Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Brief Moment of Fanboyishness: MEV

'The' Ben Seck recently made a huge announcement on VSrealms earlier today. While there's a lot of goodies in there, there are three things that I wanted to focus on in this, my moment of fanboyishness.

1) I get a preview.
This is particularly exciting to me, as you might imagine. Seeing one or two cards ahead of time, writing up something, keeping mum on the Realms, it's all very exciting. Especially when I have such goodies to pick from...

2) Multiple Man Legends!
First off, let me just say that if you haven't read any of Peter David's current 'X-Factor' or his 'Madrox' mini, you're doing yourself a disservice. X-Factor has great art, interesting characters, bizarre plots - it has a whole lot going for it, thanks to Peter David.

It is, in fact, because of the current run on X-Factor that I'm such a fan of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man. While he had once been a D-lister (at best), David revamped the character slightly, with a few more noir stylings and a interesting spin on his powers. Previously, he had just used his 'dupes' - multiples of himself, hence the name - as cannon fodder to toss at baddies, and, of course, as a get out of death free card from the writers.

PAD changed that, remembering that when he reabsorbed his dupes, he reabsorbed their memories, too. Madrox began to send dupes all over the world to learn things, and then reabsorbed them later, acquiring a considerable amount of knowledge. Of course, this wasn't without a price - when someone can make every choice, take every path, what's there to be excited of? Dupes began to pop up who were aspects of his repressed emotions - some were suicidal, some were sweet, some were mean, some wanted to sleep with any and every teammate. Dealing with these problems breathed new life into the character, and it's exciting to see him (and hopefully his current team, Layla Miller included) get some more content in the game.

3) Runaways!
Every Marvel set, I've hopes and wished that the Runaways would finally get some content. After all, they're one of the few successful 'new' properties in mainstream comics. They're onto their second volume, have gone through a number of line-ups, have been a part of every major event in the last three or so years at Marvel. And yet, no Runaways...until now.

As I did for the Young Avengers, I'll try and provide some brief character profiles, maybe a few images, in preparation for their arrival onto the sweet shores of VS. Be excited. Not for my rundowns, I mean, but for their inclusion. That's the awesome bit.


Alright. It's time to get some work done, but this was definitely some exciting news to end the night on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend Update

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I really do enjoy writing. I'm not quite my finest when it comes to blogging, but then, I'm not exactly blowing the roof off the fiction scene, either. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoy writing, and I figure, if you're a regular reader, you probably don't mind reading my writing, so I thought I would post an occasional update of where my fiction is or could be in the near future, in case any of you are bored or curious.

First off, I have a story under consideration for "Chicago Overcoat", a print anthology based off the theme 'hard-boiled detective meets (blank)', in which you mix up the noir genre with whatever the hell you want. My story, titled "White Pittsburgh", mixes it up a little with some minor urban fantasy in the form of ghost hunting.

I only have one other story currently under consideration, and that's for Sam's Dot Publishing, which has an upcoming print anthology titled "The Book of Tentacles", a collection of stories that involve tentacles in some way or another. Some will be horror, some will probably be a little porny. My "I Am Very Important" is an absurdist comedy.

This brief bit of self-pimpery comes in the form of, if I'm right, my 100th post of 2008. I don't know how either story will turn out, in the long run. I enjoy both stories, but neither is, I believe, a guaranteed entry. Still, wish me luck - and I'll definitely keep you all in the loop with the status of these stories and any other submissions I make in the near future.

Have a great weekend, all of you, and thanks for sticking with me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preview Season Begins!

-the facebook group

After months of silence, we apparently have our first MEV Preview, courtesy of the VS System facebook group, and given with the additional note that previews will begin in two short weeks. The preview's definitely a solid, insanely versatile card for the Skrulls - it was almost certain they'd get some legacy, and I suppose we'll soon find out if they get a full refeature in the set, given Secret Invasion. Whatever - I'm definitely looking forward to the beginnings of preview season!

Head on over to VSRealms to join the discussion!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pre-MEV Hint Review

With previews coming up, we already know a number of teams that are likely to appear, but what do you really want to see from the set? Are you dying for Madrox, Layla, and the good folks at X-Factor Investigations - or do your tastes run a little more old-school? Runaways or Power Pack for the 'teen guest stars' that have been mentioned? And teams aren't they telling us about...?

In fact, you know, let's go do a quick rundown of some rumors dropped by UDE in the past months on MEV. They've been pretty tight-lipped, first discussing the MUN release, and then going completely under the radar for about 4 months. Still, they do love to drop hints, and so we do have something to work with.

First off...

"Just to let you guys know, X-Men will not be a major refeature of this set, nor will Brotherhood. Each of these teams will appear as part of Dual Affiliation and such, but the main teams will be new."

Well, unless this has changed, this is kind of interesting. Only a year or two ago, they seemed to be going in the complete other direction, getting rid of the 'infinite color wheel'. And, let's face it, teams like X-Force, X-Factor, the Marauders, etc... aren't exactly big draws. The storylines the set is based on are, though, and it'll be nice to see if they can repeat the magic from Infinite Crisis - a respectable set that doesn't focus on the same four teams and get some of the lesser-knowns into the game.

"YAUS!!! vindicated!!!
i knew there was at least one dude out there who'd like some Liefeld art in Versus!"

...it looks like we could only go so long before we, too, were tainted by Rob Liefeld.

In response to my guess that the Sentinels may get a small refeature...

"didn't Bastion just pop up in X-Force? hmmm..."

While a confirmation of absolutely nothing, this seems to lend to the guess that we'll definitely be seeing some Sentinels in the set - if not a full refeature, then at least enough of one to use the frequent Sentinels characters that have popped up in the last few years. Or, this could just be his way of saying that we'll get one or two Sentinels in this set, too, and Bastion'll be one of 'em.

"contrary to what has been put out in the marketing packet, which was based on extremely early plans, House of M will not play a major role in Marvel Evolution"

Sadly, this makes it less likely that I'll see Layla as a major presence on X-Factor, and this makes me sad. Though, other than Peter David stealing Layla, HoM was really pretty bad, so this decision makes me pretty happy.

In reference to a question about Weapon Plus...

"all i can say is "be patient" and "all good things come to those who wait." right now, we've only announced 3 of the 5 main teams in the set. there's also the mini teams and the--"

Oh, TBZ, you tease. So, X-Factor, the Marauders, and X-Force are only three of the 5 main teams - who might the others be? Sentinels? Shi'ar? The Runaways have been strongly hinted at as the 'teen guest stars' and one of the mini-teams of the set, and what else could he have meant after the 'the--'? Or maybe the teen guest stars will be the New X-Men (not Morrison's awesome ones, the other ones)? The Acolytes, Purifiers, and Reavers are possibilities, I suppose, given their import to the story - the Purifiers especially. Perhaps the Purifiers and the Sentinels will be mashed into a single team? And Weapon X via Predator X? They seem likely, given that they already received a mini-team treatment recently, and TBZ appears to be a fan of the whole Weapon Plus idea. And the Exiles have been hinted at...

So, we know there are 5 main teams. We know that Gambit, Cyclops, Deadpool, and Cable are all getting some Legend treatment. We know X-Factor, X-Force, and Sinister's Marauders are three of the five main teams, and while Gambit and Cyclops fit neatly on there, Cable and Deadpool don't. Cable could be on his own, but Deadpool hints at an extended Weapon X roster. Sentinels are almost guaranteed to see some content, and the Runaways and Exiles both seem quite likely as mini-teams. House of M will play a minor role, and X-Men and Brotherhood won't be core teams here.

If I had to guess...and I do, because I'm bored...

Weapon X

will be the main teams, followed by


as the mini-teams. Not the most intriguing line-up to me, but UDE has a track-record of making exciting sets regardless of how little I care about the teams involved. I'm really hoping they don't follow the trend of picking the versions of each team I care least about and give me some serious Madrox/Layla-era X-Factor content, and we see characters who are long overdue, like Fantomex and the Stepford Cuckoos. I hope the Liefeld art is kept to a minimum, while we get at least a few Quitely pieces. I hope that the Runaways will be playable by themselves. Mostly, I hope previews start soon!

What are you guys hoping to see fill those empty slots?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

With Apologies, a Brief Political Interlude

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm an enormous Aaron Sorkin fan. The West Wing, Sports Night, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip are three of the best TV shows I've ever seen, and his movies are pretty great, too. He is, in fact, one of my favorite writers, despite his numerous stylistic flaws. And he's extremely political.

Now, I'm a fairly political person, though not excessively so. I agree with Democrats on most things; Republicans on some. I haven't done enough research on Obama to say for sure that I'm voting for him, but I have done enough research on McCain and especially Palin to know that I could not, in good conscience, vote for them. Still, I won't vote for Obama just to defeat the Republicans - I'll vote for whoever I believe can best serve our country, regardless of whether they have a chance to win.

That said, this exchange definitely made me smile.

From NYT Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd...


Now that he’s finally fired up on the soup-line economy, Barack Obama knows he can’t fade out again. He was eager to talk privately to a Democratic ex-president who could offer more fatherly wisdom — not to mention a surreptitious smoke — and less fraternal rivalry. I called the “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin (yes, truly) to get a read-out of the meeting. This is what he wrote:

BARACK OBAMA knocks on the front door of a 300-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse while his Secret Service detail waits in the driveway. The door opens and OBAMA is standing face to face with former President JED BARTLET.

BARTLET Senator.

OBAMA Mr. President.

BARTLET You seem startled.

OBAMA I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.

BARTLET I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a LancĂ´me rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.

OBAMA Yes, sir.

BARTLET Come on in.

BARTLET leads OBAMA into his study.

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose —

OBAMA Look —

BARTLET — and selling Air Force Two on eBay?

OBAMA Joke all you want, Mr. President, but it worked.

BARTLET Imagine my surprise. What can I do for you, kid?

OBAMA I’m interested in your advice.

BARTLET I can’t give it to you.

OBAMA Why not?

BARTLET I’m supporting McCain.


BARTLET He’s promised to eradicate evil and that was always on my “to do” list.


BARTLET And he’s surrounded himself, I think, with the best possible team to get us out of an economic crisis. Why, Sarah Palin just said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” Can you spot the error in that statement?

OBAMA Yes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t funded by taxpayers.

BARTLET Well, at least they are now. Kind of reminds you of the time Bush said that Social Security wasn’t a government program. He was only off by a little — Social Security is the largest government program.

OBAMA I appreciate your sense of humor, sir, but I really could use your advice.

BARTLET Well, it seems to me your problem is a lot like the problem I had twice.

OBAMA Which was?

BARTLET A huge number of Americans thought I thought I was superior to them.



OBAMA I mean, how did you overcome that?

BARTLET I won’t lie to you, being fictional was a big advantage.

OBAMA What do you mean?

BARTLET I’m a fictional president. You’re dreaming right now, Senator.

OBAMA I’m asleep?

BARTLET Yes, and you’re losing a ton of white women.

OBAMA Yes, sir.

BARTLET I mean tons.

OBAMA I understand.

BARTLET I didn’t even think there were that many white women.

OBAMA I see the numbers, sir. What do they want from me?

BARTLET I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me.

OBAMA How did you do it?

BARTLET Well, I say I’m sorry a lot.

OBAMA I don’t mean your marriage, sir. I mean how did you get America on your side?

BARTLET There again, I didn’t have to be president of America, I just had to be president of the people who watched “The West Wing.”

OBAMA That would make it easier.

BARTLET You’d do very well on NBC. Thursday nights in the old “ER” time slot with “30 Rock” as your lead-in, you’d get seven, seven-five in the demo with a 20, 22 share — you’d be selling $450,000 minutes.

OBAMA What the hell does that mean?

BARTLET TV talk. I thought you’d be interested.

OBAMA I’m not. They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?

BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.

OBAMA You’re saying race doesn’t have anything to do with it?

BARTLET I wouldn’t go that far. Brains made me look arrogant but they make you look uppity. Plus, if you had a black daughter —

OBAMA I have two.

BARTLET — who was 17 and pregnant and unmarried and the father was a teenager hoping to launch a rap career with “Thug Life” inked across his chest, you’d come in fifth behind Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and a ficus.

OBAMA You’re not cheering me up.

BARTLET Is that what you came here for?

OBAMA No, but it wouldn’t kill you.

BARTLET Have you tried doing a two-hour special or a really good Christmas show?


BARTLET Hang on. Home run. Right here. Is there any chance you could get Michelle pregnant before the fall sweeps?

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well ... let me think. ...We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

OBAMA Good to get that off your chest?

BARTLET Am I keeping you from something?

OBAMA Well, it’s not as if I didn’t know all of that and it took you like 20 minutes to say.

BARTLET I know, I have a problem, but admitting it is the first step.

OBAMA What’s the second step?

BARTLET I don’t care.

OBAMA So what about hope? Chuck it for outrage and put-downs?

BARTLET No. You’re elite, you can do both. Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.

OBAMA Wait, what is it you always used to say? When you hit a bump on the show and your people were down and frustrated? You’d give them a pep talk and then you’d always end it with something. What was it ...?

BARTLET “Break’s over.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rant: Sci-Fi Lifestyle

"You are never going into space.
You will never own a jet pack.
Your car will never fly.
HIV will not be cured in your lifetime.
Cancer will not be cured in your lifetime.
The common cold will not be cured in your lifetime.
Don't these things bother you?

Suicide is the third biggest killer of teenagers in the United States.
In 1999 more people in America died from suicide than from homicide.
Do you think about this?

As anyone who ever read MyDeathSpace.com for any period of time know, the leading cause of death in America is automobile accident. This is generally interpolated into a number placed under the heading "accidental death." When the operation of cars is the leading cause of loss of life I'm not entirely sure how it comes under the term "accidental death." It wasn't a fucking accident, it was done by someone with a car. It's 2007 and we don't know how to operate cars without killing people. It's not a fucking accident if it was caused by someone getting into a one-ton metal bullet that cannot be operated with complete control at all times.

In Europe in 2004, 13000 kids – persons under the age of fourteen -- died due to poor water. It’s 2007 and the society does not yet understand how to operate water.

Are you thinking about this now?

People keep asking me what DOKTOR SLEEPLESS is about. This is what it's about.

Someone stole your future. Don't you ever wonder who?"

-Warren Ellis

Those ideas are what prompted Ellis to begin Doktor Sleepless, an ongoing comic that will shortly get the "Best Books You Aren't Reading" post.

But, despite the cause for that particular introduction to the post, that's not what it's about. And despite the heading, this isn't that much of a rant - more of a question, really.

What do you think the future will hold?

I mean, it's easy to throw out the vision of the future we all have from our childhood - the jet packs, the space ships, the machine-enhanced superstrength - but more and more, even if those are real, don't they seem...obsolete, almost? Worn out.

I mean, yeah, I wouldn't turn down any of that, and it is really freakin' cool to see all these things slowly coming into being. But how long until those are really feasible? What are the odds that, in my lifetime, I'd be able to buy any of those? And, I mean, as cool as any of it is, how long would it take for them to become commonplace? I mean, when I was born, what the hell was the Internet? A decade ago, who would believe that I can connect to the Internet while in a car? Think about things like twitter-feeds, RSS, and all that.

Think about how sci-fi the concept of RFID-tagging a VIP really is. Think about Second Life for a second. Hell, think about something as simple as sending a video you just took on your cell phone to your friend three states over.

The future is coming. Hell, the future is here. But, I still can't escape this niggling little feeling that we're all a little too cavalier about it. Maybe it's just me and the crowd I hang out with, but apathy seems to hold sway. Apathy's awesome for the things that don't matter, but for things like this...?

Don't worry - this isn't a drastic change in the blog's structure or purpose. This is more just something that I felt I had to share. I'll make other posts on this topic, directing you to sites like...


...where people with more time and skill are tracking outbreaks of the future in our modern society. But, the more I read, the more I realize that we can't wade through life as a culture proud of our illiteracy and apathy. So whenever I find something in my research that I find particularly interesting, I'll probably put it up - and I urge you to do the same, in comments here, on your own blogs, wherever. I know that it may be incongruous to place philosophy side by side with VS decks, but who really cares?

Now, it seems like there should be a message to end this, and I'm sure a cleverer writer would've found one. But...oh, well. This post was more an expression of recent thoughts than any sort of coherent, structured message to you. Still, if I can urge you to any sort of action, it's this: really think, sometime, about the future. About what you want the future to be like, and how you can help get it there.

Good night.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

VS: The Clone Wars - Zazzala Edition

The more often I think about the Clone Saga format that is probably over right now, the more I like it. As always, there will definitely be people who just spam a Legend or two, and that's fine - they'll beat the ever living piss out of me, seven or eight times out of ten. Then there are the people who are genuinely skilled deckbuilders and VS players, and they'll tear me apart ten times out of ten. But, when there's no one to play with in your area, you begin to build bizarre, fun decks that may never see the light of day, but which are still insanely fun.

So, the Clone Saga format may be done and over with for you 'real players' out there, who 'know the rules' and 'build real decks'. But for the rest of me, it's still a magnificently fun format with a lot of promise. For example...

The Clone Queens
4x Maria Hill, Deputy Commander of SHIELD
3x Cheetah, Feral Feline
4x Zazzala <> Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive
4x The Calculator, Noah Cutler
15x SHIELD Agents, Army

3x Birthing Chamber

4x Origin Story
4x Baddest of the Bad
4x Coercion, Team-Up
3x Secret War, Team-Up
4x STAR Squad
4x You're Under Arrest
4x Death Trap

The deck is pretty simple. If one Zazzala can brutalize an opponent, how about 2? Or 3? And what happens when you combine them with the SHIELD Agents, who burn on entering play? In a single turn, say...turn 4, with two Zazzala's and a single SHIELD Agent, you can burn for 2 when the Agent comes in, then during the combat phase, play STAR Squad, burn for 4 when he leaves...and put another into play for free. At the cost of no board presence at all and a single card, you've dealt 8 damage. Origin Story and Baddest of the Bad, even Secret War become painful burn effects that also help you out.

Simple, but it seems pretty efficient, and also VERY cost-effective. I'll try and do some test draws with it, let you know how it plays out, but if any of you ever get to play VU/SHIELD and it's similar to this, let me know how it plays. The idea's probably been done a hundred times before, but...uhh...this time, it was done by me, so it was done in a more slapdash, sloppy manner.

And that's a good thing?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sharing the Good News: MEV Announcement

For any of the VS player that reads my blog and no other, that one guy from somewhere in the middle of Ohio, or past VS player who is uncertain about the future of the game, I have a public service announcement

Two announcements, actually, from Lost Hemisphere, the crazy blog that's actually posting you know...updates. About things...



If you don't want to read the blog, then, I can break it down for you. We're only a few weeks away from beginning a new Preview season, this time for MEV, so everyone curious about that, uhh...stop...being curious...? Also of note, shortly after the beginning of preview season, we'll be given an announcement on VS. I don't know what on, exactly. I am not from the future.

I think that needs some clarification. There has been some concern, I suppose, that perhaps I was from the future. That I know things about you that I have no earthly reason to know. That I make unholy predictions.

Let the records ring true - I am from...now, I guess? Now? I wasn't born now. I'm from 1985, I suppose, but I don't want anyone to think that I, y'know, support the '80's. I endorse the '80's in no way.

I'm glad I've cleared that up.

So, to review...

1) Preview season! It's like Christmas, but over a span of a month or more!
3) NOT from the future.

Apologies, Apologies

Ah, see, just as I was getting into the habit of an update every other day, I am forced to break it. I must apologize to my loyal reader, and explain, briefly.

I have only recently started grad school, studying for my Master's in Library and Information Sciences. I've moved to a new city - where no one seems to play VS (yet), curse the souls of all around me - and have been looking for a job. More than that, though, is the mad-crazy amount of work expected of a graduate student that, to be frank, leaves me with far less free time than I might have otherwise hoped.

Still, fret not. I shan't abandon the you for long. While I don't think that I can keep up my recent update rate when I can't even find people to play the damn game with (yet), I shall definitely try and update regularly - if not every other day, then at least twice a week, thrice a week on a good week. And of course, as I settle in, find a job, get a schedule, and learn not to wait to the last moment to do the massive projects expected of me, I shall surely find more time to update.

In other news, All-Star Superman came to a heart-breaking ending yesterday with #12. It's a great series, and I once again implore any comic fan reading this to urge a local library to pick it up. Here are a few covers from the series...

And, finally, while Ed Brubaker is not working on the Marvel Noir project, as I had hoped he would be, he is starting up a new project. Described, apparently, as a meld between Sleeper (a book you will get a post on sooner or later) and Criminal, Incognito looks like a promising new book, well worth checking out. Brubaker is an extremely competent writer, and one of the relatively few who seems more interested in telling good stories than getting you to like his pet characters.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

re: X-Noir

As I mentioned last month, Marvel's been running a series of ads that I found very interesting: black and white with just a splash of color and a small saying to correspond with the character. I speculated that we had a potential X-Noir event coming up, an out-of-continuity story featuring Marvel characters in an old-school noir setting. Me being a sucker for that sort of thing, I immediately posted all the ads that had ben released and begged and pleaded that it was an Ed Brubaker project.

Well, more information - and more ads - have come up, and I was at least partly right.

First off, the two new ads...


...there we have it.

That's not all, however. Earlier today, at the recent Diamond Retailer Summit, Newsarama reported that Marvel announced a number of upcoming projects, many of which are spinning out of Secret Invasion. What had me a little excited is the announcement of Marvel Noir, a line beginning with an X-Men mini, moving onto Spider-Man, and then continuing on if it proves successful.

Sadly, I later learned that this is not a Brubaker-helmed project as Comic Book Resources got an interview with Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero about their ideas for the mini. It sounds interesting, and the link to the CBR interview is above for you to read by yourself, but Van Lente is a relative unknown to me, so I'm not sure how it'll turn out.

Still, pretty cool news to share with you all for my 100th POST! Woohoo! My blog is officially in the triple-digits.

I couldn't have done it without my two readers, who aren't very faithful, and may be imaginary.

Thank you all.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Felicia Day is Adorable - aka The Guild

I likely never would have heard of Felicia Day if not for Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog - which all of you should have watched by now - and I probably never would have heard of this ongoing project of hers if not for Penny Arcade. That said, I have seen Dr. Horrible, and I did find out through Penny Arcade, and so I present to you...


...The Guild! The Guild is a ten-episode long (thus far) series of short episodes starring, written by, and produced by Felicia Day. In it, she plays Codex, one member of the Knights of Good, an obsessive guild in an MMO, and the series follows the real-life trials the Guild must face together. It's over the top and a little bizarre, but it's also funny and just a little sweet, in large part thanks to Day's performance. Awkward comedy can be tough to do, but when it's done well, it's great to see.

Let's face it, if you're reading my blog, there's a pretty good chance you're a geek. And that does kind of make you the target audience of The Guild. So go watch it, dammit.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

VS: The Clone Wars - Silver Sable Edition

Again with this non-unique thing - I love it! Yeah, there'll be plenty of players who use it to do the obvious and just use it to play 17 copies of Wolverine, and that's kind of boring, if massively effective. However, I like looking at the minor characters that are good on their own and asking, "How would they be if you could have two out? Three? Four?" With some, like Barbara Gordon, the answer is - 'eh'. They'd be decent, but not great.

I think this time, though, I've found a character who could potentially rock this format something fierce. So, here's the Silver Sable edition of the Clone Saga format...

4x Powell, Southern Charm
3x Speed, Thomas Shephard * Young Avenger
3x Iron Fist, Secret Avenger

4x Captain America, The Patriot * Secret Avenger
3x Iron Fist <> Daredevil, Imposter * Secret Avenger
3x Hawkeye <> Ronin, Secret Avenger

4x Battlestar, Lamar Hoskins
3x Man-Eater, Intruders

4x Silver Sable, World’s Deadliest Mercenary

3x Bounty Hunt
3x Stealthcraft, Team-Up
3x Shield Slash
4x What Are Friends For?
4x Secret Avengers, Team-Up
4x Mobilize
1x Omnipotence
4x Pathetic Attempt

3x Capture Net

With Secret Avengers, you can cheat Silver Sable's recruit cost, negating the need to hit your Wild Pack 3-drops with Stealthcraft - it helps out with Mobilize, too. Powell can fetch you Bounty Hunt, Stealthcraft, Secret Avengers, or Omnipotence, as needed. Omnipotence is there for the format - you'll be running into a lot of Legends, and Omnipotence can help shut them down, same as Pathetic Attempt.

Shield Slash, I've found, is a great card when you're dropping out multiple hidden two-drop Captain Americas - a single copy can generally net you somewhere between -6 and -12 attack in a given turn, which is more than enough to make up for not having any drop higher than 4. Meanwhile, What Are Friends For? makes attacking Silver Sable a risky proposition at best.

Using Sable's bounce effect and Capture Net, you should be able to clear your opponent's board every single turn, keeping their legend count low and negating many of the benefits of the format, and adding Bounty Hunt to that can give you some brutal card draw - especially if you get multiple copies of it going at once. Adding that to the fact that Capture Net can be used to save a Silver Sable if you absolutely have to.

The deck could use some fine-tuning, but overall it's a fairly effective trick. It's not hard to ensure that you hit Silver Sable, and once you do, it's not difficult to keep things going. I have to help the good people at VSrealms for the suggestions they gave me. Let me know if you ever get to try the deck out, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

For Hopeful Video-Game Designers


Kim Swift, one of the developers of Portal - the best game of 2007 - speaks on the evolution of Portal from the game her college development team began, Narbacular Drop. There's some advice in there for amateur video game designers, and since I suspect that all five people that read my blog are pretty big geeks, I figure that maybe one of you would enjoy it.

So go...you know, enjoy it. Enjoy away. Whatever it is you people do that makes enjoyment happen.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fake, but Cool

So, with the success of The Dark Knight - now the second highest grossing film of all time, and the second movie ever to top 500 million dollars in the box office - a sequel is almost a given. Caine, Bale, Freeman, and others all apparently have a three-picture deal, making it even more likely that we'll see another one in a few years, but the big question, obviously, is will writer/director Christopher Nolan return? Reportedly, he wasn't planning on coming back for the second movie until Ledger approached him with an idea on the Joker.

Knowing that, it doesn't seem likely that Nolan will return - well, knowing that AND knowing how hard it will be to mimic the success of the Dark Knight. Still, I suspect that A LOT of people will want him to, both fans and the studio, since he made an awesome movie and a whole lot of money. So, some fans began to work on making posters for the inevitable sequel.

First up, an untitled Batman 3 poster with the villainous Riddler...

and next, featuring the assassin Deadshot...

Finally, featuring Batman's most deadly nemesis...


So, three fake movie posters - the last one not quite as serious as the first two. If you were casting the next Batman movie, what villains would you want to see - and who would you see playing them?