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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Liz's Pick of the Week

  Other Lives by Peter Bagge

If you've ever navigated the choppy seas of online communities or social networking sites, you've probably got a good idea of how common it is in this day and age to have a "second self"- an online version of one's life where the line between fantasy and reality blurs easily.  This volatile duality is at the heart of Peter Bagge's Other Lives, out this week on Vertigo.

Fans of Bagge's earlier work (Neat Stuff, Hate Annual) will recognize his cynical take on modern relationships and his expressive, cartoony artwork in this short story of four adults with secret identities, online and off.  Journalist Vader Ryderbeck reunites with two old college buddies while reseaching a piece about anonymity and the internet, but finds neither man is exactly what he seems; meanwhile his girlfriend Ivy gets mixed up in the online fantasy community "Second World", with explosive consequences! By turns funny and dark, Other Lives is a satirical look at the new definition of existence.  Check it out!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Arrivals April 14th

       This week looks promising for exciting new stories in the world of comics, first with
DC Comics:

       1. Brightest Day #0: Writers Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi team up with artist Fernando Pasarin, to
debut the Brightest Day storyline that picks up right where Blackest Night left us- a new era in the DC Universe with several favorite heroes brought back from the brink of the abyss that was Blackest Night.


       2.  THE FLASH #1:  Geoff Johns brings us the first issue on the new Flash monthly series, with artist Francis Manapul, as a tie in to the Brightest Day story, investigating the murder of one of the Rogues and giving us a sneak preview into the future for the Flash universe. And don't forget to pick up your flash ring
with your purchase.

      Marvel has been busy as well with a lot of new books and storylines debuting this week:

      3. IRON MAN LEGACY:  Fred Van Lente and Steve Kurth launch the "Armored Avenger's" monthly series, with the War of the Iron Men story, that involves international intrigue with China and Russia and lots of metal thrashing with Radioactive Man, Titanium Man and the Crimson Dynamo.

      4. SIEGE CAPTAIN AMERICA ONE SHOT: Christos N. Gage and artist Federico Dallocchio,
explore the trials of both the Captains of America as the Assault on Asgard storyline continues. We may find out yet who will wield the shield.


      5. SIEGE LOKI ONE SHOT: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie take a look behind the devious motivations of Loki during the Siege campaign. Just what is he really up to?


     6. SIEGE YOUNG AVENGERS ONE SHOT: What impact will the Young Avengers have on the events of "Siege"? Writer Sean McKeever and artists Mahmud A. Asrar, Scott Hanna and Victor Olazaba team up to bring us another view into the story that will spiral into the catacylsmic Siege #4.

And that's just for starters. DC has Adventure Comics #10, Batgirl #9, Batman #698, Doc Savage #1, Green Arrow #32 as well as the awesome Unwritten #12 and Marvel has Black Widow #1, Daredevil #506, World War Hulks Hulked Out Heroes #1, and the ongoing story of X-Men:Second Coming -in New Mutants #12. Not to mention all the other fine publishers: Avatar- Fevre Dream #1, Wolfskin Hundredth Dream #1, Crossed TP, Boom- Anchor #7, Toy Story #3, Uncle Scrooge #390, Dark Horse-BPRD:King of Fear #4, Hellcyon #1, Image-Chew #10, Light #1, IDW- Kill Shakespeare #1, The Pilgrim #1, and many others as well. Good Reading!


Geeks with Cards

With each successive set, Magic the Gathering has provided players with more potent spells and more powerful creatures.  This is certainly true for the newest incarnation: Rise of the Eldrazi.  However, there have been questions as to whether or not these cards are too powerful.  Players point to 15/15 creatures with special bonuses that are daunting to any opponent, but guess what; that's the point of this set.

Some players have been chastised for building a deck around a single "god card", but this month, Wizards of the Coast gives us an entire set of such cards.  In this plane, players encounter a race of creatures which each wield power equal to their own. The panic and awe the planeswalkers feel on the battlefield is transferred to the player in a very real and authentic way.  How do you raise the stakes of the game?  You create a build in tension.  Slowing the pace of the game with a focus on defender (blocking creatures) and higher casting costs allows for a more dramatic experience.  Be patient and focus on strategy. Don't let these impressive creatures scare you off from this unique set.

Rise of the Eldrazi will make a wonderful introductory set for anyone who is curious about Magic.  New mechanics like annihilator, totem armor, rebound, and leveling are sure to level the battlefield and leave even the most experienced brains steaming to figure out a way to come out ahead.  Be sure to stop in on April 23rd to Laughing Ogre Comics to check out this set and prepare yourself from some of the most gripping games of Magic you've ever seen.

PS – If your opponent gets the opportunity to play this card, you probably weren’t going to win anyway.

- Ryan