Friday, June 01, 2012

What I've Been Doing

Since I'm going to post later about the giant house-moving sale I'm having on teh eBays, I figured I ought to blow the dust off the blog with something a little less shameless first. So, a brief update on my geekery, in my usual bulleted list format.
  • I've been playing a lot of Mass Effect, and just finished the bit with Kaidan and Ashley. Spoilers, I guess, but whatever. As I mentioned before, it's been a bit of a shock going from Bioshock, where your character was a cipher and you only had one choice to make (consistently) throughout the game, which had only a minor apparent effect on the ending, and no appreciable effect on the plot, to ME where I'm scrutinizing every choice and really feeling like Shepard is a fleshed-out character. I pick verbal options based on what I think Shepard would say, and that's pretty cool, because a different Shepard would understandably act very differently. I might someday have to play through the game as a total bastard.

    Anyway, it's interesting how easy that particular choice was to make, because the game had gone to such great lengths to make Ashley Williams out to be a totally awful person. I never used her in missions, so maybe that's part of it, but every conversation with her showed her to be a xenophobic asshat. She sacrificed her life for the crew--and for a bunch of Salarians--, and that's commendable. But in doing so, I think she made the ship a better place, because now there's no one that I consistently want to throw out of an airlock.

    Anyway, I'm excited to see where the game (and series) goes from here.
  • The only break I've taken from ME (aside from all the work I've been doing) was to play the new Batman: Arkham City DLC, Harley Quinn's Revenge. It was fun, even if I'm way rusty with my Batman skills, and I think my only complaint is that there weren't roles for Nightwing and Catwoman. I'm going to have to check it out now that I've beaten it to finish off the balloons and see what the free-roam is like. It'd be great if it meant I could free-roam as Robin, but I haven't seen that yet.
  • I've finally had a little time to read, and while monthly comics are kind of piling up, I've been making my way through some Marvel books I otherwise missed out on. I read through the pre-"Death" run of Brubaker's Captain America, and I'm taking a little breather before I plow through the Death/Man with No Face epic (and ultimately force myself to buy the rest of the trades). I've been reading the first (enormous) volume of the Busiek/P√©rez "Avengers Assemble," which is pretty fantastic, if dense as all hell. I like the old-school feel of the storytelling, with mostly one- or two-issue stories that tie into a larger arc, and characters doing little recaps at the beginning. It's something that gets lost a lot in modern comics, and it's a little shocking to see that it was in full swing just fifteen or so years ago.

    It's also a reminder that, for all the flak DC takes about rebooting its continuity, Marvel has done the same thing multiple times. The difference is that Marvel tends to be less sweeping in its reboots, wanting to have some cake and eat it too, and I think that's a part of why they have fewer really successful reboots. DC's only had four that really changed things--the Silver Age "reboot" that showed Golden Age characters as comic books and reintroduced Flash, Green Lantern, etc; the Multiple Earths reboot that set DC's Golden Age on alternate Earths, allowing them to keep the history but setting it on a different Earth; the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot that tried to merge everything into a coherent timeline; and the New 52. People always count Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis, but the changes offered by those were, at most, cosmetic--Joe Chill didn't kill the Waynes, Jason Todd was no longer dead, etc. Each instance saw some success, but ultimately complicated things as people tried to mine the pre-reboot past for continuity and so forth. Marvel's reboots--aside from the constant sliding timescale that means the modern history of the Marvel U is always about 10-15 years old--have been more piecemeal, trying to rewrite the histories of the main Avengers or Spider-Man (twice, at least) without altering the rest of the universe. And they've all ultimately been more-or-less undone (except One More Day/Brand New Day) and led to more confusion than they solved.

    So it's been interesting to see this book clearly set in the post-Heroes Reborn Marvel Universe, dealing with the fallout from that event and integrating the characters back into the universe, is what I'm saying, I guess.
  • I've also been reading the first volume of Agents of Atlas, and I think I'll be picking up other volumes soon. It's a ton of fun, and it's interesting to see these characters who aren't very familiar to me.
That's about all I've got for now. Check back later for details on my big eBay sale and tell your friends to buy my stuff!

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