface oddities that have left us scratching our heads -- things that weren't broken on Xbox 360 but have been "fixed" anyway for Xbox One. We discuss ways to fix the Achievements system, the accessibility of the interface, the Party Chat system, and the data management methods (or lack thereof). Plus: how we spent our Thanksgiving holidays, and more!
How we spent our Thanksgiving holidays
In a new interview with Boston Magazine, Irrational Games Creative Director Ken Levine has offered a thoughtful - and somewhat provocative - theory on violence in video games.
Levine, who has been criticized by some for the excessive violence in the otherwise richly atmospheric worlds of his BioShock franchise, believes that art (in this instance, video games) has a "responsibility" to authentically replicate violence.
"One of the responsibilities of art is to actually show this is what it looks like when someone gets shot, because it’s really obfuscated” in news reports of war and violence, Levine told the magazine. “War is about sending pieces of metal very fast at people and tearing them to bits on the most primal level.”
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…
As we get deeper into this AHS: Coven season, I'm finding myself getting progressively less interested. Too many 180 decisions, too many resurrections, too much time spent in a barely furnished mansion, and only a flimsy end goal (the naming of the new Supreme, I'm guessing) to look forward to. No, it doesn't skimp on the bats*** craziness, that's never been the show's problem. But it seems like all of this year's button moments have almost instantly been undone by that person either coming back to life or being a part of someone's dream (as Spalding was for Fiona here in "The Sacred Taking")
I appreciated the fact that the first half hour plus of this episode was devoted to one particular plot - that being Delia's plan to drive Fiona to suicide. And, as it so happened, a few of the recently resurrected characters came in handy here as they were needed to convince Fiona that Madison was, in fact, the Supreme she always suspected her of being. And I liked that Delia's plan almost succeeded too. But that doesn't take away the fact that I felt nothing emotionally regarding Fiona's decision to swallow a handful of pills. And I don't mean that I lacked sympathy, I mean that this show hasn't given me one reason to believe that A: those pills would have actually killed her, and B: that she couldn't somehow get brought back to life if she did happen to die.
We reveal a long list of indie developers looking to use the Xbox One's self-publishing program. Divekick, anyone? And an important new member of the Justice League has been cast for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie - prepare for the wonder-ful news.
Here's what we covered:
The list is long and has quite a few fan favorites.
What is the number of sales both consoles hope to achieve? Click to find out.
EA CEO makes a bold statement about the consoles. Read the full interview.
Microsoft shares some interesting statistics in new infographic.
The Fast & Furious star has been added to the cast of Batman vs. Superman. Find out who else was in the running and Zack Snyder's comments about the role.
The idea of Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira stepping in to revamp the Inhumans for the 21st Century is certainly an intriguing one, though one that also brings up some concerns. In practical terms, what exactly separates the current definition of an Inhuman from that of a mutant? Can Inhuman impress enough to justify the fact that Fraction had to depart his Fantastic Four books prematurely in order to tackle it? Those questions won't really be answered until Inhuman makes its delayed debut in April. For now, Inhumanity #1 offers a taste of what fraction is bringing to this franchise, and it offers plenty of hope for the main series.
Make your own fun. This was once the mantra of the creative kid in the boring backyard; now it’s a pitch well-suited for Warframe. There’s nothing openly exciting about where its repetitive mission designs take you, but the huge variety of weapons, powers, and combat suits lets your creativity open up the battlefield to fun experimentation — that is, if you’re willing to pay.
Warframe is a free-to-play, third-person, co-op shooter in the vein of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, but with approximately 250 percent more ninjas wearing sci-fi suits (the titular warframes). The starter suits offer plenty of variety right from the get-go: one, Excalibur, is a well-balanced set that’s a good starting point for beginners. Another, the Loki set, lets you trick enemies with decoys and turn invisible in an instant. It feels especially sneaky and manipulative in a rewarding way. Each of these suits function as entirely different characters, and each is fun and challenging to play with.
Warning: full episode spoilers follow.
Well, this is what the Arrow crew have been building towards ever since it was announced over the summer that Barry Allen would be making his debut in Season 2. "The Scientist" kicked off a two-part, mid-season finale where all the allusions to and hints about superhuman powers materialized into something concrete. This episode kept a lot of plates spinning simultaneously, and it handled the balancing act well, all things considered.
As far as I was concerned, there were two main questions to address with Barry's debut. The first is how well the show would transition from a relatively grounded show about vigilantes shooting at each other to a full-fledged superhero drama. The second was whether Grant Gustin had the chops to portray such an iconic DC character. In terms of the former question, it never really seemed to be that much of a leap to see Ollie being tossed around by Brother Blood's super-strong minion. This season has built towards this sort of escalation well enough that the show's more grounded tone still remains in place. As it stands so far, we haven't seen any superhuman feats a character like Captain America couldn't pull off. Things should get more interesting when Barry (presumably) begins his transformation into The Flash next week.
Edgar Wright is busy prepping what Simon Pegg calls "his little Marvel movie" Ant-Man. In the midst of a very busy schedule, the director has taken some time to promote the Blu-ray release of the final entry in the Three Flavors of Cornetto Trilogy, The World's End.
For the uninitiated, The World's End follows five friends - played by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan - who were best friends as teenagers and come back together as adults in order to head to their home village in order to conquer a 12-pub crawl they failed to complete in their youth.
Along the way, they discover that you can go home again, but if you do, you may find that it's been taken over by a conglomerate of alien species that want to draw you into their homogeneous peace-loving Network - by force if necessary!
When we say teaser, we mean teaser, but NBC have released the first preview for Community: Season 5. Check out our first, albeit brief, look at what to expect when Dan Harmon returns to the show he created.
I spoke to Harmon at New York Comic Con this fall, and you can check out what he told me about Season 5 below.
While epic in scope, Michael Bay's last three Transformers movies have been criticized in the past for their few hokey moments. (Giant robot testicles come to mind...) However, that might not be the case for Transformers 4, which Bay recently stated is going for a more serious tone.
"I wanted the first
Transformers to be very suburban and less cool," the director told Yahoo! Movies while talking about next year's fourth Transformers installment. "This is a much more cinematic one. I focused on keeping this one slick. There won't be any goofiness in this one. We went a bit too goofy
Legendary’s Warcraft movie is casting up, with the latest draftees being Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper.
The Wrap has the report on the Blizzard game adaptation, which will be directed by Duncan Jones (Moon) and also star Travis Fimmel (Vikings) and Paula Patton (2 Guns). Toby Kebbell (Wrath of the Titans) and Rob Kazinsky (True Blood) have also joined the production.
It appears we haven't seen the last of Chucky the killer doll, according to the horror icon's creator Don Mancini.
Mancini, who wrote all six Chucky films and directed the last two, tweeted the following information yesterday:
— Don Mancini (@RealDonMancini) Dec. 2, 2013
The most recent film, Curse of Chucky, was released direct-to-video. Watch our chat with Mancini below for more on Chucky.
Video game soundtracks don't get the respect they deserve. Composers and performers dedicate their time and talent to these projects, but gamers tend to focus on blowing up enemies and saving the world from militant aliens.
So let's take a moment to put gameplay aside and give music its due. Below we've selected some of the best game soundtracks available and paired them with real-world situations that make great listening environments. If you're interested in game music, these are good places to start.
No one enjoys searching the aisles of a grocery store for bread and frozen peas, so why not put in some earbuds and zone out while you shop? One of the best soundtracks to get you through this weekly ordeal comes from the downloadable game Bastion. The Bastion soundtrack is full of beat-driven songs that mix unlikely genres into amazing sonic creations. With the aid of this music, you'll be at home with stuffed cupboards before you know it.