Tag Archive: Daredevil

Dr. Doomed from the start

Right next to having superpowers of their own and fighting alongside their favorite characters, the next best thing for most comic-book fans would be actually assuming the role of their most beloved superheroes. Personally, I’d probably like to be one of the X-Men. Wolverine, Iceman, or Colossus, if possible—I’m not picky.

The guys and gals at Gazillion Entertainment zero in on this concept with their free-to-play PC game, Marvel Heroes. Driven by Diablo-style action-RPG mechanics, the game sees players starting off by choosing one of five heroes who most comic fans would consider B-list: Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, and the Thing. By beating the game—or spending some cold, hard cash—you can unlock other heroes or purchase a variety of costumes for these characters.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me and get tempted into picking up the ’90s X-Men cartoon version of Cyclops or Wolverine after a few story chapters, you’ll soon realize that the starter characters represent core classes—and no matter what hero you choose, the powersets are basically the same, just with different animations.

Considering the differences between the heroes in the Marvel universe, this was frustrating as a fan. After all, I was willing to shell out the cash—only to find out there’s no need beyond cosmetic preferences. To add insult to injury, each purchased character starts at level 1, so if you want to immediately use them, the game recommends that you start the entire adventure over again, no matter what point you’re currently at.

A couple of saving graces here, however, are the story and comic-book-still cutscenes. Written by Marvel super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis, the tale incorporates some of Marvel’s most famous story arcs from all their major comic lines into one tidy package. The basics, though, boil down to this: Dr. Doom has a Cosmic Cube, and he feels like messing with reality, because that’s what megalomaniacal bad guys do. I’ve also got to compliment the top-notch voice acting in the cutscenes, including instantly recognizable pros like Nolan North as Deadpool, Steve Blum as Wolverine, and Keith David as Nick Fury.

After choosing your characters, it’s time to actually play the game. And by the time I got a third of the way through the campaign, I’d already grown bored. Instead of offering any kind of variety or difficulty, the game simply threw more and more enemies at me—or gave them an insane amount of health—in the hopes of slowing me down. But it’s not like I was actually doing anything. I played as Hawkeye for most of the game after wasting my money, so all I had to do was get a decent distance away, hold the Shift key in order to ground my hero, and then hold another button to attack. Sometimes two. If I played as the Hulk or Thing, the only thing that changed was my distance relative to the target. The enemy spawn times are also horribly balanced, and I’d regularly clear an area of Hand ninjas or HYDRA goons, only to have them reappear nanoseconds later.

One decent aspect of the gameplay, however, comes in the dungeons. If you turn on auto-grouping, you can enter any dungeon without the fear of being completely overwhelmed. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, when you enter a dungeon around the same time as other players, you can be automatically placed on a team with them. Of course, this can lead to the confusing dilemma of having six Hawkeyes on the same team (which happened to me a lot) and getting your particular avatar lost in the chaos, but if you’re a more introverted gamer, you don’t have to worry about pulling up an awkward chat window, begging for assistance, and dealing with complete strangers.

Normally, this is about where I’d wrap up my review, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the most disappointing aspect of my time playing Marvel Heroes: the technical side. I purposely waited as long as I did to put up my review because I was waiting to see how the game performed after some patches. While the game has seen several small patches and one major fix in the two weeks since the game went live, I’m still experiencing many gameplay-balance problems, as well as numerous technical issues.

Every 20 to 30 minutes, my game crashes or freezes for no apparent reason, and while I’ve reported this error on the technical forums, it remains unfixed after performing the recommended actions from the support staff. I’ve made sure my drivers are up to date, I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the game launcher, and I’ve even turned down the specs to the lowest possible setting (my PC isn’t the highest-end gaming rig, but it should handle the minimum requirements no problem).

This left the support staff confounded—and me increasingly frustrated. So, I want to warn people before they play Marvel Heroes: In my experience, it just doesn’t work as well as it should. And after perusing the forums, I found that the error I encountered is actually pretty common. Then again, you get what you pay for—and the core of the game is free, after all.

So, if the game works for you perfectly, that’s great, but at the end of the day, fewer crashes still won’t make Marvel Heroes the most worthwhile of experiences unless you fall in love with its price tag.

Developer: Gazillion Entertainment • Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 06.04.13
While Marvel Heroes does some nice things, the Marvel license isn’t enough to cover up glaring technical and design flaws. As much as I wanted to like this game, I can’t recommend something that is, at its core, broken. In the end, you get what you pay for (or less, if you actually invested in this).
The Good Story that expertly reimagines some of Marvel’s greatest moments.
The Bad Constant crashing and glitches; uninspired gameplay.
The Ugly Expecting to get something for nothing—and then being surprised when what you get just isn’t that good.
Marvel Heroes is a PC exclusive. 

A solid week all around in terms of releases this week, but it was difficult to pick the best of the best as there were a lot of good comics, but not necessarily great comics. Interesting twists abound as plots are further forwarded, so let’s see how by taking a look at this week’s pullbox!

1) IDW – Ghostbusters #5: After saving Ray from the hands of another minion of Gozer, the Ghostbusters are forced to try to get into shape by William Peck to meet the same standards as the NYPD and other civil servants. Meanwhile, as Venkman and Peck trade classic barbs, a new paranormal entity is causing havoc in Schenectady, New York, having possessed an entire amusement park and only the Ghostbusters are qualified for the job.

I can’t praise Erik Burnham enough for being able to capture the humor and absurdity of the situations that we loved seeing in both the movies and cartoons that many of us grew up with in terms of the Ghostbusters. After a brilliant 4-issue story arc to start the series off, I can’t wait to see what he does next as many details about this new ghost are minimal besides the fact that we know it is pretty powerful. Not to mention I love the paranormal files at the back of the book outlining the powers and abilities of the ghosts we’re seeing to give some insight as if we were a part of the team.

2) DC – Batman #5: Batman is trying his best to fight against the mind games of the Court of Owls, but as he remains lost in the ending labyrinth beneath Gotham, the world above can only wonder and worry what happened to their constant protector.

Almost feeling like a filler issue as most of the issue is simply seeing the effects of what the Court of Owl’s mind games are doing to Batman, the tricks used in the book might actually start to screw with the reader as panels start going sideways and upside down and so as you start turning pages, you’re also turning the actual book. A nice way to really help the reader feel just how upside down Batman’s world is becoming. But we’ve seen Batman overcome mind games before, whether with the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh sub-personality or some other mental training exercise he’s been through so again this is why as much as I love most of Scott Snyder’s work on Batman, this is a bit more of a filler issue, no matter how much I love the rotating panels effect.

3) DC – Green Lantern Corps #5: With John Stewart and some other members of the Corps being tortured clear on the other side of the universe, Guy Gardner is rallying the troops on Oa to stage a rescue mission and bring it to the Keepers. And Gardner is calling in the big guns, specifically a group of Lanterns who redefine the term “tenured” and who don’t know how to pull their punches called “The Mean Machine”. But will even this grizzled group of veteran Lanterns be enough to save Lantern Stewart and the rest in time?

I really like how this issue is expanding the Lanterns a bit more and adding a bit more personality to Corps members outside of those from Earth. I also like that it’s getting Guy Gardner back to his no-holds-barred, dirty tricks, all about results roots as he will do anything to save his friends and you have to love that about this character. All in all, this is a really well-written issue as it looks to build up to an explosive confrontation between Guy and his group of semi-rogue Lanterns and the Keepers, whose awesome origin story as a new enemy of the Lantern Corps is also pretty sweet and is revealed this issue.

4) Marvel – Daredevil #8: The second part of a two-issue crossover with Amazing Spider-Man ends here as Black Cat, Spider-Man, and Daredevil hunt down the thieves of some cutting edge hologram technology. But ol’ Hornhead may have bitten off more than he can chew as it becomes a bit more personal with the Cat. But can her motives be trusted and if he can’t or can, I don’t think Daredevil’s radar sense would be able to figure it out anyway.

The personality that Daredevil gives off and the constant making fun of Spider-Man makes this a particularly great issue and sets itself up that Black Cat, at least for the next few issues, will likely be a guest star as the hologram technology only scratches the surface of what could be a larger and more innate plot with Hydra and other evil global organizations. No matter if you’re just getting into Daredevil or have been following this new series since the start though, this book is most likely Marvel’s best written overall monthly and it only continues with this issue.

5) Marvel – Generation Hope #15: After another mission to find one of her “lights”, Hope doesn’t realize she has actually brought the mind-wiped Sebastian Shaw back into the midst of the X-Men and Cyclops is not happy about it. The X-Men must now decide the fate of one of their once greatest enemies as he is a blank slate and looking for refuge in Utopia. Meanwhile, the rest of Hope’s team come head to head with some Morlock refugees who are furious over their second class status even amongst their fellow mutants.

There were a lot of great X-Men books this week, but the banter between Emma Frost and Hope Summers as they argued over the fate of Sebastian Shaw put this over the top for me. Absolutely hysterical as you see things start to come to a head in the Utopia War Room. Throw in the return of the Morlocks who have almost been forgotten about in Utopia and I think this could continue to be the most interesting of the X-books in the near future.

We are back folks! Finally caught up with the back issues I missed over the holiday as well this week’s releases. And let me tell you, that was no easy feat, never mind actually picking this week’s Pullbox. But that was difficult, too. A lot of great comics, especially from Marvel and on the Indie side of things, made for some tough choices this week, but I think that the elite have risen to the top. So here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) Marvel – The Amazing Spider-Man #677: When the Black Cat is framed for a technology theft she didn’t commit, as Spider-Man can attest to since he was with her at the alleged time of the crime, Spidey calls in his old friend Matt Murdock to help him get to the bottom of the case and to help the Cat clear her name.

Although I’ve steered clear of Spider-Man for the most part because I think the character only regresses with every major event he takes part in, this issue sees the start of a brief crossover with a character who has been rejuvenated in past months, Daredevil. And so I decided to pick up this comic and was pleasant surprised. Brilliant artwork and the banter between Spidey and Daredevil is hysterical as they work together over the course of the issue that will be concluded in the next issue of Daredevil. There is also a point in the comic where Spider-Man questions himself and wishes he had Daredevil’s strength of character as he has had more problems than anyone else in the Marvel universe and didn’t really need a cheap character re-launch by pick himself back up. As someone who has been furious at most of Spidey’s writers for a while, that made me feel good.

2) Marvel – Carnage USA #2 (of 5): As Carnage continues his dominance of a small town in the middle of the country, Spidey finds himself getting help from some unlikely sources as he tries to formulate a plan that could finally put down Cletus Kasady for good.

Surprising I know to put a pair of Spider-Man comics at the top, but this mini-series and the last one by Zeb Wells clearly show who should be at the helm of the wall-crawler in the future. His storylines in both these mini-series and the new Avenging Spider-Man show that he knows what Spider-Man fans want. Smart, witty banter between Spidey and his enemies, some cameos from other Marvel heroes once in a while, and to pit Spidey against his more iconic villains instead of working on new threats or some thing more on a global scale that should stick to Avengers stories. Marvel touts that Spider-Man is the world’s greatest super hero. It’s stories like these that actually give them a case in defending that claim.

3) DC – Batman and Robin #5: Damian Wayne has made his choices and has decided that he is sick of being treated like the child that Batman thinks he is. So, when offered a chance to follow “Nobody”, better known as Morgan Ducard, the son of one of Batman’s former teachers, Henri Ducard he took it to satiate his killer instincts. But will Robin actually pull the trigger when the time comes? 

There are a lot of similarities between the development of Damian so far as a character to the original Jason Todd, but the fact this twisted being is in the body of a 10-year-old boy makes it a bit more creepy. With the knowledge of his past mistakes always looming in the back of his mind, it’ll be interesting to see what Batman does to not only win Damian back and if he finally starts to grow into the “father figure” role that Damian so clearly needs, but if he reveals all of his secrets to Damian who so desperately desires his trust just as much as his love. Left open on another cliffhanger ending, the next issue will definitely see some sparks fly and if you want to see just what the future of the Batman and Robin dynamic will be, you’re going to want to start with this issue.

4) DC – Deathstroke #5: Realizing his long thought dead son may actually be alive, Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator, must also deal with the fact that the closest thing he’s ever had to a friend in Christoph, has just received his head as a very clear message. Along with Peabody, Deathstroke must continue to track down his clearly enraged son while also still dealing with yet another person wearing the Legacy suit. But this newest hunter has some metahuman powers that will put Slade’s own to the test.

Always guaranteed to provide tons of over the top action, this issue continues that trend while bringing up more questions of where Deathstroke goes from here as things just seem to get more and more complicated and he really doesn’t know who to trust as that short list just got shorter. The interesting thing of course will be how he handles this new Legacy and if the running joke of this new character being cannon fodder comes to an end as we also learn the extent of this new Legacy’s powers. We’ve seen some super-strength and some high level telekinesis. It’ll be interesting if there is anything else up his sleeve as he takes on the world’s greatest assassin.

5) Image – PIGS #5: The Russian sleeper cell continues to fracture from within as a new assignment has come their way and requires them to break into a prison to perform an assassination. As the ante has been raised, more of the group starts to hesitate and decides to go with the more subtle approach unlike their first mission, but things don’t exactly go according to plan. Or do they?

With so many comics revolving around super-heroes and crazy powers and worldwide threats from extraterrestrial beings and whatnot, it’s great writing like this that makes me a fan of comics. An espionage thriller like this is a rarity in today’s market, but hopefully it continues for a good long while, or at least as naturally as the story will allow it to. The rift that is forming in the group and knowing everything that is riding on it, you don’t know who to root for as its easy to lose sight of the fact that the story really revolves around bad guys. So now the big question becomes when will the US government start to step in and really up the ante for what is already an interesting and high intensity book.

An interesting week this week as it was a rare 5th Wednesday in the month. And when this happens, typically there is a shortage of comics and this month’s victim was DC. Only a couple of DC titles were released and nothing of any note. So, to still meet our required five, I’m going to look at three Marvel comics that at least had a few decent titles come out and a pair of indies. Enjoy!

1) Marvel – Uncanny X-Men #2: As the X-Men continue to try to work their way through Mr. Sinister’s army of clones to get to the headman himself, the remaining Celestials are making an interstellar beeline for Earth, infuriated that their sleeping brother has been tampered with in such a way. Can the X-Men get to the root of Sinister’s plan before the Celestial turns everyone on Earth to dust?

The plan that Mr. Sinister lays out is one of the most nefarious schemes we’ve yet to see from any X-Men villain and puts him in the running again with guys like Bastion to be the number one threat to the X-Men’s plans of a peaceful existence. To see his new power levels and how he handles many of the X-Men’s heavy hitters like they were rag dolls makes you wonder how the heck Cyclops is going to find a way out of this one and compels you to keep reading this awesome series re-launch story arc.. Not to mention I want to see what is going to happen to Emma and how they’re going to reattach her arm when she leaves diamond form.

2) Marvel – Daredevil #6: Daredevil is still trying to get to the bottom of this international terrorist organization conspiracy while saving his new client from becoming the latest loose end tied up by these criminal power players. On top of this we finally learn about the new and mysterious Bruiser who looks to be able to brush off Daredevil’s best moves like they were nothing. Can Daredevil overcome this and save his new friend?

Daredevil has surprised me every issue so far as it finds a way to creatively find a way for Daredevil to overcome each situation thrown his way and this issue doesn’t disappoint as Daredevil’s unique radar sense saves the day for him twice. Tempered by some light humor and cool action sequences, this monthly should be in your pullbox for the foreseeable future even if not a diehard fan of The Man Without Fear as the high quality of this monthly may turn you into one.

3) Marvel – X-Men Legacy #259: Not sure whether to join Cyclops or team with Wolverine in Westchester, Rogue and the rest of X-Men who have returned from Shiar Space are having a tough time coming to a decision. When Rogue meets with Magneto though and hopes to borrow his thoughts to maybe come to a decision herself, she sense something familiar piggybacking on Magneto’s consciousness. Once brought together, Emma finds that each of the space farers have a fraction of this consciousness and once pulled together, a blast from the past looks maybe return to the fold.

With a dwindling number of mutants in the Marvel continuity, the chance to bring back a thought dead character is always refreshing and I don’t think anyone would have seen this coming. If successful, it can add a new dynamic to whatever team chosen by this mystery character while also bolstering ranks. The biggest downside of this issue though is we mostly already know for the most part who from the space farers goes where in terms of Schism, but the return of this new character still makes this a worthy title to pick up and is definitely worth it as our extra Marvel title this week.

4) IDW – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4: Old Hob finally catches up with Raphael as we come to learn just why Old Hob is still so adamant about taking out all the turtles. Just when things look to be their darkest though, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo finally catch up with their wayward brother and once this fearsome foursome reunite, Old Hob starts to realize he may have bitten off more than even he can chew.

Basically closing this opening arc while reintroducing old and new characters alike in a way that should please all diehard old-school TMNT fans, the future is wide open for this book now that Raphael is finally brought back into the fold. The only question now is what threat will emerge to take on the Heroes in a Half-Shell now and just what will happen to Old Hob when he has to report to his mysterious masters that he has failed. Old and new TMNT fans alike should be reading this fresh take on some of our favorites heroes as this book looks to really start amping up now and looks to only improve on an already solid start.

5) Top Cow – The Darkness #95: Jackie is in trouble and from an unsuspecting source: his sister. Revealed to also be a Darkness wielder, Jackie starts to learn just how long the Darkness has been around and has to make a tremendous sacrifice in order to get out of the harrowing situation he finds himself in once again.

Wrapping up this 6-issue story arc as the Top Cow universe prepares for their universal re-launch, which seems to be the theme in comics in 2011, we see Jackie continue to make sacrifice after sacrifice to expel the evil that is the Darkness from the world while trying to avoid the temptation that always come with wielding so much power. The twisted demonic action that has been a staple of this monthly continues and only looks to increase as we steadily approach what will likely be a landmark 100th issue as this sets up the next great story arc for this monthly that will kick off explosively in the next issue. If you haven’t read The Darkness before, now would be a good time to get into it, especially with an awesome looking game related to the franchise coming out in February.

Marvel continues to rollout some of their re-launches this week while DC begins forwarding some more stories they launched in the New 52. Meanwhile, in the Indies, we go back to a galaxy far, far away. So, check out this week’s Pullbox!

1) Marvel – Daredevil #5: After a strong start to The Man Without Fear’s new series by seeing Daredevil take down Claw and The Spot, Matt Murdock accidentally begins to stumble upon a huge smuggling conspiracy amongst the world’s most nefarious organizations like Hydra and A.I.M. As he begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, all the while trying to protect some new clients, he also happens upon a new villain whose strength and reflexes are something that could put Daredevil down for the count! Honestly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed Daredevil so far and if you’ve missed the first four issues, I’d really recommend trying to find them in the back issues of your local comic store, while also picking this issue up to see just how far things are going to go. Great writing combined with innovative art to show the world through Daredevil’s “eyes” make this re-invention of Daredevil a must have in your pullbox.

2) Marvel – The Incredible Hulk #1: Part of the fallout of Fear Itself sees the Hulk somehow separated from Bruce Banner. You would think that both would be as happy as they could be, but that is not the case. As the Hulk finds himself feeling like a hero for the first time since Planet Hulk really as he becomes a champion for the mole people, Bruce Banner is turning into a Dr. Frankenstein of sorts as he cannot cope without the Hulk around. Hulk must now venture back to the surface to try to calm down Banner as it seems that Banner has been committing some crimes against nature in his attempts to move on with his life after the Hulk. A great way to kick this new series off is the role reversal of Banner and the Hulk as Hulk is the more rational being and Banner is being portrayed as the monster. You know at some point the Hulk and Banner will have to reunite, but until then to see them actually fighting against each other makes me look forward to the second issue of this new monthly more than any other re-launch we’ve had recently. Top it off with the great art from legendary artist Marc Silvestri and Hulk #1 is a must have for any and every comic book fan.

3) DC – Green Lantern: New Guardians #2: Kyle Rayner must fight off representatives from the rest of the power ring spectrum and get to the bottom of why these rings have all sought him out. But when Kyle looks for help from familiar allies, will he find what he’s looking for or just more problems? Continuing the feeling of what we had during the Blackest Night with all the various ring wielding forces coming together, New Guardians is clearly laying some groundwork for what will be a massive shake-up in the life of Kyle Rayner and what it means for anyone to wield a ring, green or otherwise. Great art, a tremendous ending, and an unfortunate fate for a long time friend of Rayner makes this a very compelling book and if you’re going to be able to follow all the craziness that is sure to follow, you had better get on board now while you still can. New Guardians may be the best Green Lantern related book out there right now as part of this New 52.

4) DC – Batman: The Dark Knight #2: After the crazy cliffhanger of the first issue of this new series, we finally learn about what is happening to many of Gotham’s villains as a new one dressed as a white rabbit (very Mad Hatter-esque) is leading Batman along a trail of drugged up arch enemies. Two-Face, the Ventriloquist, and even the Joker look as if they bathed in Venom or the Titan formula from Arkham Asylum and Batman must find out where this new drug is coming from and just how he can put a stop to it. This comic has piqued my interest right now because I admit I just don’t know where it is going to go. The new villainess dressed as a white rabbit has me thinking she’s not the brains behind the drugs, but it doesn’t fit the Mad Hatter’s modus operandi and so I wonder if there couldn’t be someone else pulling the strings. Either way, this mystery has me itching for the next issue of this Batman series just to see what other villains may get doped up and how Batman will find a way to bring it all to an end.

5) Dark Horse – Star Wars: Crimson Empire III #1 (of 6): The Empire is in shambles. The final clone of the Emperor has been flushed out and destroyed. And only a lone soldier in the once elite Crimson Guard remains. This is the continuation of his story. Set about a decade after Return of the Jedi in my personal favorite part of the expanded universe, as in events that take place after the original movies, we see the last Crimson Guard, Kir Kanos, established as a tremendous warrior as he easily…removes…several bounty hunters after him, but in the end is caught by Boba Fett. Yes, Boba Fett miraculous survived the Sarlacc Pit. It is what happens when you wear Mandalorian Armor and it takes 1,000 years to be digested. What could Boba want with Kanos though and what purpose does this lost warrior have without the Empire to serve? If you’re like me and a fan of the expanded universe of Star Wars then I’m sure there are many Dark Horse comics in your collection. This particular series though looks especially interesting though because it deals with the rarely mentioned Crimson Guard and features some of our favorite characters, including the greatest bounty hunter ever in Boba Fett. This issue is a must pick up for Star Wars fans.