New Comics for the week of Jan. 27th

Meant to get this out sooner:

 

Credit to Warped Savant on the Whitechapel forums

 

 

  • 2000 AD PACK DEC 2009
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #619 GNTLT
  • ARCHIE #605
  • ASTRO CITY THE DARK AGE BOOK FOUR #1 (OF 4)
  • ATOM AND HAWKMAN #46 (BLACKEST NIGHT)
  • AVENGERS INITIATIVE #32 SIEGE
  • BATMAN AND ROBIN #7
  • BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM #12
  • BLACK TERROR #7
  • BLACKEST NIGHT JSA #2 (OF 3)
  • BUCK ROGERS #8
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN #6 (OF 6)
  • CHEW #8 (MR)
  • COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND #2 (OF 4)
  • DAREDEVIL #504
  • DARK REIGN HAWKEYE #5 (OF 5) DKR
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #861
  • DIE HARD YEAR ONE #5
  • DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP #8 (OF 24)
  • DOCTOR VOODOO AVENGER OF SUPERNATURAL #4
  • DON BLUTH SPACE ACE #5 (OF 6)
  • DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #350
  • FALL OF HULKS RED HULK #1 (OF 4) FOH
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #575
  • FRANK FRAZETTAS DARK KINGDOM #4 (OF 4)
  • FUTURAMA COMICS #47
  • GFT PRESENTS NEVERLAND #0 (OF 6)
  • GI JOE COBRA II #1
  • GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #8
  • GREEN LANTERN #50 (BLACKEST NIGHT)
  • GRIM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS NEVERLAND #0 (OF 6)
  • GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #22
  • HALO BLOOD LINE #2 (OF 5) (MR)
  • IRON MAN I AM IRON MAN #1 (OF 2)
  • IRON MAN VS WHIPLASH #3 (OF 4)
  • IRREDEEMABLE #10
  • JACK OF FABLES #42 (MR)
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE CRY FOR JUSTICE #6 (OF 7)
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #41
  • JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #35
  • KICK ASS #8 (MR)
  • KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #158
  • MADAME XANADU #19 (MR)
  • MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #59
  • MARVEL PREVIEWS FEBRUARY 2010
  • MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #3 (OF 8)
  • MS MARVEL #49
  • NEW AVENGERS #61 SIEGE
  • NORTHLANDERS #24 (MR)
  • OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #13
  • PILOT SEASON DEMONIC #1
  • PREDATOR #4 (OF 4)
  • PREVIEWS #257 FEBRUARY 2010
  • PUNISHER #13
  • ROBOCOP #1 (MR)
  • SECRET WARRIORS #12
  • SIEGE STORMING ASGARD HEROES AND VILLAINS
  • SKY PIRATES OF NEO TERRA #5 (OF 5)
  • SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVES TP VOL 12
  • SPARTACUS BLOOD AND SAND #4 (OF 4)
  • SPIDER-MAN CLONE SAGA #5 (OF 6)
  • STAR TREK TNG GHOSTS #3
  • STAR WARS LEGACY #44 MONSTER PT 2 (OF 4)
  • SUPERGIRL #49
  • SUPERMAN #696
  • SUPERMAN SECRET ORIGIN #4 (OF 6)
  • SWORD #21 (MR)
  • TALES OF TMNT #66
  • TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #60 (MR)
  • TEEN TITANS #79
  • THOR #606
  • TRANSFORMERS LAST STAND O/T WRECKERS #1
  • ULTIMATE COMICS ENEMY #1 (OF 4)
  • UNKNOWN DEVIL MADE FLESH #4
  • UNKNOWN SOLDIER #16 (MR)
  • VICTORIAN UNDEAD #3 (OF 6)
  • WALKING DEAD #69 (MR)
  • WALL-E #2
  • WEB #5
  • WILDCATS #19
  • WITCHBLADE #134
  • WIZARD MAGAZINE #222 MARVEL SIEGE CVR
  • WOLVERINE ORIGINS #44
  • WOLVERINE WENDIGO #1
  • WONDER WOMAN #40
  • WORLDS FINEST #4 (OF 4)
  • X-BABIES #4 (OF 4)
  • X-FACTOR #201
  • X-FORCE #23 XN
  • X-MEN FOREVER #16
  • X-MEN LEGACY #232 XN

Trade Paperbacks

  • Alias Ultimate Collection TP Book 2
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts GN Vol 1
  • Art of Greg horn HC Vol 2 Cover Stories
  • Avengers World Trust Prem HC
  • Bad Kids Go to Hell TP
  • Batman Under the Cowl TP
  • Cars TP Vol 2 Radiator Springs
  • Deadman Wonderland GN Vol 1
  • House of M HC Wolverine Iron Man & Hulk
  • House of Mystery TP Vol 3 The Space Between
  • Hulk Son of Hulk HC Dark Son Rising
  • Hulk Visionaries Peter David TP Vol 7
  • Incredibles TP Vol 1 City of Incredibles
  • John Stanley Library Thirteen Going on Eighteen HC
  • Justice Society of America Strange Adventures TP
  • Losers Vol 1 and 2 TP
  • Remember GN
  • Secret Warriors Vol 2 God of Fear God of War Prem HC
  • Sketchy Past Art of Peter de Seve HC
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Archives TP Vol 12
  • Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol 2 TP
  • Tank Girl Remastered Ed TP Vol 5 Apocalypse
  • Vertigo Encyclopedia HC
  • Wildcats Family Secrets TP

 

Review: Bartender

There is a small bar, hardly noticeable unless one’s looking for it, known as Eden Hall. There works the bartender Ryu Sasakura, one who is said can give the customers their “Glass of the God.” Indeed, Ryu does show himself to be a master bartender, and with each episode he is able to, with his knowledge of spirits and people, deliver to each customer their “Glass of the God” and thus alleviate their worries, and sometimes even improve their life.

That’s the essence of the plot and right off the bat I bet you’re thinking that either this anime sounds very dull or quite awesome. Well I won’t deny that this is the perhaps the most tranquil anime show I’ve ever seen; however, that comfort and serenity that is found in the bar Eden Hall is perfectly, and I believe purposefully, reflected in each episode of the anime.  As each customer gets a pick-me-up in the bar, I believe the viewer feels equally lifted, less with spirits then perhaps emotions.

The story originated from a manga of the same name by Araki Joh which was adapted into this eleven episode anime in 2006 (with sadly no American release planned at present). The brevity of the series doesn’t require a real sense of commitment, and since each episode’s stories stand on their own one can watch this anime at a leisurely pace and still not miss a beat. I personally still recommend watching the episodes in order since, and this is one of my favorite parts of the show, customers of the bar early on come back as narrators and help tell the stories of future customers who, befit with woe, find themselves in the bar known as Eden Hall.

In my opinion, the series itself is pretty solid. The animation isn’t amazing but charming. The music is pleasant but not obnoxiously catchy or forceful. The characters are introduced deeply enough to where we can sympathize with them but shallow enough to where we know when their time has passed. Much like the bar in the show the anime achieves success on a brief, but perhaps personal, level with the viewer. My only significant complaint relates to the supposed history of many of the drinks that this show explores.  In the anime, there is invariably a tale told about the drink being served to the customer that somehow appropriately fits the customer’s mood or situation.  The idea that each drink had a truly unique history peaked my interest in the show further and gave me a greater appreciation for bartending.  However after finishing the show I learned that while some of the stories were in fact true, perhaps just as many were created solely for the purpose of the show. Admittedly this is not surprising, but I felt a personal let down from this.  Even so, real or not, the mystery of the character’s and their own personal drama is enough to draw me in to this show.

I rate this anime quite favorably and I suggest for anyone having a bad day, or for anyone who wants to just relax with an episode of anime, that you check out Bartender.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Review: Infinite Undiscovery

The best thing about playing Infinite Undiscovery is that it convinced me to buy a HDTV.  See, I had my 360 hooked up to a TV that was at least 12 years old.  I could tell what my characters were doing, but when it came to text, especially in the menus, I just couldn’t make it out.  So I bought my new tv.  But then I was distracted by all of the new games that were coming out, and kept putting off going back to Infinite Undiscovery, until I recently forced myself to play it. 

Which is why I’m reviewing a game that’s over a year old. 

Infinite Undiscovery is the story of Capell, a lazy, cowardly musician.  When the game begins, Capell is in prison, haven been mistaken for the Liberator, a great hero named Sigmund.  After being rescued by a beautiful girl, Capell joins up with Sigmund’s Liberation force, and the adventure to unchain the moon begins.  Yeah, that’s right.  The enemy forces have chained the moon to the ground.  This has caused natural disasters, violent monster attacks, and….you know…huge chains marring the landscape. 

Once you wrap your head around that craziness, you realize the rest of the plot starts out fitting a pretty standard format.  Your team moves from chain to chain, smashing them and gaining support.  When you hit the second disc, you finally come across a few twists that make the story worth following.  At that point, though, the game has a deep hole to dig itself out of.  Far too much of the plot is forgettable, which serves to bring the interesting moments down. 

There are plenty of characters in Infinite Undiscovery, and some of them manage to be interesting despite their clichéd trappings.  Sadly, because of the sheer number of characters, there’s just not enough time to flesh them all out, and the ones I found most interesting seemed to suffer the most.  Another negative is that half of your team is comprised of “secondary” characters.  They can’t be used in your main fighting force, and are only brought in to play when setting up side parties to help you explore large dungeons.  You never control them, and they tend to copy the skills of other party members, so in the end they seem little more than padding.  I feel the number of characters could have been reduced without losing anything.  Instead, it would have allowed for a greater focus on the more interesting characters, which would have really strengthened the game. 

The combat in the game is largely familiar, with a few twists to try and liven it up.  You control only Capell during the free-roaming, real time battles.  You chain together regular attacks and skills, knocking enemies into the air or down on the ground.  The good twist is that you can “link” to another party member, and call on them to use certain skills.  These skills can help you keep your hit chain going, or it can help you open treasures chests you find in the field.  The bad twist is that combat doesn’t pause when you open your menu.  That means that while you change equipment or try to use a healing item, enemies can continue bashing on you.  To get around this, a simple button press calls on your allies to do the healing for you.  It took some time to get used to it, but it did help combat flow a little easier. 

A major positive for this game is how pretty it is.  I thought it looked nice on my old TV, but as soon as the opening movie started playing on my HDTV, I was blown away.  Everything looks so detailed.  The character designs were unique, and spell animations were flashy without being too distracting.  The environment design really helped sell the mood of the story.  The biggest example of this is when you’re deep in an enemy fortress.  The building is dark and falling apart, and creates an oppressive atmosphere.  To be honest, I found the graphics to be the best part of this game. 

I wanted to like this game so much.  RPGs on the 360 are still few and far between, so I had high hopes for this one.  There were moments when it managed to live up to my expectations, but overall, Infinite Undiscovery was a bit of a disappointment.  The clichéd characters, including a secret princess, the child-like strongman, and precocious twin children are never really given a chance to shine.  The interesting plot developments come far too late in the story to have much merit…they seem more like last minute additions, when someone realized the story actually had to go somewhere.  The combat works, and actually manages to be fun to play once you get the hang of it, and the graphics are really eye-catching, and help keep you moving forward.  There was just so much potential for this game, but it fell flat.  Still, it’s worth checking out if you’re an RPG fan.  It’s a relatively quick play through the main story, and worth your time to see what’s happening with the genre on the current consoles. 

Score:  3 out of 5

Review: Dissidia: Final Fantasy

I rarely play fighting games.  That’s not to say I can’t, it’s just that there’s usually not much to draw me in and keep me invested.  I’ve got no connection with the fighters, the story tends to be painful, and eventually I get tired of winning.  As it turns out, all I needed to keep me interested were Final Fantasy characters. 

Essentially, that’s all there is to Dissidia.  It’s a fighting game for the PSP featuring Final Fantasy characters.  That in itself would have been enough to catch my interest.  However, once I got a chance to play the game, I realized it was actually pretty fun.  Not only can you finally see your fantasy death matches play out (Terra vs. Sephiroth is interesting), but you actually get to see your characters grow from all of the time you spend in battle. 

Each character starts out with a few basic fighting skills.  The best part is, even with these very basic builds, each character feels distinct.  You’ve got close range fighters, long distance fighters, magic users, quick but weak, strong but slow…everyone can find a type to start with.  As you fight, you gain experience.  This part is like your everyday RPG.  You gain levels, raise your stats, and learn new abilities and moves.  Being able to set those moves, as well as choosing your equipment, helps you make each character your own.  

Dissidia gives you a few modes to play around in.  There’s a story mode, featuring a board game style of map.  The story isn’t amazing, by any means, but it’s far better than any I’ve encountered in a fighting game so far.  In arcade mode, you fight off a string of enemy fighters.  Quick battle is just that…a fast way to jump right in to a fight.  Communications mode lets you fight against friends, or battle the ghost data of those you’ve connected with in the past.  It’s a pretty standard set-up, but it works well. 

The controls are pretty simple to understand, with only a few small issues.  The combination of a button and a direction changes up your moves, while the addition of a shoulder button let’s you dodge, block, sprint, or go into your super-powered “EX mode”.  Here’s where my one real problem comes in.  When you’re using the shoulder button, sometimes the transition between sprint and attack isn’t so smooth.  There have been many times I lunge in for the kill, only to have my fighter stand in midair, blocking a non-existent attack.  Other than that, though, the controls work well, and help me have a real choice in what move I’m using at any given moment. 

There were times when I played the game that I just wanted to stop pressing buttons and admire the view.  The graphics are wonderful, with highly detailed characters, flashy attacks, and gorgeous cutscenes.  There were a few times when the level design and camera didn’t get along, but other than that, I have no complaints, and plenty to rave about. 

So what’s my final word on Dissidia?  If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, then definitely check it out.  If you’re a fighting fan, you really should give it a try…there’s a lot for you to love.  If you don’t enjoy either of those…well…see if someone has a copy you can play.  It’s hard to recommend to those that aren’t in to either of its main draws, but you may still find yourself sucked in.  But a warning, to all who play the game…once you’re hooked, it’s hard to put down. 

Score:  4 out of 5