Monday, January 31, 2011

This I Believe

I'll say this right out: I believe in Superheroes. This is all figurative, of course, and as much as I'd like to believe in magic rings and mutant x-factors I'm quite aware of the impossibility (though still hopeful). There is no literal Batman, no Metropolis, and as far as we know no S.H.E.I.D Helicarrier. What I do believe in is the ideas represented in the panel of their stories.

I believe in the Green Lantern Corps. They keep peace as bright beacons of courage and honor throughout the galaxy. Theirs is a story of overcoming fear and tragedy to become something more than just an interstellar police force, but as symbol of the the inexhaustible potential of willpower and imagination. They represent a light cast over the cold black of space "In brightest day, In blackest night".

I believe in Superman. He is an immigrant from beyond the stars. He is the best of humanity despite not being human. Superman is literally a big blue Boy Scout, and despite internet flame wars and how awesome Batman is Superman is the greatest hero of earth. He was sent here by his father from beyond the stars and has given his life to save the world (sound familiar?). He is the answer to the question "what if God was one of us?"

I believe in Peter Parker. He truly enjoys being a Superhero. Sure he has a lot of teenage angst, but who doesn't?

I believe in the Flash: a man who can run faster than death and yet still slows down to make small talk.

I believe in the X-men. People everywhere are persecuted for being different, whether it's skin color or X-factor.

I believe in Captain America and the ideals of our nation.

I believe in Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, and the wonders of Science.

I believe in the Spectre and Deadman and the infinite mysteries of God.

I believe in Batman. He's Batman.

I believe in Lois Lane, and the magic of true love.

I believe in Bruce Wayne, and that there is nothing a man cannot accomplish given the time and the effort.

In short, I believe men can fly. I believe that a person can becomes something more than just human. The most important aspect is not the Super or the Bat or the Woman, but the man and the woman. While they may be gods in our eyes or in canon they are innately human. They face the same choices we do with what they can direct their energies towards, and yet these all-powerful beings chose to work towards the betterment of mankind. I believe in a world where we use our powers to aide our fellow man rather than use out strength for personal gain.

There are days when it seems like it's easier to believe that wealthy industrialists will secretly fund vigilante justice than people will be decent to be one another, but I believe in not only humanity, but or potential for super-humanity. For every Lex Luthor there will be an army of Bruce Waynes and Tony Starks to set things right. An international force of heroes will come to the aid of the world to prevent crimes against humanity and relief after natural disasters. Is that to much to ask? I don't believe it is, because I will always believe that anyone can be Super.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DCUO Diary 2 and other things

I've gotten up to level 23 with my main, and the game is still very fun. Yes, there are still issues with the game, but at the same time the action-based combat and story based missions make it far superior to other more traditional MMOs. The best part of the game is feeling like you are actually in the DC Universe. You are constantly working with famous heroes or villains to accomplish something and take down your enemies. So far I've fought the Joker, Bane, and Sinestro among a legion of others.

So far for me the best thing has been fighting with the Green Lantern Corps against the Sinestro Corps. It's a PvP area swarming with lanterns including Arkillo and Kilowog. For someone who loves the GLC as much as I do it's great to fight alongside them and take down Sinestro with John Stewart alongside me. You actually feel like a hero. I guess that's the point.

I wanted to also note something that happened this week that I'm not happy about. I love Captain Marvel. I love the innocence and ideas he represents. Yes, he may be a "big red cheese" but he's also a representation of the magic of the golden age. This week, DC released the 1st issue of Power of Shazam and I was very disappointed in it. It was heroic age violence and angst and not the magical Marvel that I love. I'm looking to read Billy Batson and the Power of Shazam because I've heard it's more like that.

Once final thing that I wanted to hit on- Mark Millar needs to release things. I know he's busy being awesome but to be a big shot comics writer you need to actually release something. I just want my Kick-Ass.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DC Universe Online Diary: Entry 1

As a kid (and adult) who grew up hoping (and still hopes) that I would somehow receive awesome superpowers and be able to fight crime on the gritty streets of Winston-Salem. Naturally, when DC Universe Online was released I felt an overwhelming urge to try it out. Finally, at the urging of my wonderful girlfriend, I gave in and downloaded it.

For those who haven't seen any of the trailers or cinematics, go watch them. They are actually pretty impressive/intense. It's all very heroic age with intense battles and the violence. But, because these are characters we as readers already care about, we feel involved in wanting to help them.

Anyway, characters start aboard Brainiac's ship and you fight your way out. Heroes are guided by Oracle, and villains by Calculator. At the end of the level, Superman or Lex Luthor come in and helps you out. After, you teleport into the hub of your mentor and enter the world.

After, you are transported to the area of your mentor, who gives you quests and assignments. The voice acting is very good, and while a lot of the quest kind of get the same, a decent variety of enemies and encounters, a plethora of lore, an amazing travel system, and above all that I am taking orders from BATMAN means that game is actually really quite enjoyable.

So far I have two characters. One is Changeling, a gadget-wielding, acrobatic martial artist with Batman as a mentor. With him I've been bounding around Gotham, and taken down Scarecrow and Bane with the aid of Batwoman and Nightwing. My other is Dr Infernus, a tuxedo-wearing fire villain under Circe. I've fought Dr. Fate and run all over Metropolis' Chinatown. It adds a lot to the game, when you're fighting or recruited by a character you know. It makes you feel like a cog in a big machine, and actually accomplishing something instead of the standard MMORPG quest of "bring my 9 hyena livers". You're taking weapons from science police and most missions are large chains that end in a climactic fight. It's pretty awesome.

PvP (player versus player) is very fun as well, with massive battles erupting in the middle of cities. It sucks to get ambushed at random by higher level characters, but it adds to the feel of being part of the world.

I have a few complaints, one is that the interface is still a bit messed up and needs a retool. Different hotkeys help a lot. The cities are also pretty stagnant. There isn't a lot of traffic or people walking, despite the cities having populations in the millions. The graphics aren't anything to write home about, but the the environments are sprawling and truly enjoyable to run or climb all over.

It's really fun, in short. I'll keep posting as to how it goes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In retrospect-

Looking back on it, I think I was a little hard on Geoff. He's not a bad writer, and after re-reading Blackest Night 8 it's apparent why he has his job in the first place. With that said, however, it's pretty easy to get overloaded with him, especially with the 4000 titles a week that come out with his name on it. I don't know, I just get frustrated when I don't feel like a story is going anywhere.

I am far, far more disappointed Mark Millar and his utterly terrible Nemesis. I really can't describe just how offensive this book is. Not only is it constantly pandering to shock value and trying to generate controversy, but it's just bad. I guess after the success of Kick-Ass he can do whatever he wants, but he's just gone down hard. Kick-Ass 2 is looking pretty bleak. Also he can't get a regular schedule for release which just makes it worse.

It's sad because Civil War was so so good. This... I don't even know.

Grant Morrison is Grant Morrison. 'Nuff said. His Batman and Robin is insane and fantastic. I've read it over and over again and haven't gotten tired of it yet. I see something new and cool each time, and the characterization of Dick and Damian is fantastic. The man knows what he's doing. He may be crazy (see the Doom Patrol), but he can write a story like nobody's business.

The finale of Scott Pilgrim made me happy i brought the series. Brian Lee O'Malley kind of came out of nowhere with a story about growing up and change and maturity and it turned out incredible. I spent five books kind of hating Scott Pilgrim and then realized I was supposed to hate his loser ass. Once I figured that out I reread all the books and loved them. That's the real secret of Scott Pilgrim: no matter how funny and charming he is, he's still kind of a dick.

It's been a pretty good year for comics. It's been great reading and writing. There are going to be some interesting things going on in the future with the finale of Brightest Day and the new Batman Incorporated, as well as the new DC Universe on line, which I plan on checking out at some point in the near future. I'll do updates about how good it is, or how bad as the case may be. We'll see how it goes.