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6 Flawed Video Games for a Flawed 2016

It’s been a year.

I’m struggling to find a way to even begin to pithily encapsulate 2016 in a sentence or two, and I’m not alone. America elected a president who campaigned on a platform of white supremacy, set against a backdrop of a world that’s increasingly turning to strongmen and parties embracing authoritarianism, hatred, and the far-right wing. We witnessed horrors across the globe and lost too many voices who’ve been pillars of our community. We’ve almost unanimously declared 2016 a terrible year, and are definitely ready to move on.

But before we do, I want to pause and reflect on 2016 for a second, specifically from the perspective of video games. This isn’t a top ten list (a la most outlets), or an opinions battle royale (a la Giant Bomb), or a video-game-high-school-superlative-and-fanfiction-yearbook (a la Waypoint), although maybe I can convince Graphic Policy to do something like the latter next year.

No, this is a list of games I played this past year. All of them are flawed (some of them deeply), like the year itself. They range in scale from the biggest-budget mainstream titles to small, quiet independent games. And hell, many of them didn’t even come out in 2016.

But all of them made me think about myself and this world in different ways. And for that I’m grateful. So here’s a set of games that had an impact on me this year.

The “Insidious Structural Oppression” Award: Dragon Age: Inquisition

dragon-age-inquisitionOh Dragon Age. You’re such a weird franchise. You splattered blood all over my face constantly in Dragon Age: Origins, gave me plenty of choices that all seemed wrong in Dragon Age II and suggested plenty of romantic options in both games that didn’t quite feel right.

And then along came Dragon Age: Inquisition.

There’s an entire article I’ll write at some point about this game, but let me for now just say that Dragon Age: Inquisition tells a captivating narrative that’s full of hard choices and political intrigue. Tensions between liberalism and authoritarianism, faith and freedom are commonplace; these conflicts aren’t new to the Dragon Age series. What is new is that the world feels more real and, well, heavier than ever before. The game is full of covert and overt prejudice (e.g. characters called my elven character “knife-ears” throughout the entire story), and forces the player to choose how they’re going to deal with it (or to simply ignore it). I certainly tend to see things through a lens of power and privilege, but I’m far from alone in seeing how unique Inquisition is in confronting these ugly realities compared to the first two games in the series. Inquisition made me interrogate my own beliefs and perspective in a way that games almost never do, especially games as popular and mainstream as the Dragon Age series.

Also, there’s a mission called “Oh, Shit,” so this game should be on everyone’s award list.

The “2016-est Game of 2016” Award: XCOM 2

xcom-2The first XCOM was a gritty, difficult tactical game where you built a multinational military squad to fight off an alien invasion. You, as their trusted Commander, built up a base of operations, directed research and construction, and commanded your squad in the field. As you grew with your team, they became like family–they developed skills, they got nicknames, they suffered horrifying wounds and maybe, slowly got better. And every time a soldier fell in battle, it was jarring and upsetting, as one of XCOM’s defining features was permadeath: no coming back for any fallen member of the team. If one of your favorite squaddies perished, that was that.

The second XCOM utilizes a very similar set of gameplay mechanics, and it ups the oppressive feeling by starting from a surprising story premise: humanity lost. The alien invasion was successful, and we now live under the dominion of a seemingly invincible alien legion. From the very beginning to the very end, this is a game about a desperate, nearly hopeless resistance. Not only does each decision and sacrifice feel difficult, but the backdrop isn’t “be careful, there’s aliens out there!”, it’s “each time you mess up, we’re inching closer and closer to the end of humanity as we know it.” These kinds of absurd stakes are commonplace in video games, but the notion somehow feels real and earned in XCOM 2. In a country and world that feels increasingly on the brink, XCOM 2 feels downright portentous in its mood, if not the actual events of the story.

Yes, it has crushing technical problems and load times that are beyond absurd (for the record, repeatedly pressing CAPS LOCK may speed up your load time; it may also extremely crash your computer, so, great), but it also has a soulful darkness that makes it even more compelling than the first game.

The “Fond Memories of AIM” Award: Cibele

cibeleCibele is a game that resists easy description and categorization. Cibele is Nina Freeman’s introspective, raw memory of growing up in the early days of the internet. Even articulating the gameplay gives away the discovery of the experience, so I’ll only draw a slight note: despite a few not-amazing control and interactive design choices, Cibele is an enrapturing game about emotion, sex, communication, and technology, and it achieves this goal even though you’re not really playing that much.

And kudos to Nina Freeman for not only showing the vulnerability to conceive of and develop this game but the courage to also star in the cinematic sequences that occur throughout the story.

The “If It Ain’t Broke, Change it Completely” Award: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

civilization_vi_cover_artI never liked the music of Civilization V.

I know that’s weird to fixate on–the storied empire-building franchise that began 25 (!) years ago is about so much more than its soundtrack–but the music plays a big role in drawing me into the world and gameplay of Civilization. For me, the changes in Civilization V were sweeping and wonderful, but the music felt distant and aloof; it was like a constant feeling that someone I didn’t like very much was selecting the playlist and smirking at me all the while. That feeling, unfortunately, translated to how I felt as I played the game.

So when I launched Civilization VI for the first time and wanted to start humming along to the epic main menu music, I crossed my fingers. Maybe this was my year.

It was my year.

The new and different features are myriad: the introduction of the district system (in an almost Endless-Legend-like way), a totally revamped culture system, a substantially different art style, gameplay achievement-like boosts, and customized music for nearly every civilization–this is a game that takes bold risks, and nearly all of them succeed.

It has some kinks to iron out–the religious system and religious victory are annoying and extraneous, the barbarians are hilariously powerful (as they should be?), and the game mechanics lend themselves to overwhelming micromanagement on anything but the smallest maps–but make no mistake, Civilization VI is a triumph.

And yes, I have the soundtrack.

The “I Never Play Online Multiplayer Games, But I Played This Online Multiplayer Game” Award: Overwatch

Cheers, love! The cavalry’s here!

The “Evie is a Really Cool Name” Award: Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

assassins-creed-syndicateI’m almost an Assassin’s Creed apologist.

I know, I know. They’ve made 400 games in the space of a few years, the stories are often cookie-cutter and their self-seriousness is whimsical considering the absurdity of the overarching universe. I get it. But at their best, they tackle real issues about power, choice, the role of government, the responsibility we have to each other, and so much more.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a fun romp through a London going through the Industrial Revolution, following Evie and Jacob Frye, an Assassin sister-brother duo aiming to topple the choking vice-grip that Templars have on their city. You’ll free child laborers, apprehend criminals, and of course, assassinate all the time. Along the way, you befriend Dickens and Darwin, and an optional DLC takes you up against Jack the Ripper himself.

Ubisoft has made small changes that really improve the gameplay flow of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and the ability to play as Evie or Jacob at almost any point is fun and varied (although they play nearly identically). The game wants to focus on class and even lightly touches on issues like British colonialism, which is great to see in a game that could’ve just been enjoyable accents and carriages.

As with all games, there are problems here and there; one small annoyance is that the game’s internal logic feels twisted in more than a few occasions. Your adversaries (conveniently dressed in red), for example, fight you at every turn, are connected to the Templars, and you battle and kill them often. But as soon as you take over a territory, you watch a canned cutscene where Evie and Jacob look out amongst a crowd of red-dressed hooligans and say “You work for us now!” and then after the cheers subside…they work for you now. Seriously? It doesn’t break the game, but this to-and-fro of somewhat-adroit awareness and feckless dimwittedness is unfortunately, a regular occurrence throughout the main campaign.

But set aside the ramblings of a man that’s obsessed with internal logic, and grab your stovepipe hat and wrist blade and have a blast in not-quite-steampunk London.

The “Low Chaos, Low Fun” Award: Dishonored 2

dishonored_2_cover_artDishonored 2 wasn’t fun.

My hours and hours sneaking through the game as a supposed stealth and combat master were mostly spent dying in spectacularly embarrassing ways. Teleport next to this guard…oops, she saw me. Reload my quicksave. Okay, go around the other side, hit the button–wait, why isn’t the button wor… Reload my quicksave.

Dishonored 2 gives you a few more options to deal with your adversaries in nonlethal ways, but this is still a game that focuses on giving you creative ways to murder people. So when I tried to (both from a roleplaying and from a moral perspective) go about the game trying to kill absolutely no one, I didn’t get much help from the game’s user interface, controls, or (ugh) load times. There’s a lot more that the game could do to make this more accessible–provide more nonlethal open combat options, make more of the weapons stun instead of kill, provide an on-screen notification of when you’ve gone from sneaky protagonist to killer–but on the other hand, it’s probably not supposed to be easy. The “good” path in real life (to the extent such a thing even exists) isn’t easy either. So maybe being “good” should correlate to the difficult path, as you see (to a degree) in games like the Fable series.

But there’s the problem–Dishonored 2, like the first game, doesn’t have a morality system a la Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect. The notion of morality in the Dishonored universe is referred to as Chaos, and Chaos is measured only by the number of human lives you take. While I like the idea of challenging silly binaries of morality (remember a decade or so ago, when “choice in games” meant selecting either “save the orphanage” or “burn down the orphanage”), the idea that the body count is the only important metric is a bizarre decision at best.

One example of this questionable approach to good and evil is with the main objective in each mission: your “assassination target.” In Dishonored 2 (and the first game), for every target, there’s a nonlethal option. But sometimes, the nonlethal option feels even more ruthless than killing the target outright–outcomes range from a lifetime working in the mines with one’s tongue cut out to forcing a target to live out the rest of her days with her stalker/attacker. These are horrifying fates to subject someone to, but the game is smart enough only for the equation that nonlethal equals good.

So when I’m praised at the end for the judicious and good-hearted way that I completed the story’s objectives (floweringly called the “Low Chaos” end), it doesn’t just feel weird, it feels wrong.

But the world of Dishonored 2 is a fascinating one, worthy of exploration, and although its morality may not line up with your own, it’s worth your time to dive in and take the game’s odd choices as a discussion starter, and not a final conclusion.


John Brougher is an actor and filmmaker out of the Los Angeles area, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of the progressive consulting firm ShareProgress. He likes narrative-driven games, dance movies, and people who self-identify as Hufflepuffs.

New Diamond Select Toys: Alien, Batman, Marvel, Predator and TMNT!

The new issue of Previews is in comic shops now, and pre-orders are open at your local store for the newest batch of items from Diamond Select Toys! Check out the first Dragon Age Select action figure, new Minimates from Alien, Predator and TMNT; a new bank from Alien; new statues and busts from the Marvel and DC Animated universes; a new Back to the Future mini-vehicle; and a new Marvel Retro Cloth action figure set! Plus, the return of a sold-out Marvel Select figure!

Alien Big Chap Vinyl Bust Bank

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s very cold in space, so what better place to keep your cold hard cash than in this Alien bank? Based on the “Big Chap” xenomorph from the 1979 Alien movie, this approximately 8” long vinyl bust features detailed sculpting and paint, as well as a coin slot and access door that turn it into a fully functioning coin bank! Keep financial predators at bay! Packaged in a clear polybag. Sculpted by Eli Livingston! (Item #FEB162463, SRP: $22.99)

BigChapAlienBank

Aliens Minimates Mini-Figures Series 3 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Nostromo, DST has returned to the doomed space ship for a full assortment of Minimates based on the original Alien movie! This assortment of two-packs features Narcissus Ripley with Narcissus Space Suit, Space Suit Dallas with Space Suit Lambert, Ash with Frozen Alien and a rare, one-per-case variant set of Battle-Damaged Ash with Frozen Alien! Each 2” Minimates mini-figure features 14 points of articulation, and features fully interchangeable parts. Each two-pack is packaged on a full-color blister card. (Item #FEB162464, SRP: $9.99/ea.

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Batman The Animated Series Gallery Batman 9” PVC Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! He is vengeance! He is the night! He is Batman, the first Batman: The Animated Series Gallery figure from DST! Based on his appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, this 9-inch scale static PVC figure of Batman depicts him alighting on a rooftop, with a Batarang at the ready. Batman is in scale to previously released Femme Fatales PVC figures, including Batgirl and Catwoman, and is sculpted with a high level of detail with exacting paint applications. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #FEB162458, SRP: $45.00

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Back to the Future 30th Ann. Minimates Hover Time Machine Mini-Vehicle

A Diamond Select Toys release! Where you’re going, you don’t need roads! Why? Because this mini-vehicle of the Time Machine from Back to the Future Part II is in hover mode, that’s why! With its tires locked in hover position, this 4-inch Time Machine glides across the floor on a second set of hidden wheels, and its gull-wing doors open to seat two Minimates mini-figures. It even comes with a new mini-figure of Future Doc Brown in his wraparound sunglasses, plus a brand-new, non-poseable micro-figure of his dog, Einstein! Doc features 14 points of articulation and has fully interchangeable parts. Packaged in a full-color blister card. (Item #FEB162472, SRP: 19.99)

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Batman The Animated Series Premier Collection Poison Ivy Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! Every villain has that time they “almost got” Batman, and Poison Ivy is no different. Based on her appearance in the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Im,” this approximately 12” resin statue depicts the plant-loving Pamela Isley wearing a black outfit and holding one of her poisonous pumpkins, while standing in Gotham City’s pumpkin patch. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, this resin statue comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Clayburn Moore! (Item #FEB162457, SRP: $150.00)

PoisonIvyStatue2

Dragon Age Inquisition Select Morrigan Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! From out of the world of Thedas comes the first-ever Select action figure based on the hit video game series Dragon Age! This 7-inch scale figure of Morrigan, a Witch of the Wilds, features approximately 16 points of articulation, as well as an accessory of her trademark staff and a diorama base. It comes packaged in the display-ready Select packaging, with side panel art for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! (Item #FEB162473, SRP: $24.99)

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Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool 9” PVC Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! She’s beautiful! She’s deadly! She’s Lady Deadpool, and she’s the newest Marvel Gallery PVC figure based on the heroes and heroines of the Marvel Universe! The most lethal of the Marvel ladies so far, Lady Deadpool stands approximately 9” tall and wields twin katana swords and a pretty killer ponytail atop a small diorama base. She is in scale to Captain Marvel, Lady Thor, and all other Marvel Gallery PVC figures. Packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Alejandro Pereira! (Item #FEB162462. SRP: $45.00)

DeadpoolPVCfig

Marvel Retro Cloth Daredevil Action Figure Gift Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! Finally, the devil has come to the Marvel Retro line! Never released in the classic Mego toy line of yester-year, streetwise superhero Daredevil is the latest Marvel character to get the Retro action figure treatment from DST! This gift set features one classically-styled red-costume Daredevil figure, in a vintage-style box, plus two additional heads and outfits: his original yellow costume and his alter ego, blind lawyer Matt Murdock! With interchangeable heads, hands, costumes and accessories, you can display your Daredevil however you want! Packaged in a full-color gift tray with a booklet about Daredevil, retro-style figures, and the creation process! Designed and sculpted by EMCE Toys! (Item #FEB162460, SRP: $80.00)

RetroDaredevilSet

Predator Minimates Series 2 Two-Pack Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! Time to head back to the jungle, for another assortment of Predator Minimates! This all-new assortment of 2-inch Minimates mini-figures features characters from all three Predator films! Royce from Predators comes with that film’s Berserker Predator, Predator’s Blain comes with Predator 2’s Shaman Predator, and Predator’s First Appearance Dutch faces off with the Cloaked Jungle Predator. Plus, be on the lookout for the rare, one-per-case variant set of Final Battle Dutch and Cloaked Jungle Predator! Each Minimate features 14 points of articulation and fully interchangeable parts, and each two-pack comes on a full-color blister card. (Item #FEB162471, SRP: $9.99/ea.)

PredatorMMS2

Superman The Animated Series Lex Luthor Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Everyone has their heroes, and to some, that hero is Lex Luthor! Determined to expose the alien Superman for the false god he really is, the focus of Metropolis businessman Lex Luthor is captured in this approximately 6-inch resin bust, which places him on a pedestal inspired by the architecture of his city in Superman: The Animated Series. Limited to 3,000 pieces, this numbered bust comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #FEB162459, SRP: $59.99)

LexLuthorBust

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates Foil Bag Series 4 Counter Display

A Diamond Select Toys release! The newest series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates is out of this world! Based on the newest season of the hit Nickelodeon animated series, this counter display of 18 foil-bagged mini-figures includes nine different characters: Space Leonardo, Space Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, Fugitoid, Triceraton, Exo-Armor Kraang, and rare, exclusive figures of Baxter Stockman and Oroku Saki! There’s a full set in each display, and multiple army-building Kraangs and Triceratons! Each Minimates mini-figure features up to 14 points of articulation, as well as fully interchangeable parts. (Item #FEB162474, SRP: $5.99/ea.)

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Offered Again:

Marvel Select Venom Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! Back by popular demand, it’s what many have called the greatest Venom action figure ever made! This 7-inch scale action figure of symbiotic Spider-man foe Venom features 16 points of articulation and almost a dozen interchangeable parts, including hands, heads, a removable tongue, and a back attachment, so you can re-create his classic, modern and “Madness” appearances! Packaged in the display-ready Select packaging, with side panel artwork for easy shelf reference. Don’t miss out on this sought-after figure! Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #AUG121762, SRP: $24.99)

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Review: Dragon Age: Magekiller #2

dragon2

“A deed not done…”

Welcome back, when we last left our hunters Marius and Tessa they were stuck between a rock and a hard place in the domain of the powerful Archon Radonis. At this moment they have two choices, complete the mission for Archon Radonis or perish.

Marius, every defiant seems to like these odds but his partner talks some sense in to him quickly. Realizing they were tricked, but don’t really have a choice they decide to hear him out. Archon Radonis names the targets he wishes dealt with and gives them a quick background on each. The targets are part of a secret society called the Venatori and they covet vast power.

Once Marius agreed, he knew this would be no easy task. For each one of these targets are very skilled in the magic arts. Even though they are Magekillers, this would be their most difficult challenge to see through.

Over the course of the next six weeks, Marius and Tessa took their respective targets out one by one, each one presenting an increasing level of challenge. Finally they brought themselves to the fourth and final target. The final one was a woman who lay on a massage table completely unarmed and vulnerable. Marius figured this ought not be too hard to complete, but as he got closer he was taken aback by what he saw: the face of a dear old friend. Not just a friend, but a lover.

The woman, Calpernia is both elated and saddened by Marius. She knows what his presence at this moment means. “Are you going to do it?” she asks Marius. Not even a moment to think, he declines. He cannot take the life of a woman he loved. Calpernia is relieved.

dragon1

At this moment Tessa walks in while Calpernia and Marius are in strong embrace and she is not so keen on the decision. Though Marius feels he made the right one, he is reminded he may have now doomed them all…

Overall: This issue moved a lot faster than the first, that being said I enjoyed it more. I really love the duo of Marius and Tessa. They seem to have a sibling rivalry like quality to their relationship. I hope no romantic entanglements are in their future as I really enjoy their banter and dialogue. There is even a funny piece of internal dialogue where Tessa thinks to herself “I didn’t even think he knew how to kiss.” Also the artwork by Carmen Carnero seems even better than last time. She appears to have strayed from the ultra video game style displayed in the the inaugural issue to a more balanced style, which I feel works just as well. She is definitely a talent on the rise to lookout for. I am certainly still enjoying the story too, but being written by scribe extraordinaire: Greg Rucka, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised. I’m very curious to see where this all leads and wondering if there is a big twist waiting in the wings, such as Marius or Tessa are mages themselves. Guess I will have to wait another month and see. So great issue and “If you’re looking for a comic to tickle your fantasy bone, this is it.” I’m unplugging for now and keep those consoles warm till next time folks!

Story: Greg Rucka Art: Carmen Carnero
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Score: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Dragon Age: Magekiller #1

Dragon Age: Magekiller #1

Greg Rucka (W), Carmen Carnero (A), Sachin Teng (Cover)
On sale December 16, FOC November 23.

Greg Rucka begins an all-new story set in the immersive dark-fantasy world of Dragon Age!

Tessa and Marius are mercenary partners, eliminating those who use blood magic to hurt others, but when a powerful patron employs them, they realize this next job may be their last…

Dragon Age Magekiller #1 1

SDCC 2015: Dark Horse Announces a Wave of New Series

At San Diego Comic-Con, Dark Horse Comics announced a bunch of new projects from Brian Wood, Paul Tobin, Matt Kindt, and more! It’s an impressive line-up, and you can find out more details below.

Joss Whedon Announces The Twist!

Finally answering the question “Why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?” Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Serenity creator Joss Whedon announced his newest upcoming comic book series, The Twist, during his Hall H panel

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Comes to Comics with Hama at the Helm

Comics legend Larry Hama is set to write the official Call of Duty: Black Ops III prequel comic, illustrated by Marcelo Ferreira and coming in November.

Call of Duty Black Ops III

No Unanswerable Questions for Tobin & Alburquerque’s Mystery Girl

Eisner Award winner Paul Tobin brings his new creator-driven original series Mystery Girl to Dark Horse in December! Illustrated by Alberto Alburquerque, Mystery Girl delves into the mystery of Trine—a street detective who can answer any question, except the question of what happened in the last ten years of her life.

Mystery Girl

Enter the World of Thedas with Greg Rucka in Dragon Age: Magekiller

Dragon Age comics return with critically acclaimed writer Greg Rucka at the helm this December! Illustrated by Carmen Carnero, Magekiller, the newest installment in the Dragon Age canon, takes place at the same time as the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition and follows mercenaries Tessa and Marius, whose next job may be their last.

Dragon Age Magekiller

Jones’s Lady Killer Heads to Cocoa Beach for New Series

Joëlle Jones’s Lady Killer will return in March 2016 for a brand-new series, this time set in beautiful Cocoa Beach, as housewife-by-day, assassin-by-night Josie Schuller goes into business for herself.

Lady Killer

Time Is Running Out in Kindt’s Dept. H

It’s 24 meets Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy—underwater! Matt Kindt returns for an all-new series in 2016. In Dept. H, a special operative takes on the secrets of an underwater facility, but she doesn’t have much time to uncover the mystery. The station is flooding, and she’s only got a few days before it becomes a watery grave.

Dept. H

Brian Wood and Garry Brown return to the world of The Massive

In December, Brian Wood and Garry Brown are set for an action-packed return to The Massive with Ninth Wave’s stories set before the Crash, when Callum Israel and his crew of environmental heroes take on protecting the planet.

The Massive

Greg Rucka to Craft Dragon Age: Magekiller in December

This December, Greg Rucka enters the world of Thedas for an all-new chapter in Dark Horse Comics and BioWare’s Dragon Age comics.

Running parallel to the events of the award-winning Dragon Age: Inquisition video game from BioWare and Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Magekiller introduces two new characters to Dragon Age lore: Tessa and Marius are mercenary partners, eliminating those who use blood magic to hurt others, but when a powerful patron employs them, they realize this next job may be their last…

Illustrated by Carmen Carnero with covers by Sachin Teng, Dragon Age: Magekiller is the beginning of a new adventure in the world of Thedas and an essential addition to the Dragon Age canon.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #1
Greg Rucka (W), Carmen Carnero (A), Sachin Teng (Cover)
$3.99
On sale Dec. 16; FOC Nov. 23

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Diamond Select Toys This Week: Mr. Fusion, Dragon Age and Buddy Christ!

It’s another big week for Diamond Select Toys at your local comic shop, as eight new items are shipping to stores! Not only are there new Minimates from Dragon Age, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Classic X-Men comics, there are new busts from Sin City and the Batman Classic TV Series, a plush Buddy Christ, a Godzilla pizza cutter and our long-awaited Mr. Fusion prop replica! There’s something for every collector and every fan in stores this week from DST!

Back to the Future 2 Mr. Fusion Electronic Prop Replica

A Diamond Select Toys Release! It’s almost 2015, which means we’re only months away from inventing Mr. Fusion, the device that turns garbage into energy! Arguably the biggest technological leap between the 1985 we saw in Back to the Future and the 2015 we saw in Back to the Future II, the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor is now a realistically scaled 18″ electronic replica from Diamond Select Toys, complete with a sound effect to let you know that the sealed processing unit has been opened and is ready to process household waste into 1.21 gigawatts of energy! Runs on included batteries. (Item #OCT142188, SRP: $399.99)

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Batman Classic TV Series Penguin Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Batman’s rogues gallery continues to grow as the Penguin joins the Riddler and the Joker in DST’s line of busts based on the Batman Classic TV Series! This 6-inch-tall resin bust captures Burgess Meredith as fowl fiend, wielding a deadly umbrella and an equally deadly sneer. Bust sits atop a colorful base inspired by the show’s animated opening credits, and comes packaged in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield! Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #DEC142214, SRP: $59.99)

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Dragon Age Minimates Series 1 Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! On your next Dragon Age quest, why not keep your companions in your pocket? The legendary video game series kicks off an epic line of Minimates with this debut four-pack featuring the Grey Warden Alistair; the bard, Leliana; dwarf rogue Varric Tethras (with Bianca); and Morrigan, Witch of the Wilds. Each 2-inch Minimate mini-figure features 10-14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. Packaged on a blister card. (Item #DEC142215, SRP: $19.99)

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Godzilla 2000 Sculpted Pizza Cutter

A Diamond Select Toys release! Destroy all toppings! A monstrous hunger requires a monstrous slice, and you can cut yourself off a big one with this palm-sized pizza cutter featuring the sculpted face of Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Based on his appearance in “Godzilla 2000,” this menacing utensil will cut a path through a deep-dish pie like Godilla cuts a path through Tokyo! Packaged in a full-color box. (Item #DEC142216, SRP: $14.99)

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Marvel Minimates Avengers Age of Ultron Movie Single Pack Display

A Diamond Select Toys release! For a movie as big as “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” one assortment is not enough! This colorful countertop display holds 18 individually blind-bagged Minimates based on the movie, including multiple types of Ultrons, Iron Man’s Iron Legion, plus one-per-case Minimates of Baron Strucker and Nick Fury! Every bag contains one 2-inch Minimate mini-figure, featuring 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. (Item #DEC142220, SRP: $5.99/ea.)

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Marvel Minimates Series 60 X-Men Vs. Brotherhood Asst.

A Diamond Select Release! Some of the X-Men’s most memorable costumes and memorable foes return in this all-new assortment of Marvel Minimates! Exclusively available through Previews, this assortment has the X-Men’s Strike Force team (as seen in Uncanny X-Men #275) take on that era’s Brotherhood of Mutants, a.k.a. Freedom Force! Plus each two pack of 2-inch Minimates includes bonus parts to create an alternate X-Men character! The two-packs include Wolverine (with Forge parts) vs. Blob, Banshee (with Gambit parts) vs. Pyro, Storm (with Psylocke parts) vs. Avalanche, and a short-packed, one-per-case two-pack of Jubilee vs. Destiny! Each two-pack is packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Art Asylum!  (Item #NOV142181, SRP: $9.99/two-pack)

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View Askew Buddy Christ Plush Doll

A Diamond Select Toys release! From the films of Kevin Smith, it’s the most marketable religious icon of all! Buddy Christ is a friend who is always willing to hear your problems, and now he’s also super-cuddly! This 8″ tall plush doll features finely stitched details, is made out of soft plush material, and will fit anywhere you want him to go, including your backpack. Wherever you go, he’s gonna go! Comes packaged in a clear polybag. (Item #OCT142187, SRP: $19.99)

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Sin City Movie Marv Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Sin City is no place for the soft or weak. Luckily, Marv is as hard as they come! We made this collectible 6″ bust of Marv out of high-quality resin, so he and his gun Gladys will blend into your bust collection, no matter how tough a crowd it is. Set into a rocky base, he’ll stand guard on your shelf. your desk or even the bar at Kadie’s Club Pecos! Sculpted by Jean St. Jean. Limited to 1,000 pieces. Comes packaged in a full-color box. (Item #NOV142178, SRP: $59.99)

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New Diamond Select Toys Revealed for Summer 2015

Next year is looking bigger and better for Diamond Select Toys! They just unveiled an array of new products due out next summer, from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Walking Dead, Dragon Age, Batman, Godzilla and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!

Aliens Minimates Series 1 Two-Packs Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! Colonial Marines, move out! The first assortment of Minimates two-packs based on the classic 1986 sci-fi movie “Aliens” is getting ready to drop, and it’s simply bursting with all-new Marines and xenomorphs! The four 2-packs include Wounded Cpl. Hicks with Ripley, Pvt. Drake with Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien, Sgt. Apone with Alien, and Cpl. Dietrich with Infected Colonist. Each 2-inch Minimates mini-figure features 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. Packaged on a blister card. (Item #DEC142213, SRP: $9.99/2-pack.)

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Batman Classic TV Series Penguin Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Batman’s rogues gallery continues to grow as the Penguin joins the Riddler and the Joker in DST’s line of busts based on the Batman Classic TV Series! This 6-inch-tall resin bust captures Burgess Meredith as fowl fiend, wielding a deadly umbrella and an equally deadly sneer. Bust sits atop a colorful base inspired by the show’s animated opening credits, and comes packaged in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield! Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #DEC142214, SRP: $59.99)

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Dragon Age Minimates Series 1 Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! On your next Dragon Age quest, why not keep your companions in your pocket? The legendary video game series kicks off an epic line of Minimates with this debut four-pack featuring the Grey Warden Alistair; the bard, Leliana; dwarf rogue Varric Tethras (with Bianca); and Morrigan, Witch of the Wilds. Each 2-inch Minimate mini-figure features 10-14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. Packaged on a blister card. (Item #DEC142215, SRP: $19.99)

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Godzilla 2000 Sculpted Pizza Cutter

A Diamond Select Toys release! Destroy all toppings! A monstrous hunger requires a monstrous slice, and you can cut yourself off a big one with this palm-sized pizza cutter featuring the sculpted face of Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Based on his appearance in “Godzilla 2000,” this menacing utensil will cut a path through a deep-dish pie like Godilla cuts a path through Tokyo! Packaged in a full-color box. (Item #DEC142216, SRP: $14.99)

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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Minimates Series 2 Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! Jay and SIlent Bob return in a second box set of Minimates minfigures based on their biggest film, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”! This time, a mask-wearing Jay and Silent Bob come packaged with Federal Wildlife Marshall Willenholly and notorious jewel  thief Justice — plus a micro-‘Mate of their orangutan friend Suzanne!  Each 2-inch Minimate mini-figure features 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. Packaged on a blister card. (Item #DEC142211, SRP: $19.99)

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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Monopoly Game

A Diamond Select Toys release! Bring the magic of the movies home with the first board game ever based on the films of Kevin Smith! The cross-country adventure of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” is now an official, authorized edition of Monopoly, with a game board featuring art and locations from the movie! The game also has new Chance cards, Community Chest cards and game pieces, all set to the same classic Monopoly gameplay! Packaged in a full-color game box with movie artwork.   (Item #DEC142209, SRP: $39.99)

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Jay and Silent Bob Super Groovy Cartoon Movie Ceramic Mug

A Diamond Select Toys release! Why drink your Quick Stop coffee out of a foam cup when you can drink it in style? This double-sided ceramic mug depicts frequent Quick Stop customers Jay and Silent Bob in the animated style of director Kevin Smith’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. With their names on the handle, you’ll know who you’re looking at even before the caffeine kicks in! Comes packaged in a full-color box. (Item #DEC142210, SRP: $14.99

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Marvel Infinity Gauntlet Silicone Tray

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Infinity Gauntlet is the most powerful weapon in the Marvel Universe, allowing the bearer to control time, space and reality. And now it can cool your drink! Cast up six ice cubes in the shape of the Infinity Gauntlet using this 6″x8″ silicone tray, or fill the tray up with chocolate to make six tasty treats! Your guests won’t know what hit them! Packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #DEC142217, SRP: $14.99)

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Marvel Minimates Series 61 Avengers Age of Ultron Movie Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s almost here – the most anticipated Marvel movie since the last Marvel movie! With the trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” already shattering records, DST is preparing the first assortment of Minimates based on the movie! Four two-packs will feature Iron Man with Black Widow, Thor with Captain America, Hawkeye with Ultron and a rare one-per-case variant pack of Hawkeye in his long coat with a Sub-Ultron! Each 2-inch Minimate mini-figure features 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Art Asylum! (Item #DEC142219, SRP: $9.99/ea.)

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Marvel Minimates Avengers Age of Ultron Movie Single Pack Display

A Diamond Select Toys release! For a movie as big as “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” one assortment is not enough! This colorful countertop display holds 18 individually blind-bagged Minimates based on the movie, including multiple types of Ultrons, Iron Man’s Iron Legion, plus one-per-case Minimates of Baron Strucker and Nick Fury! Every bag contains one 2-inch Minimate mini-figure, featuring 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts. (Item #DEC142220, SRP: $5.99/ea.)

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Marvel Select Avengers Age of Ultron Movie Hulk Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! Hulk smash puny toys! The Hulk returns in a new look for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and DST is revisiting their award-winning action figure from the first Avengers movie with all-new sculpted details! Standing almost 10 inches tall, this Hulk figure sports 16 points of articulation and a spot-on likeness of the Hulk from the film, and comes packaged in Select-style display packaging, with spine artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant! (Item #DEC142218, SRP: $24.99)

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Walking Dead Minimates Series 7 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! The newest series of Walking Dead Minimates is here, and this time it’s war! Featuring characters from more recent issues of the hit comic book series, this assortment includes three different two-packs: Rick with Jesus, Negan with Dwight, and Hunters leader Chris with Zombie Holly, plus a one-per-case variant set of Scavengers leader Derek with Zombie Holly. Each 2-inch Minimate mini-figure features 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts and accessories, including an alternate head for Holly. Packaged in a full-color window box. (Item #DEC142212, SRP: $9.99/ea.

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Around the Tubes

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I pulled off some good gets online yesterday. Did folks take advantage of Black Friday? Here’s an extra long Around the Tubes catching up from the holiday.

Around the Tubes

Bleeding Cool – Dubai Bans V For Vendetta MaskHrm.

The Mary Sue – Dragon Age‘s Head Writer Explains the Value of Women on His Writing TeamAmen.

Washington Post – Top 10 Graphic/Comics Reads of 2012I still think these are too early.

ICv2 – Studios Fires Back at PETACan’t wait to see the mock stuff from PETA.

Bleeding Cool – DC Comics Issues Statement On Digital Distribution TimingInteresting to see the response from everyone.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Amazing Spider-Man #698

CBR – Amazing Spider-Man #698

Talking Comics – Captain America #1

IGN – Captain America #1

Talking Comics – Catwoman #14

CBR – Deadpool #2

Crimespree Magazine – The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo Vol. 1

Talking Comics – Indestructible Hulk #1

IGN – Indestructible Hulk #1

Talking Comics – Iron Man #2

Talking Comics – Journey Into Mystery #646

IGN – Journey Into Mystery #646

Talking Comics – Judge Dredd #1

Examiner – Mind the Gap #6

Fangoria – Shadowman #1

CBR – Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1

Talking Comics – Wolverine & The X-Men #21

Complex – Review: “The Goon” Brings Grotesque Humor Back To Comics

The Beat – The Beat Comic Reviews for 20/11/12

NYCC 2012 – Gaider Delivers New Dragon Age Series for Dark Horse

Dark Horse announced the third installment of the wildly popular Dragon Age series! David Gaider—the lead writer of the Dragon Age games—takes three of the games’ most beloved characters on a quest into the realm of nightmares, demons, and magic.

King Alistair, allied with the world’s most feared warrior race—the Qunari—the pirate Isabela, and the rogue Varric, brings a battle royal to the evil mage responsible for his father’s disappearance!

With scripts by Alexander Freed and art by Chad Hardin, Dragon Age: Until We Sleep is an essential addition to the Dragon Age canon.

Heart-stopping action in jaw-dropping settings—Until We Sleep is everything you love about fantasy! Whether you’re a longtime Dragon Age fan or a newcomer, this is the beginning of an epic drama you cannot miss!

Dragon Age: Until We Sleep is on sale March 27, 2013!

Zeismic
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