Tag Archives: Catwoman

What’s New — June 2017

Hey everybody! I can’t believe summer is already here, and this month the thing I am most looking forward to is E3. While I’m not attending this year, I am eager to see what new games are announced so I can keep on filling my already way-too-full stack of games I need to play. =)

eos outpostRight now, I’m in the process of finishing my playthrough of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m not sure exactly how far along I am, but I feel like things are starting to crescendo, so the finale must be on the way! While I can’t say I am as hooked on the game as I was on the original Mass Effect trilogy, it’s definitely scratching my itch for sci-fi, and I love the exploration aspect of the game. The characters are great, missions are exciting — the biggest issue I have, I would say, is that it does still rely too much on fetch quests and repetitive side missions, like their other open world game, Dragon Age Inquisition. But I’ll post my thoughts when I’m all done with the game!

DA8KVQHUMAAsJr5I’ve also been really into Injustice 2 lately, although it’s harder for me to get the hang of than Mortal Kombat X was. I tried a bunch of characters until I decided Catwoman was the one for me, but even then, it’s been taking some time to nail her special moves and combos. She doesn’t come as naturally to me as D’Vorah did in Mortal Kombat X. I’ve also enjoyed playing as Poison Ivy, Black Adam, and Robin, and I’m in love with Black Canary’s outfits which makes me want to play as her sometime too. But I have to focus on one character at a time, because getting those combos down is all about muscle memory! I can only learn so much at once. Plus, Catwoman has some pretty kickass moves — she uses a whip, guys — and I love her gear. One of my favorite things about Injustice 2 so far is the ability to play with gear, outfitting your characters the way you want. Different outfits come with different stats, but you can swap gear with something you like the look of more, and use shaders to customize colors. For someone like me who gets way to into character creators, playing dress-up like this is really addicting.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been reading The Witcher books. I just re-read The Last Wish — well, specifically I listened to the audiobook this time — and now I’m moving on to Sword of Destiny (which I totally missed before) and then the first novel in the series, Blood of Elves. You can read my thoughts on The Last Wish here!

uk-orig-the-blade-itselfI also just started reading my first Joe Abercrombie book, The Blade Itself. I know I just started it yesterday, but I’m now five chapters in and falling in love fast. It feels like everything I want in an epic fantasy — amazing world-building, deep characters, hand-to-hand combat action — but with a real sense of humor. It actually reminds me of the tone of The Witcher series, just because it’s both fun and funny, while still tackling some serious fantasy politics and danger. (I mean, one of the main characters is a torturer.)

For other entertainment, I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and American Gods on Starz.

The first is an adaptation of one of my favorite books, and in the latest episodes it’s been taking some very dark turns, some of which deviate a little bit from the novel. I think everyone should read the book, honestly. The show is excellent too, but I think it would probably help to read the book first, as it’s a pretty stark world to dive into on a screen; somehow reading it feels like a more gentle, if still disturbing, introduction to this world where fertile women are forced into servitude to produce children.

american gods tv show.pngThe latter, American Gods, is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, which I read recently and only kind of liked. However, the show is amazing. I like it a lot more than the book so far, in part because it visualizes things with much more color and excitement than the novel did. Where the book plodded along, the show creates a distinct energy as you take in the details of the setting, the characters’ expressions, and the beautiful cinematography. The fact that the show doesn’t shy away from the conquests of Bilquis, who devours those she sleeps with, is impressive too. I appreciate the novel’s concept so much, but in execution, it works better as a show for me.

And then there’s my writing. I am getting back into noveling lately. I miss it. I’ve been pretty busy with work and video games the past couple of months, but National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is also awesome enough to organize a couple of months every year dedicated to making your own writing goals. The next one is in July, so I’m going to come up with a goal for it. In the meantime, I’m prepping by getting back into the habit of writing on a daily (or almost daily) basis, and outlining in greater detail so I don’t get stuck when I sit down to stare at a blank page!

What are you all up to this month? Are there any new games or shows you are excited about, and what are you most excited to see from E3?!

Ashley

Playing Batman as Full-on Cheesy Hero in Telltale’s Series

I have a soft spot for playing a hard-ass in video games. Anytime I get dialogue choices and moral decisions in games like Knights of the Old RepublicMass EffectinFAMOUS, or Telltale Games series, I go Sith on everybody. I don’t like to persuade with my heroism; I resort to threats. My characters call people on their bullshit, intimidate to get respect, and act like they own every dungeon or spaceport they walk into. It’s really fun, in part because that’s not at all how I would act in real life.

But playing Telltale’s Batman series, I decided to play the hero like I’ve always seen him: a good guy who believes in the law.

Continue reading Playing Batman as Full-on Cheesy Hero in Telltale’s Series

Batman “Realm of Shadows” Review

Telltale Games has really proven its versatility lately.

For a very long time — since way before The Walking Dead took off — the game studio has been creating narrative-driven games, which they release in series of episodes. The decisions you make in each episode influence how the story will play out. Most of the gameplay revolves around making these choices, whether it’s a simple dialogue option in a conversation or a make-or-break moment for a main character.

Continue reading Batman “Realm of Shadows” Review

“Batman: Dark Victory” — the first graphic novel I could not put down

darkvictory_gordonThis weekend I read my first Batman graphic novel, Dark Victory by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale. It’s the sequel to the popular Batman: The Long Halloween, which I should have read first… but I was impatient for a good Batman story involving Robin. Dark Victory definitely delivered on that front and impressed me even more than I expected.

The book follows the Batman and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon as they try to solve a serial murder case targeting cops. Each murder is a hanging that occurs on a major holiday that month. The murderer leaves notes depicting the game hang-man with strange, half-finished answers such as “Knows if you’ve been bad or good” and “Guilty as sin.” And they’re all written on old papers from former D.A. Harvey Dent’s office.

I enjoyed Harvey Dent’s story throughout the book. Now scarred, psychotic, and calling himself Two-Face, he shirks redemption at every turn. Batman repeatedly refers to him as an old friend, but Two-Face refuses to answer to his old name of Harvey. There’s even a scene of Batman literally chasing Dent in the sewers beneath Gotham City, telling Dent he could return to the law and find redemption there:

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But it seems it’s too late for all that. Whether it’s an active, conscious choice on his part or not, Two-Face is too far gone for salvation. And with all of the evidence from his old office in the Hangman murder case, he’s one of the prime suspects.

two faceBut there’s also the strong possibility that he’s being framed, and Gotham is teeming with possible suspects. In addition to the big crime families in the city — particularly the Falcones — many of the most famous villains from the Batman world are on the loose from Arkham Asylum after a Halloween escape. I particularly enjoyed appearances by the Joker, Scarecrow, Riddler, and Mr. Freeze.

Another familiar character who makes several appearances is Selina Kyle, both as Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend and Catwoman. Both Bruce and Selina are busy and distracted by other things — particularly when they’re in their masks — but it’s Bruce who’s especially uninvolved in their relationship. On Christmas Eve, Selina waits for Bruce at his manor without luck; the day after Valentine’s, Bruce shows up at her place to apologize for not being there the night before, saying he had a delayed flight. Selina finally breaks it off with him, but this plays into the main dilemma in Dark Victory: Batman needs a companion.

Hints drop throughout the book about Bruce/Batman being isolated — too much so. Alfred comments on having to serve Thanksgiving dinner for one. He also warns that even the Batman is not infallible; Bruce needs another set of eyes when he works, in case he misses something or makes a mistake. (Bruce does not like hearing this.) And Bruce himself repeatedly remembers how he almost told Harvey Dent who he was… just moments before the acid was thrown in Harvey’s face, instigating his terrible transformation. Had Bruce shared everything with Dent, maybe Dent never would have become Two-Face. As Bruce says, “He might have trusted me more, if I had trusted him.”

Of course, Batman isn’t the only one who needs someone. At the start of the novel, Jim Gordon is estranged from his wife and son and is trying to repair their family. In addition to being a sweet subplot, this also puts Bruce Wayne’s personal journey into focus. Just as Gordon needs a family, so does Bruce — and Batman needs a partner.

He finds that in the boy Dick Grayson. When Bruce attends the circus just after Mother’s Day, he witnesses two performers plunge to their deaths when the ropes holding them up unexpectedly tear. The couple’s son, Dick, watches from a platform overhead. Next thing you know, Dick is living in Wayne Manor.

Bruce is hardly a father figure to Dick, especially as he’s preoccupied with the Hangman murders. But having seen his own parents murdered before him, Bruce understands what Dick is going through and wants Dick to be able to do what he never could: find the killer and avenge his parents.

So he trains Dick and helps him see this mission through. Learning from his past mistake in not opening up to Harvey, Bruce also reveals his identity as Batman and his parents’ deaths to Dick. They’re both orphans. Now, this is something I’ve heard a lot about in discussions about Batman — that being orphans is the major link between Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin — but Dark Victory makes the story absolutely poignant in the book’s wider context.

batman_robin_darkvictory

In the end, Dick takes the initiative and runs to Batman’s rescue, dressed in a cape and the performing colors his parents wore. He’s ready to aid his mentor after their training together. As Alfred points out, Batman never would have called on the kid for help… but once Batman sees Robin in action, he recognizes the danger in solitude and his need for others. (In other words, the kid just saved his ass.) The book finishes with the duo ready for action.

Batman_Dark_Victory_TPI read Dark Victory in less than two days, so my only regret is that I didn’t read Long Halloween first! This is also the first graphic novel to really draw me in, to the point where I could not put this book down. What attracted me most was not so much the main crime mystery plot — though it was fantastic — but the personal relationships and inner struggles of the characters. Of course, we get that in many novels, graphic or otherwise, but for me, this is the first comic book to really spark my emotional side.

Being new to comics, this is the first that I devoured in just a couple of days. It’s gripping enough that I imagine it would even appeal to others who, like me, don’t typically read a lot of comics.

I will go back and read Long Halloween at some point, but next on my list is the so-called Demon trilogy to learn more about my favorite Batman villain, Ra’s al Ghul… And if anyone has other comic book recommendations for me, please share!

— Ashley