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What Brendan’s reading…

Something sorely needed recently popped up in Launceston. We got a comic shop! With actual new comics!

It’s called Alternate Dimensions and it’s very good. If you are a Lonny local or just in town go check it out. Tell Ron I sent you, maybe I’ll get an extra stamp on my free comics card.

A byproduct of this is I am reading a lot more new comics so I thought I would do a few mini reviews. I’ll try to avoid anything spoilery, but will be mentioning some prior stories so be aware.

Superior Spider-Man #1-6

The one that started it all! Originally this was the only new book I was subscribing to. Spider-man was one of the books relaunched in the recent Marvel NOW initiative, and I had been reading Amazing Spider-Man digitally so I figured this was a great way to jump into the brave old world of physical issues.

In Amazing Spider-Man #700 a big shakeup occurred. I won’t go into all the details but what you need to know is that Dr. Octopus transferred his mind into the body of Peter Parker. Parker seemingly died in the body of Doc Ock. Octo-Spidey is the star of Superior Spider-Man, and the comic shows what happens when a super-villain plays hero.

Dan Slott has been a love him or hate him writer on Spidey, and Superior isn’t likely to change your mind. His Spidey is lighter, a bit goofy and he favours narration. However I definitely fall into the love camp. I find this Spider-Man a lot of fun, and I think Superior has just gotten better. Seeing Otto using his super-villain logic to solve superhero problems is both exciting, and often hilarious. Often times he is a far more successful hero than Peter ever was, but given the route he takes (his violence threshold is a little… different) it’s interesting to debate whether he truly is the Superior Spider-Man.

The art is similarly divisive. I have heard a lot of hate for Humberto Ramos’ “cartoony” style, but I really think it suits the light style. Plus, when it gets dark (and it does) the contrast has that much more impact. The end of #6 was really quite confronting.

I recommend this book, and with 6 issues out that must mean a trade is just around the corner. Give this very different Spidey a try, you might just like it.

Avenging Spider-Man #16-18

This book is basically the new Marvel Team-Up. In each issue Spidey teams up with a new hero for an issue or two of light hearted adventuring. It’s always been a pretty easy book to jump onboard as it’s light on continuity and many issues are done in one. This has continued since the introduction of Octo-Spidey with every issue so far featuring him teaming up and clashing with a different hero. We have seen X-Men, the Future Foundation and Thor and it’s great to see how they react to Spidey’s recent attitude change. Especially Wolverine… it’s so good.

Artists on this book vary, but they are generally of high quality. The writers used to change too, but since Octo-Spidey came along Chris Yost has taken over. So far, so very good. In many ways this is the better (of 2 good) Spider-Man books. It’s super easy to jump on board, so maybe next time you get a free comic on your loyalty card you should check this out.

Young Avengers #1-2

I love Young Avengers almost as much as I love Runaways. I love Runaways… a lot!

So when I saw this is mostly a new team, featuring only Wiccan, Hulkling and Hawkeye (the girl one), and adding in young Loki, (haven’t read Journey into Mysery, but I may have to) Miss America, (don’t really know who she is) and Marvel Boy/Protector/that not very popular avenger I was a bit skeptical. I still am a little bit, but I suspect this may be good.

Kieron Miller writes amazing dialogue, capably following up Allan Heinberg. These teens are cooler than I’ll ever be, but their dialogue is very real. However this is one slow moving comic, 2 issues in and nothing much has happened. Being monthly this could be a negative, and may be worth waiting on trades if you aren’t sure.

Onto the art, and boy, is this one perty book. I mean look at this!

Gorgeous! Does it cover up story issues? Depends how into art you are. For now I’m sticking with this book, as it’s a very unique thing. Hopefully the story gets moving though.

Daredevil #23 – 24

I heard issue 23 was a great jumping on point for this book. You can’t read a single article on comics without someone raving about Mark Waid’s Daredevil. It deserves it. All of it.

After a long period of darkness for Daredevil, the old swashbuckling hero is back. Mark Waid’s Daredevil has been through it all, and finally just says fuck it. He’s enjoying being a hero again. That said, he’s still getting put through the ringer. A new villain is targeting him, and in two issues he has fought crazy guys with the same super senses as him and even dogs with super senses. The flip side is his personal life, which as usual is possibly even more interesting than his super one.

The art on this book has a classic, clean kind of look. It works really well with this optimistic take on Daredevil. Look how nice it is!

On a sidenote, I love how this book embraces Daredevil’s outside the norm powers. It’s great to see him struggling in noisy situations, and really working to win a fight. Daredevil is an inspirational hero, and this book really does him justice.

Age of Ultron #1-2

This book only started  a fortnight ago, and we are already 2 issues in. This is a very good thing. There is nothing worse than when these big events out stay their welcome.

But is it any good?


I mean I liked the foil cover.

You see a lot of the plot is yet to be revealed. What we know is Ultron has taken over. There are very few heroes left, and they are changed by surviving in this post apocalyptic world. I mean, the first issue features a lot of Hawkeye headhunting bad dudes (and winging hookers). This book has potential, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s more than just the Avengers version of Age of Apocalypse. Stay tuned on this one.

There you go kids. I’m just about to start getting Guardians of the Galaxy, and if there is interest I’ll follow-up some of these. Any questions, comments, complaints pop ’em below.


How Sonic got his groove back.

First off, apologies to all for the lack of new comics, videos, and articles lately. There are many factors to blame (not just laziness). School has been finishing, I’ve been spending time with my wife before she goes home for Christmas, I had my busiest week of work in some time (I did get to work for Australia’s Got Talent though), Arkham City came out, and then Skyrim came out. However we have filmed a great new Scare Dares ep, featuring 13 Horror 2: The Dare. Unfortunately no school means no Final Cut Pro. I hope to get my own Macbook very soon though (donations welcome, Apple is exxxpensive), and may try to get a version done in Premier (if I can finish without smashing my laptop). Until then though I’ll try and focus on more articles and comics (I actually haven’t written any for sometime and my stockpile is quickly running out, need to get stuck back in). Now onto the main event…

Videogame anniversaries have been popping up a lot lately. Mario turned 25 last year, Donkey Kong turned the big 30, Zelda’s 25, Pokemon turned 15 and even Halo is 10 years old (who feels old now?) Some of these anniversaries have been big events, they released that Mario collection on Wii, there is a new Zelda out soon (now?). Some like Frogger just quietly snuck by. But one gaming icon has a new game that celebrates his past, present and gets itself into a great position for a solid. Sonic has turned 20, and after some difficult teen years he is back on track.

Sonic Generations is the new game, and he doesn’t have a sword, magic powers, lycanthropy, heat vision or a human girlfriend. He does have a new friend though (stop groaning, it’s not another member of Cream’s family), it’s a young version of himself. That’s right, he took a lesson from Mickey Mouse (who’s looking more and more retro these days) and reintroduced his younger, pudgier, mute adolescent self. However the green eyed, wise cracking Sonic is still hanging around too.

What this means for the game is two styles of gameplay. We have Classic Sonic, who runs a little slower, mostly sticks to the second dimension, collects power up shields, spins in balls a lot and just looks damn cute doing it. Then you have Modern Sonic who’s more in your face, breaks in and out of 2d and 3d gameplay, and has boosts and homing attacks. Importantly though, they both feel like Sonic and not just some tacked on crap.

Remember this gem?

The levels will tickle the fancy of any Sonic fan, young and old. They are all throwbacks to classic levels, from Green Hill back in the Sonic 1 days (oh my Master System memories) to some of the crazed Sonic Adventures levels (The truck one? It’s here.) and I have even spotted one from that Magic Rings game (it’s much better now). They are all re-imagined with both a classic and modern version for each too.

The music is spectacular. You can enjoy classics, re-mixes, and even choose your own (Sonic Boooommm…). Hell, even the menu music is that beautiful original theme. There’s also stacks of unlockables (including Sonic 1 on Mega-Drive) and Challenge Modes that significantly change each level. It’s a nostalgia fest for the heart and soul of young Segalings (who maybe aren’t so young anymore). Ironically though, this retro game is probably his most modern feeling game in years. Happy Birthday Sonic, here’s to 20 more!

What Brendan watches… (part 2)

I’m back again doing another of the posts my friend Matt requested. And first, one I didn’t even mention last time.

Funniest kids on Earth

School of Comedy. This is the funniest sketch comedy currently on TV. It’s crazy, crude, awkward and entirely performed by teenagers. You might recognise the kid from Narnia 3 and Son of Rambow (also well worth watching) and he is the best actor on the show, but the other kids are great too.  It’s currently on ABC so you have no excuse to be missing this.

Two brothers in a muscle car with guns in the back!

Supernatural. I know I had that list last post that I was gonna work through, but I have just thought of another show I didn’t even mention. This is basically the story of two brothers reconnecting on a road trip across America. And killing monsters. This show is action packed, has pretty good effects for TV, has a sense of humour (often making fun of itself) and is suprisingly scary/gory at times. The first 3 seasons are best in my opinion, but it’s still great fun to this day. Watch it on Eleven.

Very funny guy

Might as well go three for three, and give you another new show, Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable. This just recently finished but is on DVD and bound to be repeated. Skeptical Lawrence travels around proving that a lot of unbelievable things (UFO’s, Ghosts, Psychics etc) are probably just that. He then puts these various ideas to the test in elaborate pranks. But even better is the final episode, where he tries to convince a huge skeptic, that he might in fact have amazing psychic abilities (the skeptic not Lawrence).

So there you go, 3 shows should check out!

Americaaa FUCK YEAH!

I’m humming Star Spangled Man, Joel just threw a hub cap at some passing kids and Sally is seriously thinking about joining the US Army. No we haven’t gone completely deranged, we just caught the new Captain America movie, and why I don’t want to spoil anything it’s great and you really should go see it! Just make sure you stay till the end of credits, and get ready to “Assemble” next year!

Will he punch Hitler? Watch the movie and find out!

In other news, check out these concepts of the new Avengers costumes. Here’s the first look at Hawkeye’s costume, Captain America and Thor’s updated threads, Robin from “How I Met Your Mother” and the new Norton free, Ruffalo filled Hulk!

Some assembly required!

Click it to see the full size image!

What Brendan watches…

My mate Matt suggested I do an entry on what TV shows I watch, as he is currently enjoying some of my recommendations. So here you go Matt.

Skins (make sure it's the UK one though)

First on the list is Skins. Basically it’s a bunch of kids in the UK getting drunk and stoned, but it’s deeper than you would think. Great acting from mostly unknown actors (though they don’t always stay that way, the first season spawned a certain Slumdog Millionaire). It has excellent music, and great stories that range from funny, to scary, to bizarre, to moving. They also change the cast every 2 seasons as the kids age, and they also change the writers when they get too old. Finally, if you are a fan of classic British comedy, keep an eye out for some classic actors from shows such as The Fast Show, Black Books and The Mighty Boosh playing the shows adults.

It shows in Australia on SBS, and is available on DVD. There are 5 seasons, but considering there are only like 6-10 episodes per series (like most UK series) it won’t too take long to catch up. And then you’ll be like me waiting for Season 6 and also the upcoming movie.

The Inbetweeners (again there are rumours of a US series coming out so make sure it's the UK series)

Second on the list is Inbetweeners. Basically it’s a bunch of kids in the UK getting drunk and stoned, wait this sounds familiar. The difference between this and Skins is that these kids are definitely not cool and are absolutely hilarious. This is seriously one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. It follows the nerdy Will(aka. briefcase wanker) as he tries to fit in with his new friends Simon (an awkward boy who just wants to pull) Jay (a compulsive liar) and Neil (the dumbest kid on TV).

Great show that currently pops up on GO! every now and then,  and I believe is on DVD here. New movie soon too.

Misfits (as far as I know there is no crappy US remake)

This show is really excellent (and largely unknown in Australia). It is kind of like Skins crossed with the X-men. 6 kids on community service are hit by a strange storm that gives them (and many others) superpowers. Unfortunately it also turns their probation worker into a raging psycho. They are forced to kill him and spend the rest of the season covering it up, while fighting other superpowered enemies.

I can’t recommend this enough, and it recently started on ABC 2. The first 2 series are available on DVD (or as a pack with both seasons) and season 3 is starting toward the end of the year.

This post is getting bigger than expected, so I will continue it soon. However if you have seen the above shows already here’s a quick list you can’t go wrong with. I’ll look at them in a more detailed way at a later date.

  • Gavin and Stacey (finished now, pick up the complete DVD set)
  • The Mighty Boosh (not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy the bizarre it’s great)
  • Being Human (UK, not US, as usual)
  • Teachers (an oldie, but way to many people haven’t seen this hilarious show)
  • Destination Truth (very entertaining search for monsters such as bigfoot, and sea monsters)
  • Fact or Faked (basically Mythbusters for paranormal videos)
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold (most hilarious Batman show ever)
  • Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes (featuring Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America. get ready for next years movie)
  • Teen Wolf (so far so good, quite funny. Hopefully it can keep it up)
  • Southpark (still one of the greatest shows on TV)
  • Top Gear (doubt anyone who is vaguely interested hasn’t seen it, but it’s still excellent)
  • Angry Boys ( not quite as good as Summer Heights High, but still great fun)

Let me know what you watch in the comments below, and I’ll try and check it out.

New Spider-Man Trailer? What does this fanatic think?

It’s a great time to be a Brendan! New Blink 182, new Batman Trailer, and now a new Spider-Man trailer (and also a leaked Avengers trailer but I am holding off on watching until after I watch Captain America).

San Diego Comic-con is just getting started, but we already have the new Spidey trailer. I caught it on Sunrise this morning at work, but thanks to the annoying Fifi Box (FYI Fifi, it’s me and most of Australia’s first time seeing the trailer, feel free to not talk all over the top of it), I just had to watch it again when I got home.

So what do you think? Personally I think it looks pretty freaking bitchin. We don’t see a lot of Spidey (on account of this movie is still a year away, they have to save something for later), but we do see quite a bit of origin. For anyone that hasn’t realised, this is a reboot of the Spidey series (hence another origin story), with new young actors, and a cool new young director (Marc Webb, watch 500 Days of Summer if you haven’t, cool film, also he has last name Webb, haha). As much as I liked the original movies (Yes, number 3 included, I even like dancing Peter) I’m keen to see what some new blood can bring to the table.

It also appears Peter’s parents are a much bigger part of the story, and it will be interesting to see what they bring to the table. I expect his Dad to especially play a big role (without necessarily appearing very much).

As for Spidey, as I said we don’t see much. We glimpse his new costume, but here’s a better look.

I’m liking it, it’s different enough you know you are watching a new Spider-Man, but it’s still pretty much the classic look (some fans hate the blue fingers, it seems a bit nitpicky to me). The big difference you can see is he has web shooters on his gloves (you also get a pretty good look in the trailer). If you only know Spidey from the movies, it may surprise you, but Peter can not make his own webs in the comics (apart from that short time where he could). So in this regard it’s following the comics pretty closely.

The other big difference is no Mary Jane. Instead we have Gwen Stacey, Peters first love. Again this is basically the same as the comics. She is played by Emma Stone (if you like teen movies, check her out in Easy A, it’s great), and looks just like she did in the comic. Peter looks a little cooler (played by Andrew Garfield, who was tops in The Social Network), but the big hair is actually in line with the Ultimate version of Peter Parker, who often has other characters comment on his unmanageable hair. (The Ultimate universe is a reboot of Marvel comics characters, with a younger cooler vibe. In much the same way, this movie is doing the same).

Overall very excited, and keen to see what next exciting geeky thing San Diego Comic-Con can get me worked up about.

Also, in case you somehow have missed it (seriously, it has been reposted a gazillion times on Facebook, I won’t be surprised when Grandma posts it), here’s the new Batman trailer too.

It’s gonna be a long wait till next year, and the new Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Wolverine, Avengers movies, but there is still some cool things coming up to keep us going. Keep an eye out for Captain America next week, Green Lantern next month (2 months after every one else), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes after that (ridiculous name, but looks very cool.) and the mighty Tintin around  Christmas (OMG OMG OMG, so very, very cool).Oh and the Muppets, sometime (I hear we may be waiting for that one too).

Let me know what you think, and comment below (you can even use your Facebook account)

Who Is The Batman…

…of this generation?

Bet you can't guess these kids favourite Batman. It starts with Adam and ends with Weeesssstttt...

There is no denying Bat-popularity is at an all time high. He is a character that has taken over all forms of media, and it could be said he’s the only thing keeping DC’s superhero movies afloat (hopefully Green Lantern might turn this around). There are all sorts of arguments about which Batman is best, and I could write for days on this. Today however, we will decide which of the four current Batmen reign supreme.


The Movies

Movie Batman has come a long way since Mr Mom

The popular vote would definitely be this Dark Knight. His movie made more money than Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow, ET and Kevin McCallister. He is the hyper real Batman, the Batman that could just about be hanging out in our local slums, keeping the streets safe. His realistic weapons and gadgets, badass car/motorbike, body armour and husky Bat-Growl has found a place in our dark hearts.

But there is a reason I chose a picture featuring Joker. It could also be said this is a Batman who is just not as cool as the villains he’s trying to take down.

The Games

In a bold stylistic choice, the new game only features 3 colours.

There are actually 2 Batmen featuring prominently in the video games. While DC Universe Online does feature Batman a lot, it is a game about a whole world of superheroes, I will be going with the Arkham Asylum version as it is purely a Batman game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum was maybe the biggest superhero game ever. It proved you could make an excellent Batman game after a huge amount of sub-par games, and its upcoming sequel is one of the most anticipated games this year. This Batman straddles the line between realism and fantasy. His gadgets are pretty believable, but he still takes on guys like Killer Croc.

However this Batman does borrow heavily from his movie and comic book counterparts. Does he bring enough originality to the table to be number one?

The Comics

That's a lotta Batmen.

The comic is where Batman came from, and at any given time there are several interpretations of Batman lurking around. However the major player at the moment is Grant Morrisons legendary (or infamous?) run of Batman. It is a divisive version of Batman for fans, that has re-envisioned forgotten stories and characters, killed and revived Bruce Wayne (kind of), given Batman a son,  put Dick Grayson (the first Robin) in the Bat-Cowl, and set up a team of Batmen from around the world.

This Batman has a lot of fans, but almost as many haters, and for casual fans is an almost unrecognisable version of Batman. Not to mention that with DC comics upcoming relaunch/reboot/whatever the hell they are doing, is he even going to be a relevant Batman anymore?


Batman doesn't eat Nacho's.

Often fans talk about how they first discovered Batman. For many it was the Tim Burton movies, for others the classic animated series. But for me it was the Adam West series. No, I’m not 60, they used to show repeats in Australia in the afternoons. I didn’t realise it was funny, but I knew it was awesome! The current show, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, is a colourful version of Batman formed from the classic comics and TV show. It has zany gadgets, groovy villains, and hell, even had a musical episode. This is currently my favourite Batman.

It could be said though that this Batman is not nearly as cool as his supporting stars (I’m looking at you Aquaman), and they might just stop him getting your vote!

So sound off in the comments section, which Batman turns your Bat-Crank?

Papa Spank

My Big Fat Canadian Dinner

As most of you guys know, I’m visiting Canada right now, and I thought I would share the dinner I had the other day, which is by far the most Canadian ever!

I went out for dinner with Sally and our friend Gin at a place in Ottawa called Dunn’s, which is famous for its smoked meat sandwich. I’d been told a few times of this Canadian delicacy, so this seemed like a good time to try it.

This is the famous smoked meat sandwich, and yes, it certainly is a lot of meat.

I have to admit, I was both shocked and impressed by the sheer amount of meat in this sandwich. It was so large I really did struggle to take a bite. As I managed that first hesitant bite though, I can’t say I enjoyed it much. I’m not sure what meat it actually is (and no one else seems to know), but it had a similar taste to a massive chunk of silverside, while also having kind of a hammy taste. I managed to eat half, and didn’t really like it. I doubt I’ll have one again, unless I happen to be in Montreal, the birthplace of this Frankenstein’s sandwich.

Poutine: Chips, gravy, and Cheese Kurd

However, luckily I had ordered Poutine on the side. Another French-Canadian dish, it’s basically the same as chips and gravy in Australia, but with an extra helping of cheese curd on top. I have tried Poutine (or dirty Pooter as it’s sometimes known) on several occasions, and haven’t been disappointed yet. It’s a delicious treat, and I hope to soon go to the restaurant Smokes, where they have 75 different kinds of Poutine.

The Canadian favourite, the Beavertail

I finished my Canadian feast with a Beavertail (and a complimentary one at that, thankyou Gin and your coupons!). It is similar to the fresh cinnamon donuts you can get in Australia, but big and flat and in the shape of a beavertail. You can get heaps of different kinds with banana, chocolate, maple butter etc. I went for the classic cinnamon/sugar variety (because that’s what my coupon entitled me to), and it was delicious. Couldn’t recommend these more.

And to top it all off, this was the first beavertail for Sally too! Now that’s bi-winning!

You will believe a man can swing…

…but will you enjoy anything else?

Lets start off with the positives. Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (aka The Spider-Man musical by Lion King director Julie Taymor) is far from terrible. The swinging and acrobatics are pretty incredible. The costumes for the most part are great too. At it’s best, it truly is an amazing spectacle worthy of the Spider-Man title.

Unfortunately, it’s a musical, and the music is one of the biggest letdowns. Written by Bono and the Edge of U2 fame, the music is a mixed bag. The heroic theme music is perfect, and really gets the heart racing. Peter Parkers big solo is great too (even though he sounds a lot like Bono), but it’s mostly downhill from here. It all sounds kind of the same, and nothing really stands out.  If you just heard it playing I doubt you would pay anymore attention to it than some generic rock you might hear on the radio.

Bono does his best Spidey impersonation, too bad his musician impersonation wasn't this good!

The story is also a mixed bag, and with the 50 or so years worth of story to draw from, I think they could do much better than this. At its core, it’s a highly simplified version of the first movie. This wouldn’t be so bad actually, except some of the changes really boggle the mind.

Early in the story, Peters Uncle Ben is killed by a burglar, the same burglar he failed to stopped only hours earlier. At this point he vows to stop crime as Spider-Man. Well, that’s what happened in every other version of Spider-Man right, but it’s not what happens here! Ben is still killed by a burglar, but it’s just some random guy we have never seen before. Parker says, “I should have been here to protect him,” and this leads to him fighting crime as Spider-Man.  That doesn’t make any sense! His Uncle died because he wasn’t there, so his answer is to leave his remaining family and fight crime every night. Surely he should just stay home and protect them. This is the beginning of a lot of changes that just don’t make sense, and negatively affect the plot.

The musical version of Carnage tends to gaze at women, rather than eating their brains.

Finally, we come to the villains. Some, like the Green Goblin, are great, (though the actor is far less convincing as Osborn). Some are good (Carnage looks great, but Venom’s nowhere to be seen). But some look like Julie Taymor sicked up in a paper bag and threw it at the stage. Kraven is essentially a man in the comics, here he is a massive puppet with a mutant lion growing out his chest (interestingly I can’t find a picture of this anywhere), and Electro seems to have been turned into a weird welder guy (no pictures of him either, I’m noticing a theme here). But these are far from the worst, hell even the character Swiss Miss, who they invented for the show, is pretty cool looking. But the Lizard is just appalling (once again no pics available). It looks like they hired Rex from Toy Story.

Then check out this guy…

And here's Swarm! Wait, who the hell is Swarm?

Oh my god he is terrible looking. He’s a swarm of bees (apparently anyway) called Swarm. They had their pick of all Spidey’s villains and they chose him? First of all, I consider myself a big Spider-Man fan, and I barely know who he is, and two, how do you make a bee man look good on stage? I’ll give you a hint, nothing like this! Why not choose characters who are popular, and would transfer well to stage, Dr Octopus perhaps? Doesn’t really matter though, apart from Goblin these guys are barely in it.

I could probably continue my rant for ever, go on about the mixed up story, obsolete characters (what is the point of Arachne?), mediocre music, and the fact Uncle Ben didn’t say his famous line. At the end of the day though, I had a great time. Seeing Spider-Man swinging into the audience, and spraying webs in real life made my day. And by the excited buzz from the audience at the end, I think a lot of people agreed. If you’re a musical snob you won’t like this (my wife certainly didn’t), but it’s not made for you anyway. If you’re a casual fan or have kids, you’ll have a great time. And, if you’re a big Spidey fan like me, ignore the story and singing and just enjoy him swinging around.