Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The Seventh Soldier of Apathy officially wishes you Merry Christmas, alongside two dark vigilantes. Because to us here at the Apathy house, nothing says Christmas like murder and emo.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Big Three

No, not the car companies. DC's Big Three. Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman. Each of the three are going through some Big Events right now, because comics companies love Big Events, and for all their whining to the contrary, so do fans. Here's a rundown of what the stars of the DCU are going through right now.

Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian

Featuring in part the introduction of Genocide, a dark monster created by an alliance of Wonder Woman's enemies, Simone's Wonder Woman story deals with the gods of Olympus, fearing that their champion has failed and abandoned them, sending a new champion - the Olympian. Simone's greatest strengths are often in character moments, moreso than in action, and the same could be said of Lopresti, but if I have high hopes for this book despite the occasionally schizophrenic tone of the series, it's because it hasn't been hyped to oblivion and turned into a 17 part 4 book event. The first issue was solid-but-not-spectacular, and we'll see how it turns out in the end.

Batman: R.I.P., Last Rites and Battle for the Cowl

Batman: R.I.P. was a competent, enjoyable non-event that DC blew way out of proportion. As a capstone to Morrison's run on Batman, it was really quite good. A metatextual mystery playing on the expectations of fanboys and the conventions of the industry? Lots of fun. As a line-wide event, it sucked. The tie-ins were unimpressive and didn't actually 'tie in' to anything, and the upcoming Battle for the Cowl - an editorially mandate with a novice writer at the helm - doesn't look promising at all. That said, Batman & Son -> The Black Glove -> R.I.P. was an enjoyable run on Batman, and the current Last Rites storyline that follows it up features superstars like Grant Morrison, Denny O'Neil, and Neil Gaiman, so it should be pretty quality.

Superman: 100,000 Kryptonians

No, that art is not official and has nothing to do with the story. According to the board I found it on - You'll All Be Sorry @ CBR - it's some graffiti from Dusseldorf. I just think it's cool.

Anyway, 100K Kryptonians features the return of... can you guess?... 100,000 Kryptonians to Earth, and the subsequent shenanigans. Fan favorite writer Geoff Johns is helming the event from Action Comics, while a personal favorite of mine, James Robinson, is running things on Superman, and relative newcomer Sterling Gates is taking control of Supergirl. Those three books form the core of the title, but a few one-shots have already been released featuring such stars as Jimmy Olson and the Manhattan Guardian. Response hasn't been ridiculously positive to the series, but I've heard few complaints from those reading the arc.


And that's that. But, I'd hate to leave our Marvel fans with no good news, so I shall point out that X-Men Noir #1 came out last week to impressive reviews and surprisingly good sales (we're sold out and back-ordered, curse the souls of everyone alive), and Spider-Man Noir #1 hits next week, with Incognito coming up soon as well, making this month an awesome month for Marvel, in my book.

Finally, my first semester of grad school is finished, and I have resolved the issues with my 'net provider, so I return you to your regularly scheduled programming!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

VS: Bring Your Own Two Teams - Spider-Friends/X-Factor Edition

So, let me first say, MEV is a really cool, VASTLY powerful set. Over on VSrealms, at least one infinite combo has already been discovered, and I highly doubt that it will be the first. Now, I'm not nearly clever to truck with that sort of shenanigans. I'm not a good enough deck-builder, after all, and I'm not quite mean enough. I like being annoying as much as the next gamer, but there are limits.

Still, I like being annoying more than enough for this deck right here. As you've all seen, I'm a big fan of the Bring Your Own Two Team format, as I love team-up decks and I love not having to worry about hitting team-ups. Of course, there are downsides, and these two teams certainly highlight those downsides. The Spider-Friends have been a powerful team for a couple years now, but that's far more thanks to the suite of Spider-Man support cards, most notably Gift Wrapped, and their normal, team-stamped effects are generally fairly dull. Meanwhile, X-Factor, a team I had high hopes for in MEV is virtually unplayable on a budget, having only 3 non-rare support cards (1 of which is a team-up) and, in their rare support cards, 6 of them are legend stamped.

This brings up a fair question: why on Earth build Spider-Friends with X-Factor if their support suite is so lacking? Well, I'm just gonna print out a few card effects really quickly, and I'll let you take it from there...

Rictor, Depowered
Team: X-Factor, Purifiers
ATK: 2
DEF: 3
[Activate] -> Gain 1 endurance for each character in play with an activated ([activate]) power.

Siryn, Sonic Scream
Team: X-Factor, X-Men
ATK: 7
DEF: 8
Whenever a character's activated ([activate]) power is used, target opponent loses 1 endurance.

Madame Web, Cassandra Webb
Team: Spider-Friends
ATK: 3
DEF: 1
Whenever an activated power of a Spider-Friends character you control is used, gain 2 endurance.
Activate -> Look at the top two cards of target player's deck. You may put those cards into that player's KO'd pile or on the top of his deck in any order.

Fun and Games
To play, discard a Spider-Friends character card.
Ongoing: Characters have "Activate -> Negate target activated effect an opponent controls."

(taken from docx's excellent search engine)


Do you see how things might play out in an interesting manner?


8x Multiple Man, Army * HYDRA
2x Layla Miller, Butterfly
3x Rictor, Depowered
7x Jamie Madrox <> Multiple Man, Army * Agent of SHIELD
3x Beast, Wild and Wooly
4x Madame Web, Cassandra Web
3x Siryn, Sonic Scream
1x Strong Guy, Guido Carosella

4x Empire State University
4x Falls Edge
3x ESU Science Lab

4x Spider-Sense Tingling
3x Tragic Loss
3x Nice Try!
4x Fun and Games
4x First Class

Yes, every single character in your deck either has a worthwhile activated power or interacts with activated effects, and more than that, for those that don't already have one, Fun and Games grants an Activate power to all characters in play, yours and those of your opponents. Thankfully, with the swarm abilities of Multiple Man, you'll likely win any Activation war you get into, and Siryn will make an opponent think twice about even trying to get into such a battle.

Just in case you can't burn your opponent to death, though, you have that single copy of Strong Guy available, and when your whole board can Activate, Strong Guy can get big, fast.

The remainder of the effects you have are geared towards keeping yourself alive. Spider-Sense Tingling can keep some extra characters around - Multiple Men can be made invulnerable already, so making them evadable means your board can keep fair size, especially with Falls Edge helping you out every turn and an occasional First Class. The loss of Birthing Chamber hurts, but Empire State University and ESU Science Lab step up admirably - and ESU Science Lab really, REALLY likes Energize.

So, there you have it. Untested and unpolished, as all my decks are, but I hope you've enjoyed. The interactions between the two teams mean that you'll be gaining a not-insignificant amount of life while your opponent loses it slowly, and with a little fine-tuning, this could be a pretty potent deck. Not for tier 1 play, I suspect... but for annoying your friends? Hell yes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekday Update II

Just like last month, a brief update on my writing. Why do I do this? To humiliate myself into continuing to write, dammit.

I Am Very Important and Pittsburgh Blue remain unpublished, as I haven't sent them out in the last month. The Lonesome Death of Kara Innana is nearing completion, and Dancin' Fool is done, but largely unedited.

On NaNoWriMo - ah, but failure struck. For the first time this semester, my grad work caught up with me, forcing me to dedicate a little too much time to thesauri building and poster presentations and not enough time to database development and writing. Still, with winter break coming up, I think I'm going to try and finish my NaNo by the end of December.

And, finally, on a non-writing standpoint, MEV finally in hand (so what if it means I won't eat this month?) I shall begin to take a look at some of the cards, teams, and themes from VS latest set.

Have a great week, and welcome to December!