Friday, September 5, 2008

Invincible Iron Man

Issues 1-5
The story so far:
Ezekiel Stane hates Tony Stark and is trying to avenge the death of his father, Obadiah. Using stolen Stark tech he creates a bunch of suicide bombers who end up killing a bunch of innocents in various parts of the world, including some local superheroes in the Philippines.
Ezekiel has also used the stolen tech to turn himself in to a cyborg with as much if not more power than Iron Man himself. Tony whines a bit about how his greatest fear is that his tech will become obsolete when some one smarter than him makes it better, which is what Ezekiel does. Tony's only consolation is that Ezekiel isn't smart enough to make the tech himself, he has to use Stark's stuff and basically turn it up a notch.
Ezekiel, being the bad guy that he is, recruits some more suicide bombers and attacks Stark in a more direct manner by blowing up a new Stark skyscraper in Taiwan during an opening night party. Pepper Potts gets hurt, 200 guest get killed and Tony Stark gets pissed. Pepper lives but Tony did what was necessary to save her and installs the Iron Man life support tech in her chest. Pepper gets mad because she thinks that Tony turned her into a living bomb and he shows her that he didn't. There is the hint that she may end up in an Iron Man like role as he shows her that she can float using magnetism or something like that.
Finally, Stark figures out what Ezekiel is up to and deduces that he is going to try and destroy Tony as well as his company. Realizing that striking his four main facilities on four different continents at the same time would cripple the company Tony with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D, he is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D as well, go on the hunt for Ezekiel.
After ordering a world wide evacuations of Stark facilities Iron Man confronts Ezekiel and gets his butt handed to him.

*** Spoiler Alert****
Issue 5 ends with Ezekiel blowing Iron Man's head off. Now I think it is pretty obvious that this was just one of the Iron Man suits that Stark can control remotely. How else would he search all four facilities if he didn't use the remote controlled suits? So I expect next issue will have Tony show up and after a city destroying fight, Iron Man will win.

Overall Opinion:
I quit reading Iron Man back in the 90's and eventually came to dislike the character that had once been a favorite. After the character's treatment in Civil War my dislike became full on disdain. What changed my mind? Well, since the Iron Man movie kicked butt and I am a sucker, I had to pick up the new series. I don't regret it one bit. The book is really good, much better than I expected, though I still don't like the fact he is also the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. How can the man have any free time to be a billionaire playboy? Over all I say this is one of the better books put out by Marvel right now and highly recommend giving it a try.

For the RPG Gamer:
This book mixes several genres, mech, espionage, and superheroes, succesfully. There is a great deal of material for your next campaign in the book if your group likes those types of games. Naturally it would require some tweaking as you wouldn't want just one PC to be the "star" while the other players end up being support. You could easily adapt the story to include a team of mech heroes or a party that mixes high tech spies and mechs.
I personally would avoid straying too far into the fantasy& magic arena and stick with the more sci-fi elements. But you could easily have a standard superhero or magic user in the game if that is what you want. Personally I think that would create a completely different feel but you know what your group likes better than I do and can adjust the story as you see fit.

The Systems:
I think this story would be great for Mutants and Masterminds or the Hero system. Which makes sense as they are tailor made for a range of supers campaigns. But it would also work quite well with Palladium/Rifts/Heroes Unlimited, or d20 Modern. Though with d20 Modern you would likely need some of the tech supplements or the future book as well. Since I am trying to get my group to play more Rifts I will likely use that system as it excels in the area of Mega Damage and my group likes Mega Damage.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick Reviews: Battlestar Galactica RPG

The Battlestar Galactica RPG is based off of the popular TV series and it does not disappoint. The mechanics should be familiar to those who have played the fan fave Serenity RPG so people familiar with that system should have no problem switching over to the BSG setting.

Speaking of the Serenity RPG, this time Margaret Weiss Productions actually learned from past mistakes. There is plenty of information for ships and characters from the show and most of all there are character sheets to copy in the book. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t at least give a nod to the old BSG, but I am sure they don’t want any association between the two shows. There are plenty of stats for characters from the show, some that I honestly forgot about. There is also an appendix for ranks and lingo used in the show. If you love the show and/or the cortex system used in Serenity you should definitely pick this game up.

My main fear with this game is that it will encounter the same problems as the Serenity RPG. There won't be much done after the core book and as of yet I haven't seen much. As of right now both the Serenity and BSG sites are down. There wasn't anything useful on the BSG site anyway, not even character sheets, it was just a link to the online store where you could buy the game. While I love the products put out my Margaret Weis and crew, I have don't think they have the best track record. So far there has been little to no support for Serenity or BSG and as I just mentioned the sites aren't even up. I don't know if this means they have lost the licenses or if they are being renovated.

Still the BSG rpg is a great game and I had a lot of fun with it. So if nothing else it will make a good addition to your RPG collection if you are a BSG fan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Radio Shows: My New Addiction

When I was a kid we lived a few blocks from the local library and I spent many afternoons there discovering new worlds among the shelves. The librarians came to know me quite well and noticed that a great deal of my reading material was focused on science fiction, horror, and of course superheroes. It was on one of my visits that the library ladies introduced me to the old fashioned radio show, the Shadow to be exact. I knew of the character through many pop culture references and comic books, but had never actually heard the radio shows. So I anxiously checked out my cassette tapes (there were no CD’s back then) and hurried home.

I started the ritual of listening to these shows each night when I went to bed. Of course I usually got caught up in the stories and wouldn’t fall asleep until the side of the tape I was listening to was finished. I found that listening to these shows was as good and sometimes better than watching television. I would make a point to rush to the library to get more when I finished each set. After I had listened to all the available Shadow episodes I moved on to some of the pulp detective, western and even the comedy shows. I often wondered why they didn’t still do radio shows, I loved listening to them and even got a few of my friends to start. As the years went on I searched out and listened to these shows less frequently. Although I did try to catch War of the Worlds each Halloween until I moved out of the city and the A.M. stations became too hard to tune in. Then a few years back I discovered podcasts, which in turn led me to Decoder Ring Theater.

I was ecstatic when I discovered this show that is basically a modern day, old fashioned radio show. There are two features, the Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, and though they tend to be a little tongue in cheek, they are thoroughly enjoyable and completely in the spirit of the old time shows. While I like the pulp style PI stories of Black Jack Justice, I personally prefer the superhero adventures of the Red Panda. Whether you are like me and love serial radio shows or even if you have never listened to one you really should check out Decoder Ring Theater.

Finding Decoder Ring Theater reawakened my love for the old radio adventures; I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them. With the internet at my disposal I began looking for information about similar shows. Instead I stumbled upon something even better, actual old time radio shows.

There are quite a few sites where you can download original old time radio shows. As I explored these sites I found shows that I honestly didn’t know existed. The Blue Beetle show from the 1940’s was the one I was most excited to find, BB is one of my all time favorite characters though this show is about the original Dan Garret character and not Ted Kord, so I downloaded all of the episodes. I also found Flash Gordon, Frankenstein, Roy Rogers, George Burns and countless others. Unfortunately some of the more popular characters like Superman, the Lone Range, Green Hornet, and the Shadow were nowhere to be found. Never the less the shows I did find will provide me with hours of entertainment. I now know that they sell the more popular shows, like the Shadow, on CD so I may just pick them up too.

Below are a few sites where you can find and download these shows. Some of the sites may charge for certain shows but a great many of them offer free downloads. I recommend that you give these old shows a chance. They may be a little dated, but they are still incredibly entertaining and fun.
Old Time Radio Fans
Radiolovers Old time Radio
Also if you are a fan of the Golden Age check this site out. You can actually download copies of old GA comics. There selections is kind of slim put it’s still pretty cool.
Plus they do sell some old time radio shows.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Virgin Comics Closes

According to a recent ICv2 article Virgin Comics has shut down operation and is in the process of reorganizing. I didn't really like their books, but I still hate to see any comic book company fail.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Video Pick

I found this one on Youtube last Christmas and thought it was pretty funny. A nativity scene, gamer style.