Arkham City Lockdown and Other Superpowered Mobile Games

Hi again, everyone! First off, I feel I should let everybody know that Batman: Arkham City Lockdown (iOS, Universal) is currently on sale for 2.99.

If you have any love for Batman whatsoever I implore you to grab this while it’s marked down from its original 5.99 price point. It plays a lot like the famed Infinity Blade (another iOS great) and serves as a prequel to Batman: Arkham City. Did I mention that it’s by the same developers who made the most recent Mortal Kombat?

The inmates of Arkham have escaped -again- and it’s up to Batman to put them in their place. How? By going around and beating the snot out of them, one by one, of course. With every battle you’ll gain XP to upgrade your gadgets and combat abilities. You can even play dress-up with Batman with extra costumes. Running around punching dudes just isn’t the same unless you can look fabulous at the same time.

So, not only does the game  look fantastic, but the boss battles in this game are some of the best I’ve seen from any mobile game. I won’t give away just how they play out, but they’re something special.

If you still can’t get enough of the world of Batman: Arkham City, feel free to drop by our East or West locations for the Arkham City graphic novel. It’ll help fill in even more of the story leading up towards the events of the hit console title while being an awesome Batman adventure in it’s own right.

For a similar story you can even pick-up the Batman: No Man’s Land trade paperback. After an earthquake has caused an evacuation of Gotham’s citizens all of the villains and gangs lay claim to the abandoned city. Batman works with Commissioner Gordon to reclaim the city after Bruce Wayne attempted (and failed) to not have the city cut off. Already seems a lot like the plot for Arkham City, no?

Back to the gaming front, did you know that there are even more fantastic comic-book themed/superhero mobile games out there? Here are some you should definitely be checking out:

  1. Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem (iPhone/iTouch, iPad, Android) Positively one of the best Spider-Man games that currently exists. A unique story and classic villains combine with the design of the Ultimate universe to create an action/brawler that I could not put down until the very end.
  2. ZDAY Survival Simulator (iOS, Universal) Wonder how you’d fare in a zombie universe not so unlike that of The Walking Dead? Try your hand at a zombie survival game that resembles the old-school “choose your own adventure” books of the 90s.
  3. Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty (iOS, Universal) In the essence of the “runner” style of games, control Captain America as he charges through the Red Skulls fortress to rescue his captured comrades.
  4. Thor: Son of Asgard (iOS, Universal) Control Thor in an original story and protect Asgard from an invasion. For a game in the style of Hero of Sparta (which itself is a God of War clone), it provides a solid hammer-bashing experience on the go.
  5. Superman (iPhone/iTouch, iPad) Fly around the city as the Man of Steel and combat threats as they’re thrown at you. With an original story and action aplenty, Superman fans are sure to get their fill.

“Come on, I don’t belong up here, fighting monsters and supervillains. I just help the little guy”

Hey comic fans!

Its about that time of year that studios start shopping around for the next big thing for the fall. You’re probably asking yourselves “But Marc, you handsome devil, what does this have to do with comics?” and to that I respond “Thank you for the compliment, but damn you are impatient!” Well folks, it seems like superheroes are making the rounds for television once again, and this time we’ve lucked out.

The CW has signed the order on a pilot for a new series called Arrow. This new series will be starring Green Arrow, but perhaps not the Arrow you’re familiar with. Over at Spinoff Online, there have been some stirrings. Details regarding this new pilot reveal that the general elements of the show will be similar to the source material but not entirely the same. I’ve spotted a few myself, for one thing I’m not entirely sure that Oliver’s mom would still be around once he’s come back from his island life, nor do I remember a sister! However,I’m not saying that these new elements will do anything to hurt the show at all! I’m personally just glad that the description of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen seems to do justice to the character. Sounds much better than the more Tony Stark-like GA we’ve been given by the New 52 (I went with the first three issues but I just couldn’t stay with it, he was no longer the man I once knew *stare longly out the window*).

All in all these series shows a lot of promise and I’m personally excited. The team working on it seems fairly solid (the screenwriters having worked on Green Lantern and the director having done the pilot for Smallville and having worked on Game of Thrones!). Granted like any comic book fan I’ve got some things that I’ll need to see and wait for before getting too excited A goatee, a decent looking costume, and at least one punching glove arrow (used either seriously or as a gag!). But only the future will tell, as its to soon to even tell if the pilot will see the light of day (ala Wonder Woman from NBC).

Until next time comic fans, happy reading!

Darkness Ascends

Ok, so I got your attention, I hope, with the title.

So time to dismantle the lie, there is no real darkness ascending onto our store BUT it kind of is ascending on our partner store, Gamers’ Vault, on Queen Marry. They are  hosting a special event this weekend (Both Saturday and Sunday). Gamers’ will be having a Pre-Release of a Magic the Gathering Expansion called Dark Ascension.

Registration starts at 10 AM on both Saturday and Sunday and the main event starts at 11 AM. They will be hosting multiple types of games, including sealed and two headed giant.

Come have some gaming fun then swing by our store for some reading material.

Cheers and have a good weekend.

Something a little new!

Hi guys!

As I believe most of you know, or at least a lot of you know, there’s a new Fables spin-off coming out in March. If you’re anything like myself, and absolutely loved Fables and have read all the spin-off, you’re probably just as excited as me.

For those of you who haven’t read Fables (you should go out and get a copy, trust me, it’s worth it), I’ll let you in on the secret, so that you can happily continue reading this post. Essentially, Fables is a story of fairy tale Characters that find themselves exiled into our world after being forced out of the Homelands by “The Adversary”. Fables puts a lovable twist on all the Characters and stories that we grew up with, giving them all multiple dimensions, complex personalities and a story we can relate to in sorts. The other thing about this series that I feel that anyone and everyone can and will love is the artwork. The cover art is always amazing too. I love it.

Fairest, the latest spin-off, focuses on a story of who is the fairest in the land. As Bill Willingham explained in an interview recently, it’s very easy to be the fairest in the land when the whole story revolves around you, but in a story that includes all the other fairy tale characters, its a little trickier. I think this a fantastic concept, we all know that its easy to be a big fish in a little pond, after all.

What I also look forward to is that it wont just be the big names (Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, ect) that get to star in this series -or at least judging from the cover they won’t be. In the same interview, Willingham confirmed that on the cover there are more than just our run of the mill gorgeous princess types, but also names like Ali Baba and Nurse Spratt. You have no idea how excited about this that I am! Being your average, not-a-gorgeous-princess type, I absolutely love that its not going to all be focused on the models out there. That being said, as happy as I am that it’s not all princesses, I am excited to see the princesses have their own story arcs – no matter how girlie that is.

I know in all I haven’t really said very much in all this, but it’s hard to tell you about something that is yet to come out. I’m looking forward to it to say the least and ive added it to my personal pull list. I feel that if you’ve enjoyed any of the Fables/Fables spin-offs, you really ought to check it out too! I’ll review it once it has come out (Due to release in March), but it still should be on all your pull-lists!

Fairest #1 – Wrap Around Cover Art

As always,
All my love, and make sure to come by the shop where myself or one of my fabulous coworkers are always more than happy to help you find the perfect book!


Comics 101 day

Have you always liked comics, but never really knew enough about them?

Did you love Captain America or another one of this summer’s blockbuster movies, but don’t know where to begin reading with the books?

Are you looking for a special or different holiday gift for someone you love that’s entertaining, but not the usual media like DVD’s or Video Games?

We will be providing a full day of programming with numerous guests and staff members on hand to answer all your questions about comics like:

How do Comics work and where do I begin? Do I have to read everything?
If I introduce a loved one to comics, how will they know what’s going on?
What’s the difference between a book and a graphic novel?
What about Online and digital comics?

Plus, we will be giving away FREE comics* to get you even more excited about the fun and entertaining stories that we love, and that we know you will too!

A Challenger Approaches!

Video games.

Yup, that sums me up pretty well. While I am a decent comic book fan in my own right, those video games will be the death of me.

Wait, come back! I’m bringing this back around to comics, I swear! Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Batman: Arkham City, and boy, that is a work of art. If you’ve ever been a fan of Batman then the Arkham games are the single greatest electronic homage to ol’ Bats. 440 Riddler trophies. I say bring it on. Downloadable Batman skins that take you back through the ages? Hell to the yeah. Extra character DLC so you can play as Catwoman, Nightwing, and Robin (Tim Drake)? Excuse me while I wipe my drool up off of the floor.

Since some time had passed after Arkham Asylum I picked up the Batman Arkham City Hardcover graphic novel we have here in store to plug in some holes and damn, that’s some good Batman. While we’re on the subject, I highly suggest that you pick up Batman: The Long Halloween. This is the first Batman graphic novel that I felt contained the essence of the Batman movies, as it contains a mystery killer that remains so until the very end. With amazing story-telling and dialogue it’s one you don’t want to miss!

Now how many DC fans do we have in the audience? You’ll all be glad to know -if you didn’t already- that DC Universe Online, the Massively Multiplayer Online Game, has gone free to play for PC and PlayStation 3 (Yes, I’m a little late getting this news out there). For the low-price of free I was running around as my own super-villain causing chaos and all-around tom-foolery to the public. So, go forth and become your own super-hero/villain. Maybe even use a template that is inspired by one of the greats to form your Superman look-a-like. A word of caution, however: free accounts do not allow you to form groups with friends. For me that was a dealbreaker, but if you’re not concerned about playing in groups, or maybe just want to test it out to see if you want to pay the monthly fee, then by all means, jump in! And make sure you stay up to date with the DC online universe with the comic series DC Universe Online Legends to make your playtime all the more enjoyable.

Did I mention that the New 52 is awesome? It’s kind of a thing.

See you around the store!

Why are you looking here? The story’s down there!

Hey kids, been awhile huh?

We are soon leaving the third month of the New52 and it has been gearing up. Aside from the excellent titles from the last few weeks (Batman, Justice League, Action Comics and Green Lantern all come to mind) this week has seen some excellent issues.  I wanted to list what I thought were the three best issues from this week, and give my thoughts on what makes them so great and why you should be picking these up!

Aquaman: I think what makes this book so phenomenal is Geoff Johns’ writing. The way the characters interact with Aquaman, and how he is portrayed just make this book excellent. Everyone makes jokes about Aquaman and Johns’ spends half his time addressing these jabs. I’ve personally realized how stupid every argument for Aquaman’s “suckiness” has been. He is really cool and this book just dispelled all of the bad things I’d ever heard about him. The enemy he’s facing is interesting and this issue brings up an interesting moral dilemma that I hope continues to be fleshed out over the course of this story arc.

The Flash: Oh man. I freaking love this book. It is just so cool. The Flash was never a character that interested me beyond being the comic foil for the Justice League. But this book has flipped it around completely. I never realized the range of Flash’s power beyond running really really fast, and this book is playing with it in an interesting way. One thing that makes me love this book above all else is the art. Francis Manapul knows how to make good, dynamic and movie style pages. The way he places his panels and arranges the effects (my god that beautiful “splash” sound effect in issue #1) just makes it feel like a television show on paper! His style is almost cartoony, but it’s endearing and mature at the same time. This book made me care about the Flash, much like Aquaman, and I think that is what the 52 is about.

Green Lantern New Guardians: This book is just a straight up guilty pleasure for me. What got me excited about the Green Lantern was the emergence of the other colors in the spectrum, after the Sinestro Corps War. I was intrigued that nobody had ever considered that if Green and Yellow existed, why didn’t the others? Overtime, I’ve fallen in love with the Red Lanterns and the other lanterns just seem so exciting and cool. Putting all these elements together into one book has huge potential for awesome. Not to mention that they’ve taken some of the better lanterns to fill out this book such as Arkillo and Bleez (though I wish they’d give her the intelligence she so recently gained in Red Lanterns #3). And that splash page in issue #2! So cool!

There you have it, a nerd’s humble opinions on some of the best new titles the new 52 has to offer! Tune in next week when I inevitably talk about Uncanny X-men #2 (out next week!) vs. Wolverine and the X-Men #2 (out this week!).

Happy reading!

It’s like there’s a schism between us

Hey guys!

let’s get down to business shall we?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had a passionate and sometimes fleeting romance with the X-Men. Once upon a time, this was the only Marvel title I would read. Anything involving the X-Men would captivate me because of the depth and meaning to the X-Men’s problems. They’re outcasts who deal with racism, homophobia and various other higher social messages that made them a captivating team. That being said, they were always one of the more topsy turvy titles that went all over the place and got kinda confusing for me personally.

But recently, with the releases of Uncanny X-Men #1 and Wolverine and the X-Men #1, I’ve decided to dip my toes back into the material, something I haven’t done since the Messiah Complex book. So let’s get up to speed together. From what I’ve been able to understand, there was a Schism between Wolverine and Cyclops(Wolverine kept leaving the toilet seat up and Cyclops just couldn’t take it anymore). This split isn’t entirely unexpected considering the tense relationship they’ve always shared. They decided to separate into two teams that can do as they choose (and Marvel gets to make two new #1s, very shrewd).

Wolverine and the X-Men #1 was released first and I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It was fantastical and interesting, especially since our resident bad-a** Wolverine is now the headmaster of an institute similar to Xavier’s. The way in which we are introduced to the school and its students is sweeping and very well done. I may not know who any of these characters are, other than those formerly of the Original X-Men, but I felt that the roster at the back of the book and the fairly simple introductions are good for a start. It also ends on a good note, throwing in some general chaos to start the series off. All in all it’s a great intro book and I’m very excited to see what direction this takes. Verdict: Definitely worth picking up.

Uncanny X-Men #1 is recently released and this follows Cyclops and those who decided to stay with him. This includes such dubious characters as Magneto, Namor and the nearly naked Emma Frost (seriously, she’s always rocking like 3 pieces of fabric?). I was pretty confused by the whole situation, and especially this “other self” that apparently occupies Colossus, which turned out to be Juggernaut which is pretty damn cool. A quick wikipedia search cleared that up for me, so in the end it’s not all that confusing. It just requires a little extra research if you weren’t already privy to the little details. On the whole, this book was definitely interesting, and Cyclops’ new attitude is interesting. He adresses the fact that the X-Men’s original goal of mutant acceptance by society has been on the back-burner for too long and they need to do something about it. This serious tone is what will have me returning next issue. This book is also much more in the nitty gritty than Wolverine and the X-Men, so if you want to se the team gets elbow thick in fighting and a familiar enemy then this is what you should buy. Verdict: As with Wolverine and the X-Men, you should definitely pick this up.

Ultimately, I think you should check out both books. If you’re a bigger fan of Wolverine, it still might be worth checking out Uncanny X-Men and vice versa if you’re a bigger fan of Cyclops. Both books have their merits and in my opinion, they both seem like they’re going to lead to interesting things. And of course, there’s always the possibility that the two teams are gonna duke it out, which would be awesome.

Starting Points

Happy day after Hallowe’en, everyone. Hope you all made sure to saturate your gullet with as much sugar as your mortal bloodstream could handle! I know I did.

What with being a big time university student at all, I find myself spending more time reading dreary, dusty authors talk about the public sphere and cybernetics and less time reading comics. Let’s face it: the comics industry moves super fast, and requires a good amount of effort to keep up with. Now, this is obviously no problem for fans of the medium, but I know from experience that, for many would-be comics enthusiasts, the prospect of finding a starting point can be like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down at an enormous ocean. Filled with comic books. Don’t fret! I’ve prepared a list of a few graphic novels that were excellent starting points for me when I first took the plunge a few years ago.

Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1

The original Ultimate Spider-Man series which started in 2000 is very straightforward, easy to digest and is enjoyable for any age group, kicking off with Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man. If you like the series, there’s a lot of content to continue on with; you’ll never be at a loss for reading material.

Batman: Hush

This graphic novel is not too heavy subject matter-wise, yet still gives a great sense of who and what Batman is. Where Hush really shines is that nearly every member of the Batman universe gets a moment in the spotlight, introducing new readers to characters under the umbrella of a single storyline.

Transmetropolitan vol. 1

Stepping away from Marvel and DC for a minute, Transmetropolitan was recommended to me when I first started reading comics. It follows the futuristic story of Spider Jerusalem, a disgruntled journalist who returns to the city after years away. It deals with some interesting ideas about politics, corruption and future social responsibility in the most stylish of ways.

That’s all for now, but if none of these appeal to you, hit me up and I’ll give you some more great recommendations. If you want a suggestion for a book about a specific superhero, ask away in the comments. Feel free to give this list to your friends, your children, your friends’ children and any other relations who may have an inkling to start reading comics.

Music pick: “Green Naugahyde” by Primus. Key tracks: Tragedy’s a’Comin’, Hennepin Crawler and Jilly’s On Smack

Later dudes!

More Introductions & Batman: The Animated Series

Hey there, excellent folks. My name is Alex, and I’m another employee who you’ll likely run into in one of our shops. You don’t have to refer to me as “Shopkeep” in an old-timey voice, but I totally wouldn’t object to it. I’m a comic connoisseur, obviously, but aside from the inky pages I’m also an aficionado of music, movies and animation. I’ll likely be posting a lot about these things. Prepare yourselves.

If I had to define my childhood in a few key phrases, “Batman: The Animated Series” would be one of them, right after “fear of finger painting.” In a most excellent turn of events, my 11 year-old brother recently started collecting comics, so last week I sat him down to watch a bunch of episodes of The Animated Series, as well as the movie, “Mask of the Phantasm.”

For those who have never seen it, it was one of those monumental shows which perfectly captured the essence of the Caped Crusader (and what I still consider to be the definition “Batman”). Bruce Timm’s art style was simple and dynamic, with a mastery of lighting and contrast: the shadows, combined with a killer art deco style, made for a perfect Gotham with a distinct identity. The voice work was absolutely perfect, too; Kevin Conroy will forever be the definitive voice of Bruce Wayne to me, and Mark Hamill sits just above the late Mr. Ledger as the quintessential Joker.

While it was definitely made to be kid-friendly, I was really impressed by how carefully the producers treated the subject matter. We watched the Bane episode (mostly in an attempt to rid my brother’s mind of Joel Schumacher’s insulting version of the character) and I was pleased to find that, with some alterations, the story was essentially based on the Knightfall arc when Bane first appeared in the comics, even climaxing with Bane holding the Dark Knight above his head and screaming, “I WILL BREAK YOU!” (although Bane does get foiled last-minute. I guess breaking Batman’s back wouldn’t go over well with the younger demographics.)

Needless to say I’m supporting my brother’s interest with all the enthusiasm I can muster. So far, he’s taking in everything he possibly can about Batman. If you have younger siblings, children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are showing an interest, make sure to nurture that. Having a common ground to bond on is great, too. Next week my brother will be trick-or-treating as the Riddler, and I couldn’t be prouder (his costume is pretty awesome, I won’t lie.)

I figured I’d end off each post with an album I’m listening to. If you have never heard of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, check out their latest album “The Brutalist Bricks.” Key tracks: Bottled In Cork, The Mighty Sparrow.