Topless Robot Random Reviews Revue

Hell, I don’t know what to call it. But I just had a random sampling of things that people had asked my opinion on or that I thought I should help spread the word about, and none of them are in the same medium, so I thought I’d lump ’em all together and do short reviews of each of ’em and that way everyone can skip the ones they don’t care about (or all of them).

? Assassin’s Creed II
I’ve been twittering about this videogame every night since I got it, because I’ve played it every night since I got it. I dig it immensely. The meshing of the story and gameplay is a million times improved from the first game; it’s amazing how organic the story feels. The renaissance Italy setting is absolutely gorgeous, and you still get to kill about a jillion people — many of them in new and exciting ways (poisoning people and watching them die slowly while everyone around them freaks out is my favorite). I admit being hooked to the weird sci-fi story that overlays the medieval Italian Professional you’ve got going on, despite it being about evil Templars much like the Da Vinci Code. I’m only halfway through, but if you all enjoyed the first game, go for it.

? High Moon
No, not New Moon. I think all the comics fans already know about how awesome this horror-Western comic from Zuda is, so let me speak to the rest of you — High Moon is pretty awesome. It’s a winner of Zuda’s online webcomic competition, and it’s easy to see why, because it’s just a shockingly fun tale of vampires, werewolves, possibly some demons, and a lot more craziness set in the wild West. David Gallaher’s story might not be Citizen Kane, but it’s always fun and action-packed, and Steve Ellis’ art is perfect for conveying all the crazy shit Gallaher’s conjured up. A good read.

? Badass
This is more for history nerds, but my favorite book I’ve read all month is Badass, by Ben Thompson of the website It’s all about the historical figures who kicked the most ass, as you might assume. It does contain facts, but since virtually every paragraph goes like this:…

Well, fighting numerous battles and covering their blades in a demure shade of crimson really helped the Goths develop a taste for ultra-violence, so when they got back home they decided they were going to show the soft-ass Roman pussies who the toughest bastards in Europe really were.

…I wouldn’t recommend using it for a textbook. Still, if you dig history, badasses, or fun, Badass is for you. I could’ve technically put it down, but I had no desire to.

? Turtles Forever
Want to know something fucked up? The nerdy thing I’ve enjoyed most over the past few weeks has been that 25th anniversary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Turtles Forever. I’m certainly not a big TMNT fan; I maybe had a couple of the toys as a kid but I haven’t watched a TMNT cartoon since the ’80s. So perhaps it’s because I wasn’t expecting much that I was totally blown away by how awesome Turtles Forever was. It had a great story that never lulled, it was funny, and it must have blown the hardcore TMNT fans’ mind, although it was pure delight for even a tangential fan like myself. There was so much love packed into it that even I could feel it.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so if you’re planning on watching it anyways, stop here. Those who remain unconvinced: The ’80s cartoon Turtles are portrayed as totally fucking insane. They drive the ’00s absolutely crazy (they crack Michelangelo up at first, then he goes mad from their constant horrible jokes). Obviously, ’80s Shredder and Krang are easily defeated, and it’s ’00s Shredder who takes over the Technodrome, re-outfits it and turns the Foot Soldier robots into killing machines, and decides to kill all TMNT groups in the multiverse by going to Turtle Prime. What’s Turtle Prime? The original black-&-white Eastman and Laird TMNT comics, where the Turtles are fucking unstoppable. They kick both sets of cartoon Turtles asses in seconds, while Leonardo does narration. It’s out-fucking-standing. But I’m not going to tell you who actually saves the day; you’ll have to watch it find out.

Seriously, I’d say it’s worth watching just to see a love letter to one group of fandom get done so perfectly. 4Kids is apparently airing it on the CW for the next three Saturdays. Tape it, Tivo it, whatever, but you should absolutely watch it. Seriously.