NYCC 2014 Swag and Thoughts

So I attended NYCC 2014 this year. Its my 3rd year attending and my 4th comic con ever. I got some awesome stuff that I will show in a bit, but I thought I'd give some of my thoughts about the convention first.

Although I did have my fun this year, NYCC is slowly becoming less about comics and more about, well.... just about everything else. EVERYTHING. Its literally just Con at this point. Every year there are less comic book sellers, and less sales; i spent a lot of time walking around looking for sellers, and was surprised at how few there were. There was LOADS of toys about everything and plenty of apparel to buy, but there was just not enough comic books which is depressing.

There were plenty of great writers and artists around, although I don't read all of their works, but at least that was good. There weren't too many interesting panels since I went on Sunday. I just attended the Street Fighter panel, and I enjoyed it very much. Artist alley looked great but of course I don't have the funds to buy some great art, so I never dwell there too much. The show floor was cool overall, and was really crowded as usual.

Lastly, I just want to make a proposition. The people in charge of NYCC have created Special Edition: NYC to have a convention over the summer just about comics. It has yet to gain the audience it needs to become fun though; I attended over the summer and thought it was disappointing. I hope it does grow over the years though because its the convention comic book fans deserve. However, they should reorganize NYCC so that some days cater to TV and casual fans, and the other days cater to REAL comic book fans and anime fans, etc. Im not saying people can't be fans of both, but the fact that that there is too much of a TV and casual presence hurts the convention in my opinion. I'm sure they have the funds to expand the convention another day and make it a better experience for everyone.

Now onto the swag! I picked up the exclusive Frost Giant Loki NYCC exclusive pop vinyl and two mystery Street Fighter figures from kid robot. I was looking around for them and found them halfway into the show. I ended up getting Dhalsim and Blanka which I'm content with.

I also picked a few issues of the pre-new 52 Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) series. Picked up issues 6, 10, and 11. I also got a few comics signed. Robert Venditti signed My X-O Manowar #1 and Green Lantern #35. Brent Peeples signed a copy of X-O Manowar #25 for me. And Matt Kindt signed my copy of Unity #1.

Lastly, I got to meet some of the cast of the web series/movie Street Fighter: Assasin's Fist. I loved the web series and am excited for the sequel World Warriors. They did a free signing afterwords and i got a sweet poster. I also bought Naruto volume 67 which I didn't pick up yet, so that was nice. Would've bought more, but I had to restrain myself :P

Until next year NYCC. Just a few more months until Special Edition: NYC 2015.

P.S. I saw Tony and Matt walking around. Didn't say hi because I didn't really know what to say, but it was cool to actually see them in person. Tony looks taller on the internet lol.

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A Sage Recommendation: Deadly Class Volume 1

I usually don't do this but I am going to take a moment to highlight one of my favorite books, definitely tied with Thor God of Thunder as my favorite comic at the moment. The series is called Deadly Class written by Rick Remender, drawn by Wes Craig, and inked by Loughridge. Its truly an all-star team with Craig being one of my favorite artists of all time now; I never even mention inkers but the colors and art in this book are really something special.

Without going too much into the story, its about an orphan named Marcus living in the year 1987, and he's taken into a school that teaches you how to be an assassin. Of course Marcus has dark history and they have only scratched the surface of the story as they release volume 1 of the epic series.

I highly HIGHLY recommend people pick up the book if they have some spare cash because it is truly something special. The first volume collects issues 1-6 for a ridiculous price of $10. You can even get it for $9 on Amazon. Seriously, each comic was $3.50, so it should've cost around $21. I just wanted to spread the word a little, so check it out if you can. Its a book that deserves to be read.

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My 5 Favorite Video Games

Yup. I'm going to talk a little about video games, on a comic books site. So here are my favorite games from #5 to #1.

5.

Megaman Battle Network 6: Falzar/Gregar

This was a franchise that took over my childhood. I remember starting at Megaman BN 3: Blue and talking endlessly with my friends about it. We would compare our feats on the playground and teach each other the secrets of the game. It was the same with battle network 6, the difference being that I was older and was able to appreciate the series more. I put a lot of time into this game playing with its genius RPG/strategy Battle system, finding every chip, and searching for every secret. This will always hold a place in my heart and rightfully deserves the 5th spot.

4.

Pokemon: Leaf Green

Similar to Megaman, Pokemon was another big player in my childhood. Admittedly I’ve played this again several times in my teenage years, and still give it a go now. This is without a doubt my favorite iteration of Pokemon ever (I’ve only played up to Pearl). Returning to the Kanto region, the generation I grew up with, with better graphics, smoother gameplay, and more exploration was a dream come true. On my first playthrough I must have clocked in over 300 hrs beating the game, defeating the Pokemon League repeatedly, training everything to level 100, and catching them all. Although I don’t play pokemon anymore, I can never forget this game and the memories I had beating everyone with my level 100 Venasaur and Tyranitar.

3.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

I won’t lie, the ending to this game almost makes me cry every time. The graphics were crisp, the cutscenes look better than the PS4 graphics, the gameplay was rich and never tiring, and the new game + feature made it all the more inviting to replay the game over and over. I’ve beaten the game 4-5 times by now I think, even though the campaign is around 20 hrs if I remember correctly. But with such a beautiful story and fun gameplay, it never got old, and if my PSP was still in good condition, I would play it again. One of my favorite games ever, period.

2.

Bioshock: Infinite

After so many handheld games, there is finally a console game taking a spot on the list. Any fan of the Bioshock franchise knows that this game is absolutely genius. And although I love all of them, I chose Bioshock: Infinite to represent the franchise because I thought it was the best overall. Firstly, this game is gorgeous; Columbia was a jaw-dropping world to explore. Combined with the lore and society that is home to Columbia, it was an artistic masterpiece. Not only that, but this is one of the best stories in gaming ever!

I won’t spoil anything, and although it is technically not connected to any of the previous Bioshock games, long time Bioshock fans will understand the ending much better and will appreciate the game for it stunning story. Bioshock is franchise truly like no other. It goes beyond, great gameplay, story, and graphics. It tackles major real-life themes with its fiction, assailing racism and religion (I’m catholic and still loved it). It was a smart franchise and fun game.

1.

inFamous

Taking 1st place is the Playstation exclusive, action-adventure game, inFamous. It was the first entry into the franchise, and the first real action game I played growing up. And to this day, it still excites me and makes me smile just talking about it. The game is about Cole McGrath, a messenger man that earns super powers in a remarkable way. The basis of the story is that you have to find the man responsible for the events that transpired, that gave you your powers. Although the conclusion to Cole’s saga is concluded in inFamous 2, inFamous overall has a better story throughout. Admittedly, the conclusion in the second game is what makes the franchise so epic, but nevertheless the first game has a better grip on the story.

What’s especially awesome about this game is that it is made by comic book fans and the comic book elements like the comic cutscenes are greatly appreciated and undeniably great. Adding onto that, the game has great replayability because it gives you the option to play it being a hero or as infamous. Each side gives you different variations of powers providing different approaches to battle, and the Cole saga conclusion, depending on which side you choose, is incredibly different but equally jaw-dropping. This is a game series I can never get over, and never fail to get excited for. Although with Second Son, the 3rd game in the series, it took a different direction, I thought it was very well done and I’m excited for the future of the franchise.

Honorable Mention: Assassin's Creed 2 (PS3)

Game with Most Potential Award: MAG (PS3)

P.S. I admittedly have not played a lot of key games from the past, and I don’t play all the games I should be playing like The Last of Us. Although I hope to play them someday, I hope this blog gave a good look at the games I love and a little insight about myself.

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Thoughts on the female THOR

As a big Thor fan, I think this a very good idea actually. Here is why:

1) It's not permanent, so people shouldn't be worrying. If anyone reads the current Thor comic, they know this isn't permanent.

2) This will get readers who only read triple A titles to read something with a female leads. It expands people minds and expands the audience that reads female-led books which is very necessary.

3) Female books will be more likely to be read when they are released. People constantly complain that there aren't enough female books, when they aren't read. Marvel did try when they put Sif as the lead in Journey into Mystery. I thought it was a great book, but people refuse to read it. It makes no sense, but now we are tackling a much bigger audience.

4) I think this is great for the whole Thor mythos. Its a different take on a great title. It is an excellent opportunity to explore what it means to be worthy with Mjolnir.

5) The character looks sick, and this looks like a lot of fun.

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Book Review: American Gods

American Gods: An Ostrich by Nature

Since I was a child, there were few things that excited me more than the subject of mythology. From the story of Atlas to the trickeries of Loki, every tale was a saga to another realm, a journey into mystery. So upon my search for great books to read, I was bombarded by recommendations to read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Never having read a book by the legendary author, aware that he uses a strange style, I decided to pick up the novel which modernized the idea of what it means to be a god, and created its own unique mythology.

The story begins with a man, simply named Shadow that is released from jail after some time in prison. He is let free with no family or home to return to, and is offered a job by a man known as Mr. Wednesday. Through the series of events that follow, Shadow finds himself in the center of a clash between the old gods of the past, and the new gods of today.

I was amazed at what interesting world Gaiman crafted, bringing forth an innovative idea and making it genuinely fascinating. If only he put more effort into it. Truth be told, American Gods is one of the most disappointing books I have ever read for several reasons, some of which are common in weak novels and others that one might not expect. First, and foremost, I did not like a single character in this book. It is one thing for a character to be boring, it is another for the reader to not be able to empathize or connect with them on a remote level. This is what I felt toward every character, for they were either as bland and unrelatable as Shadow, as strange as Sam, or as annoying as most of the new gods. This lack of connection with readers weakens the work significantly.

Story-wise, I despised the book even more so. I spent the entire time reading expecting something incredible to happen, yet nothing ever came; not only that, but I often felt that the book had no real direction. While it makes some interesting stops between the book’s major events, I always questioned where it was headed, and although there were a few interesting surprises, I ultimately felt that it didn’t lead up to anything either astonishing or worthwhile. Also, for a fantasy book, I found that it had very few action scenes or thrills to offer; even when we are told there is fighting or action, Gaiman refuses to give readers a glimpse of the mayhem. The most notable example (spoilers in this example) is when the new gods and old gods finally go to war, and Shadow is trying to find a resolution. We saw close to nothing about what happened on the battlefield. Why an author would write something as epic as that, and then not share it with readers, is beyond me. Furthermore, I found the epilogue, which was more of a short story, to be much more engaging than the lackluster main story. That should give you an idea of how mediocre the heart of the story actually is.

On a more minor and personal note, there was plenty of cursing, a few nude scenes, and some mature themes that were apparent in the book, such as Sam’s questionable sexuality. While there were times I found that it added layers to the atmosphere, there was such a lack of direction in the book that I felt it was tacked on just to make the book seem darker and edgier, something to catch readers in a culture that loves that style. A lot of it served no purpose in my opinion, and added something that was unnecessary. I felt it would have felt smoother without all of it, but it is more of a personal grudge. However, this last point is anything but personal.

It is a shame when something doesn’t reach its potential. What’s worse is when there is no effort made to strive to achieve that potential. That is the case with the American Gods mythology and story. I cannot emphasize enough, how genius the ideas Gaiman presented are, but it ultimately led to nowhere. Not only that, but the story was crammed into just a few hundred pages. While not everything so grand necessarily needs to be written on a grand scale, this universe was a creation dying to be expanded and explored. It deserves that treatment, but it is denied that. What could have been one of the most epic book series ever written was never given an opportunity.

If I had to make a comparison, American Gods is like an ostrich in its nature. It is colossal, striking, and stands strong, being the mighty bird that it is. But it refuses to fly. American Gods, is a book that never took off, never expanding upon what it built and never treating readers with what they deserve. It was world left unexplored.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

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My Thoughts on Venditti's Green Lantern

Preface

I’m not exactly a blogger, but I thought I’d share my opinion on a rather big topic regarding Green Lantern. That topic is none other than Venditti’s writing on Green Lantern. Before I talk about this, I just want to tell my short history with Green Lantern. I started reading comics only about two and a half years ago when the New 52 happened. I did not read the main Green Lantern title, though. In an attempt to be a hipster, I read New Guardians instead (good book btw). Twelve issues in, I jumped into the main Green Lantern title. I have yet to read all of the first twelve issues of the New 52 Green Lantern (I’m searching for them) but I have read issues 0 and 13-27.

About a year ago I decided to start reading John’s run from the beginning, starting with Rebirth. I don’t exactly have all the money or time in the world so I’m not done with his run yet (don’t spoil anything!). I am currently a little more than halfway done with The Sinestro Corp War (epic stuff). That being said, I get the gist of John’s run and I think I have a good understanding of what he has done, but of course I am not familiar with all of it yet.

My Thoughts

So after ten years of writing Green Lantern, Geoff Johns retired from the book and Robert Venditti took the mantle. Needless to say, people were mad. From my perspective, this divided Green Lantern readers into one of three crowds. First is the crowd that didn’t care; this group is the 1% and very few people were indifferent about the change. Second, was the crowd that knew Venditti from his superb work on X-O Manowar (go read it) and thought he was the perfect choice. And lastly was the crowd that left Green Lantern just because Johns wasn’t writing it. To be fair some of the last crowd did give Venditti a chance, but left because they weren’t used to a different style. Personally, I am a part of the second crowd, and am a fan of Venditti’s work. However, people from all these groups have shown some discontent with Venditti’s work now that it’s here.

So what is the difference between Venditti and Johns that made so many people angry? The difference is very apparent actually. Johns reinvented Green Lantern, which is why he is considered the god of that domain. He turned a character and series that people didn’t care much about and made it a total epic. I think his work is phenomenal, but that shouldn’t discredit Venditti. Venditti takes a very different approach. As we have seen with the events of Lights Out, he has begun his run by informing readers that the emotional spectrum is actually a finite, rather than infinite as most readers assumed. I call this Venditti’s thesis. I think this will dictate his run long term. Johns’ thesis was that there are more corps than the green lanterns. Johns’ entire run was basically exploring all the different corps, but it took him several issues to state that thesis. Venditti’s is much different, but I think it is just as smart and innovative as Johns’.

People ask why Venditti didn’t just stick to what was already there and keep going with it. Well, I actually attended the Green Lantern Lights Out panel at NYCC this year and he said that he did not want to fill Johns’ shoes. He didn’t want to use those shoes and instead decided to use a different pair and run with those instead. In other words, Venditti respects Johns and his work. Why mess up a masterpiece? Instead he is taking a leap of faith and trying to establish a new era for Green Lantern in a different way, but in the best, most interesting way he can.

This finite energy is an intriguing idea, and based on the events of Green Lantern #27 readers know that things are going to get messy, in a good way of course! But Venditti has done more than just say that the emotional spectrum’s energy is finite. He made Hal the leader of the corp (for now), blew up Oa and made Mogo the new mobile headquarters for the green lanterns, caused controversy on the use of the rings amongst the lanterns, and even shook up some love interests. Of course, people got angry about this too. OH NO, IT’S CHANGE. I don’t get what the big deal is. Venditti shaking things up is a positive in my book; otherwise things become static and tiresome. He is keeping things fresh and interesting, which is a GOOD thing.

As much as I love what Venditti is doing though, I have a problem with two things: Hal’s characterization and notorious plot holes. Staring with Hal, Venditti definitely knows what Hal is about and understands him, but he makes him more idiotic than he should be. Several times we have seen Hal rush into things mindlessly, declare a stupid law regarding the rings, etc. It’s not hard to see that Hal has a brutish nature at times. I have no problems with Hal making his bad decisions, but it happens more often than it should. Venditti needs to show us that Hal is indeed a hothead, but can be smart when he needs to be. I am aware that he likes to make heroes both good and somewhat evil (X-O Manowar readers know what I’m talking about), but making Hal dumb won’t accomplish that.

Now I will move on to the plot holes. There will be some spoilers of the last few issues. The plot holes became apparent in issue #27. First was when the tribesmen attacked Hal from behind and knocked him out in about two melee attacks if memory serves me right. This makes little sense. Hal’s ring could have easily detected a threat, and should have automatically created a force field. Venditti could have cleaned this up rather easily too. He could have had the transforming enemy disguise himself as a lantern or friendly, so the ring could detect a threat but Hal would have been confused anyways. The tribesman could have then come up and shot through Hal’s automatic shields because they were using weapons that go through constructs. One or two nice shots to the body or head would have knocked him out the same way and then the scene would have made sense.

Then we have the biggest plot hole that someone brought up in a review. I will have to go back several issues to explain this. So first Nol-Anj gets her ring because she loves her tribe and then she escapes to her people. After Lights Out, Hal declares that illegal use of the emotional spectrum is a crime. Hal goes and fights Nol-Anj, declaring loudly that illegal use of the emotional spectrum is a crime, but they come to an agreement. Instead of Nol-Anj going to jail, her tribe would go for her instead. The tribe then arrives on Mogo, fights the lanterns and work their way to some wilderness and safety. Here they meet a partner from their planet, one of those aliens that can transform (I can’t recall the name). Together they get to the control center, knock out Hal, and make the green lanterns look evil to the rest of the universe by rewording and exploiting their plans.

Alright, now that this series of events has been reviewed, I have questions. How did the tribesman plan all this out? How did they know one of their transforming associates would be there? They didn’t know about any of this until Hal announced it. They were arrested shortly afterwards, so how did they plan this out? If someone knows the answer to this, feel free to tell me. Venditti hopefully will explain this in the next issue though.

So I’ve said all I have to say, the good and the bad. I conclude that I really like Venditti, and I don’t understand the hostility toward him. What he needs to do is sharpen his writing so Hal doesn’t come across as being stupid and these plot holes can be avoided. Otherwise, Venditti is doing great. By introducing new ideas, characters, status queues, etc. he is keeping things fresh and original. People just need to embrace change. I have high hopes for Venditti and I think he will have a long, fruitful run.

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What Superhero am I results, and reading List

So I'm Hawkeye which I didnt expect but Hawkeye's pretty cool so I can't complain.

As for what I've been reading:

Blue Beetle- It is awesome and still my favorite series because Jaime is awesome and I love its style. If you're not reading this you should give it a shot because its too good to have the possibility of being cancelled.

Red Lanterns- It been meh. The story hasn't been very exciting besides the fight between Rankorr and Guy Gardner, and when Rankorr makes an energy construct. Stormwatch is coming in next issue so many that will make things more interesting.

Green Lantern: New Guardians- Its been pretty good. The next story arc with the Reach should be awesome. Its nothing out of this world though.

The Mighty Thor- The series has been totally awesome and the upcoming story arc looks interesting enough.

X-O Manowar- Just started it and the first issue was very good. Everything is setup for epicness. I reccommend people to look into it.

I'm going to starte the mini series Man of God. I'm reading my NARUTO and will start soon ATTACK ON TITAN.

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What I read

I just started reading comics when the New 52 began and I'm only a teen so i don't have the money to buy much. What I read though is:

- Blue Beetle

-Red Lanterns

-Green Lanterns: New Guardians

-The Mighty Thor

-Limited series of my interests

I love the Blue Beetle so far. I can really relate to the character and i love the hero in general.

Red Lanterns caught my attention when i was deciding what i would read. It looked interesting so i jumped in; so far its alright but it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere. I have patience though.

I haven't actually started New Guardians yet but since its written by Tony Bedard who writes the Blue Beetle and a crossover is likely going to happen, next time I go to my local comic shop I'll pickup issues 1-6.

The Mighty Thor was pretty good at the beginning and now its great. After the Galactus story arc, the art got much better and the story is really intriguing.

If you're wondering why I may have randomly picked The Mighty Thor, I didn't. Before i started reading I asked my parents to pick me up a random comic from Marvel or something and they gave me The Mighty Thor. It was my first comic and its been awesome. Since I don't have much money to spend on comics, I'm not going to jump into any more continuous series unless its Thor related (Journey into the Mystery doesn't interest me) or maybe i might get tempted by something from Tony Bedard.

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