Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2

Bendis continues his run of Avengers with the post-Dark Reign Heroic Age, including time-travelling villains and the Infinity Gems.

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With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Avengers 2010 vol 1Writers: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: John Romita Jr.

Issues: Avengers (2010) #1-12, 12.1

 

Siege finally brought an end to Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign over the Marvelverse. Between the Civil War, the Secret Invasion and the Dark Reign, Marvel wanted to return to a simpler time of heroes versus villains, and so The Heroic Age was born.

The Heroic Age brought a reunion of many of our original Avengers like Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, a team that hadn’t been together in over five years. Annoyingly, Wolverine also joined the team, despite also joining the concurrent New Avengers series and still being a member of the Uncanny X-Men and the new Uncanny X-Force. Spider-Man is also on both Avengers teams, what the crap.

The newly restarted Avengers series also gave us the old-school stylings of John Romita Jr, which I will readily admit to not liking. The heavy lines and flat faces just look odd, and the action never feels particularly dynamic. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2”

The Flame in the Flood Preview [Pixelkin]

The Flame in the Flood is a survival-crafting game where you live off and survive against nature along a grand Southern river.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

the flame in the flood

Eleven days. That’s how long I could survive on my own. Well, I wasn’t completely alone. The dog had proven loyal and helpful. He was a walking backpack and alarm system. But he was no match for the pack of wolves I ran into when night fell just outside a ruined church. Eleven days.

The Flame in the Flood is an intriguingly named survival-crafting game. Several ex-BioShock developers formed an indie team and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 (which I backed). Now you can play the fruits of their labor right now via Steam Early Access, with the official release coming February 24.

The only mode available in Early Access is an Endless Campaign. It’s literally impossible to win – just try and survive as long as you can. Meanwhile the natural killers of hunger, thirst, and exposure are always just a step behind you.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

Disneyland 2016

I recap our first big family vacation to Disneyland and California Adventure in February 2016.

Disneyland entrance

My family has a big thing for Disneyland. My mom spent her formative childhood years growing up in Southern California. Many of her favorite memories come from day trips to the park.

The cool thing about Disneyland (and what Disney purists tend to mention every chance they get) is that it’s been around since 1955, with many of its original rides still intact and operational. It’s an impressive feat, and really special for that generation that can return and share those experiences with their grandkids.

My wife and I also got engaged on our last trip to Disneyland in 2010. I proposed right in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

This trip was my four year old daughter’s first visit to Disneyland. It was also her first plane ride and first time leaving our home state of Texas. And all of this merely a week after I had an exhausting weekend trip with PAX South! Continue reading “Disneyland 2016”

PAX South 2016 Mega-Post

I recap all 3 days of PAX South 2016!

pax south 2016 cloud aerithI should start by apologizing for the lateness of this post. My original idea was to update my blog every night with all the crazy festivities of each day of PAX South. Instead we ended up spending all day and evening (minus dinner out) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. That’s about 9am to midnight. The hotel wi-fi was just not up to snuff for uploading pictures, so I resigned to the occasional twitter updates and pics throughout the weekend.

Then on the way home I caught a whiff of the con crud/PAX pox. Then yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. So yeah, excuses, I got ’em!

But no more! It’s time to break down PAX South 2016, and my personal experience with this unique gaming convention. Continue reading “PAX South 2016 Mega-Post”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Second Coming

Cable and Hope return to the present in this explosive, awesome climax to the past 2+ years of X-Men titles and stories.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

X-Men Second ComingWriters: Mike Carey, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Matt Fraction, Zeb Wells

Artists: David Finch, Terry Dodson, Ibraim Robertson, Greg land, Mike Choi

Issues: Second Coming: Prepare, X-Men: Second Coming #1-2, Uncanny X-Men #523-525, New Mutants #12-14, X-Men: Legacy #235-237, X-Force #26-28*

*Also read the Second Coming Revelations trade, which includes X-Factor #204-206, X-Men Second Coming Revelations: Blind Science, X-Men: Hellbound #1-3

 

“You’ll feel it, Hope. Like nothing you’ve ever felt before. It’l be like a switched turned on inside you. Like a fire. And once that fire’s lit…everything will change.”

Remember how much I gushed about how awesome the mega crossover X-Men event Messiah Complex was? Well the two-years in the making sequel, Second Coming, makes that look like crap. Which is to say it’s bloody amazing.

X-Men: Second Coming finally brings Hope, the young mutant messiah, back into our timeline. At the end of Messiah Complex Cable took the first mutant baby born since M-Day forward into the future to escape danger (even though just about every future scenario is super dangerous). Bishop, on a quest to prevent his own apocalyptic future, hunts them down through time. What followed was a pretty nice two year arc of Cable as a tough-love dad with Hope growing up knowing only war, danger, and survival.

Meanwhile with Xavier’s school destroyed, the X-Men relocated to San Francisco. Then when shit hit the fan, Cyclops moved everyone to the island of Utopia – arisen from Magneto’s old Asteroid M that had crashed into the ocean (Namor is a useful ally to have around).

Cyclops, who’s grown into a real wartime general that makes even Magneto bend the knee, also restarts X-Force as a mutant black ops group, tasked with trying to kill the bad guys before they can do more harm. It was a very bloody, very violent series with some spiffy art.

And at some point Marvel started up a mostly unnecessary but surprisingly decent New Mutants series. All of this means that X-Men: Second Coming, like all X-Men stuff is densely mired in continuity and current events. This makes it both off-putting for anyone trying to jump in, but rewarding for fans following the X-Men’s dire saga in the last few years. I’m in the latter camp, so I absolutely loved it. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Second Coming”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Frustrating controls and frequent crashes prevent this nostalgic remake from stepping out of the shadow of the original 90s car-smasher.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Stainless Games

Publisher: Stainless Games

Release Date: May 21, 2015

Carmageddon-Reincarnation

In the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm (paraphrasing): just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes that applies to remakes of classic 90s video games.

I was a big fan of Carmageddon back in the day. The violent destruction derby combined standard racing with large, fully explorable zones. Racing through checkpoints was only one of three ways to win.

The others involved either destroying your fellow racers, or running over every poor pedestrian that wandered into range of your four-wheeled death machine. It was silly, over-the-top violence that was very 90s and very fun. An expansion pack added more fun, while a middling sequel suggested that the magic may have already died a bit.

Skip ahead to our current Kickstarter-addled, nostalgic fueled age. Stainless Games bought back the rights to their beloved car-smashing series and jumped onto the Kickstarter bandwagon back in 2012. An official remake was in the works.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation was finally released three years later after a hefty dose of time in open development via Steam Early Access. The result was a buggy, poorly optimized mess that I initially shied away from, despite being a Kickstarter backer. Thankfully a few months of post-launch patches and support have stabilized the gameplay and the result is a briefly nostalgic, but ultimately forgettable experience. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation”

Nine Tips For Playing Yo-Kai Watch [Pixelkin]

A list of helpful tips and advice for playing Yo-Kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS.

Read the full article at Pixelkin

yo-kai watch

Yo-Kai Watch may be designed and marketed toward kids, but that doesn’t make it a simplistic game. Follow these quick tips and suggestions and you’ll be on your way to solving the mysteries of the Yo-kai around Springdale.

Crank-a-kai Everyday

You’ll soon discover one of the best treasure rewards in the game—those colorful Crank-a-kai coins. Return to the machine by the tree at the Wildwood Shrine where you got Whisper at the beginning of the game to insert them. Most of the time you’ll get a random item, but rarely a Yo-kai will pop out. There’s a rare chance you could get a very powerful A or even S-rank Yo-kai early on. Since you can use it three times a day, use it every day!

Read the full article at Pixelkin