Friday, April 16, 2010

Just Cause 2, The Haunt, Beasts of Burden, and Wormwood  

Games: Although it's a little late to the party, I would definitely recommend any Heavy Rain fans (or even not-fans) give a listen to the latest GameCritics Podcast.

Totally dedicated to David Cage’s game for the entire hour, Richard Naik, Trent Fingland and Dan Weissenberger (along with host Tim Spaeth) chew some pretty good fat. You can check it out HERE.

In other games news, I just finished my playthrough of Just Cause 2 about an hour or so ago. The funny thing was, I had seen enough to write the entire review at about the eight-hour mark but I held back on publishing it to be sure that I had seen enough to form a valid opinion. The game continued on for another six hours, and you know what? Not only did my opinion not change, it actually got worse... The review will go live soon, but Just Cause 2 is definitely a case where more does not equal better.

Comics: Had a chance to start whittling down my backlog of comics today, with mixed results.

The Haunt from Image was very disappointing. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Robert Kirkman and his work on both The Walking Dead as well as Invincible. Love both of those books. LOVE THEM. However, as much as I respect Mr. Kirkman, I’ve got to say that his work here left me ice cold.

In a nutshell, the main character is a priest whose brother was some sort of super spy, and after this spy brother is killed, he possesses the priest and gives him goopy-tentacle-suit powers. There is some government agency stuff, rival assassins, and so on and so forth.

I didn't find any of the characterizations to be compelling, and the story felt very amateurish and nonsensical. In terms of the art, I have to say that I am not much of a Todd McFarlane fan, and since he's doing visuals, there's not a lot here for me to like. I'm convinced that he is completely unable to draw anything that doesn't resemble either Spawn or Spider-Man in some way, and to say that his style is unappealing is an understatement. I had hoped that Kirkman's plotting would make the book worth reading, but that's a negative. After five issues, I'm out.

Beasts of Burden from Dark Horse has been a pleasant surprise, although I guess I can't really say that I should be surprised. Written by Evan Dorkin of Milk & Cheese fame (if you haven't read M&C, GO READ SOME RIGHT NOW!!!) and beautifully illustrated by Jill Thompson, Beasts is about a group of pets who guard against supernatural occurrences and threats in a small town.

Although the dialogue doesn't always quite hit the right notes for me, the scripting is very interesting and has a superb balance of both cute/cuddly and horrific/terrible. If the creators were afraid to get dark or go violent, the book wouldn't work as well as it does. However, they have shown several times that they're not afraid to spill a little blood in service to the drama, and I love them for it. I've read the first four issues at this point, and I will definitely be reading more.

(Another animal-based book well worth reading is We3. Sad pets, laboratory cruelty and cybernetic enhancement blend together for an unforgettable tale. Damned touching, it was…)

Finally, I'm into the second series of Wormwood. Subtitled ‘The Last Battle’, the series is written by one of my all-time favorite writers, Garth Ennis, and stars the antichrist himself. However, although he's the son of Satan and the one meant to bring about the apocalypse, he's instead rebelled against dear old dad and become content with being a media executive.

The book touches on many issues that a reader might not expect, and spends a lot of time on character development. For example, in the issues I read today, the main character was struggling with the idea of becoming a father himself, quite apart from its significance to ethereal balance. The story is a little involved and I would recommend anyone interested in it to pick up the first series instead of just jumping in, but it's dark, adult, incredibly smart and is a good gateway into the work of Mr. Ennis. This is exactly the kind of comic that I love to curl up with at the end of the day. Insta-buy.

Although I've got more in my stack to get to, I'm always looking for quality recommends from other people. If you've got something that you think is worth a shout-out, leave a comment and let me know!

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1 comments: to “ Just Cause 2, The Haunt, Beasts of Burden, and Wormwood


    Hey Brad. I am currently in a "non-videogame mood" and my time has been filled with some comic books.

    I read Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza and i found it excellent. Same for Palestine by the same man. Check it out.

    Also now i am reading Brubaker/Phillips' The Sleeper comics which are quite good. These guys are also responsible for the Criminal series which is fantastic.

    A couple more that i read recently and really enjoyed were Logicomix and I Kill Giants.

    I did not know about Wormwood but i will give it a try. Loved Preacher.