Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Ray

Hollywood legend Ray Harryhausen turns 90 today. He is responsible for some of the greatest stop-motion effect in movies, such as the Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, the Talos from Jason and the Argonauts, and Medusa from Clash of the Titans (the 1981 original, not the new piece of garbage). You can see more here at Ray's website.

All the best to a genius in the industry.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Donkey Kong Returns

Those of you who read my E3 post know that I am pretty excited about Donkey Kong Country Returns. Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime was on Jimmy Fallon promoting the new game.

Tales of Monkey Island

Once upon a time PC gaming was a magical land of point and click adventures instead of a black-hole of FPS where the main objective is shooting as many people as possible in the face. The Monkey Island series is a fantastic puzzle game where the player controls the unlikely hero Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate.

The series did zombie pirates before they were cool and the puzzles are excellent. Last year, Telltale games released the latest adventure, Tales of Monkey Island. Originally released serially in 5 separate parts, the whole game has recently come to the PSN as a package, and fans will not be disappointed.

The voice acting is top notch and the humour is well-placed. My only issue with the game is the controls. They were obviously designed for the PC and the mouse-based controls don't work well with PS3 controller.

If you enjoy puzzle games, point and click adventures where you can't die, and would like to return to a more innocent age of gaming, this is the title for you.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $20 (way cheaper than the $50 on the Wii or the $35 on the PC)

Length: It depends on how often you get stuck on some puzzles (avoid checking the internet for hints), but you should get at least 20 hours out of the whole tale. 

Is it worth it: If already love Monkey Island you should pick up this game, and if you have never played a MI game you should give it a try, but if you only like games where you get to yell "Boom! Headshot!" let this one pass on by. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #634, Grim Hunt Part 1

My readers are well aware that I am unhappy with the state of ASM lately, and so it is with cautious optimism that I approach the Grim Hunt storyline.

Basically Kraven's family have put Spider-Man through a Gauntlet of challenges to weaken him so they can kill him and the other spiders (those who have spider-based powers) to resurrect Kraven himself.

The Gauntlet was hit or miss, a miss-mash of great and crappy stories. Hopefully Grim Hunt will be more consistent. Correction: hopefully Grim Hunt will be consistently awesome.

The issue was a very intriguing and exciting start to what I assume is one of those stories where "nothing will ever be the same". The art by Michael Lark and Stephano Gaudiano is much darker than we would normally see in a Spidey tale, and it fits the Grim Hunt perfectly.

Joe Kelly can write some great stuff, and he is off to a good start, but he does require a certain amount of Spider-Man knowledge from the reader. Madame Web, Kaine, Spider-Woman II, Ezekiel,  and Spider-Woman III, along with a bunch of Kravens all make appearances without much explanation who they are. This issue is great, but not a good jumping on point for new readers. I loved it, but I feel that someone picking up a Spidey comic for the first time would be totally confused.

There are a couple of back-up stories that add to the fun (including a 2 pager written by Stan Lee) and make the overall product well worth the price of admission.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $4

Length: 30 minutes

Is it worth it?: Yes, if you already are a Spider-Man fan. All others should read some older issues first and then come back to this one.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Batman #700

Grant Morrison can be pretty frustrating. Sometimes he creates some of the best comics ever, and sometimes he creates artsy incoherent garbage that we are all supposed to worship in awe. Thankfully his work on Batman #700 is just nice solid storytelling.

I won't go into much detail, but it is a time travel story of sorts, allowing Bruce Wayne to be part of the action even though he isn't the current Batman. The tale also showcases Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as the current and future version of the Bat. Different artist contribute to the different time periods, which works nicely for an anniversary issue.

If you are a Batman fan you probably already picked this one up, but if you feel like giving Gotham city a chance this is a great jumping on point.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $5

Length: 30 minutes

Is it worth it?: Yes. This is comic book storytelling at its finest. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

E3 2010

Well another E3 has come and gone. To be honest I couldn't really care about the big announcements (Nintendo 3DS, Natal, PS3 motion whatever), but I am looking forward to a bunch of games.

Marvel VS Capcom 3 (PS3)

Epic Mickey (Wii)

Castlevania Lords of Shadow (PS3)

Metal Gear Solid: Rising (PS3)

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Metroid: Other M (Wii)

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (DS)

The 3rd Birthday (PSP)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fan Expo Recap - Collection Update

I got a chance to check out Fan Expo this past weekend and came away with some great finds. Firstly, I picked up the great Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale trade Haunted Knights. This collects their three Halloween specials from 93-95 that were precursors to the epics Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

Secondly, I got a great deal on the Rebirth of Thanos trade, which collects pre-Infinity Gauntlet Silver Surfer issues and really is a must have for any IG fan.

I also grabbed an old issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland from the folks at Big B Comics. This particular issue had a huge 20 page article on stop motion master Ray Harryhausen.

Finally, I purchased a fabulous print from Toronto area artist Michael Cho. His vision of Darkseid perfectly captures the character, but the kicker for me was his inspiration for the layout came from his childhood memories of the steel mills in Hamilton, Ontario. You can check out more of his work here.