When's National Pie In Face Day Again?

When's National Pie In Face Day Again?

Jan 25

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Checking In With Checkmate

Checking In With Checkmate

Jan 24

Going into the title, Checkmate was probably my most-anticipated spinoff of Infinite Crisis. I’d first grown to love Greg Rucka’s work by picking up some back issues of his Wonder Woman run, which demonstrated his gift for marrying superheroics to detailed, precise storytelling. Broad strokes when it comes to the action, but finely-tuned intrigue when it comes to characterization.

Which made him the fella perfectly suited to bringing his spy book gifts from Queen and Country over to the DCU, merging guys ‘n gals in tights with guys ‘n gals in form-fitting jumpsuits that have zippers up the front.

In spite of all that, at first, I wasn’t blown away by the book. I think it was because it seemed to be trying a bit too hard to bounce off the “new DCU” and shoehorn in characters like the Great Ten. It also sunk readers straight into the deep end of complex intrigue, and maybe I’m just stupid, but I need some time to get used to that shit.

Now I’m finally in this title’s unique groove, and what a phat slab o’ groove it is. A few single-issue “breathers” have allowed me to get to know the characters a bit more and to get used to the intricacies of Rucka’s spies-meet-spandex vibe. The two-parter with the Suicide Squad gave us Amanda “The Wall” Waller doing what she does best: Stirring up shit.

And the latest issue I’ve read, number 9 (…number nine, number nine, number nine…), finally seems to connect with the concept’s full potential, miring Checkmate deep in the modern DCU by dragging in the US-based Department of Metahuman Affairs, Kobra (depicted as a radical terrorist cult), and even Shadowpact for a fun extended cameo.

I also like how Rucka’s sticking with shorter stories so far, since I think that helps with following things, too–again, I don’t want stupid comics, but the floppy format doesn’t always lend itself to following an intricate cloak-and-dagger spy storyline, and the smaller portions make for a more satisfying reading experience.

If you like getting your espionage mixed up with your superheroic action, then Checkmate is at last the book for you.

Shameless Pimpage

Shameless Pimpage

Jan 24

This season, I am writing weekly reviews of 24 for iPodObserver.com. Make with the clicky to read them all.

End pimpage.

Comics (Columnists) Should Be Good

Comics (Columnists) Should Be Good

Jan 22

I have to throw a quick shout-out to Greg Hatcher, who has probably become one of my favorite writers on the web when it comes to comics and the full range of pulpy pop culture detritus.

His latest column discusses the visceral thrill of hunting down old pulp drugstore novels and comics off the spinner racks back in the day, a phenomenon I got to experience VERY briefly in the earliest days of my comics-collecting life.

Anyway, he’s up every Friday, and he’s always a good read.

DS=Disappointing, So

DS=Disappointing, So

Jan 22

Caught a piece on Digg this morning about VoIP options for the Nintendo DS.

It really got me to thinking. When the DS first came out, I was feverishly obsessed with it, for months leading up to the release. I bought one the DAY they went on sale. I thought for sure, this miraculous device heralded a New Age for Gaming, where Nintendo would take all their innovation and ability and apply it to truly moving gaming forward.

And forward it went…a few inches. Enough to impress the kiddies.

Us adults have been sorta left out in the freezing cold, as only a fraction of the handheld’s true potential has been unlocked. Yes, we can game online, but only through the pain-in-the-ass Friend Code system. We can’t browse the internet, or truly conduct VoIP conversations, or connect with others to enjoy a true online gaming experience, with real communication and interaction connecting people across continents.

Every time Nintendo puts something out that makes my heart skip, I find they eventually break said organ, slowly and painfully.