RANT: Local Comic Shop

Note: So I told myself I wouldn’t do this but I’ve decided that with my crazy work schedule and crazy life in general that I would start to post some more intimate, more ‘Bloggy’, posts. Here’s one that I just wrote on my facebook page. Enjoy the new content.

Lately I’ve found myself running around the local comic shop “Heroes Cards and Comics”. I’ve recently been introduced into the lovely world of comics by my wonderfully awesome girlfriend Stephanee. I’m now a full on addict.

I have some really good favourites like Conan The Barbarian, The Walking Dead, Nothlanders, Star Wars and many more. I have picked up on alot of series’ that Stephy has already taken the time to purchase but now I’m looking to start a collection of my own favourites. I go to “Heroes” at least twice a week minimum. Each time walking out with about at least $20 in material. Some days like yesterday, $100 worth of material.

Now here’s my rant…

I may be a new customer, but I am your customer. When I kindly ask you to order over $100 of comics for me to buy I expect you to see dollar signs your eyes and do everything in your power to get those comics to me on a timely basis. I know that you need to wait for delivery dates and such, aswell as other circumstances may arise, but I will understand. What I do not understand is how “Heroes” still doesn’t, for example, have more Conan TPB (Trade Paper Back) graphic novels restocked. The series is an eight part (I don’t know…) and I have been waiting for number two for about two months now. I’m no rocket scientist but if I owned a shop and I had numbers one through eight and one through five sold, I should get some more one through fives and think about ordering another round of six, seven, and eight because they might get sold soon enough. but no. Only three, five, and seven remain… for the last TWO weeks. Unacceptable. This is JUST Conan. The same problem remains with almost every single series I’ve purchased. Waiting on ‘Heroes’ to order them in.

I hope someone who reads this knows someone who works at ‘Heroes’ so you can direct them to this and hopefully they can get their shit together. I make good enough money that I can spend it on things that take me out of real life and for about two hours of the day I can become Conan, or I can be surviving a zombie apocalypse. When I want to enjoy myself the last thing I need is people’s lack of common knowledge keeping me from enjoying my life outside of work. If you don’t want your job, I’ll take it. I love comics and I know what kind of impact, no matter how small or big, can have on peoples lives. I know I may not know the ‘Ins-and-outs’ as well as you but I’ll be more then willing to listen and learn. I know I can do your job better then you at this moment. You just need to listen.

As far as it stands now you, ‘Heroes’, is on it’s last legs with me. I can easily now-a-days order the same comics online for LESS then your selling them. I buy them from you because I like supporting the locals and what you stand for. Now stand up for us and do your fucking job.

/rant

-Nich Longe

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DevilDriver – Prey For Villains

DevilDriver - Prey For Villains

DevilDriver - Prey For Villains

Introduction: As DevilDriver’s fourth full length studio album they are looking to once again pen their way into the books of heavy metal. With thirteen tracks showing up on this release, DevilDriver is trying hard to top their previous release ‘The Last Kind Words‘ which shook the metal community with one of the strongest releases of 2007. Sit back and enjoy DevilDriver’s new release ‘Prey For Villains‘.

Good: I’ve always described DevilDriver to people as mediocre metal with the most amazing drums you’ve ever heard over top. That formula has, for the most part, held true in this edition to the DevilDriver roster. The drums are definitely the focal point in this album. Really tight kick sound, amazing cymbal work, pronounced toms, and a deep loud snare. The vocals haven’t really strayed in any new direction. Why fix what isn’t broken, eh. The guitars are taking a more old school progression this time. Lots of southern riffs, scratches, slides, and the signature clean delayed melodies have come back. These are by far my favourite moments in the guitars of DevilDriver. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.

Some notable songs to consider checking out on this album are ‘Prey For Villains‘, ‘I’ve Been Sober‘, ‘Waiting For November‘, and ‘Another Night In London‘. If you don’t at least check out at least one of these songs you have missed some of the greatest heavy metal this year.

Bad: I have always felt that DevilDriver could rule the world if they wrote a little more intense and elaborate songs. The drums and vocals really set this band apart from everything else and make it truly amazing. The guitars on the other hand, while always impressive, always leave some riffs to be desired. Vocally some songs on ‘Prey For Villains‘, it feels like he’s trying way too hard to be different. Good on him for attempting to keep it fresh, but it at times sounds really weird. Which, weirdly enough, both of my gripes are on the same songs. ‘It’s In The Cards‘ and ‘Back With Vengeance‘ both suffer from both of these. The only song on the CD I don’t like is I See Belief‘. The chorus of the song is tolerable, but everything else I just can’t stand. Weird time signatures, time changes, and bad transitions make this song my ‘avoid this song‘ choice for this CD. It only makes sense this is the last song on the CD.

Conclusion: DevilDriver keeps the heavy metal fans of 2009 happy one more year with a solid release. It does have some things keeping it back from being a total ‘Must Buy‘, but I highly recommend anyone who has never heard of this band to check out all of their CD’s. Constant solid performances by the drummer and vocalist like you’ve never heard. I will most definitely be reviewing a previous release of theirs in the future. If you’re already a fan I highly recommend you pick this one up. If you’re just a passer by, I think you should research the great songs before you make the final purchase.

DevilDriver’s ‘Prey For Villains’ gets 3.5 creepy horned owls out of 5.

*I have the limited edition CD with four bonus tracks, but only reviewing based on the ‘original’ CD track list*

http://www.devildriver.com/

-Nich Longe

September 7th, 2009

TMNT: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled

TMNT: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled

TMNT: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled

Introduction: Ubisoft has re-made an old SNES classic for the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA). With improved graphics, actual physics, new sound track, new sound effects, and new online capability. Ubisoft is looking to reignite that old school feeling of yesteryears with TMNT: Turtles In Time Re-Shelled.

Good: The core gameplay and experience from the original is still intact. Pizza’s and Barrels are still where they used to be, leaving you filled with joy when you remember where that fire hydrant was, even fifteen years later. Simple controls, just the use of the joystick and the ‘A‘ and ‘X‘ buttons, make it very easy for inexperienced gamers to join in on the fun and perform well right off the batt. The online multiplayer is also worked in quite well.

Bad: My biggest complaint is that the sound effects do the original no justice. It’s no longer the same theme music and the bosses no longer make the memorable ‘BONG‘ noise when hit. It’s the little things that made me fall in love with this game so long ago, and they have reworked it all over. In my opinion it hurts it the most. When playing with all four Turtles, it is very difficult to distinguish who is who. Making large parties hard to keep track of your warrior turtle in the heat of battle. This can result in some cheap deaths and unwanted ‘pot-shots‘. There is not any real re-playability either. Once you play though it the first time, nothing changes. Other then the achievements, there is no good reason to play it all again. Making it’s life on your 360 only as strong as your love for the game.

Conclusion: Ubisoft has done a great job at making an old classic SNES game for the new and modern XBLA platform. People who have fond memories of this game will for sure be tempted to pick it up again to re-experience the good old days. TMNT is exactly what you will remember it being, short, fast, beat-em-up fun, though I would recommend the purchase for hardcore fans only. There just isn’t enough here to recommend it fully. Choose wisely!

TMNT Turtles In Time: Re-Shelled gets 2.5 pizza slices out of 5.

http://www.xbox.com:80/en-US/games/t/tmnttitrsxboxlivearcade/

-Nich Longe

September 3rd, 2009

Xbox 360 Wireless Headset

Xbox 360 Wireless Headset

Xbox 360 Wireless Headset

Introduction: Microsoft has a device for all of you Xbox 360 owners out there, that will make your online gaming and communication with friends that much easier. In an attempt to get rid of the wired and awkwardness of the standard 360 headset, Microsoft has made an easy to use and set up Wireless Xbox 360 Headset. This small, one piece device is looking to make a huge impression with long play time before needing charging, fast charge times, and a comfortable fit for all you hardcore gamers. Lets see what this little beast can do!

Good: Right off the bat, just the look of this device makes me smile. It looks very sleek and modern. With minimal amount of buttons, right on the earpiece, make this wireless headset look alot less intimidating then others in it’s field. The form of the headset is very snug and comfortable, I could easily forget that it was on. The setup was very easy, press two buttons, and your done. The range is very good aswell, I no longer have to drag my controller with the wired headset to get a drink from the fridge. I can now be free and can even take out the trash and still get a good reception. The sound quality of the headset is better then my previous wired headset, it is a very pleasant and welcome surprise. The charge time of this puppy is also pretty generous, it’s about two hours of charging, for eight hours of play time. If you ever need to know how much life is left, there are a set of handy LED’s on the inside of the mic that light up and show you how much juice is left. Very handy!

Bad: It would be nice if the colour of the headset could be different then just white. I do own the Elite version of the Xbox 360 and would like everything to match up (Black). You cannot use the headset while it’s charging, which makes sense, but would be nice if you didn’t have to be totally out of commission while it charges. So keep it charged up as much as possible to avoid annoying charging periods. I am also told by some of my friends that my voice is more grainy when using the wireless headset. Again, not too bad, but it’s still noticeable.

Conclusion: This wireless headset is a great and welcome change from the standard wired headset. It has portability, comfortability, and is more convenient then you’d ever think possible. Other then the fact that you have to charge the headset, it is a perfect device. For any serious Xbox 360 owner I would highly recommend you make the $60 upgrade and start going pro today. Also there is a ‘Tom Clancy: EndWar‘ bundle that comes with the game and the wireless headset for only $70. If that’s your jam, you should definitely check it out.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Headset gets 4 trips to the fridge out of 5.

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360wirelessheadset/

-Nich Longe

September 2nd, 2009

The Jettison Commitment – This Changes Everything

Introduction: The Jettison Commitment (TJC) is a local band here in London Ontario and in four years have finally released their debut EP entitled ‘This Changes Everything‘. The sound of TJC is heavy throughout, no doubt about that, but TJC has some light and very memorable moments aswell with very intelligent and talented bass playing and writing. ‘This Changes Everything‘ is a very balls to the wall album. After the intro track, correctly named ‘Intro’, you are subjected to a magic carpet ride (of metal…) for the duration of the next five song misadventure.

Good: The first “song”, ‘Cuts Hurt Kids‘ shows us from riff one what TJC is here to do. Heavy guitars, fast drums, beautiful bass work, and the two tones of great vocal work and screams mingle almost perfect. This opening track is TJC showing you their hand of cards. Almost every style explored in this one song is revisited in some way on every other track. On purpose or not, it makes a great opening song.

On that note, one of the shortest songs I’ve heard ‘Satin Finish‘, clocking in at a whopping two minutes and ten seconds, is the last song on this album and makes a huge impression with one of the dirtiest riffs, one of the catchiest lyrics, and one of the heaviest moments in recent listening memory. One listen and you will understand, though you will need more then one listen to take it all in.

If you are a musician you will eat this CD up. Every single instrument is in battle all song long for your ears. Everything is so tight and solid. You will enjoy alot of what this CD has to offer. My personal favourite is the vocal melodies that litter each song. The screams do everything they need to do, but fail to reach the fun in which the singing provides. You will find yourself singing each vocal moment. I guaranty you.

Bad: The whole track, for what reason I do not know, ‘The Tide’s Rising‘ just doesn’t fit quite right. It seems it’s lacking the ‘TJC‘ style polish that makes each other song unique. It has some very good moments, but has some problem areas. It has a very awkward pause in the song that I am not a fan of, the whole song seems like it was written as an open canvas for the guitars to show their talents. They do a great job but it doesn’t seem like the full ‘TJC‘ experience.

The intro is left to be desired, also the beginning of ‘Double Rye & Coke‘ seems like it could use some extra polish.

Conclusion: Overall the CD has a great sound and really shows the talents of all the gentlemen involved. At it’s short length of six songs (including the one intro) this is a great adventure that I highly recommend to people of all styles. There is a little something for everyone in this CD. TJC has really found their sweet spot and I can’t wait for the full length, when the day comes.

Check out their myspace and take a listen for yourself and pick up the CD while you’re over there. Message them for more info.

The Jettison Commitment’s ‘This Changes Everything’ gets 4 play throughs of ‘Satin Finish‘ out of 5.

http://www.myspace.com/TheJettisonCommitment

Nich Longe

September 2nd, 2009