Tag Archives: DCU

Comics Round Up: World’s Finest

Introduction

At this point, I don’t think that I even have to mention that I’ve been back into comics since the Secret Empire event sucked me back in.A� However, even I am surprised that I’m still reading them now that the event is over.A� I didn’t last much past Civil War during my previous comics phase.A� We will obviously see if this current run continues, but I haven’t missed a week in nearly three months and getting a steady paycheck through December means that I probably won’t for the foreseeable future.

Justice League

The Good:A� I wasn’t terribly impressed with the first issue of this story arc.A� It wasn’t terrible.A� I just thought that they could do so much more with the premise.A� ranted, it was an introductory issue.A� I kept that in mind and I held out hope that it might get better.A� This is usually where I say, “I’m glad I did” or “I shouldn’t have bothered”.A� While I’m not sorry that I continued reading, I won’t quite say that I’m glad I did, either.A� Wow, what a weird good section, right?A� Don’t get me wrong.A� The story is decent.A� It’s just a bit too generic “coming back to the present to save the future” for me.

The Bad:A� Well, if that’s “the good”, then there must be plenty of bad.A� No, not necessarily.A� Overall, the story isn’t good more bad.A� It just sort of is.A� With both Marvel and DC playing with the idea of a multiverse, alternate history, and reinvention, this is one story that really didn’t need to be told right now.A� At least, it should have spent a little more time in development.

The Ugly:A� Loo, I get that I’m a frustrated writer.A� I also understand that critics are often failures in whatever they criticize.A� That is why I’m very careful and overly positive in my reviews.A� I’m not going to tear into this book.A� But, as you’ve seen, I haven’t been able to give it the full stamp of approval, either.A� For someone like me, that feels ugly and like it betrays my positive outlook on creative projects.

Justice League America

The Good:A� Similar title, similar heroes, vastly different results.A� This has been a much better book overall than the other Justice League title right now.A� That is in spite of not focusing too much on the main heroes.A� Maybe it is because they haven’t centered the story around them.A� I mean, the book has Lobo in it.A� The story revolves mainly around a character with size manipulation powers that travels to the “microverse” to find his mentor.A� It controls the narrative by itself and lets the JLA do theri things in the background.A� It plays much better than the Justice League title right now.

The Bad:A� This one, too, started off a bit slow.A� Like the other Justice League book, I almost didn’t give it more than one issue.A� Seeing as how this is a recurring theme, I suppose that I just have to realize that DC arcs–other than their big ones–use the first issue to set the stage.A� I will accept it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The Ugly:A� Speaking of Lobo, I’m glad that he has only a small supporting role.A� Similar to Deadpool, I can only tolerate Lobo in small doses.A� Anything more and the schtick just gets tired.A� Kudos to DC for recognizing my aversion to the character and writing specifically for me.A� Otherwise, it could have gotten ugly.

Wonder Woman/Conan

The Good:A� As far as I know, this is an original story, which is hard to find in a medium that has been around for 70? 80? years.A� Furthermore, it is an entertaining blending of the two mythologies.A� Of course, I’m not a comic book scholar, so this might have been done before.A� Alsok if I’m being honest, the story is simply an alternate telling of the Wonder Woman origin in the context of the Conan world.A� Still, the first issue was good.

The Bad:A� As I jus wrote, they may have done this crossover before.A� Now that I think about it, I’m sure they must have done this a least one other time during the “wild and crazy” 90s.A� I’m too lazy to Google right now.A� If so, then there’s no shock here.A� If not, or if there are new fans due to the movie, then the retelling of the Wonder Woman origin might turn some away.

The Ugly:A� Look, I know the rather sordid background of Wonder Woman.A� More specifically, a few months ago, I read an article about some of the stuff that her creator wrote into the book because of his “preferences”.A� The end of this book, while not fully embracing the roost of the character, came uncomfortable close to those dated and ugly themes.

Wonder Woman

The Good:A� While the stand alone title has not been as good as it was in the beginning when Greg Rucka was writing it, the lastest storyline has grown on me over the last few issues.A� As mentioned earlier, an all too familar refrain with DC arcs is that the first issue is very weak.A� Since that introduction, the story has improved enough to keep me buying a book that I thought might end up only being “I bought this for Greg Rucka.”

The Bad:A� I hate to harp on a point over and over, but DC really has to work on their intro issues for new stories.A� As a frustrated writer, I understand that stories have a certain structure; introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.A� I also understand that ever since Brian Michael Bendis changed the format, comics are all about setting things up for the eventual trades.A� As a result, that first issues ends up being a throw away for the minor stories.

The Ugly;A� I guess that, ultimately, my quarrel is with the structure of comics in the current era.A� Since every story has to be a 5 or 6 story arc and there isn’t much room for the random one off issue.A� Although, I will say that Batman did a successful one of team up with Swamp Thing that I thought was going to span multiple issues.A� That’s how ingrained the thinking is.A� I just wish that there were more of those and less focus on dragging their feet to fill the issue quota.A� Oh well, something ugly that I’ll just have to live with for now.

Next:A� That’s all we have time for in this review.A� I’ll be back in a few days with my thoughts on how Aquaman is succeeding (or not) in taking back his throne, how Batman is dealing with a war between two of his worst enemies, and how another Batman is coming face to face with nightmares from other universes!

Comics Wrap Up: DC

(Editor’s Note: A�I know that I have the good, bad, and ugly format for review articles. A�However, these comics articles are often going to cover several titles and that format might cause the articles to become so long as to be cumbersome to read. A�I’ll work the good, the bad, and the ugly into the articles somehow, but they won’t be the focal point.)

The title of this article is a bit misleading. A�Unlike Marvel, which has hooked me into buying multiple new books with their Secret Empire event, I’ve only read Batman and Wonder Woman from the DC Rebirth universe. A�That may change with the “Metal” event or as I become more adventurous and branch out into other titles. A�For now, though, enjoy my first edition of comic Wrap Up for Wonder Woman and Batman. A�Only two titles lets me test out some things and figure out what works and doesn’t.

Wonder Woman

Part of the reason that I haven’t gotten into more DC books is that I have been having trouble figuring out starting points for the books that are unfamiliar. A�Due to having grown up an unabashed Marvel zombie, most of the DC books are unfamiliar. A�I’ve always liked Batman, used that to get into Batman/Superman title of the early or mid 2000s, branched out from that into Superman for a very brief time, and not much else.

From the looks of things, Aquaman 25 appears to be a good starting point, so that might be the next DC title that I start collecting.

The new Wonder Woman movie led me to check out the comic book. A�Luckily, the 2nd volume of the trade came out during one of my visits to the store, so I picked it up. A�I found it strange that Volume 2 was titled “Year One” because I then had no idea what the story of the first book might be. A�Having never read any Wonder Woman before, though, I was thankful for the origin story.

After getting the first volume second, which actually made sense in the context of the two books, I did some research. A�I discovered that the writer was intertwining two stories concurrently during a particular story arc. A�As an example, the first 12 issues alternate between the year one origin story and another story where Diana is trying to find her way back to Themyscira. A�The odd issues tell one story and switched to the other for the even issues.

Because I bought the trades, I haven’t been able to experience how they worked together and if it enhanced the narrative at all. A�However, I’m a huge fan of alternative story telling methods. A�I recently watched Shimmer Lake and it was told in reverse. A�Hopefully, he keeps it up and I will be able to see if and how it affects the flow of the stories.

“The Lies” are leading the “The Truth”, which looks similar to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer storyline, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

As far as the stories, they are of high quality. A�Having never read Wonder Woman, I only had the movie to give me any expectations. A�But the origin story moved quickly, set the scene and established characters. A�The other did the exact opposite and is serving to undermine the entire mythology. A�While they are antithetical and you might wonder why he’d immediately work so hard to destroy his creating, the stories oddly fit together. A�I see now how weaving them together A�heightens the drama and keeps the reader on edge. A�It is actually a brilliant strategy.

The Good: A�The stories are fantastic. A�They are well paced and complement one another and bring together what is an unorthodox story telling style that could have gone very badly.

The Bad: A�At least the first 2 arcs that I’ve read will be familiar to Wonder Woman fans. A�They might have switched some things up to modernize it a bit, but it is an origin story.

The Ugly: A�Infinite Crisis, The New 52, now Rebirth? A�Jesus, how many reboots do we need? A�At least they seem committed to this one for the long haul. A�Here’s hoping.

Batman

Unlike Wonder Woman, Batman has been a part of my life since I watched the old TV series with my father. A�I saw several Robins killed. A�Witnessed the Batman broken by Bane. A�Lived through watching the Tim Burton franchise lose all credibility when it grew “bat nipples”. A�Threw out an unenthusiastic “Meh” followed by a slightly less enthusiastic “this is fine” over the announcement and current reign of “Batfleck”. A�So, there’s little that they can do with the character that would surprise me.

So, even though I joined Batman around issue 23, I don’t have an incentive to fill in the first two dozen or so issues via trades. A�I will continue forward. A�If I have some left over some week in my comic budget (not likely), I will grab the trades and see if there’s anything new in the Bat’s history since Rebirth.

Remember when I said that not much could surprise me. Well, more on that in a bit.

As far as the story that I’ve read, I was wrong about there being no surprises. A�The first issue that I read involved a team up with Swamp Thing. A�While only a one off, it was so well written that it hooked me. A�Then, Batman (spoiler alert) proposed to Catwoman. A�Yeah, it’s a gimmick. A�But, holy crap, what a gimmick! A�Plus, the book is so well written with good pacing and dialogue that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. A�Currently, they’re setting the stage for a huge arc with Joker and The Riddler. A�Chris has said a couple of times that this is his favorite book right now. A�I don’t know if I can say that unequivocally, but there aren’t many, if any books right now that I would put above it on my most anticipated every month.

The Good: A�Again, just good writing. A�Great story, characters are familiar.

The Bad: A�The pacing of the story is a bit odd. A�It’s a good story, but sometimes there’s a little bit too much talk and not enough action.

The Ugly: A�Oh man, that Catwoman thing has worked so far, but it could have been a book killer if they didn’t do it right.

Batman is great. A�Wonder Woman is great. A�For some reason, none of that has led me to explore other books. A�I grew up as a Marvel zombie, a Marvel zombie I remain, and some day I will die and rise from the grave as a true Marvel zombie. A�Secret Empire and the tie in issues have swallowed much of my comic budget. A�However, I’ve mentioned to Chris that the Trinity series looks intriguing and I might have to read some Justice League before the movie comes out in November.

Follow Up: World’s Finest Dicemasters Second Impression

(Editor’s Note: A�Apparently, this is our 200th article on the page. A�If you had told me when we started that we’d make it through these years and 200 articles, I might not have believed it. A�But, it’s proven to be a fun diversion and here’s to another 200 at least! A�Huzzah!)

I already wrote an article about the Dicemasters rainbow draft that the boys and I did for the World’s Finest set. A�I stated at the end of the article that I would not allow anything, not even the new Magic set, to distract me from my regained interest in the game. A�I was right about Magic. A�Hour of Devastation has barely even registered on my radar. A�However, I did not anticipate comic books becoming such an integral part of my life again.

It started off innocently enough. A�Similar to my last extended trips into the Marvel and DC universes, I got sucked in by a gimmick. A�Two gimmicks, in fact, this time. A�DC hooked me with a Wonder Woman movie that looked like it might actually give them more than just Batman. A�(Spoiler Alert: A�It does.) A�Marvel’s mega event, which I have recently learned will only serve to lead into their super ultra mega event, has me buying multiple books per week.

Wait, DC rebooted their reboot of a reboot? We gotta get us some of that!

One last story before I continue with my overall impression of the set. A�Chris went to catch up on recent comics and found several of them sold out. A�Since hearing that, I”ve been trying to figure out a way to get the books that I missed by taking a week off. A�Going forward, I’ll be okay because I just need to set up a pull list. A�But, among those I missed was Secret Empire #5. A�No!

But, this article isn’t about comics. A�I actually have two comic wrap up articles and a solo podcast to discuss comics coming this month. A�It just goes to show how much comics have been consuming my life in the last two months. A�Therefore, I need to shift my focus away from the books and to the dice long enough to write this article. A�Let’s do this.

Dammit, Leeroy.

The last A�time I did a Dicemasters set review as way back during the Age of Ultron days. A�I wrote up a top 10 in the style of an interview with Ultron. A�I am not going to do anything of the sort this time. A�There are several reasons why.

First, I only have limited (zing!) experience with the set. A�I’m not going to do extensive research on an old set just for a gag. A�Second, it is an old set. A�When I reviewed Age of Ultron, it might have even been a preview. A�Hey, we are sometimes on the ball here at 2 Generations Gaming. A�Third, and finally, I’ve resurrected a perfectly fine format to do reviews and previews.

The Good

As a noob who gets most of my enjoyment from how much fun I can have with a set, this seems like a very good set overall. A�In my previous article, I mentioned that I was able to find a couple of different synergies for my time. A�After a failed attempt at building a “Super” team, I settled on a hybrid Super/Bat Family team that worked very well together. A�The boys were able to hold their own, too.

Aiden went with the classic Villain archetype. A�Liam mostly put together a “good stuff” team, and our game was very close and back and forth the whole time. A�He may have even been able to beat me if we played according to the actual rules. A�Even Quinn, the youngest at 6, picked Krypto as one of his cards and then proceeded to try to build a “Super” team of his own. A�I think that he might have been the one who was cutting me. A�As Chris would say, “freaking ungrateful kids.”

I give you life and this is how you repay me? Pray that I am feeling merciful.

All four of us were able to build a suitably strong deck. A�That didn’t happen when we did the Pokemon event. A�That might have had something to do with the quality of the set. A�It might just be that Pokemon is not as good of a game for limited as Magic or Dicemasters. A�Who knows? A�What I do know for sure is that I’d like to test the theory with both games more.

The Bad

There wasn’t much bad that I can attribute to the set. A�Not only were we able to put together good teams for the event, but we also had fun discovering each card and some of the dice in the set are very cool. A�Harley Quinn’s die, for instance, is one that I remember being remarkable for the design. A�However, as Chris said, they’re only dice. A�While they can play around with both color scheme and hero icon design, it is still limited and the ultimate design is just a 6 sided die.

While that, by itself, isn’t bad, it’s not the greatest when you compare it to other games. A�Miniature games, most notably the other super hero game of Heroclix, naturally offer a much wider variety of design. A�The miniatures can take the art from the cards (another aspect of Dicemasters that showcases creativity) and give them life as 3D models. A�I understand that this is nit picking and somewhat comparing apples to oranges. A�However, I’d be lying if I said that Dicemasters is in any way comparable to the other games that I like playing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fun game. It’s just fun for entirely different reasons and would be a better game if the dice were just miniatures. True, it would be a completely different game. Oh heck, I admit it. This whole section was simply a straw man and I’m terrible at building up terrible arguments.

The Ugly

So, I couldn’t even really make an argument for the bad of this game, so I’m certainly not going to have much to say on the subject of “ugly”. A�All I will say is that Aiden had almost no mercy for his younger brother. A�He was a stone cold killer even though it was Quinn’s first time playing Dicemasters. A�Still, it didn’t sour him on the game because he said that he wants to play again and can’t wait to open the rest of the box.

Mine and Liam’s game was ugly because we didn’t follow the rules completely. A�Instead of recycling our KO’d dice back into our next roll, we put them back into the pool to be drawn who the heck knows when. A�Again, I have no idea how it might have affected the game other than he had something that did one damage to each fielded character, so we could have recycled dudes as new dice much quicker than expected. A�I must have a guilty conscience about that because I keep bringing it up. A�We are going to have to replay that game soon to clear my guilt.

a�?Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards and you shall see! I killed him. But why does his heart not stop beating?! Why does it not stop!?a�?

Dice to Meet You

(Editor’s Note: A�Yes, it appears that the “bad Dad” joke disease is back for this headline. A�Hopefully my prescription comes through soon and it is only temporary. A�Nothing is guaranteed in this current political climate surrounding healthcare, though.)

I don’t remember how Chris and I got involved in Dice Masters. A�I think that it might have been something that we played in order to have a Marvel tabletop game to discuss on the podcast and we had already talked about Heroclix. A�I might have it all wrong. A�I might have picked it up and played it with the boys first. A�However I became involved with the game, I enjoyed it very much.

I bought all of the starter sets that I could find. A�I got a booster box of Age of Ultron that I opened with the boys. A�We recorded it to put on our less than active YouTube page. A�I organized our dice and cards, joined a online community, did several articles on the game, and then (in my true short attention span style), promptly forgot all about Dice Masters.

…and not so shiny objects, and shiny non objects…let’s face it. I’m easily distracted by, well, easily distracted covers it.

Chris and I have played a few games since. A�I know because I remember digging through the tackle boxes that I use for storage of the dice. A�The boys and I have also played one or two games, mostly with the starter packs, but we might have played a pick up game or two during the Christmas break that we also rediscovered Heroclix. A�However, the interest has not been sustained like it is with Magic, or even the idea of Hordes/Warmachine. A�I think that might actually change.

As I said, in anticipation of our podcast about all things DC, one of my recent endeavors was to get one of the more recent DC Dice Masters sets. A�I lucked out and found a gravity feed of the set “World’s Finest” for a really good price. A�A subsequent text chain with Chris confirms it because he exclaimed, “That’s a really good deal!” A�The box sat on the floor waiting for the right time to be played and I started to worry that it might continue to be relegated to the back burner like my half of a box of Amonkhet that is sitting in the playroom unopened. A�However, the boys kept me honest. A�My youngest, especially, bugged me incessantly until I finally just gave in and we sat down to play a game.

After the “success” of our Pokemon event, I decided to try a rainbow draft. Only fitting that it happened during PRIDE month.

I had only heard about the rainbow draft online and from various gaming stores in the area. A�Like an MTG draft, I’ve never actually been able to get out to participate in one. A�However, they sound fun and we had 90 (maybe plus) packs, so this seemed like as good a time as any to test the format. A�Luckily, I was able to introduce the boys to sealed format during our Pokemon event, so they were used to the idea. A�We sat down, busted open some packs, organized the dice, and picked some cards.

I have to admit that I have almost no idea when it comes to the strategy of Dice Masters. A�I know that there are often synergies between cards like there are with Magic, so I looked for them. A�It’s funny because I was focusing on a Superman type deck, but I actually ended up with a decent Batman deck without even realizing it. A�Now that I’ve seen what some of the cards can do (especially the Batcave card that I ended up with), I think I might be able to build a better deck. A�Nevertheless, it was enough to beat Liam in the first game.

Aiden beat Quinn in their first game, but I’m not entirely sure that they played according the the rules. A�In fact, I’m almost positive that they didn’t. A�How do I know? A�Well, I was looking at the play mat that we were using as a reference and Liam and I actually made a huge mistake by putting our KO’d characters in our used pile instead of our prep area. A�That would have fundamentally changed the outcome of our game in major ways. A�So, if two players who sort of knew what they were doing screwed things up, what does that say for the 6 year old who never played and the 10 year old who often plays for blood?

I mean, how hard is it? You just follow directions. Psh, we’re men! We don’t ask for directions!

Bedtime prevented us from finishing our matches (as we were rightly going to play best 2 out of 3 to decide the winners of each round), but from the sounds of it, everyone had fun. A�Liam was a bit grumpy about losing. A�He might try to deny it or write it off, but he has a similar competitive streak as me. A�It lies just below the surface for the most part and when it bubbles up, the villagers run for higher ground. A�Luckily, he kept it in check this time. A�Because, I discovered our misplay the next day and we might just replay the game. A�Ultimately it doesn’t make a difference because it’s not like it is an officially sanctioned tournament or anything. A�Still, if I’m not honorable when playing against my own kids, what kind of person would I be?

Other than that, Quinn has been asking to play again daily. A�He also wants to crack open the other packs in the gravity feed. A�Aiden was less enthusiastic, but he’s had a bit of a “too cool” attitude lately regarding life. A�I had so much fun that I texted Chris to tell him that I’d rediscovered my joie de vivre regarding the game and he said that he wanted to play some more whenever we are able to get together again.

For such a simple concept, the game is so much fun. A�It is cheap. A�You get 2 dice and cards for 1 dollar booster pack. A�I got the gravity feed for 50 bucks, so that’s more or less half off. A�It might be one of those boxes that was gerrymandered by pulling out the foils or putting together a box without rares or super rares. A�I don’t know. A�I wasn’t keeping inventory of the cards as we opened them. A�The game is easy to learn. A�Even though he was overwhelmed, my youngest was able to pick up the basic concept and hold his own pretty well for his first time playing. A�There are hidden strategies in the game. A�As I’ve said before, the best games are those that are simple on the surface, but complex once you start to learn the intricacies. A�All of this boils down to one great game that I will try not to get distracted from for over a year again.

Oh, what’s this I see on the horizon? No, no! No more shiny objects.