Prepare to die in Dark Souls, read up on the Third World and more in our new-release picks for October 4, 2011
When it comes to new releases, fall is about preparation for Christmas. As consumers get their shopping lists ready, they'll be slammed in the face with awesomeness for weeks upon weeks in a row, whether it's with games, moves, books or other forms of entertainment. Which is why we're helping you out with our picks across plenty of types of media. This week, we've got one of the best versions of Superman yet, a new book from Michael Lewis, one of the hardest games and most rewarding games of the year, and plenty more.
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, by Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis has the rare skill of being able to turn any complicated situation into an easily understandable narrative. He tackled the financial crisis in The Big Short, baseball in Moneyball and football in The Blind Side. Now he's taking on the strange phenomenon of credit cards rolling out across the world and into Third World countries. It's a bizarre look at the global economy you've probably never heard before, with financial institutions in countries you've probably never thought of before.
The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje
Michael Ondaatje might be best known for The English Patient, but he's still an award-winning author who is consistently on the list of possible Nobel winners (for those who care about those types of things). His newest novel takes place in the early '50s and follows a boy as he boards a ship en route to England. Adventure awaits, and the narrative flips between the magical and the real. Ondaatje finally delivers a ripping yarn in turn with his often overly poetic language, meaning that even the most dense among us should be able to walk away enjoying this tale, even if you don't get the flowery words.
With Transformers last week and Fast Five this week, we have a kind of double whammy of stupid summer action. Only time will tell if jumping out of cars and punching people is as fun to watch on a little screen as it is a big one, but if theatrical viewings aren't enough, this sucker is so over-the-top stupid that it actually gives Transformers a run for its money on idiocy, which is saying a lot. That doesn't mean it's not fun or entertaining to watch, though.
Dark Souls (Xbox 360, PS3)
The advertising campaign for Dark Souls has used the catchphrase "Prepare to die," so that should prepare you for what the game is all about. It's about dying. A lot. Over and over, until you get it right. Set as a fantasy action RPG, this is a game about persistence, learning how to understand the enemies and the world, and dying until you get it right. Consider it a grown-up version of The Legend of Zelda and you're on the right track, but there's no nancy boy in a green suit or princess to rescue.
Rage (Xbox 360, PS3)
Rage is made by the fine folks at id, best known for their work on the Doom and Quake franchises. Their pedigree should give you a good idea of what to expect here, which includes lots of shooting, running, gunning, shooting, weapons, shooting, shooting and shooting. Also, races this time around, and a post-apocalyptic setting. Did we mention there's an emphasis on shooting? You'll be doing a lot of that -- but, damn, does it feel good.
All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
The hardcover version of this sucker is going to be $100, so we're thankful that the excellent return-to-form version of a classic Superman book is available in trade paperback form for only $30. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely give us the Superman we've come to love, not a robotic one, not a good or evil one, just one set of stories about Superman, red tights and all, with beautiful, nostalgic imagery throughout. If they stopped making Superman right now, this would be where it should end.
Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton
A lot of people really enjoy the cartoons in the New Yorker, and if you're one of those people, you'll get a kick out Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant. It's a series of comics that take on a history-tinged beat, with all of history's villains popping up now and again to provide the laughs and ridiculous non sequitur punchlines. It also includes a sexy Batman for some reason and a behind-the-scenes glance at Nancy Drew covers -- you know, weird, New Yorker style humor.
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