Tag Archives: Books

It’s time for a Rebirth

DC, after 5 years of The New 52 has finally done it. They are once again rebooting the Universe and setting things up for a new era of comics. Honestly, it’s less of a reboot and more of DC stepping away from the core ideals of The New 52 and readdressing their series. It’s a return to a form of DC comics we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s important to note that I’ll try and avoid the big spoilers of the book. But in order to properly talk about the implications I will need to address a few key moments. If you’re just interested in the fate of DC comics going forward, we’ll get to that. As for now, I need to go into the details of Rebirth #1 and what they all mean, at least to me.

The book opens with a disembodied voice, that we learn belongs to Wally West. Not the new 52 Wally, but the original. Kid Flash, The Flash, Wally West. He talks about how he’s been gone for a while, trapped in the speed force. He says that ever since Flashpoint (the event that kicked off the New 52) things have been different. Things aren’t right. He says that the only way for him to return is for someone to remember him. First he goes to Bruce Wayne, who is deep in the mystery of the Joker. Batman learns a surprising fact that will propel him into his next arc, when Rebirth properly comes out. Wally is unable to connect with him, and is once again pulled back into the Speed Force. Before he tries to reach out again he muses on the fact that the events of Flashpoint didn’t create the new universe. Someone from beyond time and space has been reaching in and removing bits of time, sometimes decades. Next Wally reaches out to Johnny Thunder, another speedster from the golden era. A member of the Justice Society, Johnny mistakes Wally for his lost companion, Thunderbolt. Wally, unable to make the connection is once again hurled out of existence. Again Wally muses. He says that the one thing that has been missing from the world is Love. The thing that his unknown being has taken is the love and hope that the heroes of this universe once had. Ollie Queen and Dinah Lance, once deeply in love, have been set apart by the being. He witnesses Aquaman proposing to Mera, and realizes that’s the connection he needs to make. He needs to reconnect with his once love, Linda Park.

Here is possibly the most interesting part about Rebirth. This is essentially Geoff Johns saying the thing that has been missing from the new 52 is love. Love between the heroes. Love for saving the world, and crime fighting. New 52 has been so dark and dour, things need to change. There needs to be a sense of happiness brought back to the DC universe. His connection to Linda doesn’t work out. She doesn’t remember who he is and once again he is sent back. At this point he realizes he can’t connect to anyone and he’ll be consumed by the Speed Force. He sees the new Wally West save a little girl’s life and he remarks that he isn’t needed. His mantle is in good hands. He then goes to make one final visit. He goes to see Barry Allen, the current Flash. He goes just to say goodbye. Once again Wally remarks on love. He says Barry always has a smile on his face. He says Barry is the only one left who actually loves his job. He loves helping people in need. Wally says that Barry is the only hero who stops and talks to the people he’s rescued after. Wally and Barry have a heart-felt meeting, even though Barry doesn’t recognize him. Wally tells Barry that he’s the reason Wally’s life is so great. Barry has been an inspiration because of the love he’s shown the world. Wally is no longer so obsessed with returning to existence and is happy to part because of the love for the life he once had. At this moment Barry recognizes Wally and pulls him into existence. Wally then tells Barry about The Being.

We finally have the return of a hero who has been lost to us. We finally know that the new 52 was created not by the Flashpoint, but rather by someone removing love from the universe; someone experimenting on the entire universe, seeing what would happen if love was taken out. This mysterious Being is the DC company, and Wally West was a voice for both the writers wanting to work on something new and the fans wanting a change from the dreary New 52. Over the course of Rebirth we get a few glimpses of other heroes, such as The Atom and Blue Beetle. We see Superman from the Louis and Clark series, as well as the pre-crisis Superman who died in his world and appeared on earth prime. This gives us a good look at what other series will pop up in Rebirth. Ultimately DC is going to return to more light hearted, fun stories. The grittiness of New 52 has put a lot of people off of reading DC and it’s time to change that. Happiness and Love will return to this company and we’ll see what new exciting stories will arise.

As for what’s actually coming out? Well, there are a lot of different rumors about what’s happening. But as far as I can tell, several series are sticking around, several are being discontinued and a bunch are being merged into a single series.

The series going forward are as follows:

• AQUAMAN
• BATMAN
• THE FLASH
• GREEN ARROW
• GREEN LANTERN
• SUPERMAN
• WONDER WOMAN

ACTION COMICS #957
• DETECTIVE COMICS #934
(an inspiration of the return to form that DC is going through, and the notion that the comics will be more like the originals in tone, both Action and Detective will return to their original numbering)

HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS
• JUSTICE LEAGUE
• NIGHTWING
• BATGIRL
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY
• THE HELLBLAZER (John Constantine)
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS

• THE SUPER-MAN
• TITANS
• CYBORG
• DEATHSTROKE
• HARLEY QUINN
• JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA
• SUICIDE SQUAD
• BATMAN BEYOND
• BLUE BEETLE
• EARTH 2
• GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER
• SUPERGIRL
• SUPERWOMAN
• SUPER SONS
• TEEN TITANS
• TRINITY

As for what’s still around, there are again a ton of rumors. But most sources point to these being the only series going forward and everything else will either be promptly canceled or phased out over time. I for one am really excited about everything. I loved reading Rebirth. I think it was brilliantly written and there is so much more analysis that can be done. I just lightly touched on some major themes and gave a run-down of what happened. If you are interested in a deeper analysis with all the spoilers of the book, please read:

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/05/23/why-dc-universe-rebirth-is-a-gutsy-work-of-comics-criticism

It’d be unfair to say that what I wrote was entirely from my own ideas, and that I didn’t take influence from the aforementioned article. Happy reading fellow comic fans. I hope you are all just as excited about this as I am.

-Jordan Kamm-

Haven Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

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Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael

Four turtles and a very intelligent rat who got covered in glowing mutagen ooze, became humanoid and smarter. Aside from becoming as smart as humans, they have an unnatural caving for pizza, partying and talking in surf lingo. Not only do they have the names of four famous Renaissance artists, they are also highly skilled ninjas. Eventually they crawled out from the sewers and decided it was a good idea to fight crime, as the city is infested with “Foot Ninjas” commanded by the terrible masked Ninja Lord “Shredder” and his

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Worst bomb disarming scenario ever!

questionable henchmen. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is a comic book turned into an animated series, then another series and one more series after that (not to mention several games). Personally, I never grew up with the turtles, but I’ve watched some here and there in different incarnations. Some of them are actually quite good and very entertaining. Regretfully, English is my second language and I can’t pronounce the name of this game! TMNT is an action game, where you fight as one turtle, while the rest is CPU-controlled. You can also play with others online. Let me tell you, the AI is not very smart, nor is combat rewarding, interesting or engaging at all; you will die a lot. Luckily, reviving is as simple as pressing the correct key. This is at least a thing the computer is very good at, they are quite relentless in their quest for revival. Too bad this does not hold true for survival. The basic strategy is to beat things until they stop moving, and flail at floating foes! The enemy is not much better. The lot of them can get stuck in different places and spawn out of nowhere. The worst example of this is a bomb-diffusal mission in the middle of a subway track with speeding trains. Unless the timing was picture-perfect, it was impossible to disarm the bomb.

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A visually confusing slow mo finish!

This is done by holding down a key until a bar is filled. The moment I was almost done, the damn train ran me over and flung me into another oncoming train, which in turn made me a permanent wall fixture. That is the biggest problem with the game. Sequences where I have to transport something somewhere are total crap…even if they did an honest attempt at making it varied, such as balancing on a ball. Fortunately, there is a silver lining to it all. Most of these minor quests only incur a light penalty if failed. However they all have a pesky timer. Each level has a boss at the end, who is taken straight out of the turtles rogue gallery, and they are all dumb as stones. That’s saying something when one of the more beefy mooks roaming the levels is just that, a rock soldier!

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Rocksteady

Anyone familiar with the way Platinum Games handles combat, then there is not much to say. One of the level’s random orbs has a small chance of dropping a random usable item and points that can be used to upgrade abilities. When the player reaches a certain level, each turtle can be equipped with four different abilities and charms, which add extra bonuses. Other special attacks have a healthy cooldown timer. All turtles can spam shuriken and normal attacks, When the enemy eventually glows red or orange, the player can dodge and instantly retaliate, with correct timing. Don’t expect your AI partner to do such things. It will just do a relentless series of attacks and focus on reviving its allies, including the player. Every now and then it’s possible to stealth-kill enemies that have not seen you yet. It’s possible to give the AI different orders, but those just make them even dumber and more useless. The best bet is to wail at the enemy with sharp pointy things instead. It’s totally possible to grind on any sort of railing in the levels, from feces to pipes and electric cords, where live wires could be considered a serious problem.

Multiplayer is a very streamlined and simple process. However it’s not possible to turn voice capture off; only to set the volume to zero. Luckily there are very few annoying kids to play with. I’m not convinced people actually play this game or know of its existence. Bosses are terrible things with annoying patterns and horrid attacks that must be dodged at all costs. The environment is also littered with ulockables, such as comic book covers from the original series. Too bad it’s not the comics themselves.  Replayability comes from the different difficultly levels, skills to unlock and grinding.

TMNT is the riveting poster boy for being repetitive. The music is composed of short loops that keep on going and going and going. I can’t stand those at all. The fact that the whole cast has way too few lines does not help at all, either. Hurling ninja stars will cause the current turtle to switch between two lines of dialogue, which are not very good. The voices are okay for the most part. The models in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are decent, cartoonish and quite polished. The same goes for the levels, that unfortunately reuse assets a lot. The new sewer system clearly goes all the way down to the center of the earth and also comes with an intelligent sewer shark. Despite how similar the turtles look, there has been a vague attempt at giving them different personalities (aside from their tell tale weapons and color-coded masks). One is a glutton and a walking joke, while one is kind of serious and short-tempered. Then there is the overexplained geek and the snarky thrill-seeker. The voices and cut scenes are not bad, and the character animations are decent, I’ll give the game that.

Game play video, its a must watch!

Personally I can’t recommend this title at all, unless you happen to be a masochistic die-hard turtle fan, and are also bored. At least it has a decent frame rate, polished graphics and cartoon-like art direction. A friend or two is recommended for optimal happy fun time.

If you feel like it, here is the Steam store page.
http://store.steampowered.com/app/338400/

tnmt

Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Njål H Sand-

Haven Review: Geek Fuel Monthly Box

So I finally got to try a subscription box from Geek Fuel, and jumping right into it I must say it was nicely packed. I don’t have photos because I got selfish and decided to just tear into the box like an angry child with wrapping paper.

One of the things I noticed about the box is the cost, which I found a bit low. But when I opened it I wasn’t disappointed by what I found. Inside we had a lovely Steam game, a Batman vs. Superman T-shirt (XL, my size too!), A Legend of Zelda: Link poster that’s exclusive to Geek Fuel and a Funko vinyl doll which made me want to shout “Wonder Woman!” like in the old TV shows. But you probably haven’t seen those.015-525x350

I also got the Amazing Fantastic Incredible, memoirs of Stan Lee, which surprisingly enough is spot on for this box. They also included the Geek Fuel magazine which emphasizes things they like to talk about, including console gaming. Truth be told, I didn’t really pay that much mind; I got an entire box full of wonderful geeky things which will keep me busy for quite a few hours. By quite a few hours, I mean I’m just going to be reading the Stan Lee memoirs for a really long time. The book is hard cover with a nice paper-back design that’s very well done.¨

If you want to watch the opening of the Geek Fuel box, the link will be in the description below. But now is the part where I say “Hey if you want, you too can order a box and they have various subscription fees for what you want.” You can buy a box for $17.90 (USD), but that’s only for a month. If you decide to order for a year, you can get it for $14.90. I don’t know why they’re priced like that; I find it pretty stupid.DSC_0015

So you can get more things for less if you purchase an entire year’s worth…assuming you have the money and want to order a nice box of geeky things. I absolutely love my box, but honestly when we were ordering it we had a few issues. These initially prevented us from getting it until a polite staff member patiently helped us out.

Not many companies we’ve had the pleasure of working with are kind enough to actually take the time to deal with people in a polite way. So for me that was a bonus. It shows me that they actually go out of their way to help people who are interested in their product without shrugging them off. This was a definite selling point.

But anyway, if you’re interested in picking up a subscription box from Geek Fuel you can visit their website here. Or if you’d be so kind, you can click this link here and use our referral so we can get more boxes! What can I say? I really do love geeky things!

-Daniel Clatworthy-