Welcome back to another edition of ATR.

I just got back from a weekend in San Diego, spending some time with family & friends before going to the grand opening of the new House of Blues. The past seven days have just been incredible, from seeing the new Star Wars, going to the E3 and catching John Mayall, Sam Moore and the Blues Brothers in concert. Could this week have rocked any harder?

I think not.

Oh, and for any fellow Blues Brothers fans out there, a film crew was on hand taping footage for the upcoming Blues Brothers 25th Anniversary DVD, which will be coming out in September.

Now then, on with the rage?

Intimacy Issues

There?s a rumor going around that Joe Casey?s latest Wildstorm book, The Intimates is in danger of being canceled, despite its much-heralded debut late last year. Fingers are pointing at the diminishing sales as the probable cause for cancellation, if the rumor pans out. According to some reports, the decision has already been made, but that?s not clear yet?

This Has A ?Secret Identity: 101? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Flight of The Liberator

A late rumor out of the Comic Book Expo has Terry Nation?s seminal BBC sci-fi series, Blake?s 7 on track for a comeback, ala Dr. Who. Early indications are that a TV revival is in the works, with a new comic series potentially to follow?

This Has An ?Avon Calling? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Working The Gotham Beat

An interesting rumor popped up recently, which linked Art Adams and Geoff Johns to a run on All Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder, following Frank Miller and Jim Lee. Though it was at least partially refuted in the same thread by Johns, himself.

That was convenient.

Having said that, I won?t be shocked if Art Adams does eventually end up on one of the DC All Star books. Last summer, Adams was mentioned as one of the ?big name creators? that DC had in mind when they were in the early stages of developing the All Star line?

This Has A ?Riddle Me This? Factor of Five Out of Ten


Webb of Retraction

Colorist, Matt Webb checked in this week with a follow up to his remarks in last week?s ATR:

      Last week at this time many of you may remember an item I had published in the previous installment of

All the Rage

    , called A Cautionary Tale.

Well, it seems I should have been the person who listened most to my own advice and done my research!

After a long phone conversation that was well overdue I had the chance to speak with Rich Donnelly at CIA.

My misunderstanding of what CIA does and what was happening with their efforts to obtain our owed money was paramount in all of the animosity I myself directed at CIA.

I simply did not understand that CIA were indeed, and had been for many months, employing a collection agency to try and get out payment from a delinquent publisher.

It’s no wonder to me that CIA no longer wished to answer my emails, to be honest, they were increasingly hostile.

It has also been made clear to me that CIA is and always has been a company that represents artistic talent. Not, as was my ASSUMPTION a Talent Agency! Those entities who deal in Actors and the like. Thus they need no Talent Agency License under California law and are indeed fully legitimate and have been ever since they began operation.

I alone am to blame for the accusations I leveled at CIA and now that I understand all of the above I am deeply sorry to CIA, Silver Bullet Comic Books and to all of you who read my tirade.

I hope that all of you can find it in your hearts to forgive.

From now on I will do my research and make absolutely sure I have my facts straight!

PAX.
Sincerely.
Matt Webb

This Has A ?Reopening The Lines of Communication? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


Thunderstruck

According to a post made by Robert Kirkman, Scott Kolins is leaving Marvel Team-Up to work with Michael Oeming on his Thor project. Paco Medina will be doing the art for MTU #11-13.

This Has A ?Like Thunder And Lightning? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Turn To Stone

Over at his forum, Greg Weisman, the creator of Gargoyles, has confirmed that Disney will be releasing the second season of Gargoyles on DVD.

However, several details are currently unknown, including how (or if) the season will be split up into separate sets, how many episodes per set, extras and the release date?

This Has A ?Warriors By Night? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


State of Play

For the last ten years, the video game industry has held an annual Electronic Entertainment Expo as a massive showcase for the latest games, consoles and peripherals. You can always count on the E3 for an impressive display of spectacle. Millions of dollars are spent on the booths alone, with literally billions at stake. Make no mistake; the video game industry is a business? and business is about to pick up. Unlike last year, there was a real sense of excitement on the floor. The next generation of gaming consoles is finally upon us, and the E3 was our first glimpse of the future.

As the console wars move into the next phase, the BIG 3 rolled out their newest systems. Microsoft revealed the X-Box 360, Sony unveiled the Playstation 3 and Nintendo divulged details about the Revolution. Nintendo held back footage of its next console from the show floor, but the X-Box 360 and the Playstation 3 were out in the open. I?m not generally an X-Box fan, but the X-Box 360 was really impressive. It was clearly further along than the other two systems, with a release planned for this holiday season. Some of the games shown were Dead or Alive 4, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Tomb Raider Legends, all of which looked great. The PS3 seems to be in an earlier stage of development, but it still managed to pull off a convincing display of power. The PS3 character models reminded me a lot of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. While not as detailed as the 3D renders in that movie, they were pretty close and far beyond what the PS2 can pull off. The PS3 won?t be out until Spring 2006, but the next round of the system wars will probably come down to the PS3 and the X-Box 360.

Where does that leave Nintendo? Well, my personal assessment is that Nintendo is in trouble. Nintendo still has some diehard fans and the younger gamers, but the once dominant company has lost a lot of ground to Microsoft and Sony. The Revolution will have its work cut out for it, if Nintendo is to regain those lost gamers?

This Has A ?G-phoria? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Girls, Girls, Girls?

Every year at the E3, I?ve always noticed long lines of black limos pulling up a few blocks away from the convention center, which were not for the celebrities or the VIPs (they like to step out in FRONT of the convention center). So this year, I finally had the chance to observe why the limos are always there. It turns out that the limos are being sent by the local strip clubs to woo the high spending E3 attendees with the promise of lunch, a free limo ride and lap dances. Some of the dancers always accompany the limos and yes, they had more than a few guys take them up on their offer.

Though, come to think of it, I never did see any of those guys come back afterwards?

This Has A ?One Way Ticket, Yeah? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


Automatic For the People

As I?m sure I?ve mentioned before, the E3 only allows industry professionals and members of the media to attend. The general public is shut out. Even so, the hardcore gamers always seem to find a way in. And this year, there were a few pirated convention badges floating around. But the security team caught on fairly quickly and increased their scrutiny of the convention badges.

For those unable to attend (or sneak in), the next major video game showcase will be at this summer?s San Diego Comic Con International, though nowhere near at this scale. However, IGN will be hosting an event this October 22 to the 23rd at the Anaheim Convention Center. Billing the event as IGN Live, the event is being described as an ?E3 for the people?, with admission open to everyone. Most of the major gaming companies are expected to be there as exhibitors and if the E3 attendance numbers are any indication, then this could be HUGE?

This Has A ?Shiny Happy People? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Secretary of Defender

This one is for all the old school gamers out there? Atari is bringing out the Atari Flashback 2.0 in July, which will be a TV game box designed to look like a smaller version of the original Atari 2600. Over 40 games are included with the Flashback 2.0, including classics like Adventure, Missile Command, and Combat along with new and previously unreleased games like Yar?s Revenge and Adventure 2.

But the big news here is that Atari has quietly made it possible for the Flashback 2.0 to play ALL of the games from the 2600. The fans will have to modify the systems themselves in order to pull it off, but Atari has not only made these modifications possible, they are actively encouraging it. Look for the modification plans to become available online in the near future?

This Has An ?Intruder Alert? Factor of Nine Out of Ten


Prepare To Be Hunted

Word on the show floor is that Viacom might be acquiring Midway (Mortal Kombat, Spy Hunter) very soon. In a way, Viacom is almost half way there. The CEO of Viacom, Summer Redstone, already personally owns an 80% controlling interest of Midway. Viacom is said to be seriously considering buying the company directly from Redstone?

This Has A ?Test Your Might? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


Game Zone

And now, what you?ve all been waiting for: the games. This year?s E3 had a ton of comic related video games. And at the top of the list was Activision, with their Ultimate Spider-Man video game. In a word, it was?

Fan-FUCKING-tastic.



I?ve seen the Ultimate Spider-Man screenshots online and in print, but seeing it in action is a completely different experience. It?s like watching an animated version of Mark Bagley?s artwork come to life. The animation is a little rough around the edges, but it captures the spirit of Spider-man more effectively than the CGI Spider-Man animated series on MTV from a few years back. Treyarch (the team behind last year?s Spider-Man 2) developed the Ultimate Spider-Man game and it blows their earlier effort out of the water. It?s got the freedom of movement from their earlier game, combined with better graphics and the ability to play as Spider-man or Venom. Treyarch?s stated goal was to keep the game as close to the comic as possible and they more than succeeded. Animated cut scenes and events are broken down into dynamic panels, which is the same effect that really annoyed me when I was watching the Hulk movie, but here it works beautifully. The soundtrack is outstanding and even the voice actors are excellent. This was hands down, my favorite game of the show. It?s coming out in September and I?m counting the days?




Also from Activision, X-Men Legends II is looking pretty tight, with Magneto, Juggernaut and the Brotherhood of Mutants now as selectable characters. Raven Software is developing the game and it looks to be well in hand. The Fantastic Four, the other Marvel game from Activision wasn?t shown in a playable form but if plays anything like X-Men Legends then it should be good.

Over at Vivendi Universal Games, a more finished version of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was on hand. Still looks like and plays like a great game, but it seems less special in the shadow of Ultimate Spider-Man?




Batman Begins from EA Games was a nice surprise. It?s kind of a blend of Metal Gear Solid stealth gameplay with driving missions. There is actually an intimidation or ?reputation? meter that measures how feared Batman is at any given moment by the surrounding goons and criminals. The player has a few options to increase their ?fear factor? (so to speak) to more effectively take down the bad guys. It?s a nice touch that really separates it from other action games. The driving sequences were a little disappointing and fairly generic. The Batmobile just doesn?t feel right for Batman, but that?s more of a complaint for the movie than the game?



I expected to hate EA?s Mavel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, but it wasn?t as bad as I thought it would be. Some of the gameplay aspects like the destructible signs in the background were fun, and a new Marvel fighting game is long overdue. I just wish it had more Marvel characters in it. Basically, it seems more like a platform for EA to launch their own superheroes, The Imperfects than something designed to showcase Marvel?s classic characters. I mean, who gives a fuck about Johnny Ohm?!

And I?ve got to say, the look of the game doesn?t really fit with the Marvel characters. It?s like seeing the classic Disney characters in 3D? it just looks weird.

There was also a He-Man and The Masters of The Universe game on hand, which had some of the worst graphics and gameplay I?ve seem in years. Not to mention a bad camera interface and an incredibly generic soundtrack. And this is from the finished game! It was already released in Europe. If by some misfortune this game is actually released here, avoid at all costs?

This Has A ?Let The Power Return!? Factor of Ten Out of Ten


And that?s a wrap, folks. See you soon.

Later,
Blair

PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


About The Author