Thursday, September 28, 2006

Comic reviews WITH SPOILERS -- Sept. 27th, 2006

A busy week ("busy" for me at least) with four titles coming in: Civil War Frontline #6, She-Hulk #12, the Great and Secret Show (can't remember the issue number), and the Ultimates #12. I also picked up the the Pride of Baghdad hardcover but didn't get a chance to read it thanks to ball hockey last night. Every review will contain spoilers (the Civil War Frontline one will avoid spoiling Civil War #4 as Carl hasn't read that yet).

Ultimates #12: The guilty pleasure continues. In this issue you get to see the Aveng... oops, I mean Ultimates do what their regular continuity counterparts won't (unless you are reading Civil War). From the Hulk ripping the Abomination's arms off before putting his first down/through the Abomination's throat (is it still a "decapitation" if it's not the whole head that pops off?) to Quicksilver taking Hurricane past Mach 10 and watching her rip apart in a fight that took a few pages to show but only lasted the second or so that it took Hawkeye to fall to the ground (providing a really cool visual where you see them fighting at super speed while Hawkeye almost looks frozen). The violence is definitely upped for this issue and the gruesome level of detail is pretty amazing. But I do have two not so good things to say about this issue. The "Iron Man 6" armour? Meh. A big battle cruizer type ship with loads and loads of guns. Why they even call it "Iron Man 6" I'm not too sure. And the ending, it was cool on its own even though you knew it was coming (Thor disappears from his cell, Loki finally makes his presence known, you knew it was inevitable... though Scarlett Witch's line was another fanboy moment) but that's the second issue in this storyline (and the second issue in a row) that has ended with the cool return of one of the Ultimates. As Spielberg learned in test screenings of Jaws, there are only so many times you can do the surprise shark scene before people start to wise up and get bored. Fortunately for Millar, the Ultimates are all there now so there's nobody left to have show up in a triumphant return at the end of the next issue. Plus, I think the next issue is the last of his run (and this storyline).

She-Hulk #12 -- Uh oh. I gotta say that I'm not looking forward to this book as much as I once was. I've still found the art rather lacking. It started off ok and I had to double check to see if it was the same artist. Then all of a sudden faces became skewed like their heads were being pressed between two pains of glass and I knew it was the same artist. And I'm actually getting a little tired of the storyline. Every page that John Jameson/Man-wolf/wolf-god-whatever is on I just find myself getting bored and rather annoyed. At least his father had some personality, this guy is just a pain in the arse for me. And then we jump to the Starfox trial in mid-issue (which seemed really weird and didn't seem to flow at all). So Thanos shows up with the claim that Starfox is responsible for his love of Death and therefor made Thanos the mad-Titan that he is (making Starfox somewhat responsible for all of the death and destruction that Thanos has caused). Without going into details (like the fact that Starfox's powers aren't supposed to work on Thanos)this seems like another hoax of some kind. And we just got through that storyline an issue or two ago. And you know what? For a She-Hulk book it seems like this book is spending a lot of time going on about characters other than She-Hulk. I hate to say it but it's getting dangerously close to being taken off my monthly list.

Civil War Frontline #6 (Spoilers included but anything that would ruin Civil War #4 is left out) -- Urich confronts Tony after the Civil War #4 battle and questions him on the battle and the possibility that the Green Goblin was set loose by the pro-reg people. Tony's not impressed. The female reporter (can't remember her name) is detained and questioned (with Reed Richards being the man behind the mirror directing the questions). Reed is then seen talking to Speedball and offers to set up a chance for Speedball to meet with congress (where he is shot in a page that used Lee Harvey Oswald as its template). And Wonder Man discovers the Atlantean sleeper agent is just part of a somewhat more dangerous looking program. And of course we have the last little poem mirroring a historical event with the events in this storyline. All in all, not very impressive. The art, meh. It wasn't overly bad but I can't really say it was all that impressive either. The 4 stories in one book is still rather lame for me and the writing was rather off. There were times that I had to go back and double check to see if I had missed some narration or something. The characters start off with narration, then it stops for a few pages, then starts up again almost in mid thought and I'm wondering what I missed. And who's editting the Civil War books? The big event from Civil War #4 is depicted totally different in this book (and yes, it's kinda important to the effect of the event). I've also been told the prison is depicted differently in this book than in another book as well (which seems to make sense considering how lame it looks here). But then you have Reed Richards. Yet again we have him infringing on the reporter's rights. Then we have him setting up Speedball in what is obviously a possible death sentence (sending him out in the public after you've convinced the country he's responsible for 600 deaths). And throughout it all he's an @$$ who doesn't seem to care that his prison is making people go mental and kill themselves. And as for She-Hulk, she's the friggin' She-Hulk. She's always been opinionated and quick to take action. Yet here we have her as the background voice saying "something isn't right" over and over before getting pushed aside by "security" as Speedball is taken on the wrong path to congress. Regular prisoners get a bulletproof vest to protect them, you'd think she'd have some sort of force field put in place to protect her client here. And she's 7 foot tall mountain of female muscle, she doesn't get pushed aside so easily. Many of the pro-reg characters are being depicted as arrogant, pig-headed, and borderline evil while those who aren't seem just plain stupid. Yeah, as much as I'm trying to keep an open mind to Civil War I don't necessarily like how Marvel's pulling it off.

Great and Secret Show #??? -- This one will have to be shorter as it's almost time for lunch. Art wise I still like this book a lot. Story-wise, I'm getting lost. Characters are popping in and out that I can't keep track of. There were times where the story really didn't flow (one minute they're in a car with a guy, the next that guy is in a car with another guy, and the others are then seen going into talk to the Randall), I just get lost. I think from here on I'll be picking up the issues but not reading them until the series is done. It almost makes me wonder if I would have been better off waiting and hoping that there would be a Trade Paperback version that I could just read over one weekend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Slipping in another comic review with Spoilers

After picking up the Runaways digests 3, 4 and 5 last week I finally got to read 4 and 5 over the weekend. So here's a quick review of the two of them:

The series continues to be a fun read. The reveal of the traitor in the 3rd digest didn't bother me as much as I expected to which was rather odd. I had thought I'd be upset knowing that one of the team betrayed the others and was obviously going to be leaving but when it was revealed I was surprised but not heart broken. I felt bad for the rest of the team though, especially Nico. Some things that kinda irked me a bit is just how bad every adult is made out to be in this book. Sure, I kinda get that this book is all about the children and how the adults constantly under estimate them and all that but you get Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man all looking absolutely ridiculous and very non-heroic. I was a little surprised at how quickly Cloak thought about going to the Runaways for help seeing as how long he's been around and how many other allies he's made but I guess the Runaways were on his mind anyways when he took that shot to the head. The latest addition to the team (another "child" of a villian) was an interesting storyline.

Art-wise I still prefer the original artist over the fill-in more manga style stuff. And the covers still look very nice (even if the odd one has a very different take on the female characters). So will I be picking it up regularly? Not yet. I'm still doing the digest thing. But how about when Whedon takes over? Not quite sure about that. I'll definitely be looking for a TPB or digest version but I'm not sure if I'm ready to add this to my monthly books just yet.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Random Links

Well, not quite "random" but no real though to them.

First up we have the top 50 comic covers from Marvel Comics of 2006 on IGN.

Annihilation #5 not making the cut seems like a travesty to me. But what I first thought of when looking at the list was how many covers featured women as the main subject. Not too many. Then take those and throw away the "sexy" or "funny" (or a combination of the two in the case of some She-Hulk covers) and what are you left with? Well, try it for yourself.

Next up we have a list of the top 10 most common passwords. Sure, a lot of us laughed during Spaceballs with the whole "combination being 12345" gag but how many people became a little uncomfortable thinking "Hey, that's my combination"? And how many of them switched it to 54321? But I guess that one thing you can take from this list is that a lot of people haven't seen Spaceballs or they didn't get the joke.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Weekly comics review - Sept 20th [No spoilers]

Since Carl hasn't received this week's comics yet I'll be avoiding spoilers. And man, it's going to be tough. Two books came out for me this week, Civil War #4 and Astonishing X-Men #17. I also picked up three more digests for Runaways (digests 3, 4, and 5) but I was only able to read one of them so far (I spent most of the evening at my brother's place last night). So what did I read first? I was leaning towards Astonishing but I knew that my brother wanted to talk about Civil War so I made sure to read that first. So on to the reviews:

Civil War #4: Just to get it out of the way, the art on this series has been pretty amazing. In saying so, I'm including the colouring as well (the neutral tones really bring a sense of seriousness to the story). The emotions, the action, it's all good. So I think Marvel picked the write people for the job there. Writing wise... Well I can see why people are upset but I can also see what is trying to be accomplished in the grand scheme of things at Marvel. In this series (maybe not so much in the other Civil War tie ins) the pro-registration side takes a serious beating in the eyes of the reader. You see a quick glimpse of "We're doing this for the right reasons" but it's quickly taken away by a scene where the reader can't help but think "You're doing THAT?" It's up to the reader to say to themselves "This is a war. These people see it as life or death and are doing what it takes to win this war." The problem is that you see what depths the pro-side is willing to go to when fighting their friends but the anti-registration side still seems to claim the moral high ground. And that's a tough pill for fans of the pro-reg. heroes to swallow (and somewhat rightfully so).

Astonishing X-Men #17: This one is going to be tough to review without spoiling scenes. Like the scene where Kitty [REMOVED AS IT WAS A SPOILER], I had goosebumps. The scene with childlike Logan [AGAIN, REMOVED AS IT WAS A SPOILER], you know I was [REACTION REMOVED AS IT MIGHT SPOIL THE [WHAT IT MIGHT SPOIL REMOVED AS IT MIGHT BE A SPOILER]]. And the last page with [REMOVED] holding [REMOVED] after [YOU GUESSED IT, REMOVED], I nearly [REMOVED, REMOVED, REMOVED]. Ok, moving on from the actual story, the art continues to be amazing. The scenes I mentioned above were all excellent, the childlike Logan scene ... [EMOTION REMOVED YET AGAIN][PUNCTUATION REMOVED... SPOILERISH]. The story, the dialogue, it's Joss. If there's a justification for human cloning, Joss is it. If we could just clone him we could lock all those clones up in a basement somewhere. Then we wouldn't have to wait so long for the next issue and his run could continue, or we'd be seeing the Serenity series sooner, or the Buffy series, or the Wonder Woman movie, or his Runaways run. You would have to keep the original locked safely away some where so he'd be available for more cloning because you don't want to start making copies of copies, they are never as good as the original (although still probably better than many of the writers out there). Yes, I'm stealing ideas and jokes from a Michael Keaton movie.

Runaways Digest #3: So we bring to a close our introductory storyline. I'm sorry to see some things go but it wraps up rather nicely. Vaughan doesn't seem to be too concerned about letting things/characters go. That's probably a perk of writing new characters that don't have millions of dollars of merchandise relying on them. The art is back to the original artist (which if you read my last reviews I said I preferred). The only downside is that with most things wrapped up so nicely this almost seems like a decent point to stop reading. You still have the characters to read about but the storyline seems pretty much ended. There doesn't seem to be anything dangling like most writers do (leave something to hook the reader into buying the next story). My only real gripe with it, the covers they show for the individual issues. They bug me. In the book the kids are cartoony but natural looking (ie. not the super wafer thin women you usually see in comic books). Gertrude isn't the prototypical thin comic book character. Molly is young (pre-pubescent) girl wearing children's clothes. Nico, again more natural looking than most comic book characters you see. Then the covers come out and Gertrude is your typical comic book thin young woman, Molly has aged and wearing midriff revealing clothes, and Nico is much more sexualized. It's too bad the covers can't show the characters as they appear in the book. But despite that little rant, I'm looking forward to reading digests 4 and 5 this weekend.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In memory

Some time last night Thor, one of my brother's dogs, passed away. He had been battling a liver disease for some time now but it proved too much for him in the end. I can't really find the words at the moment but he'll be missed by all.

I wish I had better pictures to use as a tribute.

Thor and Loki in their early days.
Thor (on the right with the yellow/gold) and his brother Loki in their younger days.

Thor more recently
Thor in his adult years.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Comic Reviews for Sept. 13th

A rather slow week for me yet again. I really seem to be saying that a lot don't I. Anyways, the one book that came out for me was the Incredible Hulk but I also picked up the first 2 Runaways digests (I guess that's what they're called as they aren't full Trade Paperbacks, they're smaller like manga books). I was also looking to pick up the "Pride of Baghdad" book but I was too late. I had kinda ignored all the hype of this book until it got overwhelming and unfortunately my shop had sold out before I could pick one up. Fortunately, they've got some on re-order and hopefully I'll be picking it up in two weeks. So on to the reviews:

Incredible Hulk #98 -- So the Planet Hulk storyline continues to move along. We get two quick fights (both of which are interrupted), some back story for the Red King and the Lieutenant (which is a good thing), a glimpse at the "old power", and the usual comic book cliffhanger. I haven't been this happy about the Hulk book in quite a while. Even Peter David's return didn't feel as good to me as this does (though it did have its moments). But yet again, there's the "flow" issue. Maybe I'm the only one who feels it but it seems like every issue there's at least one place where I have to go back and forth to see if I'd missed something. Here, it's when the Hulk goes from leaving with the refugees to leading the army into the war. Miek's comment about the Hulk being made to fight (or whatever it was he said) seemed to be hanging and then poof, the Hulk's ready for battle. The reader gets no more motivation or thought process from the Hulk himself. So I kept going back to see if I'd missed something. But it's a minor issue considering how good this book has been.

Runaways (the first two digests) -- So after it was announced that Joss Whedon will be taking over this series I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Plus, I'm thinking it will help to know the characters and such before I start picking up Whedon's run on it (yeah, I'm becoming more and more obsessed with Whedon's work). And I can see why Whedon seems to be the perfect choice for this book. It's almost too perfect. I mean you have a team of super kids coming to terms with life, their parents and their powers. You definitely don't need to use up the 6-degrees of separation to make the obvious connection. But enough about the future, let's get to the review. I really didn't think I'd enjoy this book as much as I did. When I first heard the premise I thought it was sort of interesting but could come off really cheesy and stupid if not done right. By the end of the first "issue" (by issue I mean actually comic issue, each digest contains 6 of them I think) I wasn't "hooked" but I was "interested". But when I got to the end of the first digest I caught myself actually feeling emotion when... well, I won't spoil it but there was a "No, tell me it's not true" moment. It was at that moment that I realized I was sucked in and didn't even realize it. I had made a connection to the characters. So I dove right into the second digest and by the end, I was cursing Vaughan (the writer) for playing with my emotions in this way. And as much as I want to know what happens next I have to avoid any spoilers because I want to read it for myself. So yes, this book deserves the hype storywise.

As for the art of Runaways, I was really worried. The first digest has a manga cover and I'm not a big manga fan. Fortunately (for me at least) although the art in the first digest is "simple" or "cartoonish" to some degree (for lack of a better way of describing it) it worked for the story and added to it instead of detracting from it. Even with what I refer to as "simple" or "caroonish" art you can see these kids in the real world and they'd fit right in. It wasn't until the last two issues in the second digest that the manga art came up and it became a little tougher for me. People's hair became even more cartoony, their faces began to get the dash effect (a bunch of lines going across their face) when they got mad, and such (fortunately nobody turned into a cartoon character though). Fortunately (again, for me) the original artist comes back for volume 3. I only wish I had picked it up already as I really want to read what happens next.

Edit: Almost forgot, the digest format of the Runaways is ok I guess. It's smaller but in a book like this it doesn't really hurt it much to be smaller (whereas something like Ultimates with their big battles would be hurt by it). The downside I found was that you had to really spread the book open (possibly breaking the spine) in order to read some of the dialogue that's put on the edge of the page. That was a little annoying.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Comic Reviews for September 6th

Yeah, it's past the 6th but I need to keep dating these comic reviews posts and the easiest thing to do is put the date the comics actually came out (not when I actually got around to picking them up and reading them). So we have 4 books to look at today.

Lone Ranger #1 -- Yep, the Lone Ranger makes his triumphant return to comics ... sorta. I say "sorta" because although the book was actually pretty great in terms of art and story (it wasn't an overly mind-blowingly original story or anything) this is his origin. We see the dark times that forged a hero and not the hero himself just yet (at least not the masked version). It had a nice flow to it in story and in art. I was worried that the book wouldn't be taken seriously and it would be assigned to a real amateurish artist but that's definitely not the case here, the art is really good. The colouring over pencils technique works for the story, fitting in nicely with the time period (just as it did for Origin, the Wolverine origin story). To be honest, the art kinda reminds me of a bit more old school Sal Buscema look (which works for me) but that might just be me. Dave at the Silver Snail said he's had quite a number of people coming in asking about the book so it looks to be rather popular even outside the regular comic crowd. Oh, and the covers by Cassady (I'm including the variant I saw and the cover to issue 2) are simple (simple in layout, not in the amount of effort Cassady puts into them) yet strike a chord with the reader. The ranger badge half buried in dirt and blood... you just know it's going to be a great story inside. Yep, I recommend this book.

1602 The Fantastick Four -- The first 1602 series (written by Neil Gaiman) had an interesting premise but I found for the first few issues it was all about the novelty. You spent your time looking for clues to which regular universe superhero/villain a particular character was mapped to (and not all of them did which kinda threw you off if you were looking). By the time you got done with that you forgot that there was a story going on. Then the ending seemed rather week to me. So next came another 1602 series (written by Pak I believe) which focused on some characters a bit more (like Banner and Peter Parquah/Parker). I found I could get into the story more here as there wasn't the novelty aspect to it but the over all story just wasn't as good (and neither was the art). So it was actually kinda disappointing. Now we have the Fantastick Four (concentrating on the Fantastic Four of course) written by Peter David (who normally writes stuff I enjoy). This one seems to take it a step further and not only doesn't hide who the characters are but gives them their superhero names (the ones they use in the regular universe) and it doesn't work for me. It seems rather cheesy to me (as does the whole abduction of William Shakespeare). There are flashes of "ooh, this looks like it could be interesting" (such as the scene with Invisible Woman at the end that I won't give away) but if it wasn't Peter David, I know I wouldn't bother with the second issue. Since it is, I hope he's building to something much better than this.

Mythos Hulk #1 -- I put off buying this for a week and it nearly killed me. :) I'm a Hulk fanatic but did I really need yet another "let's revamp his origin" book? So again, we have pretty much the same story with tweaks. Some things are improved (they move away from Banner being gung ho about creating a destructive gamma bomb which they've also done in the comics to some degree) and some things aren't (like Rick Jones going from a stupid kid who did something really stupid and must live with the knowledge that he had a hand in creating the Hulk to a stupid intern who didn't get the memo). It wasn't a bad story (though it could have been improved) but I just didn't think we needed to go down that path again of coming up with yet another revamped origin story. And although the art was different it also wasn't something I'd say you would need to pick up this book to see. I don't mean that in a bad way but if you're just picking this book up because they're telling the story in a sorta painted style then you might be disappointed. I don't regret picking it up and reading it but I also think it's a book that could be passed over.

American Splendor -- All written by Harvey Pekar. I haven't seen the movie (though I do want to, especially after reading this book). I haven't read any of his previous work (not sure I really want to though... I guess I would if someone presented them to me but I won't be searching for them). You get a few disjoint stories of Harvey. You get him talking about his parents (beautifully illustrated in my opinion). You get him watching a woman eating a muffin. You get him interacting with his step daughter. It's just a weird experience to open up a comic book and get something so personal presented to you. You really feel a connection to him over just a simple story. I picked this one up on a whim but I might be looking for more.

And also comic related, there was a message board discussion I was reading where the artistic quality of a book was brought into question. One poster put up a link to a "gallery" of the artist's work and said something along the lines of "How could you not like his work?" So, being curious, I clicked the link. After two or three pages of thumbnails I came to the conclusion that it wasn't work appropriate. Work is pretty good about letting us browse non-work sites but these images were getting pretty mature in nature. So I took a better look from home last night. The first page was just filled with women in "sexy" poses. On page 2 I saw that one image was labeled "Avengers" (or maybe it was "New Avengers", I don't want to go back to find out) so I waited for that one to load. Sure enough you see Cap, Spider-Man et al looking manly in their heroic poses and then in the foreground you have Spider-Woman on all fours with her backside to the viewer looking over her shoulder. Her back was all bent to get a maximum shot of her arse. I guess the artist got confused and thought that she shot webs out of her butt (which would make this an action pose for her instead of what it really is). So there I was flipping through page after page of comic women in their underwear (or sexualized costumes). There was the odd shot of Superman, Batman, the Hulk, etc. but they definitely weren't the majority. The shots of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman often had the two guys ready for action while Wonder Woman stood tall, back bent, chest out. Is she really ready for action in that pose? Eventually it got into pages he'd done for a comic that centered around a team of females. So maybe all this sexy stuff was just fanboys being overzealous with a few "fun" drawings he had done. Nope. The pages themselves were filled with butt shots (along with other "shots" that I won't go into). So not only are the fanboys obsessing about pictures of sexy comic women (based on this gallery) but the artist himself seems to be as well.

You really can't wonder why women are turned off most North American comics when you see this stuff out there. And it's sad really. It's becoming so much of a part of the North American comic culture that we don't even realize it anymore. I've noticed it myself. I was laying out a page where I wanted the reader to be looking at a scene from behind a woman. I wanted her fist to be a focal point but I wanted the reader to be looking at the scene from a lower vantage point to give the impression that all of a sudden this woman was standing tall. She was not running anymore and this was her moment. And while doing my layouts I just did a panel that I'd seen so many times before where her full butt was in view. Before I drew the panel I looked at it and wondered why I did that? Why didn't I move her over? Sure you lose her butt (only seeing one cheek) but her clenched fist gets more into focus and it gives a better perspective of her surroundings and more room for the menace that's after her. If she were a male character I wouldn't be putting the butt as a focal point. But when I thought about it I recalled all those times in comics that you have a panel of superheroes fighting and right there in the foreground is She-Hulk's butt (or some other female character like Wasp flying around or Wonder Woman). Despite all her strength she's resorting to standing on the outside of the fight so the reader can see her butt. So I moved her over and you now only see half a butt cheek and the back of her thigh (as well as her fist of course). Perhaps I'm wrong but the more I think about it, comic artists often learn from looking at other artists' work and when you see these panels over and over again it just becomes the way to do it. So I felt pretty good about myself. Of course on the next page I take away her "power" yet again. Oh well, baby steps.

Yikes, how's that for a rant and a half?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My last update on the "Now you Know" saga

Yeah, I can really hold a grudge (this grudge being wasting money on a book that I feel misrepresented itself). But I just wanted to post one final update. Chapters has posted my review of "Now You Know" by Doug Lennox and I wanted to give them credit for doing so.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Weekly Reviews for August 30th -- Mostly comics

I'll try to make this quick. I picked up two comics (She-Hulk and Captain Canuck), have only read one (She-Hulk), but will be reviewing both. Confused yet? And the non-comic (sorta) reviews will be for Wizard (and mostly the 7 page preview for the Mighty Avengers) and HorrorClix (a new miniatures game from Wizkids).

She-Hulk #11 -- Well, the reason that Starfox's powers seemed to be effecting people without Starfox knowing it is finally resolved. It still leaves the question was Starfox using his powers when he and She-Hulk... well, you know. Overall, this book was a good book but not as good as the series has been. But my biggest disappointment was the art. Some pages looked ok and maybe even good, others were far too cluttered where you couldn't tell where the panels were and everything was a mess. Then there were character shots where they looked very distorted. Especially shots where he tries to do a "different perspective" (like looking up at the characters). They just looked really wrong, almost like they were squashed to Flatman's level. And the art just didn't feel consistent. I would much rather have Pelletier or Bobillo (who I wasn't a big fan of and hated his rendition of Thing) back on. I just hope Marvel puts a better artist on this book as I think it deserves better.

Captain Canuck -- I haven't even read this book yet but I can say it won't be a fun book to read. The art is pretty bad and the dialog that I did read while skimming through it is pretty amateurish and bland. They put this comic in my box because I had picked up the previous updated Captain Canuck series ("Unholy War" I think it was called) but this will definitely be the last Captain Canuck book I pick up (unless they do a lot of improving on this). It'll probably be a tough book to read.

The Mighty Avengers Preview -- Looks like it might be an interesting story and a decent team. You have some pretty major players who may or may not work well together and with them having to answer for everything (such as Ms Marvel being worried about the damage being done to building during their battle with a bunch of monsters), it seems like there will be a sufficient amount of friction. The one character I think stands out the most was the one least featured in this preview. Which doesn't seem right, he'd be in his glory in a battle like this (although I can't see him being concerned about taking out a building along the way). But I won't say his name until Carl figures it out for himself. And there's still a lot of open questions going into this series.

HorrorClix -- This is a new miniatures game from Wizkids (the company that brought us HeroClix). I enjoyed HeroClix for the most part but felt that it didn't really have the "comic book feel" that I was looking for. I had been hoping to play out some nice comic brawls but instead both teams end up focussing on staying away from one another and taking pot shots (one of which end up crippling any big bruiser you bring into battle). And all the messing around with the rules and adding too many game devices just made it a lot less fun for me. We'd spend half the time playing "rules lawyer" to determine how to play only to have Wizkids change the rules the next time we played. I was much happier with the game play in Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars miniatures game. But enough about HeroClix. With HorrorClix you get a horror movie type theme. The characters are a combination of monsters (zombies, witches, vampires, werewolves, etc) and heroes like ghost finders (not to be confused with ghost busters), vampire slayers (a young looking girl with a stake... you could even say she's looking rather buff... ee), and priests (who can also be evil). You also get the victims (teacher, reporter, prom queen, pizza guy, etc) that the monster have to kill (and the heroes have to save) to give them boosts in powers and ability, and different plot devices (game cards) that effect the game (like a "victim" turning on a "hero" that is trying to save him/her). All in all, it looks like it could be fun. I definitely won't be getting as into it as I did for Heroclix and beyond the next expansion (the Aliens versus Predator expansion) I might be hard pressed to pick up any more. But this first version of the game seems to be a nice simple game you can pick up rather quickly. And the models are fairly decent (although some of them like the ghost bust... oops, I mean "finders", didn't look all that great). But it's pretty inexpensive in comparison to some of the other games out there.

And finally, approved my review of the book I ranted about previously. I feel somewhat better but boy, can I hold a grudge. :)