Barnestorming #298- Tooth & Nail in Review, Flex Mentallo, Game of Thrones

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Toothe and Nail Card Game
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Walruses, attack!

On the Table

I told John Clowdus that there’s a fine line between really awesome, sci-fi anthropomorphic animal stuff and…furries. Fortunately, Tooth & Nail: Factions hews to the former, and it’s a really damn good little card battler. It’s a very direct, confident design with some terribly smart ideas- like printing all of your options on the action point tracking cards. I love that. The game is really fun, quick, and the animals theme is great. I think  I like it better than Omen, even though that’s the deeper, richer game.

Yep, you know what to do from here.

On the Consoles

Oddly, I got back into playing Gotham City Imposters last week. I was in the mood for a frivolous shooter and I didn’t have a Halo game handy, so I started playing it again. It’s not bad. The phony Batman theme is terrible, but there’s lots of cool gadgetry and I like the small levels.

Thinking about playing Metal Gear Solid 4 again,  but I’ve got a review code for Legasista that I need to dig into.


10000000 got patched, apparently. I may give it another shot…in case you missed it, Bastion released for iPad, and you should totally play it if you haven’t already. I hear the IOS port is really good.

Then there’s The World Ends With You. $20. Ha ha ha! Right…

On Comixology

Jesus, where do I even start?

Well, the coolest thing I saw in a book all week was Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, and Wally West racing to stop a bullet traveling through time en route to assassinate Orion. It’s in Final Crisis, which is an incomprehensible mess. I mean that in a good way.

More or less Grant Morrison week. Flex Mentallo was fucking incredible, one of the most profound examinations of how comics have evolved over the years...I liked it better than Seaguy, I think the message had more clarity. The best line ever- "Only an angry, immature boy confuses realism with pessimism." Those are words that a lot of creators working in every medium should heed.

Read all of the Morrison Batman run. The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul section was disappointing, but HOLY SHIT, Batman RIP was great. It’s about as transgressive, fractured, and difficult as a mainstream superhero book will ever get.  It’s completely bonkers.  There’s this business about the “three ghosts of Batman”, isolation tank experiments, this whole idea of Batman creating a “backup” identity in case his enemies crack his psyche, supermodels turned supervillains, a NASTY turn from Joker, and to top it off the main villain (who is never completely identified) is some guy that was in like one panel of a Batman story from fifty years ago. Then there’s some stuff that plays almost like a revision of Morrison’s Arkham Asylum idea. And then there’s a Final Crisis tie-in issue that is like this psychological omnibus of everything that’s ever happened to Batman…but it’s revealed that these baddies (including Clayface) are trying to clone Batman, and the recollections are occurring as he’s trying to combat the mental intrusion. Insane.

Also getting back to Miracleman, at last. What an amazing book. We’ve talked about how some older books don’t hold up, but this book still seems very modern to me. Some incredibly powerful comics writing with some tremendous ideas...I love how the book "excuses" the corny, silver-age continuity by making it part of the science fiction story. And what a sad, pathetic moment for Big Ben, the Man With No Time for Crime, when he sees his own origin.

On the Screen

I watched most of the first season of Game of Thrones. I do not get it. What makes it so popular? Is it the repeated doggy style sex scenes? The grisly, gratuitous violence? Endless prattling and squabbling about these fucking lord, ladies, retainers and so forth? I’ve just had to come to terms with the fact that this is not my kind of thing at all. Yeah, I can see the influence of Dune. But Dune has awesomeness and better themes.

Seriously, the whole thing with Daneris and the barbarian played by Dave Navarro is pure trash romance, regardless of the outcome in the later books that I’ll never read (I checked Wikipedia). Total cheese.  It’s a modification of the “princess betrothed to rough-hewn man learns to love and becomes a strong woman” crap that sells potboilers.

It is a well-made, well-acted, and sometimes well-written show. The midget is good. The girl that plays Wednesday Addams is good, and I like her sword teacher.  But overall it’s boring and the worst thing about it is that it doesn’t admit that it’s potboiler trash. Spartacus does, and it’s the better show because of it. It has no pretense other than to show you lots of sex and violence with old timey costumes.

On Spotify

Still hitting the Pet Shop…

There Will Be Games

Michael BarnesFollow Michael Barnes Follow Michael Barnes Message Michael Barnes



Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of and as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

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