Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review: Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti

I reviewed Plague Town by Dana Fredsti a couple weeks ago and was fairly excited to get moving on the second book. I enjoyed the Town enough, and I was hoping that some of the flaws that Town offered could be amended by its sequel, Plague Nation.

Nation picks up pretty quickly after Town and raises the stakes a bit. We get a lot more history on the zombie outbreaks as well as a little more insight into the program that Ashley Parker is involved with. The meat of the book, however, is the expansion of the plague. As with the first book in the series, it feels like it takes forever for the story to get to what we want, and by then things are racing along and get a lot more interesting. It just might take a while to care again.

While I was high on the series, this book shook me out of it a bit. I will certainly pick up the third book in the series, and if you're looking for a decent pulpy read that can balance off some other, more serious fare, this might be worth a look. You can get more information on the first two books at Titan.

Thank GIF it's Friday!

I'm so sorry. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Threesome - Three Favourite INJUSTICE Fighters

Hey folks!  You may already be playing the DC Universe fighting game released last week, Injustice: Gods Among Us, for PS3 and Xbox360.  If you're a fan of comic books or fighting games, you really ought to pick it up!  Our own Luke Milton reviewed it last week HERE

My opinion of the game is more positive than Luke's, I have to say.  Go figure...the guy who reads 30+ comics a week likes the comic book video game!  I thought the story mode, while a little silly, was also pretty riveting...the voice acting was good and it was nice to hear some familiar actors from the various WB cartoons from years past!  It was also incredibly entertaining watching the writers juggle new ways to try and make staged, one-on-one battles happen organically, over and over again!  There were a few surprises, Easter eggs and fan nods in the narrative and overall I thought it'd make a great 2-part episode of Justice League Unlimited!

My main fear when I bought the game was that it would be impossible for me to play since I'm terrible at fighting games, and Mortal Kombat in particular!  This fear was happily mitigated when I realized that on medium difficulty, even a clueless all-thumbs gamer such as myself can win 2/3 of the battles! 

BUT this is not a video game review, is it?  This is Thursday Threesome!  Join me after the JUMP as I share the three characters I've found most fun so far, and the reasons why!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Iron Man 3 (The Spoiler Version!)

I don't expect an awful lot from an Iron Man movie in order to deem it a success. There is already so much accumulated good will for Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of the character that all I need is two hours of fun, funny, comic book entertainment. The great thing about Iron Man 3, however, is that director/co-writer Shane Black exceeds all expectations, delivering a rare sequel that is not just funnier, and more action-packed than its predecessors, but is also refreshingly smart.

While Iron Man 2 struggled to find ideas, Iron Man 3 has an abundance of them. It mixes beloved old characters, memorable new characters, outlandish over-the-top action, super powered heroics (and villainy), sharp one-liners, and, would you believe, even social commentary. And, despite a saturation of marketing material, it still packs some very well kept secrets. This is a triumphant start to Phase Two.

So here's your warning, folks. Once you click "read more" we're heading into serious SPOILER territory. And trust me, this is not a film that you want to be spoiled. If you're in the US and still waiting a week, then come back in a week after you've seen it. We'll still be here. But I know that many of our Australian pals have already seen it and I'd like to provide a forum for us to get down to all the gritty details. Again - DO NOT SPOIL IRON MAN 3 FOR YOURSELF. You have my highest recommendation - go and see it for sure - but only read the following article afterwards.

SPOILERS ABOUND!... after the jump!

Unpub South Jersey Recap!

Saturday was the first Regional Unpub event, a large gathering of game designers showcasing their games in South Jersey of all places! While it was about 25 minutes from my home, it felt like it was right in my backyard.

I've been to the big Unpub events in Delaware and the smaller minis in Pennsylvania, and this one was a solid mix of both. There were about 20 or so designers on hand with a huge variety of games. I saw some kids games, a space mining game, a horse-racing game, a realtime war game, a My Little Pony game, and many more. In typical Unpub fashion, I was able to show off my game a little, get solid feedback, and play a handful of really cool games.

I wish I had more pictures, but if you head to the Cartrunk Entertainment Facebook page, there are a ton (including the one above of my daughter Elle and her game Ponyland).

Full recap after the jump.

Book Review: Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

C. Robert Cargill wears a lot of hats. He reviews movies, he writes movies, he and I used to argue politics on the internet years ago, and now he writes books. I didn't see his movie Sinister since horror isn't my thing, but it was well regarded, and his debut novel, Dreams and Shadows, was getting even more acclaim than that. So I naturally had to pick it up, and I'm ultimately pretty glad I did. As someone who struggles with both urban fantasy and feywild/changeling stories, Dreams and Shadows succeeds in being solid with both of them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.03 and 3.04 Book Comparison

Well, season three of HBO’s Game of Thrones is now taking off at lightning speed, and with it, a lot of speculation from book lovers and show lovers alike. The last two episodes have been well crafted and jam packed. I’m starting to wonder how much each of these actors get paid because they usually only have a scene or two per episode now, some are not in the episode at all.

Time for another comparison between the book trajectory and where the show is headed; what new clues are we getting and what is meeting our wild expectations. Winter is coming, and you are a long way from home.

More under the jump.

Pre-Order Hot Toys Iron Man Mark XXXV Red Snapper!

Red Snapper. It sounds like an unfortunate euphemism, but it's actually the nickname of the Mark XXXV, one of the billion new armours that Tony Stark has constructed for Iron Man 3. What is it's function? That I can't tell you. I guess I'll find out when I see the movie tonight, providing it doesn't glance by in a fraction of a second. Either way, it looks pretty cool.

Hot Toys has just released images of their upcoming (December) 1/6th scale collectible figure of the Red Snapper, part of their new Power Pose series. This means less articulation than the regular line, but you can expect to receive a figure capable of more dynamic, screen accurate poses. Take a look at this monster...

If you want to get straight to business, then you can pre-order this chunky Stark monkey from our pals at Sideshow right now:
Iron Man 3 - Hot Toys PPS Marvel Series Red Snapper - Mark XXXV Armor Power Pose Series Sixth Scale Figure (Hot Toys)

Or if you'd like to see more pictures, join me... after the jump!

Spoiler Free Review: Iron Man 3!

Luke here! I'm actually posting this for Jacinta who is not near her computer. My own spoilery thoughts on the film tomorrow! Here's Jacinta's take on the exclusive premiere....

I was lucky enough to receive a ticket to the Perth premiere of Iron Man 3 on Monday night, and what a premiere it was. We were greeted with a red carpet, an Iron Man cosplayer (who you may have also seen in our Oz Comic Con coverage), a caricature artist doing sketches of people as Iron Man, and a stack of goodies for the nerds who were lined up and positively chomping at the bit to get their eyes on Tony Stark's new adventure.

Now, seeing as Iron Man isn't coming out in other regions for a little while, I'm going to do our stateside friends a solid by doing a SPOILER FREE review. The only stuff I'll mention will be stuff that has been featured in the trailers, so if you're curious as to the vibe of the movie, but don't want the story ruined, read on safely.

Join me below the cut for a bit more on the premiere, and all those Starky questions I know you want answered.

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 4/17/2013

It's another week of fold-out covers and random SHOCKING developments in the DC Universe!  Shocking!  Let's take a look!

Justice League #19 - "You don't want to say that.  Super-Villains say that, Diana."

Lots going on this month in Justice League!  We open on Alfred and Red Hood in the Batcave, where their conversation is interrupted by a mysterious masked figure who manages to sneak up and render both men unconscious with absolutely ZERO difficulty.  This mysterious figure then heads right to a secret room in the Batcave...a room with heavy security protocols, which nevertheless lets him pass without question.  In this room he finds 6 briefcases, each with a League members' symbol engraved upon it!  The mysterious figure nabs the "Superman" briefcase and splits...

Meanwhile, Superman and Wonder Woman are in disguise in the war-torn nation of Hahndaq, where they are undoubtedly about to get involved in an international incident...Batman has to head all the way their to lecture them about getting involved in politics...

Oh, we also have the Atom and Firestorm left all alone in the Watchtower as they arrived for orientation but everyone seems to have forgotten about them...

Finally, we get a Shazam! back-up, wherein Billy Batson tries to get out of being a super-hero and Black Adam's origin is revealed!  Good stuff!

Join me for Nightwing, Wonder Woman and more after the JUMP!

Pocket Monsters at TeeFury!

One Two of the best shirts that TeeFury has ever offered are both available today as part of their one-day only sale policy, and choosing one is one of the hardest decisions you'll ever make:

Squirtle or Bulbasaur? 

At just $11 each, I say you GOTTA GET EM' ALL!

(I personally was a Bulbasaur guy... always choosing him as my starter Pokemon in the video games, and also making a card deck based off of his awesome evolution into the beast Venusaur.)

These are available today only at

How About That First Trailer for Thor: The Dark World!

Seeing as how one of our Australian team has already seen Iron Man 3, and the rest of us will be seeing it within the next 24 hours, it's fitting that Marvel is already cranking our something new to appease our appetites! Here's the first trailer for Thor 2, aka Thor: The Dark World, directed by Game of Thrones vet Alan Taylor, except minus the boobs and bloodsplosions. And it looks like the gang's all back, from Sir Anthony Hopkins to... Kat Dennings?! Stop! Hammer time!

That's right, Thor! You show those elves that we have zero tolerance for their pointy ears and bows and arrows! I hope he makes some elf bastard swallow his fife! What do you make of all this crazy otherworldly nonsense? Is Natalie Portman on the set of Doctor Who? Do you like Loki's new Sigourney Weaver hairdo? What sayeth you, knave? Thou must posteth in thine comments section below.

The Book Was Better Podcast: Teaser for Episode 41!

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we preemptively attack the book of the film!

 In this half-arsed teaser mini episode I respond to your Irish feedback, reveal my reluctant new guest host and the crazy high-concept movie novelisation we'll be tearing into next week, plus I get a little tongue-tied. You'd be foolish to deprive your ears of quality like this!

You can grab it right now from the official site or why not impress all the fly honeyz by subscribing to us on iTunes!

Monday, April 22, 2013

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones Recaps! Episode Four: And Now His Watch is Ended!

Everyone's favourite family blood-and-boobs fantasy epic Game of Thrones is picking up momentum as some characters - who have long been traipsing around doing nothing - finally get to unleash their beasts. Growing tired of the talky-talk and long for some tearing shit up? Episode Four: And Now His Watch Has Ended is unlikely to disappoint!

These shields commemorate the lost nipples of Astapor.
Now I haven't ready any of those fancy word-books, but if you want the belligerent opinion of the common man on the street then I will recap the crap out of it... after the jump!

Doctor Who: Hide

Another confusing week from the show runners at Doctor who; the Doctor and Clara investigate a haunting in the 70’s. I’m not exactly sure what I watched.

I desperately want to like this new companion, especially because she seemed so promising both in 7.01 and the Christmas Special, but the longer she is around, the more I am worried that Moffat and Co. Have done a stellar job of making her incredibly boring. There are a few redeeming features though, particularly her relationship with the TARDIS.

Matt Smith in the mean time is continuing to be a truly wonderful Doctor. It’s a shame that the episodes have lacked so much during his run. It’s a credit to him as an actor and his portrayal of the Doctor that he continues to be so entertaining.

So what happened in the moderately spooky ‘Hide’? More under the jump.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

El Professore Movie Review: Creature With the Atom Brain

Director: Edward L Cahn
Starring: Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, Michael Granger, Gregory Gale
* * *
Directed by the ever dependable low budgeteer Edward L Cahn, 'Creature With the Atom Brain' is a fun, exciting and creepy addition to the 50s sci fi cycle.

Full review after the break.

Book Review: Crap Kingdom by DC Pierson

When I first learned of this book, I was extremely excited, since it was such a fun premise - a kid who enjoys fantasy tropes and such learns he is the Chosen One for a fantasy kingdom, except the kingdom he is the Chosen One for is a completely drag and no one would ever want to be the Chosen One there. Add in the fact that DC Pierson, a member of the Derrick Comedy group (possibly best known for the hilarious Mystery Team movie), is the writer? Sign me up.