Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Alter-Ego: Ways to get your DC Comics fill -- free!

As we already know, Sony's PSN servers have been offline for well over two weeks at this point, and Sony Online Entertainment's PC networks followed suit earlier this week due to the same hack. We also know that all DC Universe Online players will be receiving a month's free subscription time plus one additional day for every day the network is down in addition to a funky-looking Batman-inspired mask. The topic of the overall network breach is so big that it's crossed from gaming news to mainstream media -- the U.S. government has called Sony on the carpet about the loss of personal data, and Australia is planning to add new privacy laws due to the breach.

As a long-time SOE gamer, I understand the frustration, trust me. I am concerned about my personal data being out there, have signed up for credit monitoring, and filed fraud alerts with the three major bureaus just to be safe. Still, rather than devoting yet another post here on Massively to the security breach, I thought it would be better to instead borrow a page from Karen's great Guild Counsel posting from earlier this week so I can offer up some different DC Comics-related things to do while the game is offline. At least one of the suggestions is both free and time-sensitive, so be sure to join me after the break as soon as you can!

First up, here's something fun for anyone who has ever liked reading comic books or who has thought about doing so but has never taken the plunge. The long-time comic geeks out there probably already know what I'm about to suggest, but for those of you who aren't familiar with the event: Today is Free Comic Book Day! Once a year, on the first Saturday in May, independent comic shops around the world band together to give away free comic books to people who stop by. Now, these aren't just "wander in and pick any comic up for free" situations; instead, publishers often create special comic books that are only available on Free Comic Book Day. Also, I'd note that not every retailer in the world takes part, so you'll need to check the store locator to see whether any shops in your area are participating.

DC Comics fans have a few goodies to look forward to in terms of FCBD offerings for this year, especially if you're a Green Lantern fan. The free gold comic for this year is the Green Lantern Flashpoint Special Edition comic, which is a combination of stories old and new. Inside, you'll find a reprint of Green Lantern #30 from the Secret Origin series with story by Geoff Johns and art by Ivan Reis. It gives us a look into one of the most iconic moments in Hal Jordan's origin tale. Along with that story, readers are treated to a special new comic written by Geoff Johns and featuring the art of Andy Kubert, an issue I'm sure all the Lantern fans will want to check out since it ties into the story in the upcoming Green Lantern movie.

As if having a cool Green Lantern comic book weren't enough, DC Comics decided to up the ante by also sending along another free item that is undoubtedly going to be in extremely high demand. Those who are ridiculously lucky might be able to snag one of these special Green Lantern Heroclix today. Even better, just like the comics, this item is also being offered for free. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if some comic shops offered this item as "free with purchase," considering independent comic stores need to pay the bills too -- but this super-cool Heroclix is still a sweet treat for those who are lucky enough to get their hands on one.

In addition to these two offerings, a special silver DC comic is being offered in some locations. This combined Young Justice and Batman: The Brave & The Bold comic book offers two new stories for readers of all ages. Mind you, the availability of silver titles is entirely dependent on your local comic book store, as each shop has to purchase the comics so it can give them away. (That's a great reason to consider picking something else up while you're at the store!)

For those who don't have a nearby comic shop or who caught this column a little too late to take advantage of Free Comic Book Day, don't worry. There's a way to get some free comic love for yourself, and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your computer chair! Selected issues are available online through the official DC Comics site. Like the header on the site says: "They don't come cheaper than this. What are you waiting for?"

What? You say comic books aren't your thing? Well, you can return to a simpler time by grabbing a spoon, pouring a bowl of your favorite sugar-coated cereal, finding a comfortable spot, and enjoying some DC cartoons! Thanks to the advent of streaming media, there are several options for those who are in the mood to get their cartoon on. Netflix offers a handful of titles like Superman/Batman Apocalypse, Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (not to be confused with Crisis on Infinite Earths). Cartoon Network also has offerings such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice, or you can catch other DC cartoon series in syndication by looking at your local listings or by checking free online streaming sites like DC Beyond.

If you're more the type to enjoy a frosty adult beverage from your favorite comfy chair, there are grown-up options as well. One such choice is catching up with the denizens of Smallville as the final season of the series draws to a close. Recent episodes are available on the CW site, or you can dig further back through Hulu if you'd prefer to catch up rather than jump in at the very end. Should you be more in the mood for old-school, you have Christopher Reeve as Superman and Adam West as Batman available via streaming on Netflix, or you can snag some of the more recent movies like The Dark Knight through Amazon Streaming Video, which offers free movie streaming for Amazon Prime members and inexpensive 24-hour rentals for everyone else.

With that said, in keeping with my "free" theme, I'd point out that there is a 30-day free trial for both Amazon Prime and Netflix, as well as a one week trial for Hulu Plus. Between the three different services, you should be well-covered in terms of DC Comics entertainment while Sony continues working to restore everything back to working order. Just be careful and make sure you know when you'll need to cancel before the free trials are up -- unless you decide those subscriptions rock and want to keep them.

Between the options listed above and checking out other great unofficial DC Universe Online content you may have missed (y-know, like earlier Alter-Ego posts), there's quite a bit out there to enjoy during downtime. Hopefully we'll see DC Universe Online restored soon.

Every week on Saturday, strip off the mask of your Alter-Ego and soar through the world of DC Universe Online with Krystalle, then catch up with Larry on Wednesdays as he showcases the superhero game on the Alter-Ego livestream. Send up a bat-signal to ping Krystalle or Larry with your burning questions. (Packages wrapped in green with a purple bow will be returned unopened.)

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr