Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hectic Week

My apologies for any of my regular readers. Last week proved hellish with Hannah beginning the third grade, a terrible bout of allergies, and my wife sick from her pregnancy. My little free time went to reading and playing Fate in anticipation of the sequel I just got for it. My wife has already ran through the game, and it looks like another fun Diablo-Lite.

Or if I wasn’t doing that, I was wasting far too much time reading Michael Reaves’ Star Wars Coruscant Nights I Jedi Twilight. While I have enjoyed both his novels and the Star Wars novel franchise in general, in the last year I have just found most of these novels to range from weak to down right terrible. I am not sure if I will continue to even look for more Star Wars in the future. And that just kind of makes me sad.

I have a few reviews planned for this week, the first of which you should be able to check out in an hour or two. In the mean time, you can do what I do every Sunday and review the joy which is... CATURDAY!!!.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Collected Edition Review: Noble Causes Archives volume 1

I just finished reading through the collected edition of Jay Faerber’s Noble Causes and I got to say I am even more impressed than I thought I would be. This book collected the initial one-shot, the first three mini-series, and the first twelve issues of the regular series. That is twenty-five issues for those counting at home. And that many issues for twenty bucks is nothing to scoff at, even if it is in black and white.

The story, for those who have never followed the book, is about the Noble family, a mix of the Fantastic Four and one of any multi-generational soup operas you can find on daytime TV. The family consists of father Doc (a gadgeteer) and his wife Gaia(a sorceress), their children Rusty (super-strong and now encased in a metal body), Race (a speedster), and Zephyr (who controls wind). In addition we have Rusty’s wife Celeste, Race’s best friend Krennick, Gaia’s illegitimate son Frost, and Race’s new wife Liz Donnelly. Liz is a normal everyday human and it is she we follow through much of the early part of the trade.

The story opens with a murder and things just get more convoluted from there. Mr. Faerber does an excellent job of building suspense from miniseries to miniseries, which servers to basically create a thirteen issue epic. Things restart (but not reboot) for the regular series, of which the first twelve issues also form an ongoing saga.

I have been following the monthly issues of Noble Causes since the mid-twenties and have thoroughly enjoyed the series. It truly is a great read, but alas, it does not have as many readers as it needed to survive and will be ending with issue forty in October. This is good news for archives fans though, as the eventual release of Archives volume two will contain the remaining twenty-eight issues of the series.

All in all, Noble Causes Archives comes highly recommended. Go out and get your copy today!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Coolest Thing Ever!

So the fine folks over at my new favorite geek-related site Topless Robot have posted their list of The Ten Most Awesomely Insane Nerd Crafts. The entire list is pretty cool and well worth checking out for the video game freaks of the world. But number two is by far the coolest of the cool.

A fellow blogspot user by the name of Kyle Downes has produced a coffee table that is also a functional NES controller. He spent about a month on the thing, and the results are thoroughly awesome. I mean how much easier would all those terrible track & field games for the NES be now that you have a giant B and A button to hit over and over again. And code entry could go from somewhat hard to more challenging than Street Fighter 2010 and Batman combined! More pictures on the link above, but here is a video of it in action.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not Quite Super-Powered Fiction: Zero Cool

Just finished Zero Cool, one of the many truly awesome novels by the fine folks over at Hard Case Crime. Originally written in the sixties by an excellent writer (who I never heard of before this) by the name of John Lange, it has been updated with a modern day prologue and epilogue in the new edition.

Lange tells the story of Peter Ross (Didn’t he used to hang out with Superman?), a young doctor who travels to Europe for a conference and decides to take an extended vacation on a Spanish beach. He meets a beautiful woman named Angela Locke on the beach, but it is when a strange gangster comes to him to perform an autopsy that Peter finds his life thrown for a loop. He is soon embroiled in a conspiracy involving multiple enemies and motives which has multiple bodies falling in its wake.

I don’t want to give everything away now, but Peter finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy straight out of a comic story. With preposterous Bond-style villains and shocking turn after shocking turn, Zero Cool proves to be an exciting ride all the way through. For seven bucks this one is hard to top, and another great Hard Case Crime cover, this one by Gregory Manchess thoroughly seals the deal.

Go out and pick this one up today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Epsilon gets a New Look! Plus links!

Well my new look initiative continues with the newest chapter of Epsilon making the switch over to the new page format. I will slowly be working my way through the archives to change everything over, although expect it to take several more weeks to complete.

I found two headlines, both from Asia, that scream for mentions on a super-powered blog. I just see story elements in both of these somewhere.

Mugger Arrested Despite Cunning Disguise

Giant 3,300 Lbs Stingray Caught by Local Fisherman

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Metahuman Press Update

Two more pages have been revised with the new look: first, I have reedited and reformatted the Submission page to make it more up to date.

Then, I have completely revised our Links page to make it more friendly for everyone to use. On it, one can also find some banners I made for MHP as well.

I am working my way through a couple trades and a fairly new piece of super-powered prose right now, so stay tuned for more reviews shortly.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Super-Powered Prose: Helltown by Dennis O’Neil

I picked this one up a few months ago on the cheap at my local Half Price Books. Being a fan of Richard Dragon and, to a lesser degree, the Question I decided to pick it up. Even with the mixed bag of Dennis O’Neil’s recent career, I figured he couldn’t go wrong with a story that mixed them with Lady Shiva and Batman for an all out rumble.

What I got was a retelling of the Question’s origin. The problem I have with this is the problem I have always had with Denny’s Question. I know when he wrote The Question and Question Quarterly in the late 80’s and early 90’s he was much loved and critically acclaimed. People loved his take on the character, though not enough to actually buy the book in numbers enough to keep it alive.

But I am not really a fan. Having since read Steve Ditko’s original Question stories from his later day issues of Blue Beetle I can easily see why so many original Question fans were so mad. Ditko’s Question was a hard-line Randian, obsessed with the destruction of evil for good’s sake. I don’t pretend to know all the philosophy of it; I probably do not want to. But he worked as an enigmatic vigilante with a decidedly crazed, right-wing bent. Which Denny turned in to a liberal propaganda piece. Now I can’t blame Denny for espousing his own views by any means, but it does a disservice to the traditions of the character just to throw them away like that. It is wrong for the character and the general reading public.

While Helltown does not succumb to the hard political and sociological viewpoints of its forebear, it still makes Vic Sage in to a far more wishy-washy character than he should be. The Question’s only power should be his ability to tell right from wrong; to know inherently that someone must be punished for their transactions. This Question shows very little of that vibe. To make matters worse, the story spends little time at all away from Question. Batman, Richard Dragon, and Shiva seem to be here only to help drive up the value of the story itself for casual fans. They play a part only as plot points to continue the Question’s narrative onwards.

The story itself is fairly typical crime fair: kidnapped children, a crime ring pumped to take over the city, and a poor abused woman caught in it all that only our hero can save. It’s by no means bad, just not right for the Question.

Personally I think the Question has been reinvented numerous times, always with his original tradition as a sort of weird know-it-all stuck in place. Rick Veitch’s Question limited, Justice League Unlimited’s version of the character, or even Alan Moore’s Rorshach in Watchmen are all far superior looks at a great Silver Age character. Denny’s version... not so much for me.

Anyway, decent piece of superhero prose crime fiction. I give it a thumbs in the middle, but if you are a fan of Denny’s question you should rush out and buy this immediately!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quick Update

Well, since I managed to forget my resources for the next chapter of Epsilon I am writing, I have some blog time. Expect that review of Helltown to be up just as soon as I finish it.

Also the website should continue to be renovated over the next few weeks. Next stop, Submission page. You have been warned.

All right, later all.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And that didn't work out quite as well I thought

So yeah my planned regular posting fell through thanks to some lost internet here at work. Three days straight with no online experience (at least at work). So I am back on now, and I will try to keep this up on work nights at least. I have a review of Dennis O’Neil’s Helltown up pretty soon, and then we will go from there.

Also check out the main page of Metahuman Press. I am starting a full overhaul of the site and I am very excited at the new look I’ve designed. Be sure to stop by the forums or hit up the comments here and let me know what you think.

Monday, August 4, 2008

True Believers #1

So I am going to start my new focus on superhero fiction on Takin’ the Helm by going back to the comics. Ironic somewhat as my point of this is really to focus on superheroes in other formats, but I think True Believers is well worth the effort. Marvel has stumbled on a truly original concept with this one. The Believers are a group of high tech super-powers with a quest to expose corruption on every level. Their targets range from corporate to superhuman to celebrity, and they seem willing to go to the extremes for the exposes they then post on a their website (which is ironically an actual comic-related site). The concept is carried out to perfection in the first issue, one of the best number ones I’ve seen in quite some time.

Maybe the strangest fact about the book is its creative team. Cary Bates rose to fame in the 70’s and 80’s as Julie Schwartz’s right hand man on Superman and Flash both of which he wrote for somewhere around a decade. His star faded post-Crisis but he went on to produce two precursors to modern graphic storytelling: Captain Atom and New Guardians before disappearing from comics for years.

On art is Paul Gulacy. I can’t begin to list all of Gulacy’s works, although he may still be most famous for his run on Master of Kung Fu. Together these veterans of old school comics craft something truly different, truly inspired.

Bravo to both, and here is hoping for a lot more True Believers in the future.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All right! Back online!

All right, folks, I am back online regularly at work, so this blog should be back up and running at least a few days a week. I am still working out all the themes for the site, but there will definite be an emphasis on new super-powered fiction. I’m sure my own life and my own fiction will creep in here and there, but for the most part it will be oriented towards supers of all shapes and sizes.

That is all for now, but look for more tomorrow.