Monday, October 24, 2011

Song of the Week: SCANDAL - Roppongi Suicide

It's a cover, but it's a good cover. I've liked SCANDAL for a year now, but I still haven't taken the plunge and immersed myself in their entire discography yet. But this is giving me reason...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Becoming a Better Duelist 5: Staple Synchros

It took me well over a month to get back to this, and for that I apologize. The site has not gone wanting for updates, but school has kept me from updating as frequently as I would like. I said when I came back I would do Staple Traps, but at the moment I feel more like doing a post on Staple Synchro Monsters. (First thing's first, I'm going to explain some things to absolute newbies to this game. If you know what you're doing, just press Ctrl-F and then type "the list" and hit enter twice to jump you down to it.)

Now, what *is* a Synchro Monster? Well, that's an excellent question!

In Yu-Gi-Oh, when you have a Tuner and a non-Tuner monster on your side of the field at the same time, you can summon a synchro monster who's level is equal to (not less than or greater than) the combined levels of said Tuner and non-Tuner monster.

For instance, let's say you summon the Tuner Monster Junk Synchron onto the field:

Cute little fellow, isn't he? Now, let's also say you have the monster Doppelwarrior on the field.

With Junk Synchron (level 3), and Doppelwarrior (level 5) both on the field simultaneously, you can now summon a level 5 synchro monster. See? Easy.

Now, actually bringing a synchro monster out works in a pretty interesting way: You don't need to have it in your hand. Fusions, Synchros, and the new type of monster, Exceeds, don't exist in your Main Deck, but in a separate deck of their own called an "Extra Deck". Now, your extra deck can have a maximum of fifteen cards in it--but you don't NEED to have one to play the game.

Before I get to explaining the Staple Synchros, one more thing, and it's important. Your Extra Deck is technically a second hand, and that's how you need to look at it. Because you don't "draw into" those monsters: You can summon any monster from your extra deck the very moment your field can meet the conditions required to summon it. (IE: A generic level 6 synchro can be summoned by a tuner and a non-tuner with levels that add up to equal 6. If you can do that, you can summon that monster on your turn.) All Extra Deck summons are special summons, and thus can be performed even after you have already used up your Normal Summon. This means that theoretically, any extra deck monster is available at all points in the duel--which is why I refer to it as a second hand, and why it's best if your "second hand" is at the maximum it can be at the start of every game.

Explanations out of the way, let's move on to listing the actual synchros. I'll be doing this by level, and explaining why they're necessary and how much they cost so you can decide what you can afford.

The List

Level 2

Formula Synchron
Cost: $7

I present to you the lowest level synchro monster in Yu-Gi-Oh, Formula Synchron. It's unique in that it is one of two synchro monsters that is also a tuner (though it's the only one that's on this list). Now, for most decks this card isn't really necessary. But the ones that CAN use it used three before Konami dropped the banhammer and reduced the number you can have to 1.

There's a reason. Just for summoning this monster, it gives you a present: an extra draw! How kind of him. Add in the fact that it can get rid of some lower level monsters and be used again to synchro climb (synchro summoning with synchro monsters to get higher level monsters), AND it can summon on your opponent's turn, and it's easy to see why this card is so loved. Though that's also why even when you can only have 1 in your extra deck he's still seven bucks. (Take heart--he used to be $15.)

Level 5

Magical Android

Our first true staple. It's generic, meaning it can go into any deck if that deck can synchro. Probably one of the more balanced monsters in the game, Magical Android has decent attack stats (2400 and up usually goes to level 6+ monsters) and rewards it's summoner with 600 LP for every turn you keep it alive. Plus, being 5 bucks it's pretty cheap. One of the first synchros a budget player should invest in.

Naturia Beast
Cost: $19

A staple synchro for EARTH-focused decks. Negation in Yu-Gi-Oh is fairly rare, and negation of spells exists in all of one other card (Dark Bribe). Don't let the milling worry you. Remember, there are only two things in Yu-Gi-Oh you need to win: the set up of your own field, and the destruction of your opponent's. And if your opponent can't get off spells (like draw cards, or MSTs, or Dark Hole), then a third of his deck is shut down. His weaker stats help to balance things out, but you'll find few people that care about that over his negation ability.

Ally of Justice Catastor

One of the earliest synchros from the Hidden Arsenal/Dual Terminal line, and it does not disappoint. (Though the Ally of Justice archetype kinda does...) Catastor destroys ALL monsters that don't share it's attribute (Dark) without ever taking damage. It's balanced by it's low attack stats and the fact that DARK attribute monsters happen to be *everywhere*. Case in point is this next monster...

T.G. Hyper Librarian

The biggest of the big level 5 monsters, and one that players couldn't shut up about last format when it first game out. When it was unlimited, the shenanigans this card was capable of were ridiculous. The ability to draw cards in a game where card drawing is both powerful and rather rare is of paramount importance. And considering his effect ALSO works during your opponent's turn and it's stats are slightly better than Magical Android's, and it's very easy to see how this card got to $30.

Level 6

Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

Ahhh, a favorite of mine. Another product of Hidden Arsenal 1, Brionac is unique in it's effect. Forcing players to sacrifice hand advantage to destroy their opponent's field advantage is probably one of the most balanced abilities I've ever seen in this game. For whatever reason it's limited, but I cannot think of a deck that needs more than one Brio to begin with.

New players shouldn't be fooled: Yes, Brionac can't destroy cards other than by battle, but that's the point. There are numerous cards that can't be destroyed by battle or card effect. There are cards that can't be banished. But there are almost no cards that can't be bounced. Be sure to think about that when you're trying to make your extra deck. The one thing I will say is that Brio is extremely expensive (even I refused to outright pay for it), so only the most competitive players should bother.

Naturia Barkion

Trap negation. This is only slightly more common than spell negation. (Seven Tools and Dark Bribe both negate them.) Still, a powerful effect like this attached to a 2500 ATK body? If you have an Earth-attribute deck, you need this. Period. Bye-bye Mirror Force. You too Dimensional Prison. Summon this and your battle phase attacks go through as long as you can keep this on the field. I only wish it were generic.

There are suckers letting this card go for $10 less than what he was worth last format. (Heavy Storm has reduced trap counts in all decks, so trap negation is less important.) If you can afford to buy this now, make it happen.

Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth

One of perhaps three Synchro monsters without an effect. There's only a handful of reasons why you use this card: It's generic, it's cheap to afford, you have room in your extra deck, and it's 2600 ATK gets over a lot of level 5-8 monsters. There's NO reason not to put this in your extra deck if you have room.

Level 7

Black Rose Dragon

The second anime card in this whole list. There aren't going to be a lot of them, so don't expect too many more. Black Rose Dragon has decent stats, but that's not why it's here. Sometimes, your opponent's field is overpowered. Sometimes there's too much backrow, sometimes they summoned a boss monster you can't defeat in battle. When that happens, Black Rose Dragon is there to reset the game to a state where victory can be possible for you again.

Black Rose Dragon's effect occurs "When it is Special Summoned", which means short of negating the very summoning of the monster (possible, but costly), it's (optional) effect *must* happen, even if the monster is destroyed or banished. Complete field nukes aren't rare, but few are this effective, and that's what snagged this card it's $16 tag.

Level 8

Colossal Fighter

This card is used for the same reasons Gaia Knight is. Cheap, very beefy stats, and generic. In addition though, the two additional stars grant it a powerful protection effect. It cannot be destroyed by battle. This means it can suicide itself against monsters with monsters that have 2800 ATK and come back anyway. This usually won't be a problem though, since it ALSO gains an additional 100 for every Warrior-Type monster in either graveyard. Warriors are plentiful, and there's a chance at least one will find itself in either your graveyard or your opponent's, so it's rare to see CF hit the field with base stats.

And at three bucks, there's just no reason not to have this card if your deck can synchro unless you don't care about being good at this game.

Stardust Dragon

Another anime card! And, again, probably one of the best staple monsters ever created. For those of you who played when this game first came out back in the early 2000's--remember how EVERYBODY had this card in their decks? Notice how no one does that anymore? This card is why. The ability to negate Mirror Force, Sakuretsu, or any card that destroys a card(s) is nice, but the fact that it's attached to a monster with 2500 ATK who can revive himself so basically your opponent not only loses their trap but you keep your field presence is ridiculous.

This is why people see this card in every deck that can make it, and why it should be one of the synchro monsters you pick up as soon as possible.

Scrap Dragon

Best eight star synchro in the game. 2800 ATK gets over most monsters, but Colossal Fighter can do that. No, it's Scrap Dragon's spot removal ability at the cost of field presence that's amazing. You can chain that destruction to traps, but just the ability to pop a card is nice. Able to attack for game except for one pesky little trap your opponent has? Pop your other monster (or your own backrow) and destroy it. Stuck dealing with a Spirit Reaper? Not anymore.

Unfortunately, it's neat effect combined with *great* stats means the card costs almost 40 bucks. Only the most competitive players need apply.

Level 9

Mist Wurm

And now we come to our level 9s. Most of them require 3 monsters to synchro with, which isn't that difficult to manage with the right deck. This is one of the first level 9s, and it comes with an amazing ability. Unless your opponent is literally destroying you, returning three cards to your opponent's hand generally means you completely reset their field, AND you get (at the least) a 2500 ATK monster to swing with. Even if you don't, it's a Trigger effect so unless your opponent negates it's summoning it goes through, even if it's destroyed by something like Trap Hole/Bottomless Trap Hole.


Same requirements as Mist Wurm, and another trigger effect. Trishula is one of the worst cards to see hit the field, because it messes with so much of your strategy. You not only lose one card each from your hand, field, AND Graveyard--but all of them become banished; there's no chance of getting them back again during that duel. (Well, there is, but you most likely won't have it.)

When this card was unlimited and could be spammed, it was easily capable of completely devastating combinations, and hovered somewhere around $70. Now that it's (rightfully) limited, it's much cheaper, but it's still a hefty $40. Even I don't have one, so same as with Scrap Dragon, only buy this card if you're incredibly serious about this game.

*exhales* Done. Finally.

Yes, there are level 10s and level 11 synchros, but none of them qualify as staples. Now that you know what the best ones are, feel free to go about picking out the ones you need the most/can afford. If you're super serious about this game, here's a list of the ones every player should have, their costs, and a total of those costs.

Magical Android - $5
Ally of Justice Catastor - $18
T.G. Hyper Librarian - $30
Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier - $36
Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth - $2
Black Rose Dragon - $18
Colossal Fighter - $3
Stardust Dragon - $8
Scrap Dragon - $36
Mist Wurm - $9
Trishula - $38

11 in all, leaving you space for four more depending on the deck you're using. (Seven if you ditch Magical Android, Gaia Knight, and Colossal Fighter--always the first to go.) Unfortunately it comes up to a total of about $203. $63 if you take out cards above $30. Something to think about.

I'll get to Staple Traps or Staple Exceeds next time. For now, it's 3AM and I need sleep. Later.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Green Lantern: The Animated Series Trailer

The opening of the first episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. I have my complaints, but it doesn't look TOO badly right now. I'll be giving it a shot.

The premiere is November 11th, but much like Young Justice, the actual series won't come on until the following year in March. Anyways.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

X-Men: Regenesis Thoughts

Finally, it's done. Near as I can tell, X-Men: Regenesis was a one-shot--one that finally capped off this whole "Mutant Civil War" story, once and for all.

...You ever feel like, you have so much to say, you really don't know where to begin? That's my current standpoint on this whole thing. But this is about my writing, so let me try:

To start, the reasoning for this Wolverine/Cyclops split was pretty hollow. Wolverine has a problem because the X-Men are becoming soldiers? They already WERE soldiers! From the moment The Fab Five put on their 60's yellow and blue outfits, they became soldiers. Ones who studied Algebra and Chemistry when they weren't training to fight--but still soldiers. That Cyclops increased the amount of training they get so that every person on the mutant sanctuary Utopia would be completely battle-ready is less a problem, and more an acknowledging of just how serious it is to become a mutant.

The sad thing is, Kieron Gillen (writer of X-Men: Regenesis) himself has to be aware of how ridiculous this new situation is. Or at least, I would assume such. There's a sequence in the book featuring the X-Teens and at one point ex-mutant Prodigy lays it out as plainly as possible:

You're fooling yourself. Just because you go to a school, don't think that the world will let you be students. [...] One: More kids died at the school than here. You've got a bus load of dead friends you're forgetting. Two: You're under threat everywhere. At least here we get a chance to do something about it. Wolverine wants us to be children. Nice dream. None of you have been a child since your X-Gene kicked in. You've been a target. And if I'm going to be a target, I want to be a target that shoots back.

It was cute, back when Stan Lee wrote the book. A world that hates and fears them meant you got pelted with empty coke cans or had to dodge a few bricks. That's awful, but it's cute compared to things like Bastion. A highly-advanced computer AI with only one goal: Destroy anything with an X-Gene. And the threats continue to pile up. If it's not an old threat resurfacing, it's a new threat popping in out of nowhere.

And the truth is, the death count has been SUBSTANTIALLY lower since Cyclops moved everyone to Utopia. Going back to Westchester? The original reasoning for leaving that place was because it was ONE BIG TARGET! What's changed? If there's no answer for that, then there's no reason to rebuild there short of wanting to sacrifice one's life.

And I know, if you miss the X-Men being heroes instead of being an army like I would, you should probably be Wolverine's side. *I* should be on Wolverine's side.

...But I'm not. Because Logan was the killer. "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't very nice." That was him. He's been "The X-Man That Would Kill" since day one. Truth to tell, he still is. He's the same guy in Regenesis as he is in X-Force, the only difference being he's grown enough of a conscience to not want anyone else to be like him.

The big deal here is Cyclops. The paragon example of Xavier's dream, and an optimist who believed in the goal of the X-Men. To be perfectly honest, I don't think anything he's done up to this point was wrong or evil (mind you, I'm HARDCORE about heroes), but if you think he's gone astray, then blame the world. They laid the future of an entire species at this man's feet. And he took the reigns as best he could without complaining. Still people attacked. With less than 200 mutants remaining on Earth (there's not even a notable fraction of a CITY, nevermind a planet), somehow people STILL attacked and fought and tried to kill what was left, and drove Cyclops deeper and deeper into the corner until all that was left was a battered individual who only knows how to fight to protect what little he has left.

This, is the situation the writers have thrown him into in the Marvel Universe and I'm supposed to be on Wolverine's side? How does that even make sense?

And I know that's who's side they want you to be on. Regenesis makes THAT clear as well. When he talks to Storm about staying, he makes a point of listing who's staying and who's leaving:

Look at who's going to be at my side: Magneto. Namor. Danger. Doctor Nemesis. Emma.

This is a man who's friends have forsaken him. As the story moves forward, the people at his side will be former villains, and people of uncertain, even dubious, moral quality. With Jean Grey still dead, and Angel (Warren) gone somewhere, and Bobby (Iceman) and Hank (Beast) going to Logan's side, not a single member of the original X-Men will be left on his side. Looking at the fully collected team, there's only a handful of people left on Scott's side that I'd trust as far as I could throw them.

It's supposed to say something that all the idealists--all the bright, happy people have gotten on a ship to leave with Logan. It's supposed to. And it might, if Marvel were a brighter, happier place. If there were millions of mutants still alive, and Genosha hadn't been reduced to rubble (killing millions of mutants BEFORE anyone even knew what M-Day was), and the X-Men didn't have more enemies than ever.

But none of that's true. Logically, emotionally, narratively, following Logan's team(s) just doesn't make sense. Hopefully Marvel will see that and things will change in the future. But for now, I'll just have to sit here and try to enjoy what's left of "Marvel's Merry Mutants".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Avengers

Well....THIS was nice to wake up to...

That "If we can't protect the Earth" line feels like it's on the serious side of an incoming joke, but other than that? I like.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Song of the Week: Phonte feat. Elzhi - Not Here Anymore

Holy crap. Phonte and Elzhi BODIED this track. I know Jumping in Headfirst usually doesn't mention "hip hop" without the words "Childish Gambino" following in the sentence, but this site is about dopeness, and this track personifies it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Song of the Week: Masami Okui - DEAD or ALIVE

Her majesty Masami Okui has released another album, Self Satisfaction II*. Unsurprisingly, I fucking love it. But I'll spare you my gushing over the thing and just let you hear one of the tracks off it. It's got a nice, energetic feel to it, and even though it's not my favorite song thus far (Cosmic Dance probably stole that), it's still pretty good. Song below:

* Even though I hate sequels.

Edit: A bit of research has shown this is apparently a cover album. Interesting. That explains the sequel thing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Anime 2011 Picks


Some tool posted on one of these a while back and asked why I cut stuff out of it. I didn't on that one, I didn't on this one. And, if it's not OBVIOUS, this isn't my chart. While I can read some Japanese (I'm in J3 now), I can't read much kanji. And if I could, this isn't something I would devote my time to create.

That out of the way...

Guilty Crown

Summary: The story takes place in Tokyo in 2039. After the outbreak of the unidentified virus "Lost Christmas" in 2029, Japan has been under the control of a multinational organization called GHQ. Ouma Shu is a 17-year-old boy who has a psychic power in his right hand. He can use the power "Ability of King" to extract tools or weapons from his friends. He has been avoiding making trouble for others but his life changes when he meets a girl named Yuzuriha Inori, a member of a resistance guerrilla group called "Undertaker", whose members pilot mecha weapons to fight against the government. (MAL)

Why I'm Interested: I do kinda hate "resistance movements" as a trope, but on the bright side this series includes giant robots. And apparently a kid with magic powers who can magically pull out weapons from people like the girl from Fooly Cooly. I'm willing to go five episodes for that.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

Summary: In the far future, humans abandon the devastated Earth and move to the upper world "Tenjo". But Tenjo and the law of causation collapse by a war and humans returns to the Earth, which has turns into an inhabitable planet except for Shinshu area.

Shinshu is too small to accommodate all the humans, so they duplicate the area and create "Juso Sekai" in a parallel world. In order to rebuild Tenjo and the law of causation, the returned humans start reproduction of the history from B.C. 10,000. When the reproduction proceeds to A.D. 1413, a war breaks out in Shinshu and Juso Sekai falls onto the original world.

The humans living in Juso Sekai lose their land and invade the original world. People in Shinshu surrender and the land is divided by the invaders from Juso Sekai. They try to resume the history reproduction from A.D.1457, but the update of the history terminates in A.D.1648. A rumor of apocalypse begins to spread the world. (MAL)

Why I'm Interested: The description on it's own was more than a little irritating, but the visuals and the trailer make me think it could be a pretty interesting story. If it descends to harem crap and annoying tsundere characters, I will drop.

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

Summary: It has been a few hundred years since humans began to live on space colonies. In A.G. 101, an unknown enemy (UE) "GAFRAN" suddenly attacks one of the colonies "Angel". A long war against UE has begun.

In A.G 108, seven year old Flit Asuno lost his mother when UE attacked his colony "Ovan". His mother left him a memory unit "AGE" which had stored data of an ancient mobile suit Gundam. In A.G. 114, Flit completes the Gundam AGE and counterattacks against GAFRAN. (MAL)

Why I'm Interested: Aside from the neat old-school art, I like the concept of AGE. The idea is that the war lasts roughly 100 years from start to finish, and we'll see the Gundam AGE go into action with three different pilots. The first guy, Flit, then his son, and finally the grandson. That's intriguing to me and it's an idea that Gundam has never attempted before. (Usually the next series distances itself from the last guy, even if it's a sequel.)

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai

Kawakami City is famous for its strong dedication to its samurai ancestors. A healthy fighting spirit is always valued and it's even an important factor for success at school.

Yamato, a second year student from Kawakami Highchool is always with his close friends (4 boys and 3 girls). They have all known each other since they were young and have done many things together. While they have many other friends, this group of seven is a close-knit, inseparable group. They even have a secret base where they meet.

With the new semester, they welcome two girls into their group and shortly after things begin to change...

(Source: VNDB)

Why I'm Interested: Please don't be a harem please don't be a harem please don't be a harem....

It seems like it could be good, if it's just an action/comedy that has males and females and shuns stereotypical character roles (just the tsundere, really...words cannot express how much I hate that character-type). I'd love to have a series that can tread the line between action and relationship drama, just to see anime manage something new.

Lupin III

Summary: Arsene Lupin III is the grandson of the master thief Arsene Lupin. With his cohorts Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII and his love interest Fujiko Mine, he pulls off the greatest heists of all time while always escaping the grasp of Inspector Koichi Zenigata. (MAL)

Why I'm Interested: Because you kinda fail if you like anime and not Lupin, just a little bit. No one's sure if this is a TV special or a television series or what, to be honest.

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle

Summry: Daimon Kaito is a high school boy, who loves puzzles. One day, the president of the student council gives him a mobile device and it leads him to an underground ruin buried in the school. He challenges an "insolvable puzzle" hidden in the ruin with his girlfriend Nonoha, but the puzzle turns out to be the dangerous "The Puzzle of Sage" created by the black society "POG". He manages to solve the puzzle but it's the beginning of a puzzle battle against POG. (BAL)

Why I'm Interested: To be honest, a description like this wouldn't sell me. But I wanted to try another series this season (it's pretty light, for me), and this one appealed enough to watch the trailer. The main character seems cocky enough for me to relate to, so I'm giving it a shot.

Overall, this is a pretty balanced season. I'm almost certain there's at least something in here for every anime fan. Even I pulled six series, and I'm kinda weird.

Supergirl 1 Thoughts

Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artist: Mahmud Asrar

Supergirl is one of those characters I can take or leave, but whenever she's written by someone with talent I'm glad to pick up her book. Because I take that stance, when they announced her title and it was written by someone that I didn't really know, I gave it a shot.

I was thoroughly impressed. In sharp contrast to Superman, Supergirl has always been the Kryptonian who actually remembered her homeworld, which was meant to give her a different perspective on Earth than her younger cousin Superman. (She was supposed to land before Clark and protect him while he grew up, but her ship was knocked off course.) The issue portrays this fact excellently, as despite the issue being about Supergirl beating up a bunch of humans, I still found myself rooting for her. Written as a fish out of water, on a world and with powers she doesn't understand, Green and Johnson manage to make someone with Superman's power set feel like an underdog.

That, combined with Mahmud Asrar's gorgeous visuals, and an obvious guest-star appearing in the next issue have got me super pumped for issue 2.

Wonder Woman 1 Thoughts

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang

* Author's Note: I think she looked cooler with pants.

Anyway. First thing's first: Cliff Chiang's art is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I thought it was slightly cartoony when I was reading Green Arrow/Black Canary, but that was clearly done on purpose as hear it manages to do a number of tones--including very creepy--with no problems. Everything's pretty much pitch-perfect from start to finish.

Next. I've been seeing a few people claim this book is too difficult to follow. Uhm. For serious? The ONLY thing that was kind of difficult to understand was the identity of the guy with the helmet. Everything else...I'm not a mythology guy, unless you count superheroes. And I've read Wonder Woman from the last relaunch of this book until Gail left the book. That's it. I'm not terribly familiar with Greek Mythology, but Azzarello basically telegraphs the identities of these characters.

Lastly, before I finally delve into this book. Is it really a big deal that Diana sleeps in the nude? How else is she supposed to sleep? With pajamas? Just curious. I'm more insulted that she's doing her superhero-ing in heels again. GTFO. Stop trolling and give Diana a pair of boots. Or find me some women who do gardening and rock climbing and other physical activites in heels. You won't, because it's not practical.

Anyways. The review itself: I can see what Azzarello meant when he said he wanted this to be a horror book. It certainly opens like one, with mysterious characters doing evil things and killing people with impunity. But on the bright side, Diana seems to have her normal power levels, and horror stories are really just superhero books minus the superheroes anyway.

Overall, this was a decent opening story for Wonder Woman. Stripped of the island full of amazons, and with no Donna Troy or Cassie Sandsmark or Steve Trevor to complicate things, this opening arc is all about Diana and this latest adventure. As long as someone new to Wonder Woman acknowledges this, it should be fairly easy for them to get into.

For my money though, I can only hope that Azzarello intends to write this series for a while, because I don't think Diana's relationship with the Greek gods can go back to normal when this story's done. Already I have solid evidence for that, and I can only imagine it'll get worse as the story goes on. Without a dedicated vision for the character and her cast, things will just go back to the Greek gods just chilling out on Mount Olympus doling out tasks for Diana, and that's going to look rather silly by comparison to this arc.

Anyways, for the first issue of Wonder Woman: Warrior Princess, I'm pretty impressed. Excited for issue 2.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes 01 Thoughts

Writer: Paul Levitz
Francis Portela

Okay, I'll say it. This is just the next issue of Legion of Super-Heroes from the last volume. I say this as a fan of Paul Levitz who was enjoying the series but dropped it a month or so before the reboot due to being a little too busy. This was a comic by a guy who may have got the memo that DC was doing a line-wide reboot to attract new readers, but really didn't care.

Unlike Green Lantern (which was actually a follow-up to a crossover arc), this book is dripping with leftover references from the last arc Levitz wrote, and feels like the aftermath issue for that crossover. The trouble here is, rather than simply write it like your normal epilogue issue and allow readers to at least piece together some idea of what happened before and perhaps give us a clue of where the book is headed, Levitz leaves things vague, perhaps with the intention of making new readers feel like they aren't reading issue 16 instead of issue 1. The end result is that even someone who read his book last volume but maybe didn't finish the last two issues or so is completely lost.

We're shown at least a dozen and a half members of this team, some new members, some old, and we're never really given time to understand who these characters are because the book never slows down long enough to tell us. Say what you will about Justice League, but I knew who Batman and Green Lantern were and what their interpersonal dynamic was before I put down the book. Here, there's too much for a Legion fan to follow, nevermind a new person. The little boxes telling you who they are and what powers they have are there, but it just feels like a token gesture with everything else going on in the comic.

The art's...well, it's nothing particularly stand out. I enjoyed it, but there's nothing there that would make me call him the next fan-favorite artist. (Or my favorite artist, for that matter.) Still, I imagine as he gets used to the title he'll improve, and I look forward to that.

In the meantime, it's sad to say that the second issue is probably only going to get read because it's The Legion of Super-Heroes. Hopefully it'll pull me in though. I'm interested in seeing the "larger 30th century universe" that Levitz wants to show us, so that's one good thing about it.

Green Lantern Corps 1 Thoughts

Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin

I'm a bit late finishing this up, and I apologize. By my count, I've got 12 books (including this one) left to post on, and I'll be trying to get them all done by Friday. Now, on to the preview!

To start, can I just make the point that it needs to be harder to kill a Green Lantern? I know it's important to set up a villain, but the Green Lantern's The Most Powerful Weapon In The Universe. I'd love for that to mean something again in this new DCU.

Other than that though, this is a great #1. It provides a new story for old fans like me, but it also introduces the concept of the Green Lantern Corps through exposition that doesn't quite feel blatant or obvious in a way that ruins the story. (Even JLA's wasn't as natural as this...and it came off pretty well.)

The stars of the book, John Stewart and Guy Gardner, start the book off showing us the problem with trying to find a job when everyone knows you're a member of the Justice League. It's nice showing us heroes at least attempting to lead normal lives now and again, since that's kind o f gotten lost with this new era of comics that started around '04 or so. (Especially with the Lanterns, which really haven't spent real time on Earth since the Sinestro Corps attack back in '07.) Granted, they only spend half the book on Earth and it's unlikely they'll revisit for a while, but it's nice to know the writers think about it.

Fernando Pasarin's pencils are incredible; detailed work that looks great when showing us the mundane world as John and Guy look for a job, and even better when showing us the fantastic as the duo explore Oa and an alien world near the end of the universe. I've always loved his work, and I'm excited to see DC put an A-List talent on a book like this. Hopefully the title's gorgeous visuals will attract more readers.

The last page of this book is a real shocker, though I'm a bit sad that this book really isn't fit to give to anyone below the age of 15 or so, it is a great cliffhanger that makes me incredibly eager to read the next issue (and the entire arc, really) to see how Guy, John, and their team bring down this new threat.