Heroes & Villains Sings A Sonata and Talks E3

As of Monday night, I thought I was going to be writing yet another column in which I stewed some more about the aggressive mediocrity of Dark Phoenix. However, that horse is well dead and beaten into the finest of pâtés at this point and I don’t think I’m quite ready to subject you to a thousand words of me trying to decide if I’ll buy the Blu-ray for the sake of completeness. 

Comics and video games are the order of the day! Onward!

SONATA-1-198x300Sonata #1
David Hine & Brian Haberlin (W)
Brian Haberlin (A)
Image Comics/Shadowline

At some point during the life of this column, I’m sure I’ve remarked that we could quite possibly be in a new Golden Age of sci-fi comics. Creators are limited only by the power of their imaginations and looming deadlines. Out today, Sonata is yet another interesting and gorgeous sci-fi book with hints of fantasy. The solicitations for the book mentioned the word “steampunk,” but I did not detect a single bowler hat with goggles and/or gears on it within its pages (thankfully).

Sonata has a strong first issue with spectacular art and as longtime readers of this column know, I’m always after comics that give me something I’ve never seen before…and this is one such book. At face value, I detected hints of Herbert’s Dune…a planet that’s the promised land, two warring races, technology so alien it flirts with being magic. But while I found Dune to be largely impenetrable, Sonata kept things accessible for me as a reader. In brief, I dig it.

Video Games!

I’m the very definition of what one would consider a “casual gamer.” I’m good for maybe one or two Triple-A games a year, I despise online gaming, and I’ve accepted that current industry trends are rapidly moving away from my interests. That’s perfectly okay with me and I’m content with the phenomenal single-player games that have been produced in recent years that justify me having a PS4. If I’m being completely honest, I purchased my PS4 when my Blu-ray player decided to give up the ghost and I kind of also wanted to play Batman: Arkham Knight. 

I’m vaguely aware that E3 is going on right now and I’ve kept my ears open for announcements about two categories relevant to my interests: Star Wars and superhero stuff!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is allegedly one of those single-player games that would normally have me foaming at the mouth to get on the day it’s released. HOWEVER…much like the Dark Side of The Force can cloud the judgment of any Jedi, the dreaded EA name is attached to this game. Star Wars Battlefront II and its insidious pay-to-play/pay-to-win model had a disastrous launch (and now legacy) and left Star Wars game fans wondering if the future of the franchise was nothing but online FPS games.

The release of a single-player Star Wars game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA came as a surprise to some and, in my opinion, seemed a little reactionary in the wake of the less than stellar reception of their last outing. I am a simple man and exceedingly easy to please when it comes to a Star Wars game. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order checks all the boxes for me (Jedi, lightsaber, The Force, going medieval on some stormtroopers) but seems like something we’ve all seen before. I’ll be waiting on this game until all the reviews are in. 

Listen, just give me a remastered Knights of the Old Republic I and II and I’ll be happy.

On the topic of superheroes, the Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix Marvel’s Avengers got a new trailer and a release date. If you’re up on the “dankest of memes,” as the kids are presumably saying, you’ll understand me when I say, “Thanks. I hate it.”

Of course, that’s a vast exaggeration on my part since I’ve seen not a single second of gameplay from the title that’s still A YEAR AWAY. It’s a knee-jerk reaction from me based on only three design elements which could still get tweaked in the final release. The game was first announced two E3’s ago and then… nothing. It’s safe to say that this game will be highly anticipated, especially given the success of Spider-Man for the PS4.

The items that bugged me were the designs for Captain America and Thor. It’s safe to say that most people have an idealized version of these characters they’d like to see in video games and it’s even safer to say it’s the MCU version. Personally, I’d be content if they borrowed from any of the comic book costume designs, but Cap looks like he’s decked out in SWAT gear and Thor is the MAN OF CIRCLES. Iron Man, Black Widow, and The Hulk all fared much better, in my opinion. 

Of course with the prospects of unlockable costumes and other DLC, I’ll no doubt be able to change their get-ups to something less offensive to my delicate eyes. We’ll upgrade this one to “cautiously optimistic” 

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to playing Resident Evil 4 on the Switch. How many times will I buy this game? As many times as they release it…that’s how many.

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