TORT - Episode 41 - "Deck the Halls"

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss Christmas past

TORT - Episode 40 - "Put'em in a Body Bag"

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss The Karate Kid movie

Comic Book Recommendations - Batman - Part 3

Check out Part 3 of my Comic Book recommendations for Batman

TORT - Episode 39 - "It Takes Two To Shenmue"

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss DCC 2014 and Shenmue

TORT - Episode 38 - Iron Man Origins: The Dark World

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss Batman Arkham Origins, Thor the Dark World and Iron Man 3

5 Reasons 2 Hate: Batman Arkham Origins

Don't say I didn't tell ya so

TORT - Episode 37 - "JP3, PS4, USF4"

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss Jurassic Part 3, PS4 and Ultra Street Fighter 4

Comic Book Recommendations - Batman - Part 2

Check out Part 2 of my Comic Book recommendations for Batman

TORT - Episode 36 - "Mr. DNA's Betrayal"

Check out the latest ep of TORT where we discuss The Lost World and Ultra Street Fighter 4

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tales Of Relevant Thought - Episode 13


Episode 13 is now available for download! We have a new guest on the show, Miles Standish, as the group discusses all of life's problems, like...stuff about comic books and movies! You know, the shit that really matters. Listen and enjoy!



Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Batman Death By Design











I don't typically read recent comic books a lot, but when I do, I read Batman. No, not that bullshit, piece of rotten ass garbage, 52 series, actual Batman comics. So I picked up Batman Death by Design. The cover really intrigued me. I liked the charcoal look of the Caped Crusader hanging upside down over the lights and streets of Gotham City. When I received the book, I was blown away by the illustrations inside. Truly, some unique work was put into this one.


Death by Design was written by Chip Kidd, who has done various cover art for novels and has written two himself. Death by Design would be his first written graphic novel. This book was illustrated by Dave Taylor, who has illustrated various Batman comics including series like Shadow of the Bat and Batman & Superman: The World's Finest. Lets start with Chip Kidd's writing. Overall, I feel this book is very well written, but as far as Batman is concerned, it's pretty standard. There is no delving into the dark knight's psyche, no elaborate twists that have to deal with the struggles of other known Batman characters; it's pretty much just another Batman case. It's not a pain to read, but if you're looking for a comic that has a unique portrayal of Batman, this really isn't it.

On to Dave Taylor's illustrations though, they are really awesome. If I could describe it, it would look as if it was drawn with some type of charcoal pencil(sorry, I don't know much about this stuff or the actual name of it, and looking it up would be cheating). Predominantly, the whole comic is somewhat black and white except with certain panels highlighting other colors. Now, as far as art goes, I really like hand drawn art without any color. Like, if someone just drew something with pencil and that's it. That's just my style. So I immediately was sucked into Taylor's work. Everything is its own. The architecture and style of the characters, their clothes, as well ass the buildings and even cars, are representative of the early 1900s. Taylor's illustrations capture this time perfectly and lets you know that this is an independent Batman in his own world. Really stunning. I must have looked back through this book three or four times after I read it just to admire Taylor's work.

This is a pretty good example of the art style
The story of Death by Design focuses on Wayne Central Station(WSC), and how it's crumbling introduction to the see of Gotham needs some serious repairs. A crane accident happens while Bruce Wayne speaks to the media in front of the building and the Batman feels an investigation is in order. Through this ordeal, he finds himself speaking with Cyndia Syl, a person who wants nothing more than to preserve Wayne Central Station the way it is because it is one of Gotham's most important landmarks. While during a party at a new nightclub opened by the architect planning on building the new WSC, a masked stranger, like kind of looks like the Rocketeer, named Exacto appears to warn everyone that the structure is unstable. This joined with a surprise attack of the Joker causes the structure to loosen and start to collapse. Batman saves everyone but is now met with new questions: Who is the stranger? What is Joker up to? What does it have to do with WSC?

The Joker
We learn that the original architect got in bad with a union boss(the dude stole his wife) and the bad condition of WSC was done intentionally so more money could be spent in the future and union workers could keep working and getting paid. In the boss's attempt to murder a local Gotham newspaper reporter, Batman arrives to save the day only to be trapped in a crane compartment by Exacto, who is looking to murder the union boss. Batman escapes only to find that the Joker has kidnapped Cyndia Syl and Bruce Wayne is expected to pay ransom. It all ties to WSC where all the answers are revealed.

The mysterious Exacto
This book was pretty entertaining. A lot of the content reminded me of an old black and white suspense movie(the illustrations pretty much help me get to that thought). It even has some old school scenes that I found quite amusing. For example, when the Joker has Cyndia Syl, she is tied to the hands of a giant clock. At the top is a blade fashioned to it so if she is not removed by a certain time, the hands will send her into the blade ending her life. Classic 1900s villain set up. Like the damsel being tied to the train tracks. I like that kind of stuff. This book is like old school movies mix with modern day technology. It's very nostalgic while still maintaining its own style and perspective.

Love the Batman style
For the illustrations alone, I'd say get this book. And if you are into this type of style, then you should instantly be drawn to it. Batman Death by Design is a fun look into old time ideas with a twist of today's influences. Once again, I really like the design of Batman. Year One style, or 1930s, 1940s, Batman if you want to look at it that way. I imagine long time Batman lovers from back in the day were pretty happy to see a Batman that seemed similar to the one they grew up with. Also, it is a good look in the type of cooky and odd situations Gotham's defender had to deal with, since this book is pretty reminiscent of some of the first Batman stories. I advise that you get this one. It opens up a window to a Batman that has been closed for a really long time.

UPDATE 04/29/2013

So, I was just randomly looking through referring sites on my pageviews screen when I noticed that there were hits from Chip Kidd's website. I looked into it and found that my review of this comic was posted on his site and he had some awesome words to say about it. Don't believe me? Check it out here: http://chipkidd.com/journal/?p=2341. This was posted way back in February(2013) and I never knew!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Gotham Central #1-9











So, I've seen these Batman related comics having to do with the Gotham City Police Department. I was really interested when I first heard about them; Gotham Central, Gordon'a Law, GCPD, etc. I was finally able to get my hands on a good batch of these comics, starting with Gotham Central. And holy fuckin' potatoes, I was not disappointed. Imagine something like Law & Order or CSI, but better and with a dash of the dark knight. That's what you get with Gotham Central. I have finished the first nine issues and I am begging for more.


The Gotham Central issues I have were written by Ed Brubaker(#1-5), who wrote the first 14 issues to the Eisner award winning series, and one of my personal favs, The Immortal Iron Fist in the mid-2000s, and Greg Rucka(#1-9), who wrote Batman #587 which is issue 1 of the Officer Down series(aside from some other issues he has done during the No Man's Land series, I haven't read anything else he has done). The issues were illustrated, beautifully I might add, by Michael Lark, who illustrated issues #1-9 of Terminal City. Lets get started with Lark's work. Fucking amazing stuff. It is a type of noirish look as he used heavy shades and shadows. You can really see this in the character's faces as the shadows help define what mood the character is in. Typical, less dramatic scenes, pretty much have the character with no shadows at all, but when things get intense, you start seeing the dark illustrations and really get sucked into the atmosphere of what the character is feeling. Really gripping stuff. Plus, his illustrations of Batman kind of remind me of Frank Miller's Year One Batman, which is really cool.

As for the writing, Brubaker and Rucka know their shit. From casual cop conversations to using dialogue like “stiff” and phrases like “he's good police” sells the fact that these are cops. You get all the classic stuff like arguments with the captain, great chemistry between the various partners that do cases, all the basic staples that you would expect from a cop drama. But the story ideas take the damn cake. I've never enjoyed or respected the idea of a great plot until I read Gotham Central. The suspense and thrill from a good detective story rivals that of Batman's own experiences. Yes, this series IS THAT FUCKING GOOD. Now, I'm going to try and give synopsis of what I've read with only giving away a few spoilers. Normally, I really don't care, but from what I've read so far, this series is so good, I want everyone to experience it for themselves. So, if you don't want anything spoiled, I suggest you stop reading now and get your hands on this series.

I love the shades in this comic
The first story arc in the series are issues one and two, entitled, “In the Line of Duty.” Marcus Driver and his partner Charlie Fields are investigating a kidnapping. They get a lead that the kidnapper may be in a hotel. They go to investigate only to find that the person renting the room is Mr. Freeze. Freeze kills Fields and leaves Marcus Driver alive. The investigation then turns into a case about Freeze and what his plans are for Gotham. The story arc then continues into issues 3-5 called, “Motive.” Marcus Driver continues Charlie Fields case of a missing girl. Now, the Mr. Freeze plot ends in issue two but I want to talk about both plots from issues 1-5. Why? Because I think Marcus Driver has become one of my new favorite comic book characters of all time. After witnessing the death of his partner, he kind of takes a personal crusade to stop Mr. Freeze and then continue his late partner's case. Some would say this could be a typical detective/cop story, but Driver has one part that really comes out that you don't really see in any other Batman comic. A hate for the Batman. Not meaning, he wants Batman to die or anything like that, but he wants to prove to him throughout these story arcs that the public servants of Gotham can take down villains like Freeze. Driver is smart, determined and pretty much a great definition of what a good detective is. In the Freeze story arc, he discovers where Freeze will strike, but has to resort to calling on Batman due to the time constraint(and to save lives). But during the “Motive” story arc, GCPD takes down the villain Firebug which concluded with a great scene of Driver using the Bat-signal to “summon” the caped crusader and basically just tell him that they solved the case without him. Though, Batman doesn't really care, it takes fucking balls to stand up to the dark knight. I can only hope that Marcus Driver gets more involved with other story arcs further in the series.

Driver stands up to Batman
Gotham Central then continues into a story arc called, “Half a Life.” Now, technically, this series stretches from issues 6-10, but I only have up to 9(so sue me, ok?). It focuses on Renee Montoya, which is probably the most recognizable Gotham detective besides Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Renee had several story arcs in other Batman comics, like in No Man's Land where her family was held captive by Two Face and she forced to play bailiff in Harvey Dent's cruel trial against Jim Gordon. She is a Hispanic detective that is partnered with Crispus Allen, an african american detective that shares a stunning resemblance to Rude from Final Fantasy VII...I like how I can link a Batman related comic to FFVII. Montoya and Allen are two of the best in the MCU(Major Crimes Unit) and this story arc opens with Montoya being sued by a former arrest she made on a rapist that walked free. She then discovers that she is being followed and documented by a private investigator hired by the rapist when she finds a picture of her and her lover, Daria, is posted in the main lobby of MCU. Montoya is outed as a lesbian and is then framed for the murder of the rapist that was soon found dead. Montoya's story through this arc is so complex and a real page turner. As weird as this sounds, Montoya being a lesbian made her cooler to me. I don't know if that's just the way it is or that thinking that since someone's character is gay and it makes my view toward them positive, is just another example of how ignorant and foolish I am towards those that are homosexual. So take it whatever way you want, but Renee Montoya is a great character in this series.

Renee Montoya and her lover, Daria
I really want to dive deeper but I must restrain myself. Gotham Central is a definite must read. Upon further investigation of the series, I have learned that it is a 40 issue series. This confuses me because it's so damn good, but according to Wikipedia, the series was very popular and highly acclaimed from those that read it, but it never made enough sales to keep it going. A damn shame if you ask me. If you like great detective stories in the city of Batman, you will thoroughly enjoy this series. I can't wait to get the rest of them!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Tales Of Relevant Thought - Episode 12


Episode 12 is now available for download! A quick side note, this episode actually aired at 6pm EST instead of the scheduled 5pm EST on Saturday due to a scripting error on the VTW server. But it was quickly fixed. In this episode, we discuss the announcement of the two new Star Wars stand alone movies accompanied with a heated discussion about Tarentino's film Inglorious Bastards and more! Enjoy!



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

5 Reasons 2 Hate: Nintendo











I want to make something crystal fucking clear before I get into this. I hate all the current gen consoles. Xbox 360, PS3. the Wii, and the Wii-U. I never got the feeling I got from say the SNES or PS1. Please keep that in mind before you start sending the hate mail. But above all, I hate Nintendo the most. And I know I have some online buddies that are super, die hard Nintendo fans, which is fine. I'm just left with the eternal sting that is the betrayal of Nintendo.

1. It just ain't what it used to be.

Nintendo was the shit in my childhood. To get this out of the way, Nintendo was always far superior to SEGA. Remember the Super Nintendo? That thing blew my god damn mind. The game selection was so large and they were so many good games for that console. Nintendo was always the top dog with anything that had to do with console video games. Then it faded away. When the N64 and the PS1 came out, I then started to see something I never saw before. The PS1 was making real games. The wave of the future was PlayStation. For the first time in my life, I liked a console more than a Nintendo console. “Why is that?” I thought. Then the Gamecube came out. An insufficient console. Insufficient game selection. Nintendo died the day the Gamecube came out. What the fuck was so special about this thing? It was behind everything else. Aside from Metroid, no other game was worth getting. This is where you start seeing the changes. More off line multi-player games start becoming popular for Nintendo, like Smash Bros, Mario Party, etc. Then remakes of other games like Resident Evil. Then classic like Legend of Zelda has some cel-shaded look that is unappealing. I don't recall one sole, original title, made just for the Gamecube that would be considered “one of the greatest games ever.” It's all party games and remakes of other games THAT I ALREADY FUCKING PLAYED ON BETTER CONSOLES for kids. THEN the Wii came out and everything died. Nintendo used to mean something back in the day: the setting bar for console gaming. Now, it's just a hipster tool used to appeal children and families. They are not leading in anything. They are far behind. They can't compete any more so they have to make gimmicks for their consoles in order to appear fresh and interesting. And how people get sucked into this shit EVERY TIME THEY RELEASE A NEW FUCKING CRAPPY CUNT CONSOLE, is beyond me. News flash people: Super Metroid for the SNES is better than Other M. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES is better than Twilight Princess and Windwaker. Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES is better than Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, Mario Galaxy; pretty much ANY MARIO GAME AFTER SUPER MARIO WORLD. Which leads me to my next point...

2. New Nintendo classics are just terrible.

There are game staples in Nintendo's history. Mario, Metroid and Zelda. Allow me a moment to give some praise: Metroid Prime, awesome. Zelda 64, awesome. Ok, now that that is out of the way, lets take a look at how some of the most classic characters in video game history are being ruined. First off, these stupid, absolutely SOULLESS “New” Super Mario Bros games. I'm assuming they were trying to captured the NES days of Mario and think that by making an identical game, people will think it's good. Nope. It's just something quickly thrown together to make money. Nothing in it is dynamically original. Nothing in it brings back the thrill of playing, say, Super Mario Bros 3. It is a poor attempt to appease fans that like this version of Mario. So, you can pretty much chalk these butt fuck titles up as just MORE remakes that Nintendo does. Mario 64, awful. Fucking seriously, I don't know why anyone thought this was a good game. It's just a bunch of crap crammed together. Mixed with shitty camera angles, it's just a random mess. Super Mario Sunshine, crap. This game IS NOT a Mario game. Do you know what it is? It's one of those games that has Mario placed along with a theme. Mario walks around with a hose cleaning shit. Mario the janitor. Yeah. Remember that awesome power from the old Mario games? The ability to clean stuff. Wow. I would bring up something about Mario Galaxy but at this point, I'm so sick of watching the continued anal rape of the most popular video game icon that I will just move on to the next one. The Legend of Zelda. What the fuck is going with this shit? When Zelda 64 came out, I loved it. But EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ZELDA GAME THAT HAS COME OUT ON CONSOLE AFTER IT IS THE SAME DAMN THING! They REFUSE to let go of the fucking Z-targeting system. It's the same damn game but with a different skin over it. And WHY after a release like Zelda 64 in all its 3D glory, did they do the cel-shadding crap in the Windwaker games? Talk about one step forward, two steps back. I mean, do the fans care about this? Do they care that they're playing the same reused game over and over and over again? How about something new? Something innovative? Are Nintendo fans just happy playing reskinned games and remakes of other games? Adding a fucking water hose to Mario is not creative, IT'S LAZY. IT'S A GIMMIK. ATTENTION NINTENDO FANS: YOU'RE CLASSIC NINTENDO STAPLES HAVE NO SPIRIT AND ARE BEING MURDERED BEFORE YOUR EYES BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST PUSHED OUT SO YOU BUY THEM AND GIVE THE CREATORS MONEY.

3. Nintendo focuses on a specific fan base.

Lets face it. Nintendo is made for a youthful generation and for families. That is their target audience. Other consoles try to appeal to everyone but Nintendo focuses on the idea of the family. It's advertised that way, it's promoted that way, it's sold that way. Which isn't really a knock considering more than money grubbing brilliance. Remember when you were a kid and you got an SNES or NES for the first time? Back when you were new to video games? You didn't know shit about them. You had to go based on what commercials or magazines told you. There was no internet to manipulate your opinions. You were left to your own devices for the most part. That's what every new generation is like. They don't know(especially about the past). But since they have to coordinate with their parents who come from a generation where video games aren't a big deal, they look towards the best thing for their kids. Enter Nintendo. So now that these kids have the console their parents thought were good for them. Now include the use of internet and the kids are looking up Nintendo games because that's the console they have. The new generation is programmed to like Nintendo because their parents don't know any better(or, most likely, just don't fucking care, which is fine). Nintendo appeals to the unknowing parents that bestow this to their kids. Therefore, Nintendo still makes money and still remains popular. Like I said, brilliant...but bull shit at the same time because most think that because of this, it makes Nintendo something amazing. Nintendo doesn't focus on cutting edge graphics, super in depth game play; none of the stuff you find everywhere else. It doesn't care about taking risks to be innovative. No, what they do is gimmick their shit to appeal to children. I mean, slapping a screen on a controller is fucking retarded. WHY WOULD I BUY A CONSOLE FOR MY TV AND THEN HAVE TO LOOK AT A SMALLER SCREEN TO PLAY IT?! It's not a wave of the future, it's a crap excuse to sell more shit and make more money. And they can do that because new generations don't know any better and they exploit it. You know, some people have said that they view the Xbox as kind of the “suits” of video games. Fuck that. Give that to Nintendo. Their entire strategy is business and making money. But it is disguised with the fun frollicky feeling of sunshine and lolly pops for unsuspecting children; a wolf in sheep's clothing. So Nintendo does not strive because their consoles and games are good, they strive because they target the right demographic that makes them the most money. Now, you could be asking yourself, “But I'm not part of a new generation. I've always liked Nintendo. What about me?” Well, some of you fall into the next topic...

4. Nintendo's cult like fan base.

There are people out there that will come to your house and murder you and your entire family for putting down Nintendo. Seriously, it's becoming creepy. I've met very few Nintendo fans that have accepted Nintendo's fault. Saying that the Wii-U is a dumb console is like nailing Jesus back on the cross to these people. They fall into a weird fan base that reminds me of Final Fantasy or Apple folks. You know who I'm talking about. The people that say a Final Fantasy game is good because they are so in love with it, any game that is slapped with FF is automatically godlike and can never be bad(real talk, there are people that think Final Fantasy XIII is the best FF game). These people REFUSE to acknowledge anything less than perfection. It's the same thing with a lot of Nintendo fans. Because Nintendo made it, it's good. No. That doesn't mean jack shit. Nintendo is some blinding white light to them. I think some times they just make up stuff only to hype themselves. For example, I was watching a Lets Play of some Nintendoland(I think) and the guy playing it was talking about how awesome the graphics were compared to the Wii. I saw NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE AT ALL. IT LOOKS THE FUCKING SAME. I guess some of these people need to make up imaginary hype because they feel if they put Nintendo down then they're putting themselves down. It's ridiculous. I mean, be real for fuck's sake. I see it all over Twitter every day. “I'm sick of all this Nintendo hating BS!” Ninfans(guess what, that's what you're called now) fight tooth and nail to try and convince the world that Nintendo is superior. It's not. In fact, lets be fair; no gaming today is. It's all in a downward spiral if you ask me. But I digress. I believe that no one should be die hard loyal to a brand. It clouds your judgment. Be open with everything you play THEN decide. And I am aware that there are people like this with pretty much anything ever created, but Nintendo fanboys fight a losing battle. THE CONSOLE WAR IS OVER. NINTENDO BEAT SEGA. MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. I think any legitimate gamer would acknowledge that Nintendo is NOT the best and that they would choose another console over it hands down. And I don't want to hear some whiny bull shit about “taste” or “it's my type of stuff.” If you really like Nintendo, then that's fine. If you think that Nintendo is the best, was the best(which I will allow because it WAS) and always will be the best, then you need a reality check. Or you're a child, and in that case, it's not your fault.

5. Nintendo's console ideas.

I'm going to exclude the N64 and the Gamecube on this. I played the N64 enough as a kid to acknowledge that I liked it, because some of the games were good. Got nothing against it. With Gamecube, it wasn't really the console's fault(I actually didn't mind it) it was more or less the games that I disagree with. But the Wii and Wii-U. The most gimmick fucked things ever invented(I keep using the word gimmick because I do not want you to forget). The Wii was about motion. Who the fuck cares? The motion wasn't all that great. You move your arm around. Wow. An idea like this would be better suited as an add on, like what Sony and Microsoft did. But to base the ENTIRE CONSOLE around it is just ridiculous. Instead of focusing on the technology that is built into the console they just made some cheap sideshow the main attraction. And you people bought into hook, line and sinker. Lets break down this “motion gaming” for a second. Are we really in the age where motion gaming can be used to its full extent? No. It is far off. But when that time comes, when we get some sort of super motion sensor that lets you play a game like Metal Gear Solid and physically move with your feet, duck for cover, do fucking flips and shit, all without any glitching or issues, we are all going to look back at the Wii and realize how fucking stupid it is. Look, my idea of innovation isn't using a laser pointer and waving my arm around. NOR IS IT USING A TABLET TO PLAY FUCKING GAMES ON MY TV. Which leads us to the Wii-U. The latest Nintendo gimmick. -sigh- And you all jumped on it. You all think it is the greatest thing ever. Why buy a console to play on your TV when you can play it on your controller? Why have the console at all? Just get a damn tablet. WHAT THE FUCK IS THE BIG DEAL?! I love how Microsoft came out with Smart Glass. Yes, it is in its first stages and it isn't that great(it's pretty much a remote right now), but they basically took the idea Nintendo spent all their money on and made it a FREE app for a tablet or mobile device. In fact, Microsoft shouldn't even have to continue progressing Smart Glass. Just the threat of their ability to make an app like that shows the world that the idea of the Wii-U is nothing more than a simple idea that can be done with ease. So enjoy another 5 years of play Wii Sports with your tablet, controller thingy. Yeah, you just threw hundreds of dollars away to pretty much do the same thing. Nintendo sells its consoles like a parent holding shiny keys above their infant child. It looks pretty, but in reality, they're just a bunch of grimy keys. But apparently if you strap a fucking monitor to it, it's the best fucking keys ever! Nintendo is dead to me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tales Of Relevant Thought - Episode 11


Sorry for the delay folks, but Episode 11 is here! I had some computer issues but it's all good now! The fellas relive some childhood thoughts of punishment and favorites toys! Also, the epic conclusion to Acts of Random Violence; who will win? Timothy Dalton James Bond or Kiff Kroker? Crack open a cold one and enjoy!


Don't forget to listen to new episodes of Tales Of Relevant Thought every Saturday at 7pm EST at www.vtwproductions.com!