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Thoughts from TheNinjaD

Tag Archives: DC Comics

An Introduction to My Madness (I)

Since I am returning from a long while away from this blog, I feel that I should reintroduce myself to any potential new readers, even if they just happen by while browsing. For any old readers, or people reading that actually know me, this will serve more as an update on my current interests.

My name is David. On the internet, I’m usually known as Ninja D! or TheNinjaD. Rarely, it’s Istirith or Black Jack Davey. I may still even have some accounts that I no longer use under the names The Lost One or Davidknght. I live in Mankato, Minnesota. I love this city and it is pretty much the hub of south central Minnesota in every way. I’m 24 years old and I work overnights at a truck stop.

Something that seems to be the biggest development in the eyes of many is that I have started drinking. Alcohol, that is. I have always been strongly opposed to the stuff in the past. I guess you could say I gave in to its temptation in a time of weakness. After a series of disappointments, let downs, and otherwise unfortunate happenings, it felt like my life sucked for a little while. That’s when I started. I’m better now, more or less. However, since I can’t really say I don’t drink at all now, I’m not as inclined to avoid it. I’ve actually come to like the taste of UV apple vodka. Rumple Minze isn’t bad, either, and much stronger. Go figure. What hasn’t changed is what I think of alcohol. It’s still stupid because it is, in fact, poison. You really shouldn’t drink it. It’s a bad idea. Also, if you’re drunk out in public, you’re still an asshole. Do it at home and don’t bother anyone. An exception to this is bars because people working there signed up to deal with that shit.

My interests are still primarily music, comic books, video games, and just a whole lot of generally pretty geeky (but no less awesome for that) stuff. I’ve been working a bit more seriously on music than I had been for quite a while and watching a lot more TV shows and movies. I’ve also recently come to like suits and think I just might be wearing them often from now on.

Music. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of local music from the past and present. Among these are Old Towne Ghosts, Professor Fresh, !ntell!gent Des!gn, Discount Brown (no longer together), Phedge (no longer together), Collabo (no longer together), and probably a number of others that I’m forgetting at the moment. I’ve also been listening to a lot of (hed)PE again. As for what I’ve been working on, that’s mostly still with the project called Behavior Modification Therapy and we’ve actually been making some progress.

Comics. I’m still reading most DC titles, along with the big ones from Top Cow, and a few others. I really need to cut back on what I’m ordering and I’ve been doing that gradually. I’ve also only been ordering comics every other week instead of weekly and I guess that’s probably saving me a bit in shipping costs. I am, of course, still ordering from Midtown Comics. The Green Lantern and Batman books are mostly my favorites but there is a lot of good stuff out there. Probably a bit too much for me to go into right now.

TV and Movies. I am sometimes a Netflix junkie. Lately, I’ve mostly been watching How I Met Your Mother. Before that, I watched all that I could of Louie and Archer. I’m still gradually working my way through Star Trek, little chunks at a time. This week I watched the movie Trollhunter, which was excellent and easy the best found footage movie I have ever seen. The last couple of movies that I saw in theaters were Prometheus and The Avengers, both of which were quite good.

Video Games. I canceled my subscription to SWTOR because I just don’t feel like I have the time to dedicate to it. I’m still bound to WoW for a number of moths yet because of the Annual Pass that I signed up for. If anyone would like to play that with me, I would be very interested. I feel bad that I’m paying for it and haven’t even logged in for so long. I’ve played some Diablo 3, Skyrim, and Mass Effect 3 but I’ve mostly been hooked on Minecraft again, both on PC and Xbox 360.

And there you have it. I think that’s more than enough of a summary for now. I hope you’ll read beyond this point where things may actually become more interesting.

Justice League #1

Here I’ll talk about the new Justice League comic. It released August 31st, alongside the last Flashpoint book, and is the first book set in the new DC universe. This one was written by Geoff Johns and had art by Jim Lee.

The art was great. I have no real complaints there other than with the new costumes themselves but Jim Lee was drawing them the way they were designed.

The writing, on the other hand, was not so good. I understand that it was meant to introduce these characters to new reader but some things felt like exposition forced into a character’s mouth. The dialogue (or banter) was fine but not great. It established the tension between Batman and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and that’s probably what it was intended to do. I will never understand why Hal thought Batman was trying to kiss him, though. At least I think that’s what that was. What the fuck?

The inclusion of pre-upgrade Cyborg felt very forced. It had nothing to do with anything at the time. It was just sort of dropped in there. Also, they made him too All-American for my tastes. I guess we’ll just have to see how that plays out.

It’s revealed in this issue that the villain of the arc is going to be Darkseid. That might be a bit too much too soon but we’ll have to see. If anything, they will have to make Darkseid appear too weak to be beaten by a group of newb heroes. It also bothered me that Hal had no idea what Darkseid was. His ring should have told him when he didn’t understand because this is supposed to be a serious-business, galactic-scale enemy. The Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps should know who he is.

This issue also shows that Hal Jordan and Bruce Wayne are gigantic bigots. They find alien technology and assume it must be related to Superman just because they think they heard he’s an alien. Yeah, that makes sense, and all white people really do love cheese. I get that it was part of the process of bringing them all together but try harder, Geoff. Then, when they go to find Superman, why the hell does he punch Green Lantern? Can anyone explain that to me?

Ugh. Hopefully this gets better.

Flashpoint

Flashpoint is now finished. Actually, at the time that I’m typing this, it’s actually been finished for a couple of weeks. The final issue (#5) of the Flashpoint miniseries event released on August 31st, alongside the new Justice League. The last batch of the associated minis released the week before that. What follows are my thoughts on the whole thing.

What is Flashpoint?

For those not aware, Flashpoint was 2011’s big summer event for DC. It was starring The Flash in an alternate world and it was used to launch the new 52 DC comics. It included a primary miniseries, which started before the others and ended after them, several 3-part minis, and a few one-shots right at the beginning. The regular monthly issues of  Booster Gold also tied into the event. For anyone who cares, Marvel’s event was / is called “Fear Itself” and, from what I’ve heard, is pretty much a reskinned Blackest Night ripoff starring Thor who just so happened to have a movie out this year.

DC’s Last Crossover Event?

Also worth noting is that DC claims that Flashpoint is the last big crossover event that they will be doing for the foreseeable future. Any comic book readers know that this claim is probably either total bullshit or that DC’s “foreseeable future” is very short right now. After all, we know that the big summer crossover events are the bread and butter of the comic industry (or at least the big two). Those events tend to sell better than any single title because many comic readers (maybe even most) will pick up at least the first issue of the event for their favored publisher. There are also usually a bunch of tie-in minis or one-shots for each event which also sell pretty well.

There is, however, a chance that this may be true. The word from many people working with DC is that these new 52 titles are just the beginning. These 52 ongoing books might just be the ones that were 100% ready to go in time. They may also be the top ones that they chose to fit into the number 52 that DC loves so much. I don’t know for sure and I don’t know if anyone outside of the company does. It’s possible that instead of banking off of big summer events, DC plans to just keep putting out a bunch of new ongoing titles (all while canceling the ones that aren’t doing well). I’m told that new issue #1s sell pretty well, too. Doing things this way has some benefits. First, there are some comic readers that hate the big summer events. Some also claim that they are intimidating to new and casual readers, both of which are a big focus for DC right now. Also, releasing a lot of new books gives DC the chance to try new things. Also, since DC claims to no longer be writing everything in 6-issue arcs, this would give us the chance to read a few shorter stories from new or different characters. This could also backfire since it could make the DC universe feel overpopulated again very quickly, which is something that annoys a lot of people. I have also seen people stop reading all comics from a single publisher because their favorite title was canceled. If DC cranks out new books all the time, they’ll have to be canceling a lot, too, unless thousands more people suddenly start reading comics.

I really don’t know what the future holds here but I’m looking forward to finding out.

My Thoughts on the Flashpoint Releases (Spoiler-Free)

Overall, I enjoyed the Flashpoint event. I usually like the big crossover events, though, and I’m always one of the suckers that buy every book released for the damn things.

The primary title for the event was called, of course, Flashpoint. It was written by Geoff Johns, the man behind the whole event (and much of DC these days) and it had been somewhat led up to in the regular ongoing Flash title for the last year. You don’t need to have read all of that to jump into the event but it will add a little bit of depth to it all (some books more than others). Flashpoint replaced the ongoing Flash title since they would have probably been telling the same story or else The Flash would have revealed the end of the event too early. In any case, the writing was mostly solid and the art was good. One complaint I had was that the story seemed a little meandering at times, though I understood that this was done to give some form of connection to all the tie-in minis that were released to go along with the event. The other was that having Cyborg as the world’s big superhero felt like they were trying to trick the readers into liking him since he is going to be in the new Justice League (mostly because he’s black but that’s a topic for another time). For me, that move felt really forced but it also kind of worked. Neither of these things are unforgivable.

There were three one-shots for the events. Of them, I considered Grodd of War to be the weak point. To me it was just boring. Cantebury Cricket wasn’t all that good but it served as a prelude to the Lois Lane and the Resistance mini. Reverse Flash was utterly forgettable and Green Arrow Industries was quite entertaining. I actually sort of wish that one had been one of the 3-part minis instead of a one-shot.

For the minis, Kid Flash Lost felt the most significant. It also was related most closely to the Flash ongoing from the last year.

Emperor Aquaman was, along with Wonder Woman and the Furies were good for showing what was going on with the antagonists of the Flashpoint world.

The mini called World of Flashpoint was interesting and meandering at the same time. It was obvious that its purpose was to show some other characters from the DC universe that were otherwise left out of the event and where they fit into this world.

There were two minis related to Green Lantern. Those were, of course, Abin Sur and Hal Jordan, though the latter didn’t actually involve a Green Lantern or anything to do with them other than the character. Both of these minis did well in developing the characters they were about in such a short time. Both also had some sad bits if you care about these characters, so that was a double-edged sword.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown but I found that I really liked it in the beginning. It went downhill a little for me, personally, and it wasn’t the greatest in the end but it was still good.

Citizen Cold really stood out as a good read to me. It really felt like a “what if” story for Captain Cold and the artwork was great.

Legion of Doom focused on the one of the Flash’s Rogues that didn’t have a role in the Citizen Cold mini. This title also seemed focused on showing off other DC characters that weren’t present elsewhere but it had a solid and personal story for this world’s version of Heatwave.

Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager was fun. Nothing amazing about it, mind you, but I enjoyed it. It was probably mostly there to draw some more attention to Deathstroke, since he will have his own ongoing in the new 52.

A lot of people seemed to really love Batman : Knight of Vengeance. I enjoyed it but it didn’t really grab me. It was a solid elseworlds story with minimal connection to the event.

Lois Lane and the Resistance felt like the weakest link of the Flashpoint minis. I didn’t hate it but it did nothing to make me love it, either. It was mostly there to bring attention to some characters that will have their own books in the new 52, I think.

Secret Seven will probably prove to be a solid elseworlds story for Justice League Dark that starts with the new 52. Not great but not bad.

My Thoughts on the Flashpoint Event (Spoilers)

The story was a decent one and it served its purpose. That about sums it up. It was rather amusing that the Flash fucked everything up by trying to save his mother and then, trying to fix what he had done, stopped himself from causing it all in the first place which actually just fucked everything up again (it’s just that no one realizes it). For better or worse, the old DC universe is now gone and we’re left with the new one. I’m actually very curious if the Flash will actually continue to have memories of the old world, as was indicated at the very end. I kind of hope not, though that would become a likely backdoor to the old universe (and another reboot) someday…though Dan Didio says that won’t happen.

I guess Booster Gold was sucked into the new world because he was traveling through time when the change happened. That doesn’t make perfect sense but, hey, we’re talking comic books here. It’s good enough. I am curious to see if he will be in that place outside of time when JLI begins, and if it will be our old Booster Gold. If I understand correctly, he shouldn’t have been erased. Maybe he was left behind in the old universe, though. It’s hard to say what they’ll do with that. He could also be another backdoor to the old continuity. You know, like what DD says doesn’t exist. Maybe there will be an alternate Booster Gold around in this new universe.

The Frankenstein mini seemed like it leads right into the ongoing so I’m not really sure how it will deal with a universal reset. My guess is that it will be ignored entirely.

One last thought : There is no way that I was the only one bothered by the final frame of the final Flashpoint being an image of Batman crying. Fuck that shit.

Finally

Just a couple of days ago I finally got my next shipment of comics. It’s two weeks worth from DC. The first week is the last of the Flashpoint minis and the final issue of Green Lantern Emerald Warriors. The other is the final issue of Flashpoint and the first issue of the new Justice League. The new 52 have officially launched. I’m excited and afraid but trying to keep positive.

Oh yeah, the third Rage comic was also in there. The game is out next month and should be great.

As of when I’m typing this, I have not yet finished reading all of those comics. I will try to get through them very soon. Once I do, I’ll post my thoughts on Flashpoint, along with a list of the minis that stood out. After that will come my thoughts on the new Justice League.

For the next little while, I’m going to try to talk about each of DCs new 52 titles, as I read them. I may post a spoiler-free and a spoilered version of my thoughts on each one but I’m not sure yet. Any opinions on that? I’m getting all 52 titles to begin with and I’ll weed out the ones I don’t like (or don’t like as much) over time.

I won’t be posting the day the comics release or even close. I get my comics from MidtownComics.com so even when they ship on the release date, they won’t arrive for at least a couple of days after that. For now I’ll be ordering weekly and my post about each title will probably come within a couple of weeks of its release. Even if people are looking for my opinion on each title before they buy that should be fine since just about all of them will be getting second printings, it sounds like. The ones that don’t you will probably be able to find online somewhere. Waiting for the trade is always an option, too.

Fight for the Light Review

First things first; Fight for the Light is the name of the new expansion content for DC Universe Online.

Now, I feel obligated to mention that I am likely biased toward this because I am a big Green Lantern fan and I have been for most of my life. To tell the truth, lack of Green Lantern powers (though not entirely of content) is the reason that I didn’t have DCUO reserved and pick it up the day it came out. I did read early, however, that the developers wanted to fix that soon.

Now for the facts; Fight for the Light was announced in early July and was released September 6th. As of less than a week before that day, there was still no confirmed release date, though there was a lot of speculation. Fight for the Light is focused around characters, settings, and most importantly the powers from Green Lantern. It was free for anyone who was a subscriber at the time it was released and is to be $10 for anyone else.

Fight for the Light is not a normal MMOG expansion pack. It doesn’t have sprawling new settings and hundreds of hours of new content. It also doesn’t have the price tag that such an expansion pack would. For this game, SOE is embacing the fact that they have a different audience than they are used to with big RPGs. Instead of rare, huge, expensive expansions, they are going a more standard DLC route and releasing it in smaller, cheaper chunks. Hopefully they will also come more often.

The big thing added with Fight for the Light is the Hard Light power set. When this DLC was announced, I bought the game. Hard light powers are he big thing that was missing from the original release. I wish they had been there all along but they were worth the wait. The hard light powers create constructs instead of just being unique things all their own. These constructs even have combos themselves to make them do different things.

I could go on and on but most people won’t care. The ones that will are the people that play this game or have been on the fence about this game up until now. To those people, my message is terribly simple : Get Fight for the Light and play DCUO. This is what the game was missing. This is how fun this game can be and it shows what potential there is for more excellent DLC in the future.

4.5 / 5

DC Universe Online Review

My last post was pretty much entirely about DC Universe Online (DCUO). I hadn’t given my thoughts on that game here before. Actually, I hadn’t done any sort of video game review here before. I figures since I just  talked a game up, now is the time to start. Keep in mind that this will be my thoughts on just the core game of DCUO and that I have not experience most of what it has to offer. I am simply giving my thoughts on an overview of the game after a reasonable amount of play time.

One thing that sets DCUO apart from other massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) is that it’s an action game, not a roleplaying game (RPG). I’m not really sure why almost all MMOGs have been RPGs but that’s how it has always been. The one other MMOG I can think of off the top of my head that wasn’t an RPG is Planetside, which was a first person shooter (FPS) made by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). That’s the same company that makes DCUO so it seems that they are willing to try new things. Of course, they are also behind Everquest, which I think still ranks as the second most popular MMOG ever and was an RPG. So they do kick it old school, as well.

In this game, everything is in real time and you execute attacks through button combos. You could probably get by on button mashing but where’s the fun in that? When you create your character you choose a power set. It loosely defines what your character will be able to do. There are several options and they are varied well enough that the basic gameplay could probably keep you around for a while. As you level, you get to select powers from with these power sets to customize your character and what they can do.

At character creation you also get to choose hero or villain. This choice determines the mentors you get to pick from. Mentors guide you along your missions in this game, at least early on. For heroes you have Superman for metahumans, Batman for tech heroes, and Wonder Woman for magic. Villains get to pick from Lex Luthor for metahumans, Joker for tech, and Circe (enemy of Wonder Woman) for magic. So right there you have six stories you could play through. Everything is voiced over by the great voices you’re used to from the old DC cartoons. Fuck yeah, good voices!

You get to customize how your character looks right away. It isn’t like most MMOGs where you don’t have crap for options, either (here’s looking at you, WoW). There are a lot of options and you can change the colors in some decent detail on everything. Very cool. There are also many more pieces of gear you can find while playing to change your appearance even further. Something that this game does here that I really like and differs from a lot of games is that you can keep your appearance exactly as it is, regardless of what gear you’re wearing for stats. You can also allow you appearance to change every time you equip something new. Also, once you’ve “collected” a bit of equipment, you can always make your character look like they’re wearing that, even if you sold it long ago.

The missions are pretty varied and interesting, for an MMOG. That’s not saying a lot but it kept me entertained. There are different missions for heroes than there are for villains and I think there are even some missions unique to your character’s mentor. There are also missions that both sides can do.

Like I said, the gameplay kept me entertained. What it didn’t do was get inside my head and make me want to do nothing but play this game. That’s something that MMOGs are often quite good at. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, it really depends on the person.

The graphics are nice (very nice for an MMOG) and the cut scenes, which come in a few different styles, look great.

4 / 5