Review – Star Wars: Blood Ties #2 – Boba Fett is Dead

Script: Tom Taylor
Art: Chris Scalf
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Chris Scalf
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Boba Fett is dead and the world is starting to learn you don’t kill someone so famous and so feared without stirring up the pot, vengeance is on the move and those who tracked him down and killed him are now facing judgement. Connor Freeman is the man on the warpath and the powers that be want him not only silent but dead and gone, unfortunately the cards are in Connor’s favor and the game continues.

Part 2 is a complete twist of sorts, we find out more about this plan and about what’s going on with Connor, unfortunately while he survived this encounter he’s not entirely all himself after the attack. The masked stranger reveals himself to Connor setting off a huge flashback of the events leading into Part 1 and elaborating on everything to the point where the story is flipped on its head for what readers thought was going on. The attack path changes course though, instead of just hunting those who started this mess it goes to Blackfel taking this situation to a whole new level against the conspiring group against Fett and any supporters.

Star Wars: Blood Ties #2 is a huge elaboration over the first issue, in some ways it would have been great to know that out of the gate but it builds up the life of Connor and the stress he was going through leading into this. The art continues the painterly qualities and intense detail throughout the book and there aren’t many instances where it stumbles, the characters are handled with care and the environments are engaging. Fans of the series really need to dive into issue 2 so they can feel the full impact of this story, one can only hope they have a miracle up their sleeve to wrap this up in 2 more issues.

Release date: May 30, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Dead Man’s Run #0

Written By: Greg Pak
Illustrated By: Tony Parker
Colored By: Peter Steigerwald
Letters By: Josh Reed
Cover B: Micah Gunnell & Peter Steigerwald
Published By: Aspen Comics

 

Dead Man’s Run gets right down to business.  We meet Captain Romero right away and immediately get some intriguing back story about the maximum security prison, the Andrew Jackson Federal Corrections Facility, he works at.  For all intents and purposes it seems like a relatively normal prison, that is, until an escape attempt occurs.  We find out that the prison has many layers, and  a lot of levels of security clearance.  This begins to make the reader wonder why a normal prison would have such things.  We soon learn that this is not at all a normal prison.  This particular prison has a special realm that is literally Hell and it is “guided by justice”.  It appears that when you are a sinner and you die this is where you go.  We get a glimpse into Hell, and it doesn’t look like anywhere anyone would want to wind up!  Captain Romero, who we learn from some back story, is a balls out, do what you have to do kind of guy, along with that though, sometimes he may have not done the right thing.  He gathers a “troop” and storms Hell.  It seems that this might be his new home for quite some time. Along the way we meet some other interesting characters and it looks as though the story will revolve around them.  The warden, Sam, and Sam’s sister, Juniper.  The story alludes there might be some innocents in Hell as well and
I imagine that freeing these innocents from the imploding/perilous Hell will be a large part of where this story will take us.

Dead Man’s Run definitely peaked my interest.  It does a very good job setting up the story and giving the reader a glimpse into where the story is going.  If there are potentially innocent people (who “convicted” them?) locked up in Hell and how they will get out could be very interesting.  The art and dialog are very good and the comic itself has a lot of potential.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

 

Review – Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories

Writer: Various
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming, Various

VALVE has crafted a group of stories in the past years, the Left 4 Dead universe, Portal and even Team Fortress got a personalized story to it. During that time, VALVE also released mini-comics for Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2, showcasing the back story to certain events or releases. Today we got a greater look at the whole picture, starting off with the original Left 4 Dead crew in The Sacrifice.

For many, this is a tense and frustrating map in the DLC released with Left 4 Dead, having to pick a member of the team to go back and them having no hope to return, even worse if that survivor can’t actually make it to all the stops in time. In this case we find out how it really breaks down, a story not just of The Sacrifice, but everything revolving around the survivors and the real state of the world. For fans of the series, this brings some emotional twists and background to the original team, for those who always wanted to know more it’ll give that and so much extra.

Quality wise, the art is a bit wild, very raw but very detailed and keeping to the tone that made the series so eerie. The dialogue expands upon the one liners that guide players through the series including an in depth look into Bill and the limitless optimism of Francis. Everyone gets a moment in the spotlight and we even meet some outsiders along the way.

Team Fortress 2 takes over the reigns as The Sacrifice Wraps up, tackling the friendship conflict announced when the Soldier and Demoman got their new weapon load outs. After a dark passage for the survivors, the Team Fortress crew picks up the pace with some of the most insane moments. The history between the two sides is revealed, the mysteries of Mann Co are blown out and all out war fills the air. If you read the friendship comic, you’ll love how the rest of this pans out as even Saxon Hale sneaks in with his retro themed pages.

Fans of Team Fortress 2 will no doubt eat up all the amazing bits they’ve managed to store in the book, with so much explained it’s a must for any player to have.

Portal 2 wraps up the book, covering many comics already well known to the public, a few chapters do seem to wrap up the loose ends though, we learn about the mysterious doctor behind the scenes and even more on Chell and the battle with GLaDOS. For many this might not be worth the sole investment into the book, for VALVE fans though, this really is the icing on a delicious cake that we finally get to taste. The art is wild as is the story, the pace and control varies in the moment of the story and reads as a tale of madness until we find ourselves at the end.

Hopefully VALVE can incorporate these into continued volumes or at least use the thought put into these to segway their own games into new avenues. Look for it to arrive just in time for the holidays this year. Unfortunately, while amazing, don’t expect it to drop teasers on a certain Mr. Freeman though.

Publication Date: November 16, 2011
Price: $24.99

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Criminal Macabre: No Peace For Dead Men One-Shot

Criminal Macabre: No Peace For Dead Men One-Shot

Story: Steve Niles
Art: Christopher Mitten
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Fiona Staples
Back Cover: Christopher Mitten
Published By: Dark Horse

I must admit that I had never read any of the Criminal Macabre comics before so I had no idea of what to expect.  I read the description, thought it sounded interesting, so I gave it a go.  I’m glad I did! This issue provides enough back story that even a new reader to the series can jump right in and enjoy it.  I can’t speak on whether it stays true to the past story or characters but I can tell you that even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, Cal McDonald is pretty awesome.

Cal is tortured and cantankerous, like every anti-hero should be.  Hating his life but knowing he has a greater purpose, he has to bite the bullet and do what he has to do.  He’s a loner, he’s tired, his car’s possessed but none of this matters, his destiny is greater than all of this.  The group of bad guys has conspired and come up with a plan that would make the average man fold, not Cal, he’s just going to get angry…and even.  The twist at the end is most definitely going to add some interesting and different kinds of story lines, provided it gets incorporated into the existing series.

The Criminal Macabre is fast-moving, action packed and the dialog is snappy.  The Christopher Mitten’s art is superb, I found myself going back just to look at.  I’m very happy that I came across this comic, I will definitely be adding it to the titles that I regularly read.  I would recommend everyone get this, read it and get ready for a helluva ride!

Release Date: September 14, 2011

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

House of the Dead: Overkill gets screens and new art

Just when you thought the arcade shooter was dead. Sega comes in with one of the campiest games ever. House of the Dead: Overkill is a journey into madness using the PS3 move control system this round, players will go round after round into a 70’s Grind House inspired slaughter with only their sanity to lose.

Personally, Overkill on the Wii felt short, I hope they can get a little extra life out of this port because the game is funny to go through with a friend or in a group. Check out the screens below to see the art goodies and caps from Overkill.

Left 4 Dead 2 Suicide Blitz 2 Easter Egg

PC modding is always awesome, today we get a glimpse of how far that can go in Suicide Blitz 2 for Left 4 Dead 2. The mod takes you from the regular map through a series of custom challenges from Portal 2 with GLaDOS dropping motivational quotes to keep you pushing on. To top it off, the maps throw in some good pokes between both series with a number of custom sequences that are fun for all.

Check out the video on youtube of a pair that found this Easter Egg.
Download: Suicide Blitz 2 for Left 4 Dead 2

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[Updated] Stack up bodies in Left 4 Dead 2’s Cold Stream for DLC!

Killing zombies is a tough task, Cold Stream in Left 4 Dead 2 actually makes that to new levels. Valve is trying to sweeten the deal as the add-on is slated for release, if they can get 20,000 people to survive the onslaught they’ll release Dead Air for L4D2 early on July 10th. Players can beat the campaign on any difficulty to earn the new achievement and help everyone enjoy the goods a little earlier.

Check out the official blog post for more information or jump on Steam and lend a hand. I’ll be in the fight in just a bit as well.

[Left 4 Dead Blog]

Update – Playthrough tips:

  • When you can grab a second pistol do so, you’ll have 30 rounds to unleash when your primary weapon goes out of ammo
  • Melee strike as much as possible when reloading, try to maintain the high ground and if you’re playing in SP, grab high range weapons like the sniper rifle to pick enemies off before leading the AI in.
  • The waves rely on users moving forward after the first attack, doing so leaves you open to being surrounded, fight the first flood and then wait for the second before going forward. If your team is tightly held you can last through these waves.
  • Solo players will die, you can’t rush in these maps, trying is pretty much suicide and leaves the team with one less person
  • On the bridge, beware of some glitches in crossing the beams, if someone falls there is a chance they’ll get stuck on the side railing until they die, trying to save them is pointless as they’ll instantly go into falling mode again.
  • In the final map have at least one person get the grenade launcher, save the rounds as much as possible, in the final zone unload the rounds to reduce the swarms to 0.
  • Heal your team often but always try to keep 1-2 med packs in reserve, in some cases the game will ask for a sacrifice, if you survive they’ll have a med pack waiting unless someone hijacks it and leaves you for dead. (Bridge scene has a charger that blows you off the scaffolding if you don’t have grenade rounds).

Xbox 360 users:The L4D team has confirmed that the 360 version of Cold Stream will arrive later this summer.

Completed using: Dual Handguns, Grenade Launcher, M249 SAW, Sniper Rifle (primary)

Hopefully these lend a hand in getting through Cold Stream and get you a new badge. Completed it in 49mins solo on hard, well designed but the boundary boxes need work still and the AI enemies and team often get stuck or make really odd mistakes through the entire campaign.

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Dead Island gets box art!

Possibly one of the most wicked games this year, Dead Island keeps it up in all areas with the release of their cover art for the game. Check out the gallery for full size images of the cover art on the PC, 360 and PS3, just be prepared for the full size onslaught. For those that are a little daring, it wouldn’t be hard to flip this into some nice wallpaper as well.

I’ll be previewing Dead Island at E3 with Deep Silver this year upstairs so I should have a full report after the show. It seems they’re just waiting out the next week before breaking anything too huge out of the box.

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Dead Island teases new screens mmm.. zombies

So it’s Thursday, and its Dead Island day on Bamfas. Actually that isn’t right, the past releases are pretty random and so is this post but I do have a point. Dead Island is coming and it doesn’t care if you don’t want to be half eaten alive, in fact it only cares that you see the latest pack shots available in our gallery!

This game is intense in all the images and CG trailer we’ve seen so far, for those who have managed to miss this game on the radar, watch the clip below.