Weekly Pull List – 6.18.14

Batwoman #32 BW_Cv32 Kate is facing another slew of new bad guys who seem to have their sights set on each other, rather than on Kate, the other Bat-Gang, or the authorities. There's a new assassin in Gotham, seemingly a new Vampire that has apparently no ties to Silver who showed up in the pages of Batgirl just a few issues back, and on top of those problems, Kate has another headache in the form of an old West Point flame. Just another night for Ms. Kane.

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Wonder Woman #32 ww32-1 The First Born is inching closer and closer to his goal of killing the gods. All of the gods. He dispatched Zeus, he killed Hades, and with those two balancing forces gone now he's just picking off the rest in the order he chooses. Diana, who's now the God of War, is his most formidable foe, but luckily she gets some assistance at the end of the book.

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Harley Quinn #7 tumblr_n2ln1l3wyW1qg1iejo1_1280.png This book continues to be a riot. It sets comfortably just outside of the doom and gloom that penetrates most of the other DC Books. Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti have taken the Nolan Joker's refrain "Why So Serious" and turned it up a notch for his former flame Harley. This issue sees her visiting the pier beach with Ivy – and might I add, they've included plenty of man candy in skimpy speedos – then fleshing out the rest of the story with her kooky band of supporting sideshow characters. Harley exists in her own world, and it's kind of glorious.

Wildly Attractive Former Marine Does Glute Exercises

I think the post title is pretty self explanatory, but in case you need any further proof, watch this entire video. Yes, the entire thing. It's not exactly the most flashy production, but the man is beautiful and his ass (and bulge from 7:50 onward) is magnificent. The guy hasn't posted many recent updates, but there are other videos on his YouTube channel.

Weekly Pull List – 6.11.14

Batgirl #32 batgirl_31_cover After last month's issue seeing the glorious New 52 debut of Ragdoll, Barbara is back to facing her biggest foe in Gotham: Charise (Knightfall) Carnes. Charise is essentially the Moriarty to Barbara's Sherlock. They're antagonistic towards each other in a much more cerebral way than, say, Batman and The Penguin. Charise has a very twisted sense of justice and she plans on delivering it by force, regardless of who might be killed along the way. Naturally Barbara can't stand idly by and let that happen. She calls on one of her closest Birds of Prey allies to help fight for the cause, and the final page has a very special, very surprising appearance from another DC character who makes the third leg to a fan-favorite trio.

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Detective Comics #32 DTC-Ann-3-638a9 The third part of the ongoing Icarus saga is one of the most interesting Batman-centric stories that DC is publishing right now. I know the entire DC universe is fresh off of the Forever Evil storyline, meanwhile the standalone Batman book is reliving the past, and Batman Eternal is taking a look at a potential future, but Detective is happening right now, and it is a solid book with solid art. Not to mention a Mexican Standoff at the end. If you haven't read this series, start with issue #30 and keep going. --- Birds of Prey #32 Birds_of_Prey_Vol_3-32_Cover-1_Teaser Since I mentioned earlier that Dinah was making an appearance in Batgirl #32, I figured I'd suggest giving BoP #32 a read as well. The character crossovers do not denote tied-together story lines, but Birds is still fairly interesting, especially given the (very small) appearance of the Suicide Squad. Birds is an ensemble book, but it's very much Dinah's story. She has been working through a lot of personal problems during these last few arcs, and this issue is no different. I expect that the next issue will be the official last appearance of this current incarnation of the Suicide Squad, since their book is getting a reboot later this summer.

Actual Arkham Knight Gameplay and a Surprise!

20140610-100007-36007360.jpg Very sneaky, slipping this one in all quiet-like last night! Of all the Arkham Knight teasers so far, this one is -- by far -- the best! Finally, some actual gameplay footage shows us how the Batmobile (which is supposed to play a big role in this game) races across Gotham and lays waste to obstacles and objects in Batman's way! We also see some brand knew moves Batman's developed to take down enemies. Makes you wonder how much time you're going to dedicate deliberately taking out enemies in the same manner over and over again. And, no, don't refresh. There's nothing wrong with the video. I almost refreshed until I heard the clue and remembered everything was perfectly fine!

Microsoft E3 2014 Highlights

Microsoft spent most of their E3 pre-show conference running game trailer after game trailer, with little exposition in between, and quite frankly it was a far wiser choice to do so than have too many stodgy old execs trying to be cool. Since the actual E3 expo starts tomorrow, that's a pretty decent strategy. My personal favorite highlights were as follows: TOMB RAIDERScreen Shot 2014-06-09 at 2.07.37 PM   NEW TOMB RAIDER! Lara Croft is back. The sequel to 2012's Tomb Raider is called Rise of the Tomb Raider and the trailer juxtaposes one of Lara's PST therapy sessions with her actual coping mechanisms: raiding, exploring & killing. I can't really count the number of times I said "fuck yes" out loud and in my head during this video. Actress Camilla Luddington is once again breathing life into Lara, providing both vocal talents and motion capture sequences to bring us the best Lara possible. Release date: Holiday 2015, Precise Date TBA

HALO

The Master Chief Collection
*Art made prior to today's announcement. RUMOR CONFIRMED.
Halo: Master Chief Collection! The full next-gen HD remakes of the first 4 Halo games – the ones starring Master Chief, that is – are being collected into one (ONE!) disc and provided for your entertainment. All 4 games are getting the Xbox One HD treatment, and all games will have their original multiplayer experiences (upgraded, of course) included. Not only that, but there are 4000 gamerscore points available through achievements. I plan on getting at least 3000 of them. Pre-ordering the collection will also grant access to a new Halo webseries and more importantly the multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians.

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PROJECT SPARK

xcbefd2zazoy8ufxqpas Project Spark! Conker Returns! (Sort of.) Conker, of Conker's Bad Fur Day fame on the N64 is making a smashing return to the world of gaming in a wonderfully creative way. Project Spark is the game-building game that allows you to create the world and type of game you would want to play, fully populate it with challenges, enemies or both, then play it. Coming later this year as a full release (it's in beta now) the game will now include one of gaming's most irreverently fun squirrels. AW NUTS!

Music Monday: First Aid Kit NEW ALBUM ALERT

35921088_842_1500_06022014_17cdfd2074b66b78f2d5532a7cf8578e It's an exciting time in the ol' music world these days. As you very well know, First Aid Kit is one of my favorite bands and they have released their third - YES THIRD - album, Stay Gold. These two haven't even hit age 23 yet, and they have three albums, so if you're trying to place what that emotion you're feeling right now is, it's inadequacy. From covering one indie darling song to becoming indie darlings themselves, Johanna and Klara have done extremely well for themselves. It's not just luck that's gotten them this far, either -- they have a ridiculous amount of talent for their age. The phrase "silver lining" is overused and trite, but it is just so easy to work into a song. Hell, even Lykke Li has a track on her newest album that spins the phrase, called "Silver Line."  No matter how many times the phrase gets used, First Aid Kit have still managed to work it into a fresh song. In fact, the phrase isn't even the crux of the chorus, so a different title could've easily been picked. I'm spending too much time on the phrase. Just listen to the song, because it's really quite good. My Silver Lining On their last album The Lion's Roar, the girls sang a song called "Emmylou" which was a love song to the incomparable Emmylou Harris, but also a standard love song to a significant other, and moreover was even a bit of a love song to the bygone era of that strong streak of Americana Folk that used to dominate country music. Nowadays, country music is a sad state of affairs, mostly populated with focus-tested lyrics and pop industry rejects. The "Emmylou" era represented the post-Rockabilly, pre-Pop influence, and the newest single from Stay Gold called "Cedar Lane" is very much right in line with that genre. An official video hasn't yet been released for the single, but they have provided a listening video. Cedar Lane As a bonus, here's a behind the scenes look at the making of the "My Silver Lining" video: To buy the album on iTunes, click here. To find out more about First Aid Kit, click here. The album can still be streamed - for now - on NPR by clicking here. maxresdefault-2

More Fan Art Proves Game of Thrones Fans Are Crazy Talented. Again.

You've seen our previous mentionings that Game of Thrones fans are crazy-talented. Well, in case you've forgotten, they've come back to remind us again! Today's artwork comes from Nikolas Ilic and, boy, is he crazy-talented. His Oberyn Martell alone brings a tear to my eye, seeing as what's just happened to the Red Viper on the show. 20140605-120450-43490765.jpg I mean... come on! 20140605-120450-43490403.jpg

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Weekly Pull List – 6.4.14

Today is all-indie, all the time! The Wake #9 (of 10) The-Wake-9 And here it is, the penultimate issue of a fantastic miniseries from the minds of Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy. This has been a really interesting series from inception, and proved its boldness with the 200 year gap after returning from the mid-series hiatus. I'll be sad to see this one wrap up next month. Murphy's pencils on this title have been gorgeous.

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The Woods #2

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James Tynion IV's foray into creator-owned content is a nice change of pace from his current runs on DC's more notable Bat-characters. This one is being published by BOOM! Studios, home to the monthly adaptations of Adventure Time, as well as Clive Barker's newest work, Nightbreed. As I mentioned last month after the debut, there's a 99.9% chance I'm going to end up really liking this series. It still reminds me of the "Smith & Jones" episode of Doctor Who – only inasmuch as a building was transplanted from one planet to another – but it's got so much going for it, I've already had my local comic shop add it to my personal pull list.

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(New ) Vampirella #1 

VampiVol2-01-Cov-Dodson

Vampirella is a title that has been around for decades, and she's getting new life thanks to Dynamite Comics. Don't get me wrong, she's already had a recent run with the company, but they're in the midst of a total reboot in their continuities, so this week is Vampirella's time to be reborn. I remember reading this book – long before it was a Dynamite property – thanks to old issues that belonged to my uncle. I found his stash at my grandparent's house when I was quite a bit younger, and was immediately taken with how badass she was. Vampirella was sandwiched between his collections of Heavy Metal and Conan, and taken as a hole, those titles had probably the reverse effect on me as they did on other boys; I wanted to emulate Vampi's bad-assery, and I wanted to hang beefcake pinup posters of Conan on my walls. Glad to see that she's getting a modern reboot.

What’s The Big Deal About Apple’s WWDC Announcements?

There were not any announcements made by Apple yesterday which could easily be packaged into buzz-worthy headlines for the masses. The newest iPhone wasn't announced (that's coming in August,) and for that matter no new hardware revamps announced at all. This year's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) was actually all about the product that matters to the developer: the software. But were there some major things announced if you knew what to listen for? In the words of Gia Gunn, "Absolutely." HealthKit/Health It's official, Apple is providing the next-generation keys to monitoring your health. The App Store is already rife with copious amounts of different health apps , ranging from simple calorie counters to accessory-driven blood pressure monitors. HealthKit is the API (application programming interface) that all developers will be able to utilize to ensure interconnectivity between apps and information within apps. Health is the Apple proprietary app that will aggregate all of the information into one handy place. What does this mean? Much like Apple's take on Smart Home (more on that in a bit) rather than building an army of their own health apps, Apple is providing the framework to developers, and then showcasing the end-users chosen information in one place. Metal What is it? This is one is quite a bit more techy, but the gist is this: it is designed to replace the gaming industry-standard OpenGL, allowing developers to unleash not only console-quality graphics to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, but gameplay as well. What does this mean?  Apple, ever so carefully, is playing the long game when it comes to gaming. They're not making any overt plays to pull users away from their Xboxes and Playstations, but rather, they're sneaking in the back door. The Apple TV was long described as a "hobby" product by Apple themselves, but now that little "hobby" product is in more homes than most other standalone content--streaming boxes (cable boxes not included.) When iOS mirroring was introduced a few years back, Apple TV became the de facto wireless solution to displaying your iPad content to your big screen. Last year, Apple released the frameworks for not only Sprite creation in iOS games, but also a standard control scheme mapping system. Now with Metal, it's clear that bit by bit, Tim Cook & Co. are providing even more tools to empower the developer to create console-level games. Early on, it was mentioned that over 800 million iOS devices have been sold. Parse that out in terms of newer Apple TV-compatible models, and you've got roughly 450 million devices which can theoretically run these next-generation mobile games. All that a user would need is a simple $99 add-on (the Apple TV) if they don't already have one – and what a bargain, really, compared to the Xbox One or the Playstation 4 – and Apple wins the "console war" the very day they enter it. HomeKit/Smart Home As Craig Federighi mentioned yesterday, there are apps to control your garage door, your thermostats and even your lightbulbs, but they're all separate. HomeKit is the API that, like HealthKit above, gives developers the parameters to work within a common framework. What does this mean?  The API includes Siri integration, so in theory, you could tweak the settings of multiple smart devices in your home to coordinate as a "scene." That "scene" as Craig suggested could be a simple command to Siri to "get ready for bed." Then your Smart Home apps would check to make sure the Garage Door is down, turn off the lights in the rooms you're not in, lock your doors and – possibly – even turn on your white noise machine. What this means is that, again, Apple is playing the long game. They're providing the framework in which nearly all developers will begin their push to give you a truly smart connected home. Google might've already purchased Nest, the market's leading Smart Thermostat, but Apple is looking ahead for the next big thing. Handoff For the first time since the dawn of iOS, there is about to be some real, honest-to-Jobs interconnectivity between all of your Apple devices running iOS and OSX. Handoff transmits data from your MacBook or iMac to your iPhone or iPad. What does this mean? It means, if you're in the middle of composing an email on your iMac, but need to leave your desk in a hurry, a new icon will be available on your phone to pick up exactly where you left off. Moreover, it allows your phone to act as a relay for both phone calls and traditional SMS messaging. Phone ringing in the other room? You can answer it from your desk with your Mac acting as an intermediary speakerphone. The Messages app on your Mac will also read and send traditional SMS text messages, even if they're not an iMessage. Swift Oh, and by the way, Apple just created an entirely new coding platform. NBD. What does all of this mean? Apple is finally making a concerted effort to not make you choose among your devices. The long-term plan now seems to be to make all devices - even the ones running different operating systems - connected in a way they have never been before. When they throw phrases around like "something only Apple could do," they really mean it. No matter how hard Google tries to push Android as the best alternative, when you're only manufacturing the software and not the hardware, you can't work towards a singular goal in the way a company like Apple can. For that matter, no company can work towards a goal like Apple can. (Sidenote: with the improvements to Spotlight and Siri, don't be surprised if Google Search becomes yet another widely-used feature that takes a dent from Apple's exclusionary policies. Laugh if you want, but Apple killed Adobe Flash. You can't tell me otherwise.)