Monday, September 1, 2014

Comics this week

Sinestro #5- This is a strange issue. Sinestro met up with Hal Jordan and after a long talk, they have the expected slugfest…which Sinestro won with ease by releasing Parallax? Wait a minute, isn’t Parallax dead? Didn’t it die at the Source Wall along with the rest of the entities in the fight against Relic? Yet all this time, it is still within Sinestro? So what was that thing at the Source Wall pretending to be Parallax? Geoff Johns and Jim Lee need to meet with writer Cullen Bunn on this and come up with a proper explanation. Looks like a case of a severe lack of editorial oversight here.

Rai #4- Following it's stunning debut issue, Rai has been mostly failed to live up to its potential. That is until this issue! #4 of Rai has the protector of Japan going off the grid, something he thought impossible, to investigate the truth of his creation. Writer Matt Kindt goes back to what made #1 works; intelligent world-building, a deep sci-fi story, and enough mystery to keep the story engaging. Artist Clayton Crain once again nailed it, giving us a gorgeous look at life in 41st century Japan especially the dark ruthless side of utopia. A wonderful issue!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nine-year-olds with Uzis

In the U.S, a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot dead a gun instructor at a shooting range. No question this was an accident and a tragedy, but after finding out more about the story, I have to say this was an accident waiting to happen.

I say this because the nine-year-old girl accidentally shot dead the gun instructor with an Uzi sub-machine gun during a private gun lesson. Sorry but who in the world thought it would be a good idea for a nine-year-old to touch an Uzi? Now I can understand that it's a cultural thing in America for people to shoot. I understand there's a gun culture there much like there's a martial arts culture here in Asia, but letting a nine-year-old get a hold of a sub-machine gun? That is just asking for trouble.

As a guy who was in the army and shot before, I can say from experience that nine-year-olds have no business touching sub automatic weapons. Even the idea of it sounds stupid. If America don't want such a tragedy to happen again, they need to have some laws (maybe an age limit) against such lessons. Nine-year-olds have no need to learn how to fire an Uzi. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hello Kitty Is Not A Cat!

Hello Kitty is NOT a cat.

Yes, you read that right. Hello Kitty is no kitty. So say Sanrio, the company behind the worldwide icon of cuteness.

The news first came to light when University of Hawaii anthropologist Christine R. Yano was curating an upcoming Hello Kitty retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum and she was corrected by the company on the show. Sanrio, very firmly, said that Hello Kitty is no cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature and even has a pet cat of her own, called Charmmy Kitty.

She is no cat.

To no one's surprise, the world reacted in collective shock! Hello Kitty is no kitty? What's next? Scooby-doo is not a dog? For their sake, I hope Sanrio change their company line on this. Hello Kitty fans are not a bunch of people you want mad at you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mark of the Ninja

As stealth games goes, Mark of the Ninja is a revelation. Although not a huge fan of the genre, I have played my fair share of stealth games but I have never played one quite like Mark of the Ninja.

A 2D side-scroll game, Mark of the Ninja requires the character to sneak through a series of levels while staying away from traps and out of sight of guards. The player is visible to enemies in areas of light and hidden in darkness; however that’s not all. Enemies also react to sounds and actions like running may also give away the player character's location and are represented visually by an expanding circle.

If the player do manage to silently approached an enemy, the player will be able to perform a one-hit kill. The silent assassination is performed by the player moving the mouse in the direction showed on screen. This may sound easy but in the heat of the moment with the fear of being discovered always hanging above you, it is not as easy as it sounds. You can also move your enemies around by making sounds so that they would come to investigate, and when they do…

Being able to perform silent kills is not just fun, it is also very important because in the game, open combat is not to your advantage. Mark of the Ninja takes place in a modern world where your enemies are armed with guns and body armor; you are a nameless ninja armed with ancient ninja weapons. If you are detected by an enemy, chances are you will lose the fight. If it’s two on one, then you can practically forget about it. You lose.

This trade-off is one of the things I love about this game. Mark of the Ninja mercilessly forces you to go on the stealth route, but the ability to make your enemies move into position and silenced them makes you predator, not prey. This allows the players to feel like a badass while at the same time making the penalty of being exposed by enemies very high. Klei Entertainment knows what game they were making; you are not Corvo, Agent 47 or Sam Fisher; there’s no fighting your way out of a jam.

In fact, not fighting is the way to go in the game. Mark of the Ninja is an assassination game, not a fighting one. The game touted that you can complete the game without killing anyone. Completing the game, I have to say that it is possible but would be very hard. The same can be said about killing every enemy on a level. It’s possible, but only just. However having such options in-game shows the versatility of the game which is always a good thing.

The story of the game was also surprisingly good. Told via a series of cutscenes, the story is basically about the conflict between ancient ninja traditions and the modern world. What seems like a straight forward story of betrayal got turned on its head in the final act when you discover that the protagonist (the player) might be psychotic.

The only real complain I would have is some of the level design. Shadow plays a huge part of the game and sometimes I have an issue with it. Which wall I can climb on and which wall I can’t; which staircase I can drop from, which I can’t. In the shadowy 2D world of Mark of the Ninja, this is not always clear.

However this is just a minor complain when you compare it to the unique game it is. It is a fun, challenging game with good sound, art and story. It is also a brand new fresh take on the stealth genre. So play it, Mark of the Ninja is an excellent game. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Now This Should Go Viral!

I think everyone by now would have heard about the ice bucket challenge. The funny challenge where you dumped a bucket of ice on yourself for $100? Well, if you think that’s funny wait till you hear what the Japanese are doing!

9 adult movie actresses are going to have their breasts squeezed by fans for a 24 hours charity event loosely translated as…"Boob Aid"! Yes, I'm serious. Not only that, the "Stop! AIDS" event will be televised live on adult cable television and has been going on since 2003!

Now why can’t a “challenge” like this go viral? Seriously, if something like this went viral, it would make the successful of the ice bucket looks like a drop of water in the ocean. The “Cop A  Feel” challenge? Now that’s something every male would want to do. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Cover

Words like "sexist" and "offensive" are being used to describe this cover by artist Milo Manara for the debut issue of a new Spider-Woman. Since the variant cover for the upcoming Spider-Woman #1 was released for publicity, many internet sites are reporting that the cover is inappropriate.

For the life of me, I can’t what the problem is.

It’s Spider-Woman! She’s a spider, so she’s in a spiderlike pose similar to the hundreds of times Peter Parker has been shown in. What’s the problem?

Seriously, look at the picture. I say anyone who find this cover erotic need some serious help. Compared to a normal Vampirella, Witchblade or any comics from Chaos, this is nothing. I mean just look at her costume. You need to be wearing a burka or niqab to be more covered up than Jessica Drew.

Personally, I’m not for the new Spider-Woman series. We don’t need another Spider title on the shelf (even without the upcoming Spidervesus mini) but for all the problems, this cover is not one of them. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Comics this week

Astro City #14- First was the costumed bank robber; then came a god who cause chaos for Astro City; now…a well-meaning, harmless old woman? Not bloody likely as writer Kurt Busiek start a story about what happened to all those robots minions always been destroyed by superheroes. Yes; just like the story of the bank robber, this is a homage to the little guys, the side characters no one ever bother with. Yes that’s right, this is another great story that could only be told in Astro City.

Magneto #8- After so many issues, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D finally caught up to Magneto and found to their horror that the stories about the loss of his powers has been greatly exaggerated. Of course we readers know that Magus did lose a huge amount of his power but S.H.I.E.L.D don’t know that for real and I love the way writer Cullen Bunn played it up. The fact that people are truly afraid of Magneto, the fact that he knows it, and the way he’s more than willing to take advantage of the fear he generate, is just something you just don’t read about very often. And that’s what makes this series so good.

Ms. Marvel #7- Welcome to #7, or also known as the issue where Wolverine got taken to school by Kamala Khan. I’m no fan of Logan; I understand this is a Ms. Marvel book; I know Wolverine lost his healing factor recently; but come on, is that any reason to show Wolverine to be as incompetent as he is here? If you are going to have a guest-star, please get the character right!