Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cartoon Reviews: Gravity Falls Episodes 1-11


The Story
When twins Dipper and Mabel are dropped off at their Great Uncle Stan's home, in the town of Gravity Falls, Dipper discovers a book that reveals there is more to the quiet little town than either he or his sister had suspected. What follows is eleven episodes of supernatural adventures, from zombies, sea monsters, psychics, time travelers, and even presidential intrigue.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manga Reviews: Fairy Tail Volume 6

The Story
While Gray fights Lyon, Natsu fights the masked Zalty. Both Fairy Tail members beat their respective opponents just in time for Deliora to finish being revived. Gray prepares to encase it in Iced Shell again, but before he can do this Deliora starts to fall to pieces.

Back in the village they find that the villagers are still demons. Erza uses Natsu's help to destroy the moon, but what they destroy instead is a lens of crystalized moon drip that had been affecting the villagers's memories, revealing that they were originally demons, but they thought they were humans.

Back in Magnolia they find their guild destroyed by a rival guild, known as Phantom Lord. At first Makarov refuses to retaliate, but the attack on three of their members by the Iron Dragonslayer Gajeel forces their hand. While Fairy Tail is attacking Phantom Lord, two of Phantom Lord's S class wizards kidnap Lucy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Grading Scale Explained

I recently decided to start giving out grades at the end of my reviews. The problem with this is that I hate writing grades. I feel that usually a review should be able to speak for itself, without a number at the end to quantify it. But apparently people like grades, and who am I to do anything that doesn't help increase my pageviews?

But in order to help people understand my new grading system, and to help myself understand it, I'm putting this up as an explanation for how my grading scale works. This might be subject to change later on, but for now this is the scale that I'll be using for the foreseeable future.

The grade range goes from one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best. The meaning of each individual grade is as follows.

1/5 - It's complete Garbage. Don't waste your money buying it, not even out of curiosity.
2/5 - It's not good, but not the worst. I recommend not buying it, but you could do worse.
3/5 - It's enjoyable, even good, but not groundbreaking.
4/5 - It's great. Most anyone can enjoy this.
5/5 - It transcends criticism. This score is only for the perfect.

As you might expect, there won't be that many 5/5's handed out. The reason I'm setting it as such a high goal is because I think true perfection is rare. I'm trying to hold myself to a higher standard. If I start giving everything I enjoy a 5/5 then the scores will become pointless. The best score is reserved only for things that rock me to my very soul.

As I said, the way I grade things might change. And if my grading scale ever changes radically, I'll be sure to post an updated rubric. For now, refer back to this if you have any questions about my scores.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman - The Dark Knight 012

The Story
Scarecrow experiments on Batman, revealing another take on the murder of Bruce's parents, with more of a focus on the topic of fear. Scarecrow's own backstory is revealed, showing his growth from a damaged child to a psychotic adult. With the exception of another visit from Scarecrow's morality pet, the majority of the issue is fear hallucinations, or backstory.

The Review
I liked the parallel this issue draws between Batman and the Scarecrow. I've been thinking for a bit that as far as foils go, Scarecrow makes perhaps more sense than the Joker. That's not to say I don't like the Batman and Joker dynamic, but there's a certain logic to Scarecrow being Batman's foil.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

News: Hobbit Titles and Release Dates (Book Spoiler Warning)

You can find the original announcement here!

Well, looks like we finally have all the info about Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.

Title                                                                     Release Date
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey                  December 14, 2012
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug                December 13, 2013
The Hobbit: There and Back Again                     July 18, 2014

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about this being a trilogy, even though I never would have imagined there was enough material to make The Hobbit into three movies. But if Peter Jackson is digging into the appendices then I can't help but think this will be a good thing.

Looks like we're in for another three year journey, but it's interesting that Jackson is releasing Part 3 half a year after Part 2. I guess that's a concession on the studio/filmmakers' part to all the fans that are complaining about having to wait three years instead of two for the whole story. Now you only need to wait two and a half.

I've been trying to figure out where each movie will end and start. I'm thinking that Part 1 will end at Beorn's home, and Part 2 will pick up with Bilbo and the Dwarves travelling into Mirkwood. It will end with Smaug's death at Laketown. Part 3 is tricky, because we don't know exactly what will be used from the appendices. But it's safe to say, I think, that Part 3 will mostly be the Battle of Five Armies, the ending, and whatever Jackson is using from the appendices.

This is all just guess work though. I honestly don't know what parts will be in which movie. But they're educated guesses. What does everyone else think? How would you distribute the plot of the book between the three movies? And what from the appendices do you want to see in the movies?

Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 012

The Story
After Dollhouse escapes, Catwoman finds Alvarez's cellphone, with a GPS tracking device on him. She has Spark vandalize the bat-signal to get Batman's attention, and leave a cellphone behind for him.

She then tracks down Dollhouse, and tries to fight her, but is hit with tranquilizer darts. Batman, who tracked her phone, crashes his car into the house. Dollhouse escapes, and so does Catwoman, leaving Batman and Alvarez to deal with the victims.

Later, Spark is confronted by Gwen about working for the police. He tries to convince her he isn't really working for them, but she shoots him. She then calls the Penguin, revealing that he was the one who tipped her off.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Nightwing 012

The Story
While the cops investigate the murder scene of the Republic members, Nightwing is attacked by Paragon. The two fight in the sewers, and end up being washed out into the bay, where Nie and his cops are waiting.

After getting home, Dick decides to fund the construction of Amusement Mile mostly from from his own pocket. He later apologizes to Sonia for the way he behaved, who tells him that she'd turned down the loan with the bank because she didn't want to be reminded about her father, and being around Dick reminds her of him.

Graphic Novel Reviews: Batman 012

The Story
The story focuses on Harper, and her brother Cullen, as the two are persecuted by thugs for Cullen's orientation. Harper tries to fight back when the thugs corner her and Cullen, but the two are beat until Batman arrives and saves them. After that Harper uses her job as an electrical engineer to help Batman maintain his city wide network, despite him telling her to not get involved. The story ends with Harper promising herself that she would not stop doing what she could for Batman.

The Review
For a book called Batman there was surprisingly little Batman in it. The entire focus, minus a few pages, is given to Harper and her brother. And it's absolutely glorious.

This is the first book of the New 52 that truly captures the appeal of Batman. As fun as it is to see the caped crusader fight super villains, too many of those stories lack the focus this one had. The story wasn't about Batman, it was about the people of Gotham, and the effect he has on them. THIS is what the last two to three issues of Batman and Robin should have been like. THIS is the most effective use of Batman I've seen in a while. Not as a person, or as a character, but as a symbol.