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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ultimate Comics X-Men #29

Kitty Pryde vs. Jean Grey! Both ladies have there own views of how the mutant society should live. In the last issue Kitty confronted Jean and told her Utopia (Kitty's safe haven for mutants) was not joining the mutant sanctuary called Tian. This opened up a can of worms leading us to World War X. (Spoilers below!)

James' sick of feeling like he is Kitty's shadow. He doesn't agree with her ideas or her vision anymore. The two of them have an awkward talk about the situation. By the end of the conversation, Jimmy makes it clear he is going to be on his own.

Colossus is alive and has made it to Utopia. He spots Storm and Blackheath embracing each other. He doesn't look to pleased about this.

Nomi's sitting in the wildlife of the sentient seed writing, when a huge barrel with a bomb attached to it detonates. Luckily, Nomi survived the attack. The sentient seed the mutants live in didn't fare so well. Most of the area is now unlivable. The culprit of the attack happens to be Farbird (Jean Grey's follower and believer of Tian) Nomi pulled him from the sky, and the remaining life the sentient side has entangles him. Kitty and the other mutants seek answers from Farbird, but he is not budging.

Meanwhile conflict arises between Jean Grey's war council and Jean Grey. The war council doesn't believe it is necessary to have a war with Utopia. They tell her how this was not a part of the mission of peace. Jean has other plans that don't involve peace and shows them the top secret soldiers.

Storm's outside patrolling the Utopia lands when she sees the top secret soldiers. She doesn't last long when she confronts them. They slam her to the ground leaving her fighting for her life. Colossus comes to her aid and smashes the soldier against a tree. She quickly goes to warn the others of the attack while Colossus stays back to defend Utopia against the soldiers.

A meditative Kitty is contemplating why everything is happening to her beloved Utopia. All of a sudden she hears that Utopia is being invaded. In that moment she wonders where James could be. Shockingly, James is in Tian bowing down to Jean, and maybe pledging his allegiance to her too.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this month's issue a lot. So much going on, yet it all fit together wonderfully. James' betrayal of Utopia totally came at a shock to me. I know he has his own beliefs and sometimes disagreed with Kitty. Still I wasn't expecting him to be bowing to Jean! I'm predicting this is all part of a plan to take down Tian secretly.

Jean makes it seem that Tian is all awesome and perfect. It's the complete opposite! Her own followers are not even agreeing to this war that she is starting. Her downfall could potentially be by her own people.

Such a strong issue with surprising plot twists and of course the return of Colossus. Kitty doubting her own ideals of violence wasn't expected either. Normally she is positive on her stance of no violence. I think Kitty might give the violence thing more thought after the latest attack from Jean.



Rating: B+

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catwoman #22

Last month's issue of Catwoman was beyond disappointing. It was a bore and chore to read. I never really cared much for Rat Tail and was happy to see him fall through the sinkhole to his death. This month's issue Catwoman is on a mission to rescue Rat Tail. Ugh, just when I thought he was a goner. Why Catwoman? Why! (Lots of spoilers ahead!)

Catwoman mourns Rat Tail's death as she watches cement being poured in the sinkhole he fell through. She thinks that Rat Tail could possibly be alive down there. Before she begins her journey underground, Catwoman has help from Alice Tesla. Alice has a bunch of devices and equipment to aid her survival. It doesn't come without a price. Alice asks Catwoman to steal a diamond from a funeral home, and test out the GPS on her way there. When she gets there a security guard ambushes her. Catwoman has the upper-hand in the battle, forcing the guard to give her the information on the whereabouts of the diamond. Alice gives Catwoman the items necessary for the trip in exchange for the diamond. Catwoman is now under Arkham trying to find which direction Rat Tail might be located. Caught off guard, she becomes captured by the people living underground.The leader of the tribe, Dr. Phosphorus, starts to question Catwoman. She doesn't even let him finish before she starts pummeling him. Underestimated by Dr. Phosphorus, Catwoman is forced into a deal. She's to spy on the other faction called the Warhogs, and make a trade with them. The trade consisting of goat, silver, and his......daughter?! It's a done deal as long as they agree to find Rat Tail.

I loved the Catwoman series when it first began. Not so much anymore. Especially, the last couple issues with Rat Tail. Never cared or liked his character. When I thought the whole Rat Tail plot line was over, I was hopeful the series would get back to what it was when it started. Wishful thinking of me to think that though. It just keeps getting worse. Seriously, the dude fell hundreds of feet below the earth and Catwoman thinks he might be alive! Where is the logic in that??!!

One thing that irked me was the brief return of Gwen and Trip. This guy Trip comes off as a total a-hole. Gwen's telling him about how she betrayed Catwoman. All of a sudden this guy flips out, punches a punching bag, and says "That's what I want to do to your pretty head.". Gwen doesn't even seemed fazed by it! I just don't get it.

There are some things I did like. The cat that she dubbed ugly is her sort of side kick. He follows her around in the grounds of Arkham. I thought that was a fun detail added into the comic. Also the addition of a new character, Alice Tesla. She is tech savvy and insanely intelligent. Catwoman this issue would have been
 screwed without her help.

So what has happened to the Catwoman that we all know and love? It's like she has been replaced by an awful Bizarro version. I don't even know what to expect next month. Such a shame because I was loving Catwoman early on. 




Rating: D+


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Summary from Goodreads:

The premiere American fantasy adventure gets the Merry Marvel treatment! Eisner Award-winning writer/artist Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze) teams up with fan-favorite artist Skottie Young (New X-Men) to bring L. Frank Baum's beloved classic to life! When Kansas farm girl Dorothy flies away to the magical Land of Oz, she fatally flattens a Wicked Witch, liberates a living Scarecrow and is hailed by the Munchkin people as a great sorceress... but all she really wants to know is: how does she get home? Collects The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1-8.

My thoughts: 

A couple months ago I finished Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. I had no clue that this was an ongoing series and I had read it out of order. Eager to catch up on the adventures I missed, I wanted to start from the very beginning.

The retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz felt authentic to me. I remember reading the book as a child and even seeing the movie. Shanower and Young have done a fantastic job of staying true to the story. Young's details to expression are not to be missed. All the characters within the story were animated. Especially when Oz told Dorothy and friends about having to kill the witch, they were so downcast. The emotions were shown so clearly in the artwork.

The first couple issues dragged on. It wasn't until the fourth issue of the series that everything picked up pace. I didn't like the repetition that was constant throughout the story. Continuously reminding us of why Dorothy and her friends are off to see Oz.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a brilliant lighthearted read for all ages. At times the story can be predictable, but the colorful art makes it a delight to continue. I'm already craving more adventures of Dorothy and her friends. The journey continues with the Marvelous Land of Oz.





Saturday, July 20, 2013

Archie: Betty or Veronica

The Archie: Betty or Veronica app is finally here! I have been a huge fan of Archie comics and was so excited to find out I could make my own Riverdale. The Archie crew and many of the buildings from Riverdale are featured in the game too. 


The mayor of Riverdale has left the town with no money. Riverdale has become one huge mess! It is up to Archie and his friends to clean up the town. I liked how the story was told in comic book form. It was as if I was reading an animated issue of Archie.


To help the town become the Riverdale we all know and love, you can do quests. Sometimes the time it takes for a quest to be finished varies 10 minutes to several hours.  Rewards are cash, kisses, and experience points. As you level up you can unlock items to make Riverdale look better.


Eventually you will have to choose between Betty or Veronica. Not a hard choice for me. I went with Betty. If you regret your choice, you can always get the other you didn't choose and her land later.


The character information tab lets you know which characters you have or haven't connected with. Doing quests with characters will increase the relationship level.



I really liked the Archie app and enjoy seeing my town progress. I have been checking it continuously over the past couple days. A lot of work needs to be done around Riverdale still. Tons of garbage I need to  remove and decorations to be added. I'm almost level 6 which unlocks Reggie. Higher levels unlock other Riverdale citizens (Elthel, Dilton, Mr. Lodge, Mr. Weatherbee).

Some things I didn't like are having to buy some characters and decorations with kisses (real money). I would have to save kisses from quests and the daily jackpot spins to get certain cash shop items.  Other than that the Archie app is perfect for fans of Archie!

Download here!

Rating: B+

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Candy Bubble Blitz

Candy Bubble Blitz is the latest game to capitalize on the candy craze.


 Match candies together to form combo's and eliminate them. You get more coins if you form chain combo's. Once candies are approaching the bottom a sparkly line will pop up letting you know you are being overwhelmed with candies.


Sometimes these clear bubbles come up. You can use them to bomb candies that are approaching the bottom. Candies don't have to be the same color when you use the clear bubble.


Eventually I had too many candies that passed the sparkly yellow line, and the game finished. In the game you have five hearts. When the game is over you lose a heart, so you only get to play 5 times. You can purchase more hearts or wait for the heart meter to regenerate. It takes around 12 minutes to gain a heart back.



I loved how colorful this game is! That is what drew me in about this puzzle game. Everything looks so vibrant and cheerful. Another unique touch was how the background of the game changed when you had a clear bubble to use. After awhile I automatically knew that if the background changed, I could use a bubble bomb. I thought that was really helpful because I had too many candies at one point. With the coins you earn from playing you can use them to purchase powerups. Having problems aiming candies? No problem you can fix that with the accuracy powerup. The rainbow candies powerup are useful because they match any candy.

Candy Bubble Blitz is a cutesy puzzle game that is highly addicting. If you are into fast paced puzzle games, check this out!

Click here to download!! (For the iPhone and iPad)

Rating: A

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Summary from Goodreads:

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. 


My thoughts: 
  
The book Spellcaster has a different take on witchcraft, spells, and sorcery. Instead of brewing up potions or reading spells, the author created a unique way of how spells are cast. The main character Nadia Caldani wears a bracelet with magical elements. Whenever she is about to cast a spell she lifts up her bracelet and recites 3-4 lines. 

A winter sunrise.
The pain of abandonment.
The knowledge of love.

Nadia reaches into her memories and thinks of events in her life that relate to the spell. Most often spells made her think of her parents or brother. I liked how detailed Nadia's thoughts were when she was casting her spells. The memories gave me insight on how Nadia's life was prior to Captive's Sound.

Mateo has visions of the future. It has been passed on in his family through generations. The bad thing about these visions are that it makes the person go insane eventually. His mother committed suicide because of them. At first Mateo is afraid to get close to Nadia since his visions foretold him she was going to die. He tries to find ways to avoid her but just can't. Both Nadia and Mateo find it difficult not being together. 

I like how the build up of Mateo's and Nadia's relationship wasn't sudden. It took some time to develop. I despise when relationships in books are rushed. This was not the case in Spellcaster. They define their relationship almost toward the end of the book.

In Spellcaster the perspective is told from the three main characters (Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine) and the villain. I liked knowing the what schemes the villain in the story was up too. At times I wanted to let Nadia know that the villain set her up or to watch out. Verlaine is such a likeable character. She has natural gray hair and loves to rock vintage clothes. Everyone in the small town tend to ignore her or treat her horrible. Nadia and Verlaine don't immediately become friends. Somehow Nadia is hesitant to become Verlaine's friend. Even though Nadia finds nothing wrong with Verlaine, she always seems to not fully care about her. Later on in the book Verlaine finds out a spell was cast on her when she was baby. This spell makes people not remember her or like her. I'm hoping in the next book it is explained who cast that spell on her and why. 
  
Claudia Gray does a phenomenal job of describing the town and characters. I could imagine how eerie the town looked. Sinkholes happening everywhere and dark magic emanating from the town are just some of the creepy things Captive's Sound has to offer. The characters in the story were down to earth. I could even see myself being friends with them! 

Spellcaster is a fast read that will leave you wanting more and wondering what will happen next. If you are into supernatural and magic genres, you will love this book!

Rating: A

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Starflare

Starflare is a new game for the iPad and iPhone that is very reminiscent of Galaga. It's retro and highly addicting! 


The fighters want to destroy your ship (Star Flare) and your objective is to fend them off. Throughout the game powerups are available to use to make your gun more effective.


A little into the game a message flashes letting you know about a warning. I'm wondering what else my Starflare craft is going to be hit with next!


Oh great, it's a huge aircraft that I know I have no chance of defeating with my Starflare. 


Of course I failed miserably not even getting half of the aircraft's life down.

I downloaded the free version of this app. I'm not sure how much of the game is available in the trial. What I do know is other stages and bosses are in the full version. I would definitely recommend this game if you are into fast paced shooting games or if you want that feeling of nostalgia.

You can download the trial for Starflare here. For the full version click here.

Rating: A

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Secret Invasion

Skrulls have infiltrated the earth! Even earth's mightiest heroes are not safe. Their closest allies could be Skrull agents working against them or even sleeper agents. Secret Invasion is a huge event that brings the whole Marvel universe together to defeat the Skrulls. (Some spoilers!)

This story arc was just awesome! I enjoyed the whole mystery revolving around who might be a Skrull or not. Sometimes it was shocking to me that a particular hero was a Skrull, because I wasn't expecting it. They played the part so well. Many of the sleeper agent Skrulls thought they were the actual hero til their last dying breath. Their last words claiming to be the hero they infiltrated. I particularly felt bad for for one skrull, named Z'Reg. He was charmed by the earth and all of the things it had to offer. The heroes that he was bred to hate were now his inspiration. No longer did he want to be a civilian human agent, he wanted to be a super hero. He called himself Crusader and fought alongside his idols. Ultimately he was found out to be a Skrull and shot in the head. The Freedom ring he possessed made him vanish, so it is unknown if he died or not. All Z'Reg wanted was to be a hero. He wasn't like the other Skrulls and fought his own people to save the earth.

Secret Invasion is somewhat lengthy if you include the tie in issues. Around 90 to 100 issues to read! I suggest clicking here if you want a detailed reading guide and summary. It is that extensive!

I absolutely hated how the ending of Secret Invasion concluded. I didn't expect a villain to take all the credit for taking down the Skrulls. He made sure that everyone on national TV saw how he was taking care of the situation. He orchestrated it that way as part of his plan. S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers are now in the hands of this villain. The Skrull invasion has ended, but a new Dark Reign begins!




Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thunderbolts #12

I'm so excited to tell you about the new Thunderbolts issue. Thunderbolts has a new creative team and it is a major improvement over many of the previous issues. The beginning issues didn't excite me much. This time around they got it right! (Spoilers below!)

Frank doesn't believe Elektra killed her own brother. He has set out to do the job himself. A cat-and-mouse game begins between Frank and Orestez. Finally, Frank has Orestez cornered in a chamber, but Orestez is refusing to come out. Frank starts taunting Orestez on how he would murder his sister and how no one is left to save him. Eventually, Orestez decides to come out on his own terms of a hand to hand fight. Unbeknown to Frank, Orestez has a gun on him. As soon as Orestez comes out of the chamber, Frank throws a grenade. Orestez dodges and tells Frank they still have an agreement to abide by. Both begin to fight in hand-to-hand combat. Frank has Orestez begging for his life. Of course Frank is not one to leave things unfinished. He quickly kills Orestez and returns back to the Thunderbolts HQ. Elektra asks him if they will meet up later that night. Frank rejects her proposal and walks away from her.

Frank and Elektra's relationship is completely over. I wonder how this will affect the group dynamic in the next issue. I'm thinking this will cause some tension. Maybe Deadpool figures he might have a chance with Elektra once he finds out. This was an exceptional issue! Loved every moment even though it was mainly a Frank centered storyline. It was a great conclusion of the pieces that needed to be resolved from the story arc. Definitely, enthusiastic in the direction the series is headed in.

 Rating: A+





Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bad Girls

The female villains of the Grimm Universe have banded together to conquer the four realms of power. It's not going to be easy for the Bad Girls though, because Sela and her friends are willing to protect the realms with their lives. It's the battle of good vs. evil! Who will win? (Spoilers below!)

I always love comic series that are from the perspective of the villains. That's what I thought this series was going to be about. I was a bit disappointed to find the first couple issues barely had the Bad Girls in it. Even though, Sela and the forces of good dominated the series, I still think it's a great read.  I loved the cameos made by Samantha, Britney, and Hook. The Bad Girls were definitely formidable opponents and had the upper hand in battle most of the time.

The story takes place during Sela's stay at prison. If you are wondering how Sela ended up in prison, the Grimm Fairy Tales Lockdown story arc goes into more detail. Luckily, you don't need to read the Lockdown story arc to completely understand what is happening. The writer of Bad Girls did a great job of summarizing what went down.

Baba Yaga, Goblin Queen, Limbo Queen, Queen of Spades and Venus (The Bad Girls) unleash flesh reavers to wreck havoc on the earth. The reavers make their way to Sela's prison. Sela escapes and is trying to protect the innocents. Along the way Sela teams up with Hook and Samantha. After eliminating the reavers in the immediate area, they make a portal to the Inner Sanctum of the Nexus. Once there they find out the reavers are being controlled by someone, and they have a predator called the Mandersoon. The Bad Girls figure out what Sela is up too. Sela and company arrive to see the reavers going in the direction of the Mandersoon. The battle to get to the Mandersoon begins. Things are not going well for Sela and company. Samantha disappears during battle making it difficult to fight the reavers in the open. Sela, Britney, and Hook head to the temple to get the Mandersoon egg before anyone else does. With Sela's great powers of the all four realms, she is able to hatch the egg. Instead of the fearsome creature everyone was expecting, a cute creature emerges. Britney has to train the Mandersoon to become the great fighter he is supposed to be. Meanwhile Baba Yaga has her own plans to take down the Dark One. Sela arrives on the scene to have the Dark One begging her to help him against Baba Yaga. Sela has no other choice, but to ally herself with him. Britney, with a fully grown Mandersoon, rescue Samantha from the Queen of Spades and Goblin Queen. Now Samantha and Britney, in tow with the Mandersoon, join Sela in taking down the Bad Girls. The collar used to control the reavers falls on the ground. The Bad Girls try to get the collar back, but it's too late Sela destroys it. The reavers die off and the good guys win once again!

The parts I enjoyed the most were of the Bad Girls. They just couldn't get it together. Constant backstabbing and lies made their team fall apart. The Limbo Queen wants revenge against Venus. Her attack fails and Venus left her for dead on the floor. Venus also finds out the goblin queen has been deceiving her and literally stabs her in the back. Venus lets the other girls know she is not one to be messed with. I loved the drama the Bad Girls brought to the series.

Yes, I wished the Bad Girls had more appearances throughout the series. Nevertheless, the series was a fun quick read that gave readers a bit of an idea of who the Bad Girls really are.




Monday, July 1, 2013

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Summary from Goodreads:

A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

My thoughts: 

The idea of going into the past and seeing the paths of others instantly had me gravitating towards this book. First few chapters keep me interested. After a bit of reading I noticed how wordy the book was, especially on the explanation of time travel and pathfinding. A lot of the dialogue was unnecessary and distracted me from the book. The repetition of how time traveling worked was extremely annoying. I get it! Time travel is hard, but did I have to read about it over and over again.

One thing I did enjoy was the adventures Rigg and Umbo had. Throughout their journey they find themselves getting into trouble. Rigg outsmarts a banker by pretending to be rich and speaking eloquently. I liked this scene, but I found it hard to believe a 13 year old could deceive an adult. Rigg meets several people that help him in his journey. Loaf, Param, and Olivenko are a huge help when it came to escaping the opposition. Also they were loyal to Rigg when he wanted to leave the wallfold. The wallfold encloses the area they live in. If anyone attempts to leave they become mad and eventually die. His new friends were willing to sacrifice their lives to go across the wall with Rigg.

My favorite character in the book has to be Umbo. Growing up he was mistreated by his father. When his father found out Kyokay died (Umbo's brother), he kicked Umbo out of his home. It's hard to not feel sorry for him. Later on in the book, he becomes a bit more confident about himself and even finds a father figure with Loaf.

If the book had been less wordy and repetitive, it would have been the perfect read for me. I don't think I will be reading the sequel, especially if it follows this same pattern.

Rating: C-