I missed getting comics last week due to all that holiday madness so I had a huge haul this week. Add to that the fortuitous little sale at my local shop and boom, Ben buys $80 worth of comics at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t help myself. Now I’m not going over every single issue, too many, but I want to highlight some of my favorite reads.
The Ghoul #1-3
An awesome limited series by artist Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson, the Ghoul is a monstrous government employee who investigates paranormal disturbances around the world. Sounds like Hellboy right? There are some nice things about the Ghoul that differentiate him from Mignola’s red demon. The Ghoul is still a mystery to the world, making the entire tone of the story a little more tense whenever he’s out in the world.
Also, the Ghoul is much more… human. I suppose that doesn’t make much sense but he’s more worldly, more in tune with the mortal plane. He eats our food, he uses our guns (to awesome effect), and doesn’t have a depressing prophecy hanging over his head. But enough about the Ghoul himself, what about the comic?
It’s got a decent story, nothing ground breaking, but it’s a fun supernatural thriller of sorts. Niles does a great job of fleshing out the Ghoul, his personality, and the world he inhabits, someplace not too different from our own. The rest of the characters aren’t exactly ancillary but Detective Klimpt provides a necessary neophyte foil to the Ghoul’s battle-hardened veteran persona and I thought Dr. Macabre and the Dead Detective were fun additions to the plot, however short their appearances.
Wrightson does a wonderful job setting the tone of the tale with his pencils. Everything is dark, nothing is pretty. The words “gritty” and “sublime” come to mind. The Ghoul is appropriately monstrous, as are his enemies. Unfortunately, Wrightson only gets 21 pages to work with as 5 pages are used for a nice little back-up story that helps to more thoroughly explain who the Ghoul is, his motivations, and his history.
Honestly, I really enjoyed The Ghoul. It doesn’t redefine the horror/detective genre but the writing is solid, the art fits well, and the comic is fun. What more do you want?
I’ll hope you’ll forgive my short digital hiatus, I just needed a break from things, but I’m back and this blog is going to be bigger and better than ever! With the year’s end looming nigh and Christmas already passed, I was thinking it might be time for a list or two. You know, maybe something like “the best comics I read in 2010” or something like that. What do you think?
Regardless, I’m going to get back to writing my MVC3 character analyses, I have an editorial edits very close to finished, I’m planning on writing some novel reviews (books mind you, I don’t mean anything ground breaking. Heh.), talk about comics some more, and really delve into my fighting game obsession.
I think that sounds like a great plan. Heck, maybe I’ll even start posting some comics up here (of my own design), put some of my grad school materials on the site (curriculum vitae, research paper), thoughts about interning, freelance writings, and so much more. Oh, and I’m going to clean this place up a bit. It just screams “SAVE ME FROM MY LIFE OF QUIET DESPERATION AND DREARY NORMALCY!”
Well Christmas is just a few days away and what am I doing, thinking about the comics that I want. Yeah, a little bit selfish maybe but I already did my Christmas shopping. Quick aside, I never get gift receipts and I always rip off the tags. Why? Because I’m getting you a gift and if you don’t like it, well then too freaking bad. I didn’t have to get you anything now did I? Grin and bear it mother chucker, you’re building character.
Ok… and now here are the comics I want this week.
Dark Horse The Guild: Vork #1 – $3.50 – I’m a huge fan of The Guild and I honestly enjoyed the previous series. Why not pick it up?
DC Comics Green Lantern Corps #55 – $2.99 – Aside from Guy, Kyle is my favorite Green Lantern so him fighting for the love of his one true love (kinda) against the Weaponer of Qward with Sinestro hot on his heels? Heck yeah I’m picking it up.
Image Comics Chew #16 – $2.99 – You guys know how much I dig this series and with the cliffhanger ending we saw in the last ish… How does a food psychic get involved with aliens? I NEED TO KNOW!
Invincible #76 – $2.99 – It’s Mark, his father, and Allen the Alien vs. the last of the Viltrumites. Kirkman and Ottley have been hitting this series out of the park for a long time now. I can’t wait.
Marvel Comics Incredible Hulks #619 – $3.99 – Did you see what the resurrected Abomination did to A-Bomb last issue? I’m sticking with this book just because of that, and the fact that the She-Hulk was drawn with actual bulging muscles… mmmm. I think we’re going to get mired in plot twists in the very near future though.
Ultimate Comics Doom #1 – $3.99 – I haven’t heard anything about this series but I’m willing to pick it up. I really like Ultimate Nick Fury and the Ultimate Mystery books were intriguing. Let’s see what it’s got. Oh, and I thought Ultimate Doom was dead? Then again, maybe that’s not what this series is about.
Uncanny X-Men #531 – $3.99 – I like the Uncanny X-Men series and I love Cyclops. I will pick this up regardless of how bad it sucks. I’m not saying this series sucks though! Far from it. This book has been absolutely solid and it doesn’t look like that’s bound to change any time soon.
Avatar Press Alan Moore’s Neonomicon #3 – $3.99 – Quite possibly the most disgusting and altogether wrong thing that I’ve read in a while, but also the most fascinating. I can’t look away.
Amaterasu She slices, she dices, she creates, and she destroys, she’s the golden wolf goddess Amaterasu! I think Ammy is probably the most unusual addition to the MVC3 roster, bar none. Way to think outside the box Capcom!
First impressions: Mad dangerous and crazy annoying. Her hitbox is tiny, she has an entire screen hyper, a slow down hyper that enhances her combo options, deceptive range, a whole slew of normals, and solid OTG options.
Yeah, Ammy player are going to have a lot to work with. NOW ON WITH THE SHOW!
Video 3 – Seth Killian Walkthrough
Normals Unlike most other characters in MVC3 who only have one set of special moves, Amaterasu actually has three depending on which weapon she has equipped and all of them have different properties. Also, the weapon she has equipped affects the special moves she has available to her at any given time. Finally, you can switch move sets at any time allowing for INCREDIBLE combo ability.
Reflector Gives Ammy her fastest move set, with the highest combo potential (Video 1 – :21). She has absolutely sick air combo potential with these normals. Because she attacks with the flaming disc on her back and not her actual body, some of her moves have strange hit boxes, allowing for some combos that might not seem immediately possible. Gives access to Counter Spinning Piledriver Special.
Glaive This move set increases her range, damage, OTG possibilities, and allows for some incredibly meaty strikes that you can incorporate into block strings. In the air she can charge up her downward sword strike which causes a downward wall bounce on hit which can lead into her Elements hyper for big damage (Video 1 – 1:00). Lots of recovery on these strikes however. Gives you access to her Sword Dash Strike.
Rosary Gives Amaterasu sick range and lockdown capabilities. She can do damage from nearly the entire screen away (Video 2 – :43). However, the range boost is balanced by relatively weaker strikes and much decreased combo potential but it gives her access to her Cold Star (Ice Blast) special (Video 1 – :46).
Specials 8-Way Air Dash Amaterasu launches a little vine to the other side of the screen and floats along it. It looks incredibly slow and obvious (Video 3 – :44) but it is cancelable (Video 3 – :55) and that will make it much more dangerous and open up some great opportunities for mind game madness.
Cold Star Only available when the Rosary is equipped, Amaterasu fires wicked-fast multi-shot projectiles that do heaps of damage and freeze the enemy on hit. Can be utilized on the ground (Video 1 – :48), as an anti-air (Video 1 – :51), and from the air at a downward angle (Video 3 – 2:00). This move is a spammers dream. It has awesome lockdown potential, does great damage, has very little recovery, can punish jump-ins, and can even be cancelled into her Elements hyper (Video 1 – 1:15, however this may only be possible because of the effects of her Slow Down hyper at the time)!
Paper Cut Amaterasu calls a little piece of paper onto the screen that slowly floats downward from either a high, medium, or low height and damages players if they run into it (Video 3 – 3:11). The light version falls from a low height and far away, medium falls from a medium height at medium range, and hard falls from nearly right above her from high up.
I keep talking about lockdown potential and this move only adds to her keep away game. You can combo into it, sure (Video 3 – 3:15), but really you’re going to want to use them as land-mines, forcing your opponents slow their rushdown game and think about how they’re going to approach you. It’s not clear whether or not you can have more than one paper cut on the screen at a time, probably not, but if you could? Wowza.
Counter Spinning Piledriver This move is only available when Ammy has her Reflector equipped. Basically it counters a physical attack and the wolf goddess piledrives her enemy, causing what looks like a downward wall bounce (Video 1 – :21). She might be able to use her airborne Cold Star attack, Elements hyper, or maybe an assist to combo her enemy further. Fun stuff!
Dash Charge Can be done on the ground (Video 3 – 2:53) and in the air at a horizontal angle, upward 45 degree, and downward 45 degree angle which cause a horizontal wall bounce (Video 3 – 2:09). It is available with all of her weapons and opens up some nice OTG combos followed by her charged Glaive strike (Video 1 – :36) followed by the Elements hyper for some mean damage (Video 1 – :57). If you don’t feel like using her 8-way Air Dash you this might be a decent substitute if you’re going on the offensive.
Sword Dash Strike I am assuming this is only available with the Glaive equipped. Amaterasu charges either horizontally (Video 3 – 3:20), or vertically (Video 3 – 3:08) slicing her enemy with her electrified sword. It can probably be done at a 45 degree angle as well. It causes electrocution and a hearty amount of stun and you’ll probably be able to use it within combos and as an anti-air.
Hypers Elements This hyper is sick. It does great damage, can be done on the ground and in the air, comes out instantly, and hits full screen (Video 1 – 1:01). This is her go-to hyper, no exceptions. It can be comboed off of the OTG charged Glaive strike (Video 1 – 1:01), canceled into from her Cold Star projectiles (Video 1 – 1:15), and looks incredibly safe on block. Honestly, you see a whiffed attack, throw this out! Even if they block it you get great chip damage. If only every character had a hyper this great…
Slow Down It looks much less useful than her Elements hyper, but we haven’t seen it used much. Basically, Amaterasu howls and the enemy’s movement speed is reduced drastically. It looks like this hyper hits regardless if the enemy is blocking or not (Video 2 – 2:05). It lasts for about 5 seconds, so unless you can get in quick and do some damage, I don’t see it being used very often. One thing to note however, Seth Killian says that with the enemy slowed, new combo options open up for Amaterasu so we will need to keep an eye out for that (Video 3 – 2:55).
Level 3 Serious damage and some very cool looks make this a Level 3 you’ll want to use whenever you can (Video 3 – 2:29). You can combo into it as you can see in the video below at 2:08, so that increases its usefulness. So yeah… It looks awesome, has great vertical range (almost looks like it could anti-air), and does great damage. USE IT!
Video 4 – Seth Killian Walkthrough 2
Miscellaneous The fact that grass grows where she walks is amazing and the way her disk, rosary, and sword orbit around her looks great. Her model is by far and away the most visually stunning in the game.
Final Thoughts Ammy has the tools to play a mean keep away game with her Cold Star and Paper Cut specials combined with her Rosary normals. Plan on totally control the playing field with her normals, specials, and full-screen hyper. If she wants to get in close she has some great quick normals that can change into some deathly dangerous aerial raves coupled with wicked OTG possibilities with the Glaive. Also, despite her tiny hit box, her moves have some deceptive range.
She can duck under bullet and beam hypers, dish out great damage, spam for chip, and gosh she just looks amazing. She is going to be dangerous, really dangerous. For those of you that are still angry that Clover Studios went under, this is your chance to make the mainstream intellectual properties pay!
p.s. Thanks to the fine gentlemen at the Shoryuken forums for getting the names of some of these specials and figuring out which specials are unique to the weapons: Syke1, yah yaahh b*tch, Windsagio, Jet Set Dizzy, Jnana.
Super-Skrull And in this corner, weighing in at a fluctuating glignork, the interstellar annihilator, the elastic executor, sporting the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, he’s one of their most fearsome foes: Kl’rt, the Super-Skrull!
I gotta say, I was uber-pumped to see that Kl’rt made the roster. There are just so many awesome things that you can do with a character who has the combined abilities of Marvel’s First Family.
First Impressions: Absolute beast. His Tenderizer is going to be amazing while he’s on the screen and as an assist, he’s got an unblockable command grab, and his Level 3 hyper does sick damage.
LET’S GET IT ON!
Video 3 Super-Skrull Mini-Walkthrough
Normals From what we can see here, it looks like Skrull’s normals are insanely quick with ok range. He also has decently fast back and forward dashes (Video 1 – :45). Not much else to say really. One thing to note however; in the air Skrull has what appears to be a command normal that stops his forward momentum and sends him careening to the ground much like Hayato’s aerial roundhouse in MVC2 (Video 3 – 2:44). It might act as an overhead and looks like it causes a radial explosion effect in front of Kl’rt (Video 3 – 2:45).
Skrull unleashes a barrage of elastic arm, rock fist punches. This move hits OTG and bounces the opponent up for some hyper punishments (Video 3 – 2:03). It also hits horizontally (Video 3 – 2:30), and acts as an anti-air (Video 1 – 2:45). It can also be utilized in the air at a downward and upward angle but for fear of filling this page with embedded videos you can check out this link. Skrull does it at 2:05 in the video. The Tenderizer looks wickedly difficult to punish simply because it comes out fast, has insane range, can hit low, and can be cancelled into hypers. Sick.
One of Skrull’s specials that has very rarely been caught on camera. Basically Skrull charges up and when you release the button he goes screaming across the screen and delivers a massive fiery rock punch that causes a horizontal wall bounce on connection. It looks like it hits overhead but alas, it does not. You can see it in the video below at :24. I don’t see it being used very often just because it’s so obvious. It might be ok behind assists for some pressure but… eh.
An unblockable command grab with absolutely sick range. The angle of the grab depends on the strength of the button, with the anti-air version going nearly an entire screen (Video 1 – 2:52). You can see it connects on Morrigan during a hyper animation in Video 5, below, at 1:02 in. This is a seriously awesome component to Skrull’s game. You can OTG off of this with the Tenderizer into his Nova Spin hyper (Video 3 – 2:03) and his Level 3 (Video 2 – 2:55).
When you’re playing against a good Skrull you’re never going to be out of range for a beat down. Your jump-ins won’t be safe without an assist that causes Skrull to block, turtlers will be eating Elastic Slam combo shenanigans, and you’ll constantly need to negotiate your spacing outside the range of his horizontal Elastic Slam. MIND GAMES ARE GO!
Skrull launches himself into the air, actually leaving the screen, only to slam back to the ground on top of his enemy (Video 3 – 2:33). The button pressed changes the landing spot: light attack lands him in his original position, medium puts him about mid-screen, hard comes down at the far end of the screen. You can combo into this from an aerial rave and then into his Level 3 for some DISGUSTING damage (Video 2 – :15).
I think you’re going to be abusing this move on beamers and spammers. It makes Skrull completely unpunishable until he lands. You think Dante, Deadpool, or Ryu wants to chip you to death with a hyper? Use the hard Meteor Strike, avoid it completely, and retaliate with extreme prejudice. I like the way this move looks. A lot.
Skrull ignites his arms and spins forward doing some damage. The damage, the duration of the spin, and the amount of forward movement are dependent on the strength of the button pushed. The hard version knocks the enemy into the air and puts them in a juggle state and can combo into his Super Nova hyper. You can see it in the video below at 1:15. The light version looks pretty safe on block and might be useful in block strings (Video 5 – 1:15).
Hypers Nova Spin
This is probably Skrull’s most versatile hyper. He coils up and then launches himself spinning into the air, his body completely covered in flames. You can guide the direction of this hyper while he’s in the air and works from the ground as well as in the air. You can combo into it after his OTG Tenderizer (Video 3 – 2:03), from his standing magic series (Video 5 – 1:40), and you’ll probably be able to land it off of his Meteor Strike and aerial exchanges.
Raging Inferno Skrull basically explodes into flames, doing damage in a funky circular radius around his body. You can combo into it from his launcher (Video 4 – 2:50), the hard version of Stone Smite (Video 4 – :24), and off of his Meteor Strike (Video 2 – 1:54). While not quite as versatile as Nova Spin, it definitely has its uses and I can see it coming into play in any number of respectable DHC combinations.
Death Penalty – Level 3 Ultra painful, very flashy, a beat down of epic proportions. Skrull disappears into the air Meteor Striking his opponent. If it hits he goes into a canned special and you’ll get every hit. He winds himself up, pounds the crud out of them with elastic arms, slams them with Ben Grimm’s stone fists, and finally punch them into oblivion with flaming rock haymaker. This thing is going to be really dangerous.
I can’t tell if you can guide the distance of the landing but from the videos it looks like it only hits at the far edge of the screen away from Skrull, about a character’s length from the edge. However, it combos off of his OTG Tenderizer (Video 1 – 3:00) and from a successful Meteor Strike (Video 2 – :16). Sick, believe it.
Assists Anti-Air Tenderizer Basically just fires off his Tenderizer at an upward angle, catching enemies in a flurry of punches (Video 1 – :30). I could see this absolutely being useful to punish jump-ins and start aerial raves.
Orbital Grudge An expansion type assist. It’s basically the medium version of his special attack, just as an assist (Video 5 – :30). It’s probably going to be used to extend ground combos. I wonder if his flaming arms eat projectiles?
Stone Smite Another expansion type assist that has Skrull using Stone Smite to pressure the enemy (Video 4 – 1:53). If this hit as an overhead it would have been an amazing tool against turtlers. As it stands it still gives you a horizontal wall bounce on hit if Skrull doesn’t get hit in the start-up.
Miscellaneous Voiced by the same dude who did Mr. Bighead from Rocko’s Modern Life, Skrull looks to be one of the most unique characters on the roster, despite stealing his moves from the FF. The only thing I have to gripe about is his reliance on Human Torch-like attacks. I would have liked to see more Thing and Invisible Woman type moves but what do you do?
Final Thoughts I honestly think Super-Skrull is going to be top tier, alongside Dante, Deadpool, and Amaterasu. He has a ton of mean specials, an incredibly dangerous unblockable command grab, a ridiculously versatile hyper, and a Level 3 that connects off of two of his specials from easy aerial raves. Honestly, Skrull is going to mess a lot of people up in the coming months and I can’t wait.
So in the wake of all of my MVC3 character analyses (plural?) I almost forgot to focus in on comic books! This Wednesday, today, I need to get comics. Lots of comics, but not too many because Christmas is coming up and I need to get things for others. You know, Jesus’ birthday and all. Continue reading Weekly Want List – December 15th, 2010→
Nathan Spencer a.k.a. the Bionic Commando Do I know anything about Capcom’s Bionic Commando franchise? Absolutely not. Do I really like how this gentlemen is shaping up in Marvel vs. Capcom 3? You bet your a$$!
First impression: Most mobile grappler ever! He can grab you from a screen away, grab you while you’re laying helpless after a beat down, grab you while you’re in the air, and of course he has a sick unblockable grab with what looks like different followups. Holy S team it looks like we might have a Jack of All Trades on our hands here.
Let’s do this thing!
Karsticles pointed out that the front dash doing damage was actually just Arthur’s assist hitting at the exact moment of Spencer dashes into Spidey. GOOD EYES!
Normals Spencer’s normals look dang quick. Not only that but it seems like they do great damage. His little aerial raves simply womp, even without the OTG grapple claw followups. His low magic series has great range (Video 2 – 1:52) and his low hard attack comes out really quick and combos into his launcher (Video 2 – :16) and his Bionic Punch hyper for some quick and dirty damage (Video 2 – :50). That 4 hit combo does nearly 50% damage to MODOK!
Specials Dash Grapple I can’t help but think of Hazama from BlazBlue when he’s shooting that arm out and swinging around. It’s basically just like Spider-Man’s web sling dash and functions as his air dash. In the air he can dash backwards (Video 1 – :21) and forwards (Video 2 – :14) horizontally and at a downward 45 degree angle to either cross up or land right in front of the enemy (Video 2 – :49).
If the dash grapple hits the other player it does a little bit of damage. It doesn’t look like it does enough stun to combo out of, at least not on grounded enemies. In Video 2 at :14 for example, Spencer actually hits Spidey and there is a bit of stun there, but unless you can cancel the dash or you manage to hit someone in the middle of it I don’t think it can be used to start combos.
The two swinger square off.
Bionic Reel Spencer’s token special move. He goes all Scorpion and launches his bionic hand to grab the enemy while yelling “Get over here!” Gotta love the shout out to MK. Spencer’s hand travels all the way across the screen and if it hits the enemy, does not grab on block, it reels them in (Video 1 – :26). It gives him a chance for a free combo and will set up some nasty shenanigans with his unblockable command grab (Video 1 – :44).
Spencer can shoot the arm on the ground horizontally, from the air at a downward 45 degree angle (Video 1 – :37), and straight down while in the air (Video 1 – :49). What looks interesting though is that while the ground Bionic Reel pulls characters in and you can choose the followup, the air grapples all lead to a kick that causes a horizontal wall bounce.
So after you’ve served up some meaty damage from an aerial rave you can OTG Bionic Reel for a horizontal wall bounce that sets you up for another aerial rave (Video 2 – :18), or some wicked mix-up mind games (Video 2 – 1:55). Also you’ll probably be able to combo it into his Hyper Bionic Punch. One last note, it appears that you can only OTG for 2 hits, the grapple itself and the kick, after the Hyper Bionic Punch because the kick does not create a wall bounce (Video 1 – :35).
Command Grab Spencer grabs his enemy and punches them into the air for some combo action. He can perform this move on the ground (Video 1 – :44) and as an anti-air (Video 1 – :39). The button pushed probably changes the angle of the grab. The command grab also has a mid-air kick followup that causes a horizontal wall bounce (Video 1 – :39) and probably allows for either a free combo, the Bionic Reel, or his Hyper Bionic Punch.
Bionic Punch Spencer take a quick step backwards and then punches with his bionic arm with incredible force. On hit this move causes a horizontal wall bounce (Video 1 – :32). The strength of the button pressed changes the moves start-up as well as the damage done and the amount of wall bounce.
You can combo into it off of his standing magic series, as you saw in Video 1 at :32, or off of his air grapple wall kick (Video 1 – :52). Depending on the wall bounce and Spencer’s positioning you can combo it into his Hyper Bionic Punch (Video 1 – :32) or his Hyper Bionic Reel (Video 1 – :32) for some amazing damage.
In Video 2 at :26 you can see Spencer sort of hauls back before punching Spidey right in the kisser. I’m wondering if he pulls back far enough to make some short attacks whiff giving him a free attack? Granted it’s probably unsafe on block or whiff so you shouldn’t be using it by itself but…
Hypers Hyper Bionic Punch: This move is about as simple as you can get. Spencer rushes forward and punches the enemy, his bionic arm surrounded in energy. It hits once, does massive damage, AND it’s super easy to combo into!
You landed a Bionic Punch? Follow up with a Hyper Bionic Punch (Video 1 – :32). Want to combo it off of his low magic series? Go ahead (Video 2 – :50). You’ll probably be able to combo into it from his air Grapple Reel and off of his Command Grab… Quick and dirty damage.
Hyper Bionic Reel Not much to say about this super besides it looks amazing and seems relatively combo friendly. As you can see in Video 1 at :51 he combos into it from his Bionic Punch after an OTG Bionic Reel. Once the grapple arm hits you don’t need to worry about any of the hits missing either because it’s a cinematic super. WEE!
Miscellaneous I like that he has character specific banter with both Iron Man and Spider-Man. His bionic arm is always on the far side of his body. It’s kinda distracting once you see it.
Final Thoughts Spencer is highly mobile, his grapple dash does damage, his forward dash does damage (if that’s indeed what it is), he is an OTG and reset monster and can do heaps of damage with very little meter.
Honestly, I’m surprised that no one has been talking about him because out of all the characters I’ve seen he looks by far the most solid. I imagine he’ll be a great solo character. The only downside I can see is that his Bionic Reel isn’t the fastest and it doesn’t grab on block. If it has less than stellar recovery you can expect to be eating a lot of damage off of beam/bullet supers.
So there you have it. The Bionic Commando in all his bionic glory.