Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I bought Warsong 2

Photobucket I got this my Warsong II game.  This game is supposed to be like Shining Force II in quality and 30 points higher score than Warsong.  Here is the free rom
It is very hardcore. I think that strategy RPGs for PS2 are more novice than Warsong II. Warsong II is a lot harder. The artificial intelligence and bug fixes are a lot better here. This game is rarer than Metallic Uniframe Super Hybrid Armor in the United States. Review

openSUSE 12.2 Review

I installed this in Virtual box 4.1 on my Scientific Linux 6.3 box, because I had a class that uses Virtual box.  KDE is more stable now in 4.8.4.  I have the 3.4.6 kernel so now 3.1 in openSUSE 12.1 looks a little bit outdated here.  Scientific Linux 6.3 has some kernel 3.3 features in its  This operating system is more secure than Windows 7 and already in the state with PC-BSD with PF Firewall, and  ZFS / UFS encryption.  The US Government makes the obvious mistake of choosing Linux over PC-BSD and calling that securest workstation. Linus Towards sums up 386BSD kicking Linux's butt in 1993.

You probably want to upgrade to this openSUSE release so that you can run a fully functional BTRFS file system which tries to copy FreeBSD ZFS features.   BTRFS is past beta.   EXT4 is lacking FREEBSD features.

"If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never had happened." Linus Torvalds 

Right now, I am busy updating my 32-bit PCs with openSUSE 12.2.  Crossover Linux Pro 9.2.0 installs fine so i get Winamp and VLC.   File system checking is quicker.  Virtual Box is out for both openSUSE and FREEBSD.

Its nice that I can play all the Gnome games in KDE and vice versa. 

I don't know how anybody could beat me, in 2002, I was playing with Red Hat and SUSE 8.0 and than in 2005, I had Gnoppix (ubuntu 7.04) .  I beat most people to Linux.  Now that Linux is the fad and nothing special, I guess all I have are my videogames.  I even got an Android Linux, the JXD S601, now.

openSUSE 12.2 is pretty stable.

I give it 9.0 out of 10.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Playstation 4 technical speculations

Playstation 4 uses AMD chips based on the A8-3859 APU (accelerated processing unit) and Radeon HD 7670 GPU GPU supports HDMI1.4a Inside sources have leaked information to the press claiming that the CPU in the next-generation PS4 (codenamed Orbis) is an AMD Llano A8-3850. The chip will supposedly be paired with an AMD Radeon 7670 GPU with 1GB of integrated VRAM. With all due respect to IGN, this is the sort of report that deserves a considerably better review than they apparently gave it. Sony may well be working with that level of AMD hardware, but that's not the same as shipping said configurations. Let's start with the APU. The A8-3850 was one of AMD's earliest Llano chips; a 100W 2.9GHz quad-core with an integrated Radeon 6550D. It didn't ship in high quantity -- AMD chose to emphasize shipping out mobile Llano's rather than their desktop counterparts. Llano is a much stronger mobile chip than it is on the desktop; AMD has been unable to scale the chip to higher clock speeds (think 3GHz+) without dramatically increasing its TDP. Llano's Achilles heel is the interconnect between its CPU and GPU; the communication channel is very similar to an old-school motherboard northbridge implementation. It's easy for the CPU to transfer data to the GPU but much more difficult for the GPU to do the same -- which means it's also much harder for AMD to take advantage of Llano's array of GPU cores as a general-purpose compute array. Bandwidth is quite limited; Llano's GPU is critically dependent on main memory bandwidth to function well. Now, let's talk about the Radeon 7670. It's a rebranded HD 6760, based on the budget Turks 40nm GPU. According to IGN, "When the APU is paired with the HD 7670, however, Sony will be able to utilize an asymmetrical CrossFire configuration to share the load of realtime graphics processing." That's technically true, but the benefits of Hybrid Crossfire are limited to DX10/11 games (it's unclear how AMD would scale the benefit to OpenGL and older DX9 titles are often slower than they'd be with just the dGPU.) Scaling benefits are also erratic and vary significantly from game to game. The reason we don't believe reports that Sony would adopt the Llano+6760 is that AMD has much better hardware either already shipping or coming in the very near future -- certainly well before the PS4's launch date. Llano may have done a great job getting AMD's foot in the door, but the chip is based on AMD's four-year-old Shanghai CPU. AMD has no plans to continue building Llano at nodes below 32nm, and console manufacturers always plan to scale a CPU through multiple process nodes. The current PS3 is produced on a 45nm/40nm process, having begun life at 90nm. If Llano's GPU was good, Trinity's is expected to be significantly better. More importantly, its GPU is based on Cayman, which means it's a substantial improvement over the HD 5000-era part baked into Llano. Similarly, AMD might well target a budget price point for whatever GPU the PS4 eventually uses, but it probably won't be derived from a graphics architecture that'll already be three years old by the time the system ships.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Minnesota Zoo 2012

I didn't get to go to the this zoo in Appleton, MN for a whole decade, because Minnesota has road construction. Zoo recently had their dinosaur exhibit (saw it in 1994). I am like a lot of people wanting to see lions, tigers, lumas, cougars, white tiger. These exotic cats grow winter coats (drugs in foods).
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top 10 comic books

10. “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” by Art Spiegelman (For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say Maus: Book 1 and Book 2) The genius of Art Spiegelman’s masterpiece, Maus, is that it is not just a brilliant re-telling of one man’s tale of survival during World War II and the Holocaust. If it were just that, then it would still belong on this list, but it isn’t. It’s also the tale of a man dealing with his father. It’s also the tale of how stories are told. And perhaps most fascinating to me is that it also eventually becomes about a man dealing with the fact that his personal story about his father’s survival of the Holocaust has become a commercial and critical success. How does one reconcile oneself with something like that? Spiegelman addresses it beautifully in this story. But at the heart of the comic, Spiegelman is telling us how his father, Vladek Spiegelman, survived the war. And Vladek’s tale is absolutely fascinating, made even more so by Art’s deft storytelling skills, as he prevents the book from ever getting monotonous, while at the same time being quite detailed in the history of the tale. It reminds me a lot of the work Eddie Campbell did on From Hell. It took Spiegelman years to get this story finished, but it was well worth the wait, as it was an exceptional piece of work. 9. “Kingdom Come” by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (Kingdom Come #1-4) – Kingdom Come is an interesting reflection on the superhero trends of the 1990s. It is set in the future, a world where “grim and gritty” superheroes have basically taken control of the DC Universe, leading to vast amounts of chaos. Superman is pulled out of retirement by a tragedy which left it quite clear that something “had” to be done about the superhero problem. However, unbenown to Superman, other forces were coming together to deal with heroes THEIR way. Superman’s return led to a resurgence of “traditional” superheroics, and Superman gathers his old friends in a revamped Justice League. Superman gains a number of converts to his way of thinking, but just as many “heroes” turn away from Superman’s view of the world, leading to a number of conflicts and Superman effectively imposing his will on these people, something that turns Batman from Superman’s crusade. As the powder keg Superman has been building explodes, it’s hero versus hero versus villain while a worried government wonders if they should just try to rid themselves of superheroes once and for all. It’s a tense script by Mark waid, and Alex Ross’ realistic painted artwork brings across the humanity of the story being told. In addition, Ross clearly has a blast revamping the looks for the older heroes and designing costumes for the new characters. To this day DC is mining this story for ideas! 8. “Season of Mists” by Neil Gaiman, Kelley Jones, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P. Craig Russell (Sandman #21-28) Season of Mists was a landmark arc during Neil Gaiman’s Sandman tenure, as this was the story that introduced the Endless (Dream and Death’s other siblings) as well as created the set-up for Mike Carey’s Lucifer series. In the story, Dream is shamed into attempting to rescue his former love, who he, in a fit of rage, banished to hell thousands of years ago. He steels himself for a battle with Lucifer, who is Dream knows is not pleased with him. Dream could not expect, however, how Lucifer decided to deal with him – when Dream shows up to fight with Lucifer he learns that Lucifer has closed Hell and he gives Dream the key to hell. What follows next is an entertaining exploration of what the universe would be like without Hell, along with a brilliant piece of mythology work as Gaiman shows all the various other deities (like the Norse Gods and the Egyptian Gods, etc.) showing up to bargain with Dream for the rights to such prime interdimensional real estate. Gaiman has had great success over the years working with various mythologies and their deities, and that fascination really began here. The artwork is strong, with Kelley Jones really doing a wonderful job with the moodiness of the tale. 7. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Jerry Ordway (Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12, plus a bunch of tie-ins) Crisis on Infinite Earths was both a love letter to the past of DC Universe while also the formation of a “new” DC Universe. Marv Wolfman and George Perez put the DC Universe into a position where worlds were dying and realities were shattering. This allowed the pair to use a cast of literally thousands as they explored the vast realms of DC’s comic history in a sprawling epic with more than one “Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil.” The devices pushing this plot forward are the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, one a benevolent being who was studying the DC Universe – the other a madman who wants to destroy the Multiverse, the backbone of DC’s multiple Earths set-up (which allowed DC to separate their Golden Age creation from their Silver Age counterparts, but also allowed them to integrate comics they bought from other publishers without having to splice them together with their existing heroes). In a battle this epic, deaths were bound to happen, and this story was SO big that two very big names saw their end – Superman’s cousin, Supergirl and Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash. Initially, other titles were hesitant to tie into Crisis, but by the time the series ended, it was such a big hit that books were falling over themselves to tie into the event! Wolfman and Perez ended the series with more than one magnificently diverse epic slugfests, until the dust settled and the DC Universe was never the same. What a way to spend a Golden Anniversary!! 6. “All Star Superman” by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (All Star Superman #1-12) All Star Superman is both a reimagination of Superman as well as a bit of a farewell to the character. The story is basically about the death of Superman, as his death is foretold in the first issue and the comic depicts the last year in the life of Superman. That year allows Morrison and Quitely to come up with brilliant new approaches to classic Superman plots. Their “Silver Age ideas with modern sensibilities” approach works extremely well, particularly with Quitely’s ability to make pretty much anything dynamic. Possibly one of the coolest aspects of All Star Superman is that it is not, in the least bit, cynical. It’s quite a feat to see a re-envisioning of Superman that does NOT involve some sort of post-ironic cynical approach to the character. In addition, the story was told with a series of (mostly) one-off issues, so each issue was like its own little epic, they just combine to tell one long story of Superman’s last year of life. Morrison’s take on Superman and his supporting cast is innovative while completely familiar, and Quitely, well, Quitely just goes out of his mind with some of the layouts and dynamism in this series. Really top notch stuff. It’s a blast to read, and I can only imagine how well it reads collected in trades! 5. “Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson (Batman: The Dark Knight #1-4) Dark Knight Returns is one of the most influential Batman comics, well, ever, really. In his four-issue series set 10 years after Bruce Wayne retired as Batman, Frank Miller basically established the way Batman would be presented in comics for the next…well…23 years and counting! The comic is literally about the return of the Dark Knight, as Bruce Wayne realizes that his city needs Batman again, so he, well, returns. Miller plays with the concept (not originated by Miller but certainly cemented by Miller) that perhaps Batman’s existence draws OUT the crazies in an action-reaction deal. As soon as Batman returns, so, too, does Two-Face and the Joker. The other major characters in the story (besides Alfred) are Carrie Kelly, the teenaged girl who becomes the new Robin and Superman, whose conflict with Batman makes up the finale to the series. Miller’s art is in strong form in the series, especially the action sequences, which are dramatic as all hell. Batman has three (one is a two-parter) extremely memorable fights in this series. The first is against the leader of the Mutants, the screwed up gang of thugs who are terrorizing Gotham (in his first night back, Batman saves Carrie Kelly from a pair of them, leading to her wanting to become Robin), where Batman tries to compete like he was still young, but soon figures out that winning is the best way to handle things. The second is a chilling conflict with the Joker, who figures out the best way (in his mind) to “beat” Batman – it’s quite twisted. The third is the aforementioned battle between Superman and Batman, where we see perhaps the debut of the whole “if Batman had enough prep time, he could beat anyone” mode of handling Batman. So yeah, Dark Knight Returns – major comic book work. 4. “Year One” by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (Batman #404-407) Whatever aspects of the Batman character weren’t already re-defined by Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns were done so with this landmark new origin for Batman, courtesy of writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli. The story tells the tale of Bruce Wayne and James Gordon, and how one man became Batman and the other became the symbol of honest cops in Gotham City. That this story was the basis for the blockbuster film, Batman Begins, is of no surprise, since Miller writes the story in a totally cinematic style, and Mazzucchelli’s brilliant artwork certainly has a cinematic style to it, as well. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the comic is just how strong of a character Jim Gordon is in it. He truly works as the co-lead of the story. While writers certainly had done solo Gordon stories before this storyline, never had he gotten the attention Miller gave him, and a result, Gordon HAS had the same attention since. Richmond Lewis’ colors should get some attention – she does a marvelous job setting the mood. Very evocative washes. Add it all together and you have an engaging and entertaining new origin for Batman as we see him go from green vigilante to a trusted friend of the Gotham City police (as the police also go from being totally corrupt to only being significantly corrupt – a major step up!). 3. “Born Again” by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (Daredevil #227-233) Born Again drastically re-shaped Daredevil as a character, in Frank Miller’s return to the book that made him famous. This time, Miller was working with artist David Mazzucchelli, who was already doing very impressive work on the series with writer Denny O’Neil. However, Mazzucchelli was still growing as an artist, and in many ways, Born Again was his “coming out” party, as he at the very least equaled, and more likely SURPASSED the incredible artwork that Miller had done himself when drawing Daredevil years earlier. The story is about what happens when Matt Murdock’s former secretary (and former love of his life), Karen Page, who had left the book to become an actress, was now a drug-addicted porn star. Desperate for drugs, Page sells Matt’s secret identity. Eventually this information finds its way to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, who uses it to systematically destroy Matt’s life (getting him disbarred, freezing his assets, etc.). Then, in one of the best scenes you’ll see, Kingpin also blows up Matt’s brownstone – and then, Matt realizes, all of the terrible things that had been happening to him, they weren’t just bad luck, they were because of the Kingpin! That realization, however awesome, is not enough to make Matt “born again,” as he still has to fall to the gutters before he can rise above it all. The scene is filled with so many great scenes that I devoted, like, a month, to cool moments from it. But here’s a quick sampling… 1. Kingpin thinks he has Matt killed…but “there is no corpse. “There is no corpse. 2. Kingpin realizes then that Matt may be more dangerous than ever, as after all…”A man without hope…is a man without fear.” 3. Ben Urich knows something is up and is brutalized into cowering away from his responsibilities, so seeing this seemingly meek man grow the courage…it’s brilliant (and Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis, who also colored this series, do such an amazing job on Urich’s struggles). 4. Miller introduces an interesting new character called Nuke, and becomes the first writer to extend the whole Super Soldier program into conspiracy theories… 5. This, of course, leads to Captain America getting involved, and he’s handled awesomely… 6. Nuke’s involvement helps bring Daredevil back (after Matt and Karen reunite, as Miller redeems Karen), and his return is, well, amazing – Mazzucchelli and Lewis do SUCH an amazing job on the return of Daredevil. A totally iconic shot of Daredevil in front of flames. 7. Miller, Mazzucchelli and Lewis depict the Avengers in such a way that evokes how Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben handled the Justice League in the pages of Swamp Thing – and it’s the way you’d almost expect superheroes to be depicted in the “real” world. 8. And it all ends with a likely Bob Dylan reference, so how much better can you get? 2. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #129-137) The last few issues of the Dark Phoenix Saga, where Phoenix actually BECOMES Dark Phoenix, almost overshadow the importance of the issues that lead up to Phoenix turning evil. To wit, those issues (which actually were a bit of a cause for celebration for the X-Men, as they were finally reunited after being split up for a year or so – real time – as Jean Grey and Professor X thought that the rest of the team had died after a battle with Magneto) introduced the following characters: Kitty Pryde Emma Frost Dazzler Sebastian Shaw The Hellfire Club, in general Think about that – Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost are two of the more memorable additions to the X-Men since Giant Size X-Men #1, and they BOTH debuted in this storyline! Not to mention the fact that the lead-up contains the fight against the Hellfire Club where Wolverine is thought dead, only to turn up at the end of #132 vowing revenge, in a panel that you readers voted the #4 Most Iconic Panel in Marvel Comics History! And then we get to the actual revelation of the Dark Phoenix (which also landed in the Top 20 Most Iconic Panels at #18). John Byrne really does a marvelous job on the battle sequences involving Dark Phoenix as the X-Men do their best to take down their friend. They try their best in #135, but she quickly defeats them and flies off into outer space. Her traveling makes her yearn for sustenance, which she gets by entering and imploding a star, soaking in the energy of its destruction. She does not care that the destruction of the star also destroys the planet it orbits. A starship of the Shi’Ar Empire notices, though, and challenges Dark Phoenix. She destroys the ship easily, but not before it gets off a message to the Shi’Ar Royal Throneworld, where the Empress of the Shi’Ar Empire, Lilandra (Professor X’s current lover) springs into action. Meanwhile, in #136, Dark Phoenix returns to Earth where her teammates and her love, Cyclops, await her with a device meant to shut down telepaths. She destroys it and once again takes care of her teammates with ease, but Cyclops manages to calm her down by appealing to her still human side. At this point, Professor X attacks, and he and Phoenix have a telepathic battle, where ultimately, due to the aid of whatever vestiges of Jean Grey remain in Dark Phoenix, he manages to shut Dark Phoenix’s powers down. The X-Men do not have a moment to rest, though, as they’re instantly teleported to a Shi’Ar battleship orbiting Earth, where the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard and Empress Lilandra demand Jean Grey be delivered over to them for punishment for her actions as Dark Phoenix. Professor X utters a Shi’Ar ritual challenge, which Lilandra is duty-bound to accept. Therefore, in #137, the X-Men will fight the mighty Shi’Ar Imperial Guard for the fate of Jean Grey. The next day, the teams meet on the Moon for their battle. The X-Men are heavily outnumbered and outclassed by the Guard, who are made up of the most powerful heroes of the Shi’Ar Empire. Although the X-Men fight valiantly, they are slowly picked off, one by one, until only Cyclops and Jean remain free. When Cyclops is taken out as well, Jean begins to panic and the limits Professor X placed on her begin to crumble – Dark Phoenix frees herself and wants revenge. The X-Men stand ready to battle Dark Phoenix, but Jean manages to take control long enough to intentionally trip a defense mechanism laser, killing herself so that Dark Phoenix can hurt no one else ever again. It’s a terrible poignant moment, expressed beautifully by Claremont and Byrne. That moment, by the way, was #17 on the panels countdown. This storyline also provided THREE of the Top 30 Favorite Comic Book Battles when I did THAT countdown. People sure do love the Dark Phoenix Saga. 1. “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen #1-12) – To give you an idea of how much of a game changer Watchmen was, note that the PROOFS for the issues were passed around the DC offices – that’s how much even the other DC employees were enthralled in the story that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were producing. Everyone knew that this comic was special, and now almost 25 years later, it remains a very special story. A remarkable aspect of Watchmen is the fact that, past the fairly straightforward plot about an older superhero getting murdered, with his former teammates investigating his murder only to find out that it is all tied to a mysterious conspiracy, there is just so much detail and nuance. You can examine a single scene and get something new out of the scene practically every time you read it. And that’s even counting all of the famous scenes that are awesome just on a straightforward reading of the book, like Ozymandias’ famous “I did it 35 minutes ago” line or Rorschach’s fight against the police (as I noted recently, Watchmen was clearly VERY influential on the work of Frank Miller – in fact, there’s a very strong possibility that Miller’s reading of Watchmen helped influence the ending of Dark Knight). Dave Gibbons does not get enough credit for his amazing artwork in this story. There’s a sequence set in the past when the heroes were still all pretty naive (Rorschach was not even using his scary voice as of yet), and Gibbons gives us, ALL IN THE BACKGROUND, a beautiful depiction of Doctor Manhattan flirting with the Silk Spectre, all while his wife is right next to him. As the panels go by, not one doesn’t show some sort of interaction in the background of the panel – all of it is important to their characterizations, but none of it is central to the main story being delivered in those panels – so Gibbons basically was giving us two stories at once. The one Moore is telling with the speech balloons at the “front” of the panel, plus the one Gibbons is telling in the “back” of the panel through body language. Granted, as great as Gibbons is, Moore DOES work full script, so while I am praising Gibbons, I have to make sure I do give Moore credit for the details, as well. All in all, there is a reason that this was one of Time magazine’s Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century – it’s a masterpiece of comic book fiction, both in story and art – and twenty plus years later, it is STILL influencing comic book writers. Okay, folks, that’s it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

#20 - #11 Comic Books

20 (tie). “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #141 and Uncanny X-Men #142)
Days of Future Past was a major X-Men storyline, as it introduced many key figures and plotlines that would reoccur many times over the next 30 years (and counting).
The main concept of the book is that a group of X-Men in the future, a dark future where most mutants have been hunted down and killed by government-mandated genocide (using giant robots called Sentinels), decide to try to change their present by sending one of them back in time to stop the problem before it began.
The way they do this is by sending the mind of Katherine Pryde into the mind of herself as a teenager, Kitty Pryde of the X-Men.
You see, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are destined to kill Senator Robert Kelly, an anti-mutant Senator who wants to run for President. If they succeed, this will lead tot he backlash that made their timeline occur. So the idea is to avoid that by saving Kelly’s life.
The rest of the comic mixes in the present-time X-Men trying to stop the Brotherhood along with the future X-Men facing off against the Sentinels.
The story introduced the dark future timeline, which became a major trope for the X-Books (alternate timelines), plus introduced major characters like Rachel, the telepath who sends Katherine’s mind to the past, and a few new evil mutants who kept popping up over and over again over the years (Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro).
This was also notable in that it was the last storyline that the classic X-Men team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne did on the book (Byrne left the book after one more issue, a classic Christmas tale).

20 (tie). “E is for Extinction” by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Tim Townsend (New X-Men #114-116)
19. “The Galactus Trilogy” by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #48-50)
18. “Civil War” by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines (Civil War #1-7)
17. “Under Siege” by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer (Avengers #270-277)
16. “The Sinestro Corps War” by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Patrick Gleason plus a whole lot of other pencilers and inkers (Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Special #1, Green Lantern Vol. 4 #21-25, Green Lantern Corps #14-19)
15. “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (After beginning serialization in Warrior, V for Vendetta #1-10)
At the heart of V for Vendetta is an engaging and difficult dilemma – if you HAD to choose, what would you prefer? Fascism or anarchy?
In the former, yeah, you’d be ruled by essentially dictators, but odds are that you personally wouldn’t be directly affected.
In the latter, yeah, you’d be free, but there would be no protection from chaos.
It’s a beautiful dilemma, and Alan Moore milks it for all that it is worth in this alternate reality where a “terrorist” named V (who wears a Guy Fawkes mask) tries to bring down the government, hopefully with the help of a young woman named Evie.
Moore and his brilliant artistic counterpart, David Lloyd, create a lush, dark and vibrant world that is too scary to want to live there, but too interesting not to want to read more about.
14. “Kraven’s Last Hunt” by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod (Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132 and Web of Spider-Man #31-32)
Kraven’s Last Hunt (originally known as “Fearful Symmetry”) takes a novel approach to the Spider-Man villain, Kraven the Hunter. Kraven the Hunter originally debuted under an interesting motive for being a super-villain – he was a famous big game hunter and hunting Spider-Man was a challenge for him. That was about it.
The only thing was that he never really succeeded in BEATING Spider-Man, and over the years, that has depressed him to the point of near-mania.
And that is where we open Fearful Symmetry, with a crazed Kraven the Hunter lamenting his failures and vowing to finally succeed – and he does – he not only defeats Spider-Man, but he buries him in a grave!!!
Taking on Spider-Man’s costume, Kraven goes on to try to show how he is a better Spider-Man than Spider-Man ever was.
Pretty rough stuff, huh?
J. M. DeMatteis crafted a wonderful psychologically taut thriller here, with great art by Mike Zeck and Bob McLoed.
This story, which serialized throughout all three of the Spider-Man books in late 1987, was exceptionally dark for what was a typical Spider-Man (heck, a typical SUPERHERO) story at the time – and it really made it stand out, but even in modern times the story holds up extremely well.
13. “The Judas Contract ” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo (Tales of the New Teen Titans #42-44, Tales of the New Teen Titans Annual #3)
12. “The Age of Apocalypse” by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Joe Madureira, Steve Epting, Roger Cruz and a pile of other artists and writers (X-Men: Alpha #1, Amazing X-Men #1-4, Astonishing X-Men #1-4, X-Men: Omega #1 plus a bunch of tie-ins)

11. “The Great Darkness Saga” by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt (Legion of Super-Heroes #290-294)
Probably the most notable aspect of the Great Darkness Saga is just how well Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen developed the drama of the storyline. It was very much a slow burn as things slowly got progressively worse until, well, all hell broke loose at the end of the story.
Larry Mahlstedt was Giffen’s inker at the time, and the duo produced some strong, dynamic and characterization-filled artwork.
After some small references in the issues before, the storyline began proper in Legion of Super-Heroes #290, as some mysterious powerful “dark” creatures keep popping up around the world capturing items of power, with the Legion trying (to no avail) to stop them at each opportunity.
n the next issue, the situation continues to deteriorate, and the mystery of WHO these “dark warriors” are becomes a bigger issue, as it APPEARS as though the dark creatures are actually powerful beings from the past – beings that have been long dead for years (centuries in some cases).
The Legion are getting their asses handed to them repeatedly, and as #291 ends, things look pretty damn bleak…and that’s before they reveal that Darkseid is the big bad guy!!!
The impact of that reveal was a lot bigger back when Darkseid was not such a popular villain for people to use.
And that, of course, leads into a dramatic last issue that has all the drama and action you would expect from the previous issues. It is impressive to see a story slowly build and have the conclusion be truly worth the slow burn.
Levitz and Giffen both come off as wonderful storytellers in this saga.