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Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe Omnibus
Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe Omnibus
by Stan Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $49.37
54 used & new from $37.39

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Art, Mediocre Writing, Decent Presentation, November 14, 2014
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This book, a collection of reimaginings of famous DC characters as written by Stan Lee, is somewhat of a mixed bag. Stan Lee may be a legend in the industry, but unfortunately, his writing here just isn't very good. I understand that it was meant to evoke the Silver Age style that he is known for, but unfortunately, the dialogue just comes off as cheesey and stilted here, with some really cringeworthy lines. I actually found some of the ideas he had for his versions of these DC heroes to be pretty interesting with some great potential. Unfortunately, the execution of these ideas has a lot to be desired, as the general plots of each story wound up being incredibly predictable.

The art, on the other hand, is pretty great. Each story in the collection is drawn by a different individual, and DC went all out to gather some of the most famous and talented artists in the industry. With names like Joe Kubert, Jim Lee, Darwyn Cooke, and even Sergio Aragones among many others, the book almost functions as a who's who of major comic artists from the early 2000's.

The actually quality of the omnibus itself is pretty decent. The binding is solid, and the quality of the pages is good. It includes a large number of sketches designs from the various artists as a bonus, as well as short little blurbs about their thoughts on the project. Overall, while the art alone almost makes the book worth it, the poor writing and hefty price that goes with this omnibus may make you think twice before purchasing it. On the plus side, you do get a lot of content (over 700 pages worth), but it is certainly not a work that everyone will enjoy. Personally, if one were looking for a similar concept (DC characters reimagined in completely different ways), only with better writing and a more reasonable price, I would recomment looking into the "Tangent Comics" books that DC also put out in the late 90's, whose collections are also for sale on Amazon.

Legendary Visions: The Art of Genzoman
Legendary Visions: The Art of Genzoman
by Gonzalo Ordoñez Arias
Edition: Paperback
Price: $39.99
38 used & new from $27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Art, Not So Amazing Presentation, September 11, 2012
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As a long time fan of Genzoman's work, I was eager to purchase this collection of his mythological themed art, and was not disappointed in the least. It is a lot of fun seeing his interpretation of various legendary characters, and while not all of them may accurately reflect what the originators of these myths had in mind, they are gorgeous and creative. The little blurbs accompanying each picture, briefly describing the origin of each figure shown, are interesting and, while not overly detailed, provide enough background to further research any of the mythological characters you are particularly interested in on your own. While most (if not all) of the art presented in the book is available to be viewed online at the artist's DeviantArt page, actually having high quality prints of these fantastic pieces is well worth the price.

As other reviewers have already mentioned, the biggest flaw in this book is the presentation itself. The pieces are not organized in any discernible way, making it difficult to find a specific picture, and the binding is sub par. Both of these are rather a shame, as neither is likely the fault of the artist, whose work in this book is top notch. Here's hoping a followup collection is forthcoming, with a little higher physical quality.

Otomedius Excellent - Xbox 360
Otomedius Excellent - Xbox 360
Offered by Boothill Sales
Price: $10.67
55 used & new from $3.49

20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, in every sense of the word., January 1, 2012
Otomedius is a horizontally scrolling shooter which touts itself as the successor to Konami's classic Gradius series. While it shares many of the base gameplay features as this legendary series, it unfortunately suffers many problems which results in a very mediocre experience.

Just to name a few, due to the size of your player character on the screen, it can become extremely difficult to correctly gauge your hitbox, especially on the harder difficulties when the screen is full of projectiles.
While the 2-D artwork which permeates the game is well done, the actual 3D models used within the game itself are very lackluster. This becomes especially apparent during times when the game zooms in during cutscenes.
The multiplayer aspect of the game is also a disappointment. The game does not allow for two people to play together in the normal "Story" mode of the game. Rather, the only way to play with friends is in a specific "Multiplayer" mode, where the second player is not able to gain experience, and no continues are allowed. So, you are completely out of luck if you want to just play the normal game with a friend.
The boss fights in the game can also be a source of frustration. While the bosses are not too difficult, they tend to have an unusually high amount of health, and it is a near impossibility to hit some of their weak points without using certain specific weapons. As a result, many of the weapons available to you are largely worthless, as it is nearly impossible to defeat the bosses using them before you run out of time.

While each of these complaints, when taken alone, are not horrendous faults, the fact that so many minor poor game design choices exist at once just makes the game seem amateurish. If the company behind the game was new, or at least new to making this genre of game, then it could almost be excused. But this game was made by Konami, a company whose experience making shooters stretches back over twenty five years. And while this game so proudly declares its decent from the Gradius series on the cover, the simple fact of the matter is that Gradius V, a game that was released nearly seven years before on an inferior console, completely surpasses Otomedius Excellent in pretty much every possible way.

The game does boast a decent, if not particularly memorable, soundtrack that has a decent amount of songs from classic Konami titles. And the large amount of playable characters, coupled with a copious amount of unlockables, does give it a fair amount of replay value. Trying to obtain all of the weapons in the game will definitely provide plenty of entertainment to fans who enjoy the collection aspect of games. I feel it is important to warn, however, that the game relies quite heavily on the use of paid DLC. In fact, two characters, who were quite prominently displayed in both the promotion of the game as well as the intro movie of the game itself, are only accessible by paying separately for them once you have already purchased the game.

One final important note is that the game's visual aesthetic was very clearly designed to cater entirely to a very specific group of fans. And it is very likely that your enjoyment of the game may drastically increase or decrease based entirely on whether or not you happen to belong to this group. I will say, though, that with the amount of minor problems prevalent throughout this title, one would almost wish that they had spent less time worrying about the visual appeal of the characters, and more on ironing out the actual gameplay.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2012 6:33 PM PDT

Portal 2 - Xbox 360
Portal 2 - Xbox 360
Price: $21.16
213 used & new from $9.96

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but short, April 27, 2011
This review is from: Portal 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
The sequel to the critically acclaimed game from 2007, Portal 2 continues its predecessor's tradition of clever puzzles and witty writing. The basic game play remains unchanged from the first game; reach the exit of each room by creating portals to solve puzzles. However, the different items added to this game greatly expand on the variety of puzzles that are possible. These items include such things as different types of gels, lasers, and catapults, all of which can completely change how you would seek out a solution. Thus, the game feels fresh, and never starts to just feel like a retread of the original.

Once again, the game's writing is fantastic. The dialogue is witty and incredibly funny. It almost acts as an encouragement to keep going, as players will likely be motivated to continue playing just to hear more of it. While the original Portal only contained spoken dialogue from the character of GLaDOS, the sequel expands on the cast of characters, with fantastic results. Especially noteworthy is a stand out performance by J.K. Simmons as the eccentric former CEO of Aperture Science.

In addition to the standard single player game, Portal 2 also includes a cooperative multiplayer campaign. This can be played both online, and with two people on a single console through the use of a split screen.

The only real flaw to this game is its noticeably short length. Depending on an individual's puzzle solving ability, the single player game can be completed in as little as five to ten hours. The multiplayer mode certainly adds to the game's play time considerably, but even then the game is unusually short for a full priced retail game. Added to that is the fact that there is little replay value once you finish the game, as you will already know the solutions to each puzzle. Even so, I can't help but still recommend the game. While it may only last you a dozen hours, it will be one of the most enjoyable dozen hours you'll have spent playing a video game.

EdgeStar Server Cool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
EdgeStar Server Cool 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile investment, April 14, 2011
My company recently bought this unit to replace the older AC unit we already had in our small server room, and the improvement was dramatic. Using the single hose configuration, it very easily keeps our server room (approximately 50 sq. feet) perfectly chilled to the proper temperature. The ease at which it is able to do so makes me certain that it would be just as effective in a much larger space, especially if one were to use the dual-hose configuration. Also noteworthy is that it is relatively quiet while running. With the door to the server room shut, the sound it produces is virtually unnoticeable from the offices we have just down the hall from it.

Set up took literally less than five minutes to complete. After unpacking it, all that was required was wheeling it into position, attaching the hose to the back, and plugging it in, and it was good to go. One minor caveat to note is that the small LCD display attached to the unit requires two AAA batteries to function. These are not included with this product, and the product page does not mention this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2011 11:12 AM PDT

Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre (Infinite Crisis)
Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre (Infinite Crisis)
by David Lapham
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $4.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two different stories makes this volume a mixed bag., April 1, 2011
This book was one of the comics that spun out of "Infinite Crisis", the latest (at the time of its writing, at least) of DC's company wide crossover events. It features The Spectre, the incarnation of God's vengeance, and Crispus Allen, a recently dead police officer and the Spectre's reluctant new human host.

The book is actually divided into two separate story arcs, written by two different people. The first arc, I actually liked quite a bit. This one deals with the time immediately following Allen and the Spectre's bonding. Allen, who is still trying to deal with his new status as a ghost, is utterly uncomfortable and unwilling to participate in the Spectre's job of punishing sinners through lethal means. The Spectre must try to explain the importance of its divine mission to him, and allow him to see the necessity of the two of them working together as one. I thought the interaction between the two characters was done particularly well. The Spectre's overbearing demands contrasted very nicely with Allen's complete reluctance and created a nice air of tension throughout the plot.

The second story included in the volume, I did not enjoy nearly as much. This one features the Spectre/Allen combo investigating a series of murders in a run down tenement building. I did not find the mystery compelling at all. This story also seems to ignore a great deal of the first story, which is especially noticeable when they are collected together in the same book. While the first story was all about Allen's eventual acceptance as his role as the Spectre, the second story seems to completely forget about this, once again having him unhappy with his situation and at odds with the spirit bound to him.

Overall, this particular book is worth checking out purely for the first half. The second half is, unfortunately, mediocre and forgettable.

Tangent: Superman's Reign (Vol. 1)
Tangent: Superman's Reign (Vol. 1)
by Ron Marz
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tangent Universe returns, April 1, 2011
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The original concept for DC's "Tangent Comics" line, debuting in the late 90's, was an interesting one. In short, they created a comic universe, in which they invented new characters that shared the same names as established heroes, but with completely different powers and back stories. For example, instead of a speedster, the Tangent version of the Flash is a young woman with light-based powers, and the Tangent Green Lantern is a mysterious magic user instead of a space cop. "Tangent: Superman's Reign" not only revisited these characters, but had them crossover with the mainstream DC Universe.

As a fan of the original "Tangent" line, I really enjoyed its revival. While some of the Tangent characters have made brief cameos over the years, this is the first time the Tangent Universe has actually been explored in depth in recent times. I was a little wary at first at this being a crossover with the main DCU, as I was afraid they would let their "main" heroes overshadow their Tangent counterparts. However, this turned out not to be the case, as both sets of characters really get equal exposure and importance in the plot. Additionally, by having both universes' characters side by side, it was fun to note just how different they were from one another.

This book is equally enjoyable for people completely unfamiliar with the original Tangent Comics as well. It includes a back up feature, in which the history of the Tangent universe and characters are briefly explained, allowing anyone to quickly get up to speed.

Just as a note, this particular book only contains the first half of the story, so it should really be purchased along side the second volume.

The Brave and the Bold: Milestone
The Brave and the Bold: Milestone
by Dwayne McDuffie
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $5.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rather nice collection., April 1, 2011
Milestone Media was originally an imprint of DC Comics, and the brainchild of Dwayne McDuffie. Recently, DC negotiated to gain full ownership of the Milestone characters, and integrated them into the main DC Universe. Soon after, they published several team up issues to have characters from both companies interact. This collection compiles all three of these issues.

Since each of the issues included in this book were written and drawn by a different team, the quality of each varies. However, overall, it was a fun read. It was great seeing the old Milestone characters interacting with established DC heroes. I thought the actual Milestone characters they chose to use was an interesting decision as well. Using Static for one of the issues was a given, since he is by far the most recognizable Milestone character due to his previous animated series. However, they also had a story that featured Xombi, a character that most likely only the bigger fans of Milestone Media would know anything about. I really liked this choice, as it was nice to allow exposure for lesser known properties.

In addition to the three team-up issues, this book also contained three issues from each of the featured Milestone characters' original comic series. I thought this was a rather neat touch, as it let the reader have a little bit of a history lesson on characters they may not have had much previous experience with.

One disappointment I had with this collection, though, is that they used lower quality paper for it. The other trades I own for the "Brave and the Bold" series all use the high quality, glossy pages, so it was especially annoying that they went the cheaper route with this particular edition.

Overall, this was one of the better "Brave and the Bold" collections. While it only contained three issues of the actual B&B series, I feel that the extra standalone issues it included as a bonus more than made up for that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2011 5:31 PM PDT

Fred and Friends Hot Head Pac Man
Fred and Friends Hot Head Pac Man

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute as a novelty item, but not particularly functional, April 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This Pac-Man pot holder is a really cute idea. Its funny, nostalgic, and gets a lot of laughs when people see it. Unfortunately, its not particularly good at what its supposed to be designed for. The biggest flaw is that the actual opening to put your hand in is very small. Someone with smaller hands could probably use it fine, but those of us with average sized or large hands aren't going to be able to fit well enough to offer adequate protection. In addition, the material used to make it is rather thin, and while its sufficient for quick use, its just not going to be good for using it for an extended time.

It can make a good gift, though, for people who just want a cute item to show off. While its actual functionality is questionable, it can be a great item just to have sitting around in the kitchen as a conversation starter, or for a quick laugh with friends.

Dai-Guard - Perfect Collection
Dai-Guard - Perfect Collection
DVD ~ Artist Not Provided
3 used & new from $39.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly fun series., March 31, 2011
Dai-Guard is, quite simply, one of the most entertaining series to be included in the "Giant Robot" sub-genre of anime, and is loaded with laughs. While just looking at the title and picture, one may think its just a typical super robot show, it is, in reality, anything but.

In brief, the series is about a huge robot designed to fight invading monsters. However, this particular robot is entirely owned and operated by a private corporation, and is piloted by three of its office staff. Thus, the attacking monsters are just one of the problems faced by the protagonists, as they also have to deal with all the hassles and bureaucracies that come with working for any large company. The vast amounts of humor that comes with juggling two seemingly completely disparate activities, saving the world and dealing with office work, is definitely one of the high points of the show.

Much of the show's humor also comes from the titular robot itself. Despite looking like an archtypical Super Robot, Dai-Guard uses much more "realistic" physics than most other shows in the genre. Thus, the robot is slow, clunky, and a complete hassle to operate. Though it may look intimidating, the problems that plague the machine make it one of the most memorably inept robots to ever star in a series.

Though this does nothing to diminish the show itself, I would just like to mention that the actual quality of this box set was on the poorer side. My copy of the case itself seemed to have been poorly put together, and began to fall about shortly after purchase.

While the series may not have as many memorable, over the top moments as others in the genre, it is just plain FUN. It is sad that ADV's dissolution seems to have resulted in the series going out of print in the United States, but if you managed to get the opportunity to grab a used copy of the set, I highly recommend you take it.

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