How do you follow up an almost flawless first issue of Doomsday Clock, that not only established a new status quo for the world of Watchmen but also seamlessly integrated a mystery involving Superman? Don’t forget with art and writing that feels like Moore and Gibbons never left.
Well, if you’re Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, having Rorschach eat Batman’s breakfast isn’t a bad place to start. But we’ll get to that.
Issue #2 of Doomsday Clock picks up right where we left Ozymandias, Rorschach, Marionette and Mime. Sticking with the classic 9 panel grid for most of this opening, we start in Nite Owl’s abandoned basement and are shown two interweaving stories. Mime and Marionette are carrying out a heist gone wrong some time in the past, and Rorschach and Veidt in the present debating the merits of trusting two hardened criminals to save the world.
The arrival of Dr. Manhattan during the heist is a fun unexpected moment that reveals why Marionette is such an integral part of Ozymandias’ plan. Whether or not he’s fully aware of why Manhattan spared Marionette’s life remains to be seen. It certainly appeared that Manhattan was hesitant to kill a pregnant woman. This contrast nicely echoes the Vietnam sequence of the original Watchmen where The Comedian demonstrates he has no such qualms.
Then it’s off to the DC universe without a moment to spare as the Watchmen’s world is nuked into oblivion. This whole segment felt rushed and convenient compared to the rest of the issue. Perhaps I was hoping for a more intricate system for travelling between dimensions than a throwaway of, “Oh, its ok, I’ve installed a new button in the Owl ship”.
However, this is only a minor gripe as I can understand that Johns is more interested in showing how these characters interact with the DC universe than how they get there. What’s more interesting is where the Watchmen initially land, in an almost exact reproduction of the funfair from The Killing Joke. It’s a nice nod to Alan Moore’s other DC work and potentially an indication of the way Johns intends to characterize Batman and the Joker for the rest of the story.
Here is where our team splits, as Ozymandias and Rorschach attempt to recruit Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor to their cause, whilst Mime and Marionette are restrained aboard the Owlship. At this point, Gary Frank’s art goes from good to great, as we are treated to some brilliant visual storytelling, mixing Watchmen inspired visual cues with Geoff Johns’ humour and wit. The Owlship bursting through the Bat Symbol and Rorschach’s exploration of Wayne Manor are particular highlights. Rorschach being distracted by a free breakfast leading to him notice a tell tale breeze under the grandfather clock is an amusing and appropriate way for that character to unearth Bruce Wayne’s big secret.
Ozymandias on the other hand has less luck convincing Luthor, who has reverted back to his evil business tycoon demeanor that readers have not seen since before Forever Evil. Luthor questioning Ozymandias’ intelligence after having the plot of Watchmen explained to him feels like Johns winking to the reader about the more ridiculous aspects of that series finale.
We are then left with not one, but three, cliffhangers as a seemingly resurrected Comedian attacks Luthor, Mime and Marionette escape into Gotham City, and Rorschach is confronted by a hungry Batman. Hopefully the Comedian’s appearance is not all it seems, as I feel that bringing back this character undermines the importance of his murder in the original Watchmen. Perhaps it’s tied to Ozymandias brain tumor. We can only wait and see.
Overall, this issue continues the high quality established by the first, with John’s doing an admirable job of echoing the writing style of Alan Moore and Gary Frank bringing beautiful and inventive imagery to every page. My only negatives being the protagonists convenient journey to Gotham and the reappearance of the Comedian, though these do not detract from the story overall. I look forward to seeing where this story goes next and how one gruff vigilante will come to terms with another gruff vigilante eating his pancakes.
The Nintendo Switch has had a successful launch and is definitely the real deal but Nintendo’s newest console is not without it’s issues. Skepticism is healthy and it comes very easy to people who have yet to actually try the system out for themselves, but for those of us who have had a little more hands on experience it can be hard to see past the hype. It is important to point out that this new hardware is amazing in the many things it sets out to do while at the same time being grounded in the reality that nothing is perfect at launch. Here are some of the more prominent issues to look out for before you decide if you want to sink north of $300 into the newest gaming trend.
Battery Life is Laughable
For what is being touted as a hybrid system, your total time on the go will add up to 2.5 – 3.5 hours. That barely gets you anywhere when playing The Legend Zelda: Breath of the Wild, just trust that your Switch can and will die on you. Even on medium brightness! The controllers thankfully have such a long battery life that I have yet to find myself with a live system, and dead sticks. Make sure you are carrying around the charger if you leave with your Switch.
You Will Need a Screen Protector!
The Switch’s dock will scratch up the screen of your Switch if you are not careful with sliding it in. Now this is mostly user error, as if you do sloppily put in the Switch, the screen will scratch. How to combat this? Treat it like your cell phone or expensive handheld device. Buy a screen protector and be sure to place the Switch into its dock very carefully every time. Ya know, treat your expensive hardware correctly! All screens on all devices, be they plastic or glass, are not immune to damage. It may be common sense, but its in need of pointing out.
Limited On Board Memory
If you plan to download a lot of games and extras on your Nintendo Switch, it is in your best interest to grab a SD Micro Card! 32 gigs of space with over 5 uses on the Operating System leaves you with very little extra room. I’d suggest spending the extra money to get more memory!
Lack of Release Titles
I currently have 3 games on my Switch. A racing game called Fast RMX, an old game called Shovel Knight, and the main event of course being The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While Zelda may be a solid contender for one of the greatest games of all time (seriously, I’ve put over 20 hours into it and there is nothing like it), it still only is ONE game. The other two titles work well as pallet cleansers, but beyond these there just are not a lot of offerings currently.
Reported Dead Pixels
If you have a Switch that is suffering from dead pixels, take it back to the store and make them return it. These things happen in all products and while Nintendo is saying “it is not their issue,” you can certainly still return it to the store you bought it at. Make sure you do a good inspection before keeping the system for too long. Dead pixels will be pretty obvious pretty quickly.
Joy-Cons Can’t Charge Without Being Docked
Now this is just a classic Nintendo maneuver. This just screams of, “Hey this is okay, just buy our 30 dollar proprietary peripheral to place your Joy-Cons in to charge your controllers while you play!” To add more insult to injury, this purchasable peripheral looks exactly like the controller cradle that comes with the system – except it is unable to charge, which seems like a standard feature. This may be among this most frustrating things about the system and accessories.
Controller Syncing Issues
Though they are meant to be used together, the Joy-Cons themselves are standalone controllers and there have been multiple reports of the left Joy-Con un-syncing. It seems many things are interfering with the signal and there is talk of a possible a firmware update to fix this, however it is still an unacceptable issue to have at launch.
No Virtual Console
This is a subjective issue but many were anticipating virtual console, so I imagine its absence currently is a deal breaker for some. This addition could have padded out the Nintendo Switch’s, launch but they were unable to deliver. This service is coming, but for now it is not present and no idea when it will become available.
No Party Chat
Party Chat currently does not exist – and when it does, you will need a phone app to use it. Um what? I will reserve any more judgment until this feature comes out and I get hands on time with it. Because that’s what you do, use something before forming an opinion on it.
Friend Codes Are Back
The friend codes are still used to find friends online. This is old, archaic, and there has to be better ways to do this by now. But I quickly got over it as I filled out my friends lists with help from previous Nintendo apps to help find people I have interacted with, or putting in your 75 (not a real number) digit arbitrary code to find somebody specific.
The Nintendo Switch kickstand is flimsy and it feels like the console is always on the verge of tipping over. I suggest some sort of case that props it up if you plan to play it on the go and upright.
Game Saves Locked to System
Unlike other consoles, the save data for your games is currently locked to the system. Now this seems like it will be something that is addressed in a firmware update but for the moment I hope you are not planning on continuing your gaming adventures on a friend’s console. It is a traveling system, though, so there should be little to no need for save data transfers outside of upgrading to a new system or extracting data off of a broken one. Here’s to hoping this is fixed soon!
No Ethernet Port
What is this the 90s? Sure I get everything is wireless now but for online gaming, internet speed is paramount and Wi-fi does not always cut it! How much cost was cut from excluding this? its a big omission but thankfully I have had zero issues with the wi-fi, connecting online, or being unable to update my games or get into a quick race in Fast RMX.
Some of these issues with the Nintendo Switch will be deal breakers to some while not even being a blip on the radar for others. For now if I had to impart advice to anybody who is on the fence, I would say that all early adopters for any piece of hardware are basically glorified beta testers. There will be kinks, there will be issues, and oversights in the first batch of these systems, but that is not exclusive to this product.
My take on it? Wait for a few months. Watch the catalog of games grow, watch some of the issues be addressed, and when it feels right for you, pull the trigger, because there is nothing in the world like never having to stop playing. There is something so novel about grabbing the system and continuing your session at work, on the bus, or on vacation, while never feeling like the limitations of playing cell phone game or handheld device. This is true hardcore, triple A gaming on the go which was the mantra of the Nintendo Switch. In that regard, they nailed what they set out to do.
I hate to dwell on the negatives, but being objective about the shortcomings of a new product is important! Stay tuned to a future feature about all the things I loved about the system, and strap yourself in because there is A LOT to love!
Prisma & The Masquerade Menace
Prisma & The Masquerade Menace is in the early stages of development, so early in fact that it’s not even on Kickstarter yet. That didn’t stop the developer from having a fully playable level from the demo at PAX South.
It’s got some rough edges, but it’s already rather polished. At its core, it’s a platformer game in which you take control of Ray, a girl who can switch between different colored dimensions to make objects appear or disappear. Each of these dimensions also gives her abilities like high jumping, fast running, and block destroying. Once you get used to switching between dimensions, it becomes much more like a Sonic game in which you feel compelled to go as fast as possible, switching dimensions quickly and trying to think on your feet.
Prisma is still in its early stages, but give their Kickstarter a look when it goes live later this month!
Sundered is a game that leaps out at you from a sea of titles at a gaming convention. It’s art style has a way of pulling you in, making you want more.
Sundered is a Metroidvania style platformer/exploration game in which you take control of Eshe, a wanderer exploring seemingly endless, always changing caverns filled with eldritch horrors. The controls solid and responsive and the game’s difficulty is a little more than Super Metroid (we died 3 times in the demo), making it feel like a substantial single player experience. Details like the hand drawn art and pencil marks when the camera is really zoomed in all combine to make this a visual feast that also delivers on a tight experience.
Sundered is coming out to PS4 and PC in July but you can Kickstart it right now here!
In RiME, you play a boy exploring a strange island trying to work your way to a pillar in its center. Along the way, you’ll solve puzzles, meet a super cute fox, and try to figure out the mysteries of your surroundings and what could have happened to make it the way it is now.
RiME feels a lot like Zelda mixed with Journey in the best possible way. The art style is stark and gorgeous, varying dramatically for different areas in the game. The world is all laid out in a way that’s easy to understand visually, which is a good thing since the game features no dialog or text, so you’re relying on just trying things out and being observant to solve puzzles.
RiME is due out summer 2017 on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Want more PAX South 2017 coverage? All you had to do was ask!
Monster Boy, Warlock’s Tower, and Has Been Heroes
Minit, Beat Cop, and Strikers Edge
Arms, Splatoon 2, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
First let me tell you that I adore Pixar movies. I can’t think of a single one that I haven’t liked. Inside Out is no exception.
Inside Out is the latest Disney/Pixar movie to hit the big screen. Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen, the movie follows Riley, a young girl guided by her emotions, seen here as characters voiced by Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling.
We first meet Riley as a newborn. It is also when the audience is introduced to her first emotion: Joy (Amy Poehler). Her first laugh brings Joy into her heart and Joy helps Riley see the positive in most situations. As she grows, other feelings start showing up, including Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). They work together to get Riley through her day-to-day life.
After Riley experiences a big change, moving from her Midwest home to San Francisco, her emotions begin to argue about the best way to navigate the situation.
Now, there will be some spoilers, so be advised.
After the big move Sadness starts getting uncontrollable urges to touch Riley’s memories (represented visually as little glowing orbs). Joy comes up with creative ways to keep Sadness out of the way, believing that Riley should never be sad. Despite their efforts, Sadness continues to try and touch Riley’s core memories, the memories that make up who she is, which leads to an accident where Joy and Sadness are sucked from headquarters and deposited in long-term memory. This epic journey through Riley’s mind bonds the two and teaches Joy the importance of emotional balance.
Balance is what sets this movie apart from all the other summer blockbusters. Stunning visuals and fun action sequences don’t smother out an original script. The story is unique and interesting with rich, clever dialog and well-developed characters.
This is a story of growing up. It is something we can all relate to in some way. I hope it will help children understand their feelings and better understand that we all have different things guiding us.
I will say it again, I adored this movie! Overall I think Pixar hit it out of the park again with this one. It has the creativity and emotional complexity Pixar has demonstrated through previous films like Up and Monster’s Inc. I suggest you take a few hours to listen to the little voices inside your head and watch this movie.
I really wish I still had a PS3 just to play The Last of Us. This trailer is a couple of weeks old now, which makes it a fossil in internet time, but it still deserves a look from those of you who haven’t seen it. I really like the concepts that Naughty Dog is putting into this series. Having beaten the entire Jak and Daxter series and the first two Uncharted games it’s easy to trust them with smart, fun, and engaging games.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Sooooo, who wants to loan me a PS3 haha.