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July 2015 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Plutona #1

Plutona #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Emi Lenox

A brand-new heartfelt super-hero series by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, Hawkeye) and amazing newcomer EMI LENOX!

This is definitely an easy one for me. Jeff Lemire is one of my favorite writers, and the art in the previews looks really cool. Also, with a premise that seems to be a superhero twist on the coming-of-age tale Stand By Me, I am definitely in for this one.

From Under Mountains #1

From Under Mountains #1

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland (A) Sloane Leong (CA) Marian Churchland

In the first issue of this new fantasy series, old feuds and new monsters rise up to haunt the isolated northern fortress of Karsgate.

The solicitation for this book doesn’t give us much to go on, but it doesn’t mean I’m any less excited. The recent release of 8house #1: Arclight was the best debut issue I’ve read in a long time, and Marian Churchland’s art was wonderful in it. She’s not doing the art in this issue of From Under Mountains, but just having her on the team and the possibility of being tied into the shared 8house universe makes it an instant add to my pull list.

Jughead #1

Jughead #1

Publisher: Archie Comic Publications

(W) Chip Zdarsky (A/CA) Erica Henderson

In the grand tradition of comic book reboots like Archie #1, Archie Comics proudly presents Jughead #1 from the comics dream team of Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck) and Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)! Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, Jughead Jones swears vengeance! Well, we mean, he doesn’t “swear.” This is still Archie Comics after all.

There have been a lot of interesting changes going on with Archie titles in the past year or so. Rebooting the main Archie title with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples is definitely the biggest news to come from all of that, but the newly announced Jughead book is another attention-grabber. I never thought I’d be reading a Jughead book, but with Chip Zdarsky writing this one, I will certainly be checking it out. After really enjoying what Staples and Waid have done in the new Archie #1, I’m looking forward to see where they go with these classic characters.

Mirrors Edge Exordium #1

Mirror’s Edge: Exordium #1

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

(W) Christofer Emgard (A) Mattias Haggstrom, Robert Sammelin (CA) Robert Sammelin

Leading up to the events of the highly anticipated new Mirror’s Edge game comes an exhilarating comic prequel that delves into the story of Faith, one of the most celebrated heroines in video games! Dare to enter the fast-paced, high-stakes world of life on the mirror’s edge!

I don’t know a whole lot about this title other than what’s in the solicitation, but I am so ready for next year’s release of Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (the follow-up to 2008’s cult favorite, parkour video game Mirror’s Edge). I’d love for them to flesh out the world shown so beautifully in the first game. Some might say I’m just riding the hype train for the new game, but what can I say? I bought these tickets seven years ago.

MTG – Origins is Coming

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The final core set for Magic: the Gathering is right around the corner and we’ll be having a host of events where you can play with these new cards.

First up will be our Pre-Release events.  The first will be at Midnight on Friday, July 10th.  The second will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 11th.  The third will be at 10:00 am on Sunday, July 12th.  All of these events have limited seating and registration is recommended (details about how our new calendar handles registration are below).

The next Origins events will be the two Friday Night Magic events at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 17th.  We will hold both a Standard Constructed event and a Booster Draft event (each player receiving 3 packs of Origins with which to build a 40 card deck).  These events do not require registration.

Our last event will be a Sealed Deck, Two-Headed Giant tournament at Noon on Saturday, July 18th.  Registration is recommended for this event.

HOW TO REGISTER

Our new calendar handles registration by “selling” tickets to our events.  We have set up all of our events to have the means of payment as “pay at the door”.  In other words, you don’t have to put in credit card or Paypal information.  Merely enter a little contact information and put the selected ticket in your cart.  When you check out you will only have the option to pay at the door and will receive an email confirmation of your registration (as will we).  If you are going to be signing up for many of our events in the future, you might consider creating a login account for yourself to save the bother of filling in all of that information each time.  If you register and need to cancel, just give us a quick call or email and we’ll put your ticket back into circulation, no worries.  If you have any questions about this process, feel free to call us at 269-349-8866.

Waldo visits Fanfare for July

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Fanfare is once again participating in Kalamazoo’s Where’s Waldo event, hosted by Bookbug? Your favorite bespectacled, stripey cartoon character will be hiding in twenty-five different local businesses, including Fanfare, for the month of July. Bookbug will have prizes for those who spot him around the town.

“Find Waldo Local in Kalamazoo!” passports list off the businesses where Waldo is hiding. You can get yours at Fanfare or any other participationg location. The first 100 Waldo seekers to get their passports stamped or signed at ten or more sites can bring their passports back to Bookbug to collect prizes. Collecting store stamps or signatures at twenty or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to entry in a grand prize drawing on July 31, with the top prize being a 6-volume deluxe set of Waldo books. For more information about hunting for Waldo in Kalamazoo, call Bookbug at 269-385-2847.

Phil’s Important Comic’s (Week of 6/17/2015)

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Sinestro #12
Written By Cullen Bunn
Art By Brad Walker

That’s right, Sinestro comes out this week. All hail the mighty yellow ring. Recently in the DCU we discovered that the Green Lantern Corps have mysteriously gone missing! Now that the Green Lanterns are M.I.A, who is there to stop Sinestro from bringing order to the universe? The universe is full of chaos, because villains have no one to fear now that Green Lanterns are gone. They will soon learn that the color they need to fear is not green, but yellow. ALL HAIL THE SINESTRO CORPS!

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Robin Son of Batman #1
Written and Drawn By Patrick Gleason

This last year we have seen Damian find his role as the son of Batman, die at the hands of a clone of himself, be brought back to life with the power of a chaos stone, and receive and lose powers comparable to Superman. How can one kid, even the son of Bruce Wayne, handle all of this? In this new series we will see Damian struggle and hopefully deal with all these issues. Plus now he has a giant pet bat. Where did that come from? I can’t wait to pick up this first issue to find out all of this and more.

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Thors #1
Written Jason Arron
Art By Chris Sprouse 

Doom may be God in Battleworld, but his powers have some limitations. While he may have ultimate power, he lacks the ability to be everywhere at once. To aid him in keeping order, he has created a police force of Thors. That’s right Thors! As this cop drama unfolds we will be introduced to not only Thors that we know but new ones as well. Can you image being pulled over for a speeding ticket and Thor walks up to your car?

Jason Aaron has already proven his ability to write Thor by delivering two amazing Thor books and I look forward to reading what he has in store for this title.

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Old Man Logan #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Andrea Sorrentino

I don’t know what it is about Logan being an old man that has gotten me so excited. Maybe it’s because I never imagined him getting older due to his healing power, or maybe it’s the idea of seeing him outlive us all. Whatever the case may be, the first issue was amazing and I have high hopes for the second one.

At the end of the last issue we saw Logan climbing a border wall, willingly breaking the laws of Battleworld. What awaits him on the other side of the wall? Why is he daring to cross his region’s border? Hopefully we will find out the answers as Old Man Logan continues.

E3 2015: Sony’s Press Conference

We’ve made it! The fourth and final press conference of the day is upon us. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the show floor for E3, so we’re not done with news just yet. Also, Nintendo will be having one of their Nintendo Direct conferences tomorrow, as well. But for now, let’s see what Sony’s got in store for us this year.

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E3 2015 — Sony’s Press Conference

  • The Last Guardian
    • It looks like the elusive game originally announced back in 2009 will actually be coming out. Here’s the trailer.
    • Coming in 2016.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
    • New independent property by Guerilla Games.
    • Announced with this trailer.
  • Dreams
    • New game from developers Media Molecule that shares a creative, collaborative space with all of its players. Here is the trailer.
  • Firewatch
    • New trailer shown, and will be console exclusive to PS4.
  • Destiny
    • Trailer shown for The Taken King expansion, to be available September 15, 2015.
  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
    • “Dreadful Crimes” missions exclusive to PS4.
  • World of Final Fantasy
  • Batman Arkham Knight
    • Scarecrow Nightmare Missions exclusive to PS4.
  • PlayStation Vue
    • Channels will be a la carte.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III
    • Gameplay shown.
    • Available November 16, 2015.
    • PlayStation users will be the first to have access to all map packs.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0
    • Twilight of the Republic announced — a new playset taking place during Star Wars episodes 1-3.
    • Rise Against the Empire announced — a new playset taking place during Star Wars episodes 4-6.
    • Limited edition starter set exclusive to PS4 a month before other platforms.

E3 2015: Ubisoft’s Press Conference

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E3 2015 — Ubisoft’s Press Conference

  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole
    • Announced with a trailer, where the characters ditched their medieval garb for capes and cowls.
  • For Honor
    • Announced with a cinematic trailer.
    • 4v4 live multiplayer demo.
    • Third person melee combat pitting two armies against one another.
  • The Crew is getting an expansion called Wild Run.
  • Trials Fusion is getting an expansion called Awesome Level Max on August 4, 2015.
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
    • New gameplay trailer featuring the “dark zone.”
    • Players will have the option to betray their teammates to take more loot for themselves.
    • Available March 8, 2016.
  • Just Dance 2016
    • The game will be available to all consoles and can integrate the use of smartphones.
    • Just Dance Unlimited announced, a “dance on demand” streaming service.
  • Rainbow Six: Siege
    • Single-player campaign will feature acting by Angela Bassett.
    • Terror Hunt mode will be returning, pitting a cooperative team (or solo player) against AI enemies.
  • TrackMania Turbo
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

Check in later tonight for the Sony conference!

E3 2015: EA’s Press Conference

Y’all ready for some Star Wars?! I know I am. Here we go.

EA-Logo

E3 2015 — EA’s Press Conference

  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Need for Speed
    • New trailer shown.
    • Releasing November 3, 2015.
    • Open world.
    • Gameplay footage and FMV cutscene shown.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • New expansion called Knights of the Fallen Empire, coming October 27, 2015.
      • Free for all subscribers.
      • Going to back to roots of BioWare’s plot/character-driven narratives.
  • Unravel
    • Puzzle platformer where you play as a character made of yarn.
    • Gameplay trailer shown.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
    • Plants are on the offensive, for first time in the franchise.
    • Live multiplayer demo shown.
      • Four player waved-based cooperative mode shown.
    • Single-player and local splitscreen modes announced.
    • Players of the first game can transfer their unlocked characters over to the new game.
    • Releasing spring 2016.
    • Free DLC updates.
  • New installments coming for EA’s hockey, football, basketball, soccer, and golf franchises.
  • Star Wars: Galaxies of Heroes
    • Star Wars collectible card game for mobile platforms announced.
  • FIFA 16
    • For the first time in the franchise, female teams will be available in the game.
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
    • Game world will be an open, free-roaming experience without loading screens.
    • Story will feature protagonist, Faith’s, origin story.
    • New trailer shown.
    • Available February 23, 2015.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
    • Will contain a single-player campaign mode.
    • First gameplay footage shown, featuring the Battle of Hoth.

 

Next stop is Ubisoft’s press conference. See you then!

E3 2015: Microsoft’s Press Conference

Here it is! The first major press conference of the day. At the time of this writing, we are about ten minutes away from the show, and I’m looking forward to it. In case you missed it, I did a write up on Bethesda’s Pre-E3 Showcase, and you can view it here. In the meantime, let’s get to it!

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E3 2015 — Microsoft’s Press Conference

  • Halo 5: Guardians
    • Story trailer featuring Nathan Fillion shown, followed by live gameplay demo.
    • Release date of October 27, 2015.
    • New mode announced called Warzone, featuring 24 players.
  • Trailer for ReCore, a new sci-fi game by Koji Inafune and the makers of Metroid Prime, Armature Studio.
  • Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, announces Xbox One backwards compatibility
    • 100 games available, with 100 more to come.
    • Retail discs will work, as well. Put the disc in the tray, and then the game will download (if supported).
    • Available for everyone this holiday season.
  • Fallout 4
    • Some new footage shown.
    • Xbox Exclusive: Fallout 3 included with Fallout 4, and mods made on PC will be playable on Xbox One.
  • EA Access (EA’s game subscription service)
    • EA Access available for free to Xbox Live Gold users for the week of E3.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 announced with a trailer.
    • Available spring 2016.
  • Dark Souls III
    • Announcement trailer shown.
    • Available early 2016.
  • The Division
    • New trailer shown.
    • Xbox One players will have an exclusive beta this December.
  • Rainbow Six: Siege
    • Rainbow Six: Vegas and Vegas 2 will be available for free with Rainbow Six: Siege for Xbox One using backwards compatibility.
    • New trailer shown.
    • Available October 13, 2015.
  • Gigantic
    • New trailer shown for free-to-play third-person action MOBA, Gigantic.
  • Tacoma
    • Timed exclusive to Xbox One and PC.
    • New trailer shown.
  • Ashen
    • Announcement trailer shown.
    • Xbox One console exclusive.
  • Beyond Eyes
    • Announcement trailer shown.
    • Timed exclusive to Xbox One and PC.
  • Cuphead
    • New trailer shown.
    • Xbox console exclusive.
    • Available 2016.
  • Xbox Game Preview
    • Xbox early access program announced (play games in an unfinished state before they officially release).
    • Can try out early games with free trials before committing to the early access purchase.
  • Ion
    • New sci-fi game from creator of DayZ.
    • Will be available through Xbox Game Preview.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
    • New trailer shown featuring gameplay.
    • Available November 10, 2015.
  • Rare Replay
    • Collection of 30 classic Rare developed games.
    • Available August 4, 2015.
  • Sea of Thieves
    • New multiplayer first-person pirate game announced with a trailer.
    • Developed by Rare.
  • Fable Legends
    • New trailer shown.
    • Free-to-play on both Xbox One and PC.
    • Cross-play between Xbox One and PC.
  • Partnership with Valve VR announced.
  • Microsoft HoloLens (augmented reality headset)
  • Gears of War
    • Gears of War Ultimate Edition to be released on August 25, 2015 on Xbox One.
    • Will run at 60fps.
    • Gameplay shown for new installment in the Gears of Wars franchise.

 

That’s a wrap, folks! Next up is the Ubisoft press conference.

 

E3 2015: Bethesda’s Press Conference

It’s that time of year again, and I am excited as ever! What’s that you say? Summer? No, I’m not talking about muggy weather, melty ice cream, and trips to the beach. I’m talking about E3. Video games, folks. Get ready for industry jargon, marketing buzzwords, awkward gesticulation, and strange celebrity cameos. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve heard that watching software/hardware press conferences is not everyone’s idea of fun. That’s where I may be of service. I am dedicating myself over the next couple of days to watch these conferences live and relay the important stuff to you. Ever since being a kid, E3 has always gotten me excited and this year is no different. Without further adieu, let’s get started with the first press conference — Bethesda Softworks (publisher for game series such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout).

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Bethesda Softworks — Pre-E3 Showcase

  • Doom
    • First gameplay trailer of the newest entry in the Doom franchise, simply titled Doom.
    • First multiplayer trailer, showcasing classic Arena FPS combat.
    • Mode and map editor called Doom Snapmap showcased.
    • Release date to be in Spring 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
  • Battlecry
    • Signups are now open for Battlecry, the third-person multiplayer action game.
    • Promotional trailer.
  • Dishonored 2
    • Announcement and trailer for the follow up to Arkane Studio’s first-person supernatural stealth game, Dishonored.
    • Player has the choice to play as Corvo Attano (the protagonist of the first installment) or Emily Kaldwell (another returning character).
    • Will be available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
    • Dishonored Definitive Edition, a higher-resolution DLC-bundled version of the first game, to be released this fall on current-generation consoles.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
    • The Elders Scrolls Legends announced with a trailer. It is a strategy card game existing in the Elder Scrolls Universe.
  • Fallout 4
    • Game to start in the “pre-war” era, before the nuclear apocalypse.
    • Player character can be male or female and speaks for the first time in the series.
      • Player will have multiple choice dialogue options.
    • An abridged version of early parts of the game shown — character creation, fleeing to the vault, exiting the vault 200 years later.
    •  Player character can have a companion dog and give it contextual commands.
    • The VATS targeting system has returned.
    • New PipBoy shown — can play in-game tapes of audio logs, DOS-like games, etc.
    • Fallout 4 collector’s edition to include a 1/1 scaled PipBoy that can hold your phone.
      • A “second screen” app will be available that makes your phone’s screen look like that of a PipBoy.
    • Fallout Shelter announced — a simulation game for iOS where the player manages a fallout shelter existing in the Fallout universe.
      • No “paywall timers,” and no internet connection needed to play.
      • Available tonight!
    • Player character can salvage materials in the game and can build their own settlements with said materials.
      • Settlements can be attacked by raiders, but the player can install defense systems.
      • Player can have several settlements with caravans running between them.
      • Settlements can have stalls for traders, and be manually wired-up for electricity.
      • The same salvaged materials can be used to craft weapons, armor, and modifications to both. There are at least 50 weapons with over 700 modifications available for them.
    • Power Armor with a jet pack shown.
    • VATS trailer shown.
    • Fallout 4 to be released November 10, 2015.

That’s it for tonight, folks! Overall, I feel like Bethesda did a nice job on their first ever pre-E3 showcase. I am excited to play another Dishonored game, especially with the prospect of playing Emily as the protagonist. The heap of Fallout 4 facts and the 2015 release date was great. The base-building, salvaging, and crafting additions to the game are ambitious to say the least. If Bethesda can pull it off, Fallout 4 will be quite the game.

Thanks for reading, and join me tomorrow as I write about the Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony press conferences!

Andrew’s Comic Picks (Week of 6/07/2015)

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Gotham Academy #7
Written by Becky Cloonan & Brendan Fletcher
Art by Mingjue Helen Chen

Special guest student Damian Wayne drops by the academy – and he is not pleased to meet his new classmates!

This has been one of my favorite comics of the last few months. It’s been fun trying to figure out the mysteries behind this school and I can’t wait to see how well (or not) Damian meshes with his new classmates.
Batgirl
Batgirl Vol 01: The Batgirl of Burnside (N52)
Written by Cameron Stewart & Brendan Fletcher
Art by Babs Tarr
Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles! Collects BATGIRL #35-40.

Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr have brought us a Batgirl for a new generation. This is still a superh
ero story at heart, but the attitude of the book has made it the perfect choice for new and old comic readers alike. 
Saga
Saga #29
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples 
The Last Revolution makes their move.
 
This is the no-brainer of the week for me. If you haven’t been reading Saga, first of all, shame on you. Second, get your butt down to Fanfare, pick up the first trade, and catch up on one of the best comics I have ever read! 
ghostracers
Ghost Racers #1 
Written by Felipe Smith
Art by Juan Gedeon
FURIOUS RACE FROM HELL IN A BLAZING ARENA OF HORROR!!!
Welcome to the scorching-hot track where cursed souls race at the speed of sin, anything and everything goes and the only rule is no rule–it’s the spectacle known as the GHOST RACES; the most hellish “entertainment” known to BATTLEWORLD! 1st place prize: Temporary freedom from the ARENA, but what happens to the unlucky and unholy losers? It’s all-out, high-speed warfare among the most bizarre and vicious GHOST RIDERS of the MARVEL UNIVERSE. Expect MANY familiar SKULLS!!
 
This might be because I am hot off the heels of seeing Mad Max: Fury Road for the third time, but seeing the different versions of Ghost Rider race each other for their freedom just seems like good old fashioned fun! I’ve been enjoying basically all of Secret Wars and the tie-ins, but this is the one I have been waiting for!