Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pull List Reviews - July 29

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3
The companion to Blackest Night concludes here with issue #3 and what an issue it is. With the origin of Green Lanterns Kilowog and Arisia, this one finally got to a point where I like the issue on its own merits and not just as a side story to the main Blackest Night series. In addition to the great Green Lantern origin tales, we get a "director's commentary" on the entire issue of Blackest Night #0. It's a cool spin through the issue with some amazing b&w pencil art but the last line from Geoff John's commentary hints at something truly amazing on the way with Blackest Night.
Score: 5 out of 5

Detective Comics #855
The tales of Batwoman continue here with a beatiful battle with new villain Alice and her minions. As with the previous issue, the art is simply stunning. However, the storyline just hasn't caught my attention enough to go all in with this one especially with this issue setting up Alice as a Joker-like nemesis to the Batwoman. I'm hoping that 'Tec is just in the process of picking up steam since the storylines in Batman & Robin and the main Batman books are so great.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Justice League of America #35
After the obviously misleading image on the cover with a bit of text reading "The Return (but not who you think)", I was dying to find out who was back and I will say that I wasn't let down in the least! The JLA may be without its heavy hitters but I'm liking these tales with the backup crew.
Score: 4 out of 5

Superman #690
I've been enjoying the tales of Mon-El, The Guardian and Steel standing in for Big Blue in his flagship title while he's away battling for New Krypton...until this issue that is. It's made up of 4 mini-issues featuring The Guardian, Steel, Zatara and Ion. But other than a few cool scenes with The Guardian and Steel it just falls flat for me. I'm hoping it's just a small misstep in what's been a cool storyline thus far.
Score: 2.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pull List Reviews - July 22

Green Lantern #44
As Blackest Night continues to rip through the DC Universe, it's Hal Jordan and Barry vs an undead Martian Manhunter. Apparently, it's hard to beat a telepath who can change shape, make his body intangible and has the strength of Superman. Who knew? We also get a very cool look at how the Black Lanterns view the rest of the universe (You'll get no spoilers here! Go read it!) And there's a short ending with John Stewart and his first look at the black power rings which ends in one awesome cliffhanger.
Score: 5 out of 5

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2
The origins of prominent corps members continues here with the origins of Beez (Red Lantern), Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire) and Blume (Orange Lantern). The origin of Beez is the most interesting with the other two being fairly predictable (and the origin of Blume coming to an amusing end). A good read but, as I said last week, this one only stands up as a companion to Blackest Night.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Dethklok vs The Goon #1
Being a huge fan of Eric Powell's The Goon and Adult-Swim's Metalocalypse, I had to get this one shot from Dark Horse. I expected a lame story going in but what I got was worse than that. I found out two things. One: Eric Powell can't draw the simplistic Dethklok. And two: Dethklok is funnier on screen than in a comic. Powell's art is amazing (as usual) when the Goon's world is on the page. His renditions of Dethklok on the other hand look like bad fan art. And reading the dialog for Dethklok without the brilliant voice acting from the show just seems sort of flat. Sure, the story is cheesy and pointless but that I expected so I don't knock it for that. But I think I'll stick to reading The Goon on his own while watching Metalocalypse on the telly.
Score: 1.5 out of 5

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pull List Reviews - July 15

Alright folks! I promised it on Twitter and now I deliver. This is the first of my (hopefully) weekly column here to review the comics on my pull list. And don't worry, fanboys (and girls). I'll try to do so as spoiler-free as possible. So without further ado...

Blackest Night #1
This is the book that DC fans (and in particular Green Lantern fans) have been waiting on since it's been teased in all the GL books for nearly a year. The Blackest Night has begun! (See Twitpic here.) This week we are hit with a double shot blast. The first is the main book in the new 8 issue mini-series. The basic premise for those of you living under a rock or who didn't pick up Blackest Night #0 back on Free Comic Book Day: A prophecy from the Book of Oa that holds the laws of the Green Lantern Corps foretells a "Blackest Night" when the dead will rise. These past few weeks in the GL books has shown that a black energy lantern has formed around the body of the Anti-Monitor who died back during the Sinestro Corps War and a the Black Hand has been sulking around graves and being generally creepy. Now with the start of the first issue of the series, the black energy lantern unleashes an army of black power rings in search of dead flesh to revive and join the ranks of the Black Lanterns. We're teased a bit with the actual number of heroes, villains and families dead in the DC universe before we get to the harsh first appearance of the first two Black Lanterns (besides the Black Hand of course) and it's a doozy who they are! I can't wait to see where this one goes! There are so many heroes in the DC world who are about to really hit a "blackest night".
Score: 5 out of 5

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1
The 2nd Blackest Night book of the week, the weekly Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps, is just what the title implies. It's a handful of short origins of prominent members in the upcoming Blackest Night series. In this issue, we get a look at the origin of Bro'Dee Walker (Saint Walker) of the Blue Lanterns and Mongul of the Sinestro Corps along with the 1st appearance of the enigmatic Indigo of the Indigo Tribe. (Technically it's the 2nd appearance as she was first seen in Blackest Night #0 as a teaser). It's a great companion piece to the main Blackest Night storyline but not doesn't really hold up on its own.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Superman/Batman #62
In this issue we get a one shot story with a flashback to the 1st team-up between Robin and Supergirl. It's a filler piece to be sure but not bad. It's actually gets pretty gruesome as Supergirl gets a few shocks on her tour around Arkham Asylum. I just wish this series would catch up with continuity somehow what with Bats being dead and Supes being on New Krypton.
Score: 4 out of 5

Action Comics #879
The "World Without Superman" is actually shaping up pretty well. This issue continues with the near capture of Nightwing and Flamebird by the U.S. military as they, in turn, try to capture renegade Kryptonians. All in all, it's a lot of fighting but we start to get hints (one of 'em pretty big) into what's really behind the new stars of Action Comics. There's also a backup story featuring Captain Atom. It's nice to look at with some great art but I have no idea what's happening yet.
Score 3.5 out of 5

Monday, July 13, 2009

100 Essential Geek Skills (My Results)

I loved the 100 Essential Geek Skills post over at GeekDad so much that I decided to count up and test myself on how geeky I am by their standard.

These are things that every geek should know or be able to do.

Below are my results. I got 85 out of the 100 skills. Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

Now be sure to reply with your own scores!

GeekDad's 100 Essential Geek Skills

[X] 1. Properly secure a wireless router.
[X] 2. Crack the WEP key on a wireless router.
[X] 3. Leech Wifi from your neighbor.
[X] 4. Screw with Wifi leeches.
[X] 5. Setup and use a VPN.
[X] 6. Work from home or a coffee shop as effectively as you do at the office.
[X] 7. Wire your own home with Ethernet cable.
[X] 8. Turn a web camera into security camera.
[X] 9. Use your 3G phone as a Wi-Fi access point.
[X] 10. Understand what “There’s no Place Like” means.
[X] 11. Identify key-loggers.
[X] 12. Properly connect a TV, Tivo, XBox, Wii, and Apple TV so they all work together with the one remote.
[X] 13. Program a universal remote.
[X] 14. Swap out the battery on your iPod/iPhone.
[X] 15. Benchmark Your Computer
[X] 16. Identify all computer components on sight.
[X] 17. Know which parts to order from, and how to assemble them into a working PC.
[X] 18. Troubleshoot any computer/gadget problem, over the phone.
[X] 19. Use any piece of technology intuitively, without instruction or prior knowledge.
[X] 20. How to irrecoverably protect data.
[X] 21. Recover data from a dead hard drive.
[X] 22. Share a printer between a Mac and a PC on a network.
[X] 23. Install a Linux distribution. (Hint: Ubuntu 9.04 is easier than installing Windows)
[X] 24. Remove a virus from a computer.
[X] 25. Dual (or more) boot a computer.
[X] 26. Boot a computer off a thumb drive.
[X] 27. Boot a computer off a network drive.
[X] 28. Replace or repair a laptop keyboard.
[X] 29. Run more than two monitors on a single computer.
[X] 30. Successfully disassemble and reassemble a laptop.
[X] 31. Know at least 10 software easter eggs off the top of your head.
[X] 32. Bypass a computer password on all major operating systems. Windows, Mac, Linux
[X] 33. Carrying a computer cleaning arsenal on your USB drive.
[X] 34. Bypass content filters on public computers.
[X] 35. Protect your privacy when using a public computer.
[X] 36. Surf the web anonymously from home.
[ ] 37. Buy a domain, configure bind, apache, MySQL, php, and Wordpress without Googling a how-to.
[ ] 38. Basic *nix command shell knowledge with the ability to edit and save a file with vi.
[ ] 39. Create a web site using vi.
[X] 40. Transcode a DVD to play on a portable device.
[ ] 41. Hide a file in an image using steganography.
[X] 42. Knowing the answer to life, the universe and everything.
[X] 43. Share a single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers without a KVM switch.
[X] 44. Google obscure facts in under 3 searches. Bonus point if you can use I Feel Lucky.
[X] 45. Build amazing structures with LEGO and invent a compelling back story for the creation.
[X] 46. Understand that it is LEGO, not Lego, Legos, or Lego’s.
[X] 47. Build a two story house out of LEGO, in monochrome, with a balcony.
[X] 48. Construct a costume for you or your kid out of scraps, duct tape, paper mâché, and imagination.
[X] 49. Be able to pick a lock.
[ ] 50. Determine the combination of a Master combination padlock in under 10 minutes.
[X] 51. Assemble IKEA furniture without looking at the instructions. Bonus point if you don’t have to backtrack.
[X] 52. Use a digital SLR in full manual mode.
[X] 53. Do cool things to Altoids tins.
[X] 54. Be able to construct paper craft versions of space ships.
[X] 55. Origami! Bonus point for duct tape origami. (Ductigami)
[X] 56. Fix anything with duct tape, chewing gum and wire.
[X] 57. Knowing how to avoid being eaten by a grue.
[X] 58. Know what a grue is.
[X] 59. Understand where XYZZY came from, and have used it.
[X] 60. Play any SNES game on your computer through an emulator.
[X] 61. Burn the rope.
[X] 62. Know the Konami code, and where to use it.
[X] 63. Whistle, hum, or play on an iPhone, the Cantina song.
[X] 64. Learning to play the theme songs to the kids favorite TV shows.
[X] 65. Solve a Rubik’s Cube.
[X] 66. Calculate THAC0.
[X] 67. Know the difference between skills and traits.
[X] 68. Explain special relativity in terms an eight-year-old can grasp.
[ ] 69. Recite pi to 10 places or more.
[X] 70. Be able to calculate tip and split the check, all in your head.
[X] 71. Explain that the colours in a rainbow are roygbiv.
[X] 72. Understand the electromagnetic spectrum - xray, uv, visible, infrared, microwave, radio.
[X] 73. Know the difference between radiation and radioactive contamination.
[X] 74. Understand basic electronics components like resistors, capacitors, inductors and transistors.
[ ] 75. Solder a circuit while bottle feeding an infant. (lead free solder please.)
[X] 76. The meaning of technical acronyms.
[ ] 77. The coffee dash, blindfolded (or blurry eyed). Coffee [cream] [sugar]. In under a minute.
[ ] 78. Build a fighting robot.
[ ] 79. Program a fighting robot.
[ ] 80. Build a failsafe into a fighting robot so it doesn’t kill you.
[X] 81. Be able to trace the Fellowship’s journey on a map of Middle Earth.
[ ] 82. Know all the names of the Dwarves in The Hobbit.
[X] 83. Understand the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel.
[X] 84. Know where your towel is and why it is important.
[X] 85. Re-enact the parrot sketch.
[X] 86. Know the words to The Lumberjack Song.
[X] 87. Reciting key scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
[X] 88. Be able to recite at least one Geek Movie word for word.
[ ] 89. Know what the 8th Chevron does on a Stargate and how much power is required to get a lock.
[X] 90. Be able to explain why it’s important that Han shot first.
[X] 91. Know why it is just wrong for Luke and Leia to kiss.
[X] 92. Stop talking Star Wars long enough to get laid.
[X] 93. The ability to name actors, characters and plotlines from the majority of sci-fi movies produced since 1968.
[X] 94. Cite Mythbusters when debunking a myth or urban legend.
[ ] 95. Sleep with a Cricket bat next to your bed.
[X] 96. Have a documented plan on what to do during a zombie or robot uprising.
[X] 97. Identify evil alternate universe versions of friends, family, co-workers or self.
[ ] 98. Be able to convince TSA that the electronic parts you are carrying are really not a threat to passengers.
[X] 99. Talk about things that aren’t tech related.
[X] 100. Get something on the front page of Digg.