5 Things About The Poltergeist Remake

I had the "Privilege" seeing the Poltergeist remake this weekend.  As a general rule, I hate horror movies and do everything in my power to avoid them.  However, my wife ADORES them, although I'm not sure which she enjoys more: watching the movie or watching ME watch the movie.  Regardless, the original Poltergeist was one of her favorites growing up, so as soon as I heard that there was a remake, I knew that I was doomed to see it.  Having now seen it, I have some thoughts, which I will now share with you, relatively spoiler free.

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The Flash Review - "Fast Enough" aka The Best Dang Hour of TV Ever!

I've learned over the past few days that writing TV recaps is hard when you start with season finales.  Every single one I want to say "Wow!  What an episode!", but that seems to diminish the future recaps.  I find that to be especially true this week, as I saw probably the best hour of television (Daredevil aside) that I had seen in a while, and that was The Flash season finale.  Honestly, this is the part where I would throw up "SPOILERS AHEAD" and move right into the review...


...Except that I can't.  Last night's episode was so amazing and gut wrenching that I really do not want to spoil anything for anyone.  So this review will be fairly light and spoiler free.  First of all, I've never had a show play with my emotions as much as this episode did.  There were times I was cheering at the screen, times I couldn't keep myself from yelling out "NO!!!!", in addition to times where I was thoroughly confused.

 
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Review: "Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2"

Before I start on this post, I realize that a few weeks back I mentioned that I was trying to avoid doing written blog reviews.  What I meant to say was that I am trying to not constrain myself to just writing review posts, I want to make sure that the blog posts I write are constantly entertaining and not pigeon holed into one type of writing.  Having said that, I was recently sent copies of Parts 1 and 2 of The Secretist by Wizards of the Coast, written by Doug Beyer.  The Secretist is the story that accompanies the current Magic: The Gathering set, Return to Ravinca.  If you're a fan of Magic or a big lover of fantasy books, you will want to click past the break for more.

For those of you who may not be that familiar with Magic; it is a collectible card game where you and your opponent take the form of powerful mages called "Planeswalkers" who duel each other.  Each year, Wizards of the Coasts releases a "block" of Magic cards.  This block of cards consists of 3 different sets that are released throughout the year.  Each one of the sets within the same block of cards take place in the same location, sharing a common theme and background story that weaves its way into the various characters, abilities, and flavor text.  This background story is typically expanded upon by a series of novels that are released around the same time as the individual sets.  So each year, a block will contain 3 sets of cards and 3 novels; one to go with each set.  This year, Wizards is experimenting with this formula a bit; releasing 3 shorter novellas throughout the year as ebooks.
The first part, Return to Ravnica, The Secretist Part 1, stars Jace Belerin, a Planeswalker who specializes in mind magic.  Jace has discovered an ancient code within many of the structures located in the world of Ravnica, a world consisting of one giant city rules by ten various guilds.  The code that Jace has discovered is believed to lead to an "Implicit Maze," which at the end of it is rumored to contain some sort of weapon.  In February, the second ebook in the series, Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2, the discovery and subsequent exploration of the Implicit Maze has caused dissent between the ten guilds, causing their leaders to prepare for all out war.  Jace finds himself in the middle of the guilds' tensions and must find a way to discover what is really inside the Implicit Maze before war tears apart the entire world of Ravnica.
Up until this point, I had never read Magic's background novels.  Each year I see them, and am tempted to read them, but they always get placed low on my to-do list.  When I got the copies of "The Secretist", I was determined to finally get off of my butt and read these Magic stories.  I downloaded both parts for the Kindle app on my iPad and got to reading.  The availability of the stories as ebooks made it so much easier to obtain and read through the stories, and I really enjoyed that.  If Wizards of the Coast were to release all of their Magic stories as ebooks from now on, I could see myself reading more of them.  Especially because I loved this story so much.  The way that the author describes the various people and guilds, most of which are available as different cards in the Magic set, allowed me to get more immersed into the story and location.  The description of the different guilds battling it out is very vivid in its description; you can easily see in your mind the way that the characters cast their spells to attack and defend against their opponents.  I am more of a Science Fiction reader, but I have read a couple of different Fantasy books.  None of them have gone into as detail as these books on the magic and the way that the spells come into reality.  The fact that the card game is called "Magic: The Gathering" probably is a large reason why this is the case.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed these two books, and I am really excited for the final part of the story.  Not only that, but I am excited for the next time that I get to play the Magic card game, as I feel I will have more understanding as to why the cards are the way that they are and why certain mechanics behave in a particular way.  That, of course, is probably Wizards of the Coast's goal in publishing these Magic stories; and for this Magic Block, I feel that they have succeeded.
Gatecrash, The Secretist Part 2, along with the first part of the tale, can be found for $1.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.  If you are a big Magic: The Gathering fan, or someone who wants a different sort of fantasy tale, then I highly recommend that you pick up this book.  If you do, let me know what you think and if you are as excited as I am for the final part!

How I Learned To Never Buy A Mattel Subscription

That's right, normally I review products that generally enjoy, but today I'm going to tell you how I got duped into buying a Mattel Action Figure Subscription and why that ended up being a bad idea. Read onwards to discover my mistakes....

 

Back around July of 2011, I was young(er) and stupid. I had been doing "Action Figure Friday" with my daughter (to be) Chloe for a couple of months and was really getting into the collecting of action figures. I had a relatively small collection, mainly focused on Batman and other DC Super Heroes, with a couple of Marvel figures from the Thor/Captain America movies that came out that year. It was around this time that Mattel announced their "Club Infinite Earths" subscription. I knew nothing of the Mattel subscriptions, but the idea of getting a random DC figure each month sounded rather appealing. So I signed up for the subscription. I knew that not every figure would be someone I was interested in, but I thought maybe I could re-gift them to other friends and family.

Worst....idea....ever.

First of all, I bought the subscription in July 2011 as I stated above. The first figure didn't even ship until almost A YEAR LATER in April 2012. Then, the subscription period ran until here recently, when I got the last figure in December. So from when I bought the subscription to my last figure received was a total time frame of a year and 5 months. In that time, the following items occurred:

- Bought a new car

- Got married

- Ashley changed jobs

- Bought a house

All of which contributed to my free spending money being far less than it was in the past. Yet, once the subscription kicked in, there was money that I had promised to pay every month going to an action figure. I tried sending an email to Mattel, saying that I just wasn't in the financial situation that I was when I bought the subscription and would like to cancel. Yet would they let me get out of the subscription? NOPE! Asking people to make that big of a financial commitment every month when we are in this economy is a bit nuts if you ask me. There was no way for me to know what my finances were going to be like when the program started.

The sad part is that if I could easily rationalize these figures if they were characters I was interested in. Yet, a year of figures later, there is maybe only 3 or 4 that I actually would want to keep. I was hoping there would be more, but some of these characters I haven't even heard of! This was also the first year of the DC Subscription. I would think that for the first year, you would want more recognizable characters to entice people to continue their subscription for another year. Not only that, I had no idea how much my credit card would be charged each month. Some months were normal figures, but some months had "deluxe" figures, and some months they doubled up on figures since the program didn't start until April!

As messed up as the program is, I do think that it could be really great with a few minor tweaks:

1) Allow people to cancel their subscription: The only real reason to get a subscription is that you get guaranteed the figures and you get the special "Club Exclusive" Figure. All they'd have to do is make the Club Exclusive figure the last figure of the year, then if you stayed with it the whole time then great - here's your figure! If you cancel your subscription, then oh well you're out of luck until next year - but if you couldn't afford to buy the figures anymore, this would really help you out.

OR

2) Require everyone to buy all the figures in advance: Just like magazine subscriptions, you put up a bunch of money in the beginning and then you get the reward sprinkled out throughout the year. This way, if you've got the money then you can buy the figures. Then if your situation changes, you're not out any extra money because you've already spent it. Also, this would help people new to these subscriptions (like I was) to better understand how much this would cost overall.

Basically, the point of this article was to warn people who aren't as familiar with these subscriptions like I was to be careful. Make sure you fully understand what you are committing to before you sign up for them. Honestly, its probably easier to just buy the figures you want individually from Mattel's website. If you really HAVE to have that Club Exclusive figure - go get it on Ebay. It's probably cheaper than buying all the other figures you won't want.

Having said all of that....when I heard the first figure for 2013 was the Blue Lantern Saint Walker, my first thought was "Ooooo I would actually want that...."

 

Munchkin Zombies Review

The last in this set of Munchkin review videos, this week I take a look at Munchkin Zombies!  One of my favorite sets to play, this version of Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games has the Munchkins be zombies and do whatever it takes to get to level 10, using whatever they can find around them as equipment.  Check out the video, and if you want to purchase the game, click here to go to Amazon and order it.  I'll get a cut back, and you get a great game!

Munchkin Conan Review

In this video review, I take a look at one of Steve Jackson Games' latest games - Munchkin Conan!  Its the same great Munchkin you love, now set in the Conan the Barbarian universe.  What do I think of it?  Take a look and find out!

*This copy of Munchkin Conan was provided to me by Steve Jackson Games to review*

If you would like a copy of this game, click this link to Amazon -> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00857S1WY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00857S1WY&linkCode=as2&tag=obsescomicdis-20 You'll get a great game at a great price, and a tiny bit will come back here to support more reviews/videos/podcasts!

Munchkin Axe Cop Review

I review one of Steve Jackson's Munchkin products - Munchkin Axe Cop! See how it compares to the original game and what my thoughts about it are. If it sounds interesting to you, click on the link below to buy it from Amazon, and a part of the purchase goes to helping me create these videos!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005J2RU84/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005J2RU84&linkCode=as2&tag=obsescomicdis-20

Note: This copy of Munchkin Axe Cop was provided to me by Steve Jackson Games for the purpose of reviewing it.

Baltimore Comic Con Wrap-Up

This past weekend, I took the family (and Philip) up to Baltimore for the Baltimore Comic Con! Those of you who listen to Relative Dimensions have heard some of this on this week's episode, but for everyone else I wanted to put up a blog post about it as well. Read onwards to hear what I thought.

Ever since I have gotten into comic books, I have looked forward to the Baltimore Comic Con every year. It is probably my favorite comic convention that I have been to (New York ranks up there as well, but the distance and money involved make it second best). The first year I went, Ashley and I even dressed up and participated in the first annual costume contest that they held.

So how did this year rank up? First of all, I tried to fix many mistakes that I had made in the past. Starting off - I tried to park a little ways away from the convention center, but not TOO far away. My reasoning for this - I didn't want to have a long walk, but I didn't want to waste $15-20 of valuable comic con money to pay for parking. I still ended up paying $10, which is not as good as I would have liked, but I think to get any cheaper I would have had a long hike.

Secondly, I made sure to get there as soon as I could. We got to the convention center right around when the con started, and aside from some issues checking in (more on that in a second), we still were able to get in not too long after the doors opened. Given that most of the vendors do not change between years, Ashley led the way to one side of the dealers and started looking for good deals -- which she succeeded at. She found some of the World of Warcraft Premium series of action figures for only $5 a pop (normally they are like $30+), which we quickly snatched up. At the same booth, I even found the Caveman Batman and Colonial Batman figures from the Return of Bruce Wayne series (didn't really care to get them at $15+, but at $5? Sure!).

Normally, I use Baltimore Comic Con as an excuse to stock up on $5 trade paperbacks, but this year I didn't see a lot of them that I wanted. Ashley and Chloe sure stocked up though; they found lots of them that they wanted to read. I'm not going to complain, anything to get Chloe reading is a plus in my book. What I *did* find though were a lot of retailers selling $1 single issues - INCLUDING new releases! I immediately took to those bins, digging for any New 52 Batman titles. See, I haven't been following that many comics recently due to the wedding/new house. While I've stayed up to date with at least Batman and Justice League, a lot of the other Bat-titles (Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Detective Comics) I've gotten behind on. However, at $1 an issue, I quickly caught up on many of those titles, which I'm excited about.

My only beef with Baltimore Comic Con is that if you show up to the event having not bought a ticket, it can be kind of hard to understand what you need to do. Ashley and I had already got tickets in advance, so we were good; but Philip didn't. We spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what line he needed to be in and where to go for tickets. At one point, someone made us believe that he had to get his ticket and then leave the convention center to get his wristband, but that turned out not to be the case. The other downside to the convention wasn't the convention's fault, it was my lack of keeping up with the comic book world. I normally like to cruise around artist alley and interview a couple of comics peoples, but having not that much time to spend at the con and not being as up to date on what people are working on, I chose to spend my time going through the rest of the floor.

All in all, Baltimore is a great convention that I look forward to going to with the family every year. Just as in years before, I'll take lessons from this year and apply them to my experience next year. Heck - hopefully next year or the year afterwards I'll be able to afford a table at the con and be there both days to enjoy the event to the fullest. If you live in the DC/MD/VA/PA area, then I highly suggest that you attend next year.

Did you go to the convention? What did you enjoy about it? Leave me a note in the comments.

 

Comic Review: Legends of the Dark Knight #1 (DC Comics)

Yesterday, I decided that I had so many ideas for Batman-related blog posts that I would just make this week Bat-Week. So far, you can read my review of The Dark Knight Rises or check out one of the not as popular new 52 Batman comics. Today, I thought I would offer up another comic review, but this time I'm reviewing the digital exclusive comic Legends of the Dark Knight by Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire. Read on for my thoughts...

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I had heard of this comic when it first debuted not too long ago, but I picked it up recently for the same reason that I tried out the Red Hood comic: it is only $0.99. That price point is my prime target for digital comics and I will try out just about anything at that price. So earlier this week when I was looking for some cheap comics I rediscovered this title and decided to try out the first issue.

Let's just say I won't be picking up anymore issues. I hated this comic! First of all, it felt like there was hardly a story here at all. There was 20+ pages, but each page is formatted landscape and there is not much on each page. We end up getting a small story about how Alfred teaches Batman a lesson early on in his crime-fighting....and that's it. In my opinion, there isn't hardly anything here that is entertaining on any level: if this lesson was incorporated into a normal comic, it would have taken up 2-3 pages and that is it. Which is basically what I got: 2-3 normal comic pages worth of story.

Not only that, but the story itself plays out as very weak. The Batman in this story makes some fairly big mistakes, ones that I couldn't really believe he was doing upon first read. When I sat back and thought about it, it *might* make sense that they would be mistakes that Batman would make early on--but its a stretch. To make matters worse, I am NOT a fan of the artwork in this issue at all. There was one particular panel that was a close up of Batman's face and it almost made me gag.

IN CONCLUSION: Don't bother with this comic. There are plenty of other good digital comics that take advantage of the $0.99 price point very well - IDW's Transformers: Autocracy series is a great example of this. Go read that comic instead.

Have you found any really cheap digital comics lately? Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email at chris@ocdcast.com.

Comic Review: Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 (DC Comics)

With everyone in the Batman mood, I thought that I would continue the Bat-theme of this week with a Batman comic that some of you may not have heard of. It's Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort, which came out last year in September with The New 52 initiative that DC has going. Jump past the break to see what I thought about this comic.

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With DC's new 52, I was trying to limit which comics I read and which ones I passed on. Honestly, if I had the money, I would have read them all. Even though it is a Batman related property, I haven't been a big fan of Jason Todd, so I passed on it for now. Yet, today I was browsing through comics on Comixology and this comic along with its $0.99 price tag convinced me to try it out.

In this comic, we have Jason Todd, who was once Robin but is now parading around as Red Hood. Joining him is Green Arrow's former sidekick Roy Harper and the alien princess Starfire. Together, these misfits band together to form a team that specializes in the tasks that lie in the morally gray area. I remember when this comic came out it got a lot of bad press for its portrayal of Starfire. It is not the cartoony Starfire shown in Teen Titans, that is for sure. While there are a few moments where I wish she was more of a stronger woman figure, she has been given some skimpy outfits by artists for quite a long time now. So her personally does not really shock me that much. Plus, as a band of misfits, she works in this group.

I like this comic. To me, it seems to be of the same sort as the Secret Avengers title that Marvel has - the black ops group that does the deeds that the A list super heroes can't be seen doing. It isn't perfect - for instance as much as Jason Todd makes it seem that he is trying to get away from the Batman, he runs around with a big red bat on his chest. Even with its minor flaws, it is an interesting story that has captured my attention.

IN CONCLUSION: Buy this comic. The first issue is less than a buck, so what do you have to lose? I've already went ahead and bought the second issue, and I'm sure I'll be buying the third issue really soon as well.

Did you enjoy this comic? What other Batman comics should I review this week?

Why I Was Disappointed By The Dark Knight Rises

What? You might be saying to yourself right now, How could someone as big a Batman fan as Chris be disappointed by that movie? Everyone else is talking about how great it is. Come forth, reader, as I explain my mixed feelings on the matter.

 

In the midst of all the horrible news surrounding Aurora and the shooting (my prayers go out to all the friends and families of the people involved), I decided to go see The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion to the Batman trilogy that I have loved so much. Now, before I got into why I was disappointed, let me explain myself a bit. This movie was epic. It was a fitting piece to the Nolan trilogy, tying itself back into the other two movies so seamlessly that it makes me wonder if Christopher Nolan had planned this all along. From a movie goer perspective, I loved this movie. It is the Batman fan in me that is conflicted.

 

For three hours, I sat and watched, both curious and anxious as to how Christopher Nolan was going to end his tale on Batman. Afterwards, when it was all said and done, I felt....conflicted. It was a very weird feeling, as I could not completely explain why I felt the way that I did. To put it into perspective, when I saw Batman Begins for the first time, I was so completely amazed and excited. I couldn't stop talking about it for weeks.

 

For The Dark Knight, I was still amazed/excited about the movie, but for different reasons. Mainly, I was very much impressed with Heath Ledger's Joker. In fact, I think part of my disappointment with The Dark Knight Rises stems from the fact that we will never get the conclusion that was supposed to happen: the conclusion where Batman and the Joker face each other for the final time. The Joker storyline in The Dark Knight was left open, but because of the death of Heath Ledger we will never know what the 3rd Batman movie would had been like if he had been in it.

To me, my biggest letdown was the ending. I am not going to spoil anything, but I enjoyed the way that the movie set up Batman with obsticles that he had to rise above - I just didn't like the fact that these obsticles led to the conclusion that we got. Honestly, I spent a long time trying to think of what I would have done in Nolan's place. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the end of the movie should be chopped off and we needed a fourth Batman movie.

It was at this point I realized why I was disappointed by The Dark Knight Rises: a series that I had come to love was over. The conflicting feelings that I had were the same as when my favorite TV shows come to a finale - you may enjoy the ending, but you hate the fact that its over. Now that I have figured this out, I want to go see the movie again and just enjoy it for what it is. Actually, what I really want to do now is watch all three movies back to back and take in the movies as a trilogy and see how I feel then.

Bottom Line: Go see the movie. It is a very good movie; and I want to know what you think. Am I off base here? Did you feel any differently? Let me know.

 

Game Review: Duel of the Planeswalkers 2013 (iPad)

Are you a big fan of Magic: The Gathering? Do you love creating decks of powerful cards, yet do not have a place to play with other people? Well, now you are in luck, as Wizards of the Coast has released the 2013 version of their popular Duel of the Planeswalkers video game. Not only that, but for the first time, there is an iPad version! Read on to hear my thoughts of the game.

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I've been waiting for this app for a long time. I loved Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, and I couldn't wait to see how it translated to the iPad. However, it took me forever to find this app! I searched for Magic the Gathering, Duels of the Planeswalkers, and a couple of other things and I couldn't find it! It wasn't until I looked on another review online and found a link to the app store that I realized it was found under Magic 2013. So my biggest complaint is that they should have put more keywords in so that the app would be easier to find.

The app itself is really great: you can download the app for free and get a few fights and a couple of decks to choose from. For 9.99, you can unlock the remaining decks and play multiplayer with your friends. Overall, the app plays very much like the previous iterations of the game, with a few minor tweaks. I haven't had a chance to play multiplayer yet, but I'm loving the Campaign within the game. I never got very far in Duels 2012 because when I sat down at my computer to play, I would rather spend time in a game like World of Warcraft or something else. However, with it on the iPad, now I can just sit on the couch (or anywhere else I have my iPad) and play some Magic. I can't wait to play further and unlock some of the other ways to play the game.

IN CONCLUSION: Download this game! If you have ever been interested in Magic The Gathering, then this game has a great tutorial to teach you how to play. Plus, you can try it out for free!

Have you tried out the game? What do you think? Leave a comment or send me an email at chris@ocdcast.com.

 

Digital Ink: Review of "Fables #1"

It's Wednesday everyone, Happy New Comics Day!  Chris here again from Obsessive Comics Disorder (http://ocdcast.com).  While I, like many of you, wait patiently to get into Diablo III, I thought I'd post this week's comics review - "Fables #1" by Bill Willingham/Lan Medina/Steve Leialoha (Vertigo, $0.99).  Okay, now I know that *technically* Vertigo is a part of DC Comics and I said I'd review something other than that, but given the popularity of Fables and the fact that A) I hadn't read it yet, and B) they had a big sale on the comics this week, and C) it isn't your standard Batman/Superman or other super hero comic book that you guys would let it slide.  Am I right?

Fables is all about what happens with "Happily Ever After" meets reality.  All of the characters from various children's fairy tales seem to be involved in the story, where these characters have been evicted from their fantasy homes and forces to live in New York City.  Those that can't pass as "normal" get magical disguises so that they can move through the city without raising any suspicion.  In fact, this is the number one rule of the "Fables" -- as they call themselves -- that they must not reveal the existence of themselves to the normal world.  Therefore, a small underground government has propped up to take care of matters between the various characters.  We get glances into what these characters would be like if they had to face the harsh realities that we deal with everyday.

When I finished this book, I was very conflicted.  I have heard from years from many different people how good this book is.  Yet, from just reading the first issue, there really isn't much here to pull me in.  A story is set up involving the disappearance/possible murder of Snow White's sister Rose Red, but I am not pulled into the storyline as much as I feel I should be.  Honestly, if it were not for the reputation of this book, I wouldn't bother picking up any more issues of this book.  I find myself wondering more about how these characters got to this point than what is going on now.  If the comic had started with some of that storyline, I would have been more drawn to this.

As far as the art goes, it seems to blend nicely with the storyline.  By that I mean while this is a story set in modern times, you get this fairy tale-like experience while reading the book.  Even though I was reading this on my iPad, I could see this comic getting made into a giant leather-bound book.  I'm not the biggest fan of this art style, but it seems to work in this book.  It would just take me awhile to get used to it.

My Rating: 2 out of 5.  As of right now, this comic seems to suffer from the problem of being over hyped.  Coming in fresh, I just do not see what people see in this comic.  However, I am willing to give this a couple more issues to see if it grabs me.  Yet, as the first issue is still only 99 cents, anyone out there should give this a try.  As always, if you have any opinions, feel free to comment below or send me an email at chris@ocdcast.com

Off The Shelf Reviews: Green Lantern Edition!

I bought a few Green Lantern trades at the Philly Comic Con, and I've finally managed to make it through all of them. Most of my thoughts were similar, so here is one post where I'll tackle the three books: Green Lantern: No Fear, Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern, and Green Lantern Corps: Sins of the Star Sapphire.

Green Lantern: No Fear (Geoff Johns, Carlos Pacheco)

This book reminded me a lot of Green Lantern: Secret Origin, which chronologically takes place before this book but in the Green Lantern series appeared much later.  First of all, I recognized many pages in this book as being taken from that story (or Secret Origin took them from here?) when talking about Hal Jordan and his past.  They leave it very mysterious, giving us a hole that was probably designed on purpose so that Secret Origin could fill it.  I thought it was so awesome, as it showed that Geoff Johns did a lot of planning for this series and had the storyline mapped out a good ways in advance.

One other thing that I noticed, and its something I look forward to in the new DC Universe: Green Lantern outside of an "event".  I started reading comics (and Green Lantern in particular) right before the big "Blackest Night" event.  Ever since then, Hal Jordan has been involved in one sort of event or another between Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and the War of the Green Lanterns.  Its very refreshing to see Hal doing his Green Lantern duties without the fate of the universe being in jeopardy.  CONCLUSION:  Buy this!

Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern (Dave Gibbons, Patrick Gleason)

 This is the first trade of the revitalized Green Lantern Corps series.  Ever since I started reading Green Lantern, I've not felt as strongly about GLC as I have with the main series, and this trade reinforces that.  There are so many characters in the Corps and many of them I just don't care about.  One or two of the storylines were entertaining, but the rest of the trades was just kinda blah....  I guess I really prefer Hal Jordan as Green Lantern over Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner.  I need to read more of their stories to be sure.  CONCLUSION:  Borrow.

Green Lantern Corps: Sins of the Star Sapphire (Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason)

Leading up to Blackest Night, this trade introduces us to the "Star Sapphires", the corps whose rings are powered by the violet color of love.  I liked this story a lot more than the other GLC trade I just talked about, partly because I loved Blackest Night and this gives good background information on this corps.  The first storyline is very short and somewhat entertaining, but doesn't really pertain to the "Sins of the Star Sapphire" theme.  Its not until halfway through the book that we get into that storyline, which is when the trade really starts to pick up.  CONCLUSION:  Borrow.  Its a great story, but only if you want some more information about the Star Sapphires.  Other than that, you probably aren't going to be interested.

Disagree with me?  Have another recommendation of a Green Lantern trade?  Then comment below!

Off The Shelf Reviews: New Avengers: Illuminati

One of the first books I read from my Philly comic con stack, New Avengers: Illuminati gives a behind the scenes look at some of the most powerful/influential people in the Marvel Universe.  But what did I think of it? I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that these issues came out originally around the time that Marvel was setting up Secret Invasion.  The premise of the book is that Iron Man, Professor X, Black Bolt, Namor, Reed Richards and Dr. Strange have secretly made up a group called the "Illuminati", which they use to talk about issues facing the whole planet and other threats.  A large part of the book surrounds the events after the Kree-Skrull War and the Skrulls attempt to invade Earth.

Afterwards, the Illuminati inform the Skrulls that they will not stand for them to try and attack the Earth again.  This begins a series of events that leads towards the Skrulls plotting Secret Invasion.  In addition, there is also a story introducing the reader to the Infinity Gems and has the Illuminati discussing what to do with items that are known to hold such great power.

Given that the primary point of this book is to give the reader some background on events that happened in the Marvel universe, I think it does a very good job of explaining everything that a person needs to know.  It succeeds in telling a story where you dont need to have read anything else to understand whats going on.  Reading this along with Secret Invasion obviously provides several benefits and completely rounds out the story, but on its own, this book is entertaining.

CONCLUSION:  Borrow.  The book is not super awesome or impacting, but its a fun read that flushes out the Secret Invasion storyline.  If you aren't reading that trade or didn't find it interesting at all, then you can pass on this book.

Agree with me?  Beg to differ?  Comment below!

Flashpoint Tie-In Roundup: Weeks 2 & 3

I've been a bit behind on posting about the Flashpoint Tie-Ins, so I thought I'd have one big post to talk about all the books that have come out in the past two weeks.  You may know how I feel already on some, but what about the rest? Week #2

Booster Gold #45 (Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund):  Buy.  I'm enjoying how Booster Gold is tying into the Flashpoint universe.  Its nice knowing that this sort of change can occur and Barry Allen isn't the only one that is seeing the difference.  And if anyone was going to know what is going on, its the time traveling hero Booster Gold.  As much as I disliked Time Masters: Vanishing Point, I really want to read it again to see how well it plays into this series.  Hmm......

Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1 (Scott Kolins):  Buy.  This story starts off with a bang, with Citizen Cold fighting another cold-themed character aka Mr. Freeze.  Being a Batman fan I enjoyed that quite a bit.  Of the second week of tie-ins, this issue was the weakest of the bunch, but it is still better than most of the tie-ins that came out the first week.

Flashpoint: Deathstroke and The Curse of The Ravager #1 (Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Bennett): Buy.  Probably the best book of this set of books.  I really enjoyed this story, as its a bunch of super villains playing pirates....what's not to love?  It also worked great in the grand Flashpoint story by weaving into what we saw of Deathstroke in Flashpoint #2, and I hope issue #2 of this series lets us know what exactly happened after that cliffhanger moment.

Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 (Tony Bedard, Ardian Syaf):  Buy.  For those people who downplayed Flashpoint because they wanted to know more about the so called "main baddies" of the story, Aquaman and Wonder Woman: Read this book!  It helps the overall story so much by helping you see how the war began and how it has gotten so bad.  You really start to understand how Aquaman could get to the point where he would drown half of Europe.

Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 (Jeff Lemire, Ibraim Roberson):  Buy.  A real surprise out of the books this week, as I wasn't really looking forward to reading this issue, but man I'm definitely glad I did!  Anyone who is a real Hellboy fan is going to love this issue, as its the same kind of tale only set in this altered DC Universe.  It's definitely giving me second thoughts about the new series starting in September.

Week #3

Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 (J.T. Krul, Mikel Janin):  Borrow.  An interesting story, and there are some good parts to the story, but it wasn't lacking some of the impact that last weeks stuff had.  Yeah, there's a big cliffhanger at the end of the book, but it just didn't leave a lasting impact with me.  I'm interested to read the second issue and see if I possibly change my mind.

Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1 (One-shot) (Sean Ryan, Ig Guara):  Pass.  This book puzzled me so much.  Had it been a 1 of 3, I would have probably given it a Borrow, but yet with all the storylines given mini-series in this event, this is one that probably should have as well.  They set up Grodd as this powerful unstoppable force on par with Aquaman and Wonder Woman, yet there's nothing that really happens in this book other than that and there's no given continuation of the story.  I guess we might see it in the main Flashpoint story at some point, but this issue doesn't stand out as a "must-read" to understand the character and his motivations.

Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1 (Adam Glass, Rodney Buchemi):  Borrow.  An interesting take on the "Legion of Doom" idea, and a great set up for a villain that I was really not familiar with.  However, other than a bunch of fight scenes and a really interesting but really gross scene at the end, not much happening here.  However, I get a feeling of possibility with this one, so I'm definitely looking forward to the second issue.

Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1 (Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning):  Buy.  Finally, the other side of the Wonder Woman/Aquaman confrontation in this event.  A decent enough set up, and really explains why these two superpowers would hate each other so much.  It gets points deducted for pulling a move I've seen plenty of times in other movies like "The Three Muskateers", but cliche as it is it was still a decent read.

So there you go.  Honestly week #2's books have been my favorite so far, and I'm hoping the books coming up are more like it and less like weeks 1 and 3.  Forget about what I think though, what do YOU think?  Let me know in the comments, or tell me over at our new forum!

Off The Shelf Reviews: Uncanny X-Force Must Have #1

After seeing X-Men: First Class this past Saturday, Ashley and I went to the comic book store and I decided that I should attempt to jump into this thing known as the "X-Men".  My comic book store is currently working on getting me the new X-Men #1 title that came out last year, but in the meantime, I bought Uncanny X-Force Must Have #1, collecting issues 1-3 of the new Uncanny X-Force series.  But did I like it? I've heard nothing but good things about this series, and frankly thats the reason why I decided to finally pick this up.  However, I will have to say, the first part threw me off a lot.  There was so many characters being thrown at me that I wasn't quite sure who was who and what their powers were, etc.  People were talking about things that had happened in the past but I didn't know what they were talking about.  There is also a lot of jumping around as people are introduced to the team and that was slightly confusing as well.

All of these concerns, however, vanish with the second and third issues.  I get to see enough of the characters in action that I'm given all that I need to know and get to sit back and watch them kick some butt.  These issues were great, and I'm already looking forward to getting issue 4 on Wednesday when I go back to the comic book store.  The writing is spectacular, the artwork is very vivid and filled with all sorts of action and stuff you are looking to see coming off of the hit movie this weekend.

CONCLUSION:  Buy.  If you're an X-Men fan, you probably already have this, but if you saw the movie this weekend and are wanting to see some similar mutant action, pick this up.