Monday, 24 June 2019

Book Review 49 // The board is Set by Gav Thorpe

Jumping back into the Horus Hersey series with a Gav Thorpe ebook. Following the adventures of the Sigillite (slowly becoming a favourite character of mine), this story follows the relationship of the Sigillite with the Emperor as they prepare for the final stage of the war.

Book Details

Title: The Board is Set
Author: Gav Thorpe
Publisher: Black Library
Type: E-Book
Page Count: 20
Commercial Fluff: With the enemy nearing, Malcador the Sigillite communes with the Emperor and plays out wargames, trying to divine a path to victory – and survival – in the battles to come.

Review

The story is set on Terra with the Horus Hersey drawing to a close. Terra is preparing for the final invasion of Horus Lupercal but the issue is the Sigillite still doesn't know the Emperor's plan.

So we get to read about a game were the Sigillite plays the Warmaster and the Emperor plays himself (think Risk). There are a lot of interesting metaphors throughout the tale representing what has gone before but also what might come to pass. It's the perfect Sigillite tale and don't jump into this without understanding the heresy as it does contain spoilers (if you can understand the hints). A real A+ tale.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Comic Review 43 // Superman Earth One Vol.1, 2 & 3

Whilst exploring my local library I stumbled across a lot of DC comics. In this collection I found these unlikely Earth One comics (see my Batman reviews for more action) starring Superman. Personally I had never enjoyed Superman, the idea of a super human who is pretty much invulnerable seemed dull and boring to the younger me, so I avoided them. Instead I found myself drawn to Judge Dredd or Batman, characters that ultimately could be beat.

But I thought hell with it I can read these and see if I can't be swayed.

Superman Earth One Volume One.

Fluff: Forget everything you know about The Man of Steel and brace yourself for a staggering new take on the world's most popular Super Hero.

Best-selling, Hugo Award-winning writer J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, Babylon 5) and red-hot rising star artist Shane Davis (Green Lantern, Superman/Batman) team up for this exciting launch of the Earth One graphic novel series. Set in an all-new continuity re-imagining DC's top heroes, Earth One is a new wave of original, stand-alone graphic novels produced by the top writers and artists in the industry. The groundbreaking new line rockets into effect right here with the Super Hero who started it all – Superman!

What would happen if the origin of The Man of Tomorrow were introduced today for the very first time? Return to Smallville and experience the journey of Earth's favorite adopted son as he grows from boy to Superman like you've never seen before!

Review: How to put this nicely....It wasn't bad. It also wasn't great. Having read this I am left with the feeling of meh. Maybe young me was right and Superman is just too one dimensional, where is the fear, the danger?

The story suffers from being rushed, we aren't introduced to the character. We are just expected to know, which seems pointless creating a new world if nothing is explained. The artwork was great and very enjoyable. To be honest the artwork saves this book. Fingers crossed for Volume two.

Superman Earth One Volume Two.

Fluff: Following the events of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel by acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski and superstar artist Shane Davis, comes the long awaited sequel!

Young Clark Kent continues his journey toward becoming the World's Greatest Super Hero, but finds dealing with humanity to be a bigger challenge than he ever imagined! From a ruthless dictator to a new love interest who's not Lois Lane, things are never easy for this emerging Man of Steel.

And the worst is yet to come, in the form of a man-monster with an insatiable appetite, the Parasite! The only thing that might appease his hunger is The Last Son of Kryptonian! But that will also mean he will have Superman's powers without his conscience, and Kal-El cannot come anywhere near him, even though he has to stop him!

Review: Following hot on the disappointment of Vol.1 comes Vol.2. Overall this was a better comic. The pace was improved and a lot more interesting this time. The villain Parasite was sadly one dimensional and the same issue you always have with Superman, the fact you know he is going to lose. The real highlight of this issue was the end and the appearance of Lex Luthor. Finally a real villain.

Superman Earth One Volume Three.

Fluff: WHO WILL SAVE SUPERMAN? Earth has turned its back, leaving Clark Kent at the mercy of the Luthors and Zod. Invulnerable? Maybe. Alone? Definitely.

In his brief stint as a costumed superhero, Clark Kent has run a gauntlet of the world's most deadly and monstrous villains. However, his most dire threat may come from two powerless human beings. Who both just happen to be the two smartest people on the planet.

Lex and Alexandra Luthor have been paid very well to find a way to cancel Superman's powers. The man who destroyed Krypton has been welcomed and invited by the world governments to complete his mission with the murder of Kal-El.

Betrayed, at his most vulnerable, there is no place to hide and no one he can trust. The newcomer from Smallville who would be Superman faces his greatest challenge yet as the world he fought to save sells him out.

Review: Volume three gets off to a very slow start. The plot starts speeding up as more of the plot threads start getting answered. We see how the military grow to fear Superman, we watch the Lex brother and Sister duo grow and we finally find out what threat is coming from space (and it's disappointing).

I found this volume pretty dull. Once I realised it was Zod more than the Luthor's that was going to be villain, I switched off. I had hoped that volume three was going to be a winner but it instead disappointed. Not as bad as Vol. 1 but damn near close! This is definitely not a series I need to revisit.

Save yourself the boredom and just read the Batman Earth One series.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Comic Review 42 // The Dark Judges: Fall of Deadworld Book 1

You knew I couldn't stay away from Judge Dredd for long. Well for this review we deep dive into Deadworld the home to Dark Judges- Superfiends from another dimension. The comic is in fact split in two. The first part is an origin story showing the fall of Deadworld and the second part is all about the different Judges and what makes them tick. With this in mind let us jump into the commercial fluff.

Commercial Fluff: Deadworld was once a planet similar to Earth, until Judge Death and his brothers Fear, Fire and Mortis deemed that as only the living could break the law, life itself should be a crime.  As the Dark Judges set out to bring extinction to this parallel world, Judge Fairfax and a family of farmers attempt to escape the chaos. Is it possible for the living to evade to cold, icy grasp of Death?

This chilling collection also features the Dreams of Deadworld strips, giving an extraordinary insight into the undead psyches of the internationally famous super-fiends.

Review: Starting with Fall of Deadworld we get introduced to the corruption befalling the world. The main story follows a family living in a rural farm far from the cities. They are hoping to ride out a coup happening in the capital and try to avoid the strange disease spreading throughout the land. Soon their little piece of the world collapses around them as a Judge called Fairfax comes crashing into their lives. Soon the adventure begins as we travel through the corrupted landscape, watching the Judges of this world become living dead willingly, whilst they poison the ecosystem.

This tale was beautifully drawn and the story was in thralling. I can't wait for book two. Highlight's for me was all the new lore added. We meet different Dark Judges, we discover that heads of Judges can be transplanted on to a new body and that Judge Fear seemingly is more to do with the helmet than the body.

The second half of the comic is four short tales based on each of the Judges and really shows off a great insight into their characters.

Dreams of Deadworld - Fire: Judge Fire is tasked with destroying Judge Reaper and Sister Despair who have attempted to keep some living members of the world alive to torment. During this tale we seem to discover that Fire had feelings for Sister Despair - feelings not reciprocated. To the point that Despair chooses to destroy herself than submit to Fire. The tale ends with Fire burning up Despairs mask and declaring he feels nothing. Did he become Fire due to his passion?


Dreams of Deadworld - Mortis: Mortis is portrayed as a gardener of sorts always watching his clock. Then one day he is visited by Aliens who crash land in his zone. Using this opportunity Mortis plays with them and discovers more will come to rescue them. Upon discovering this new Mortis rips through the aliens as adds them to his garden. Mortis seems to be the most joyful of the superfiends.


Dreams of Deadworld - Fear: The Fear tale is an instant standout due to the muted colour palette of blues and a little yellow. We start in his castle as Fear deals with his own paranoia and relives a competition between himself and Fire. During this competition Fear discovers a young boy who is not afraid of him and is forced to use physical strength to kill the boy. Fear then lies to Fire before retreating to his castle. Now Fear is full of dread knowing that possibly he will meet another who will not fear him (ie. Dredd).


Dreams of Deadworld - Death: One of the Dark Judges (Omen) is dead and with only the Dark Judges left the pool of murders is small. So Death begins to question them collectively, soon a traitorous Judge is discovered, but they are not the murder. In fact it was Death who murdered Omen and wanted to take this moment to prove that the other Judges (beyond Fire, Fear and Mortis) are all weak and hang on to life. Which as we now know all Life is a crime. Judge Death sentences them to Death and after the Four become shielded Mortis poisons the remaining Judges. Now only four are left and they rule their silent kingdoms.




Friday, 14 June 2019

Book Review 50 // Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Wow fifty book reviews. When I first restarted my blog I had no idea I would reach such numbers. I also didn't realise that Sourcery by Pratchett would be number fifty, so without further review let us dive in.

Title: Scourcery (Discworld #5. Rincewind #3)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Harper
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 276
Commercial Fluff: When last seen, the singularly inept wizard Rincewind had fallen off the edge of the world. Now magically, he's turned up again, and this time he's brought the Luggage.

But that's not all....

Once upon a time, there was an eighth son of an eighth son who was, of course, a wizard. As if that wasn't complicated enough, said wizard then had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son -- a wizard squared (that's all the math, really). Who of course, was a source of magic -- a sourcerer.

Review

This was a solid fun read (as all the Discworld books are) but it wasn't my favourite in the series so far. I felt like after what seemed a strong start the story lost momentum and it's way. It had it's highlights, but it felt like this was following some pre-written plan laid down by the previous Rincewind tales and suffered from the forced humor added in. We did get to meet some great characters and locations throughout the tale and I guess not every novel can be a hit. I just wish Pratchett hadn't lost his way.

Would love to hear your thoughts if you have read this tale. Is it a hiccup in the series? Is it a case of ideas already running out for Rincewind? Where can I get a luggage? Give me your answers below and as always thanks for reading.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Comic Review 41 // Kingdom: Aux Drift by Dan Abnett

Now we hit book 3 of the Kingdom series and currently the final book available via the 2000 AD online reader. If you have been keeping up well done, if not go back and read the reviews so far. This series has actually surprised me in how much I've enjoyed it. Time to jump into Kingdom: Aux Drift.

Commercial: IT’S THE FAR FUTURE AND MANKIND HAS BEEN ALL BUT DESTROYED. The survivors hide from ‘Them’ – the giant alien bugs that have taken over the world! Only brutal genetically engineered dog-soldiers like Gene the Hackman can beat them back.

Gene now leads a new pack of mongrel Aux warriors known as the Wild Bunch where they live alongside human survivors in their settlement, ‘The Kingdom’. But the kingdom’s cracks are starting to show, while Them get meaner… and bigger!

Review: When we last left Gene he was in a sad place. Leezee Sower was gone, Gene had killed a Master and the Them are still everywhere. After exploring more of the lawn, Gene and his new group of survivors discover Aux Drift, a mining colony. What makes Aux Drift special is the fact that Humans and Aux are working together and that these humans do not refer to themselves as Masters.

The humans explain to Gene how only the powerful and wealthy could afford to become Masters and be protected by the Aux when the Them first attacked. The rest of the human race had to make do fending for themselves and hiding from the Them. This news surprises Gene who can't understand why the Masters would do that and that there is strength within the pack.

Just as everything seems to be nice and friendly a giant swarm of Them seem to start displaying more intelligence that normal. Gene heads off to find out why and discovers they have become more of a hive mind controlled by one giant bug. Knowing the only way to save his new pack is to destroy this bug, Gene teams up once more with the wild pack. Learning how to use explosives Gene and the team blow up the bug, but the outpost is destroyed. Now homeless once more the miners take Gene and his pack to their home of Kingdom.

We then move into the next tale, sometime has past and Gene and Clara Bow have two sons. Just like at Aux Drift we have another horde of Them controlled by a King bug. With Gene being the biggest and strongest it falls on him to lead the mission to kill the bug.

Whilst heading out to deal with the new threat, Gene discovers Numan (the Master who took Leezee Sower to space). After finding out it is in fact due to the master's new plan that Them have evolved to have Kings. Gene enters a berserker rage and attacks Numan, but is ultimately stopped by another Aux called Major Canis (think blue Gene and your not far off). Having defeated the King bug and then been defeated Gene is loaded aboard a shuttle and shipped into space.

Here endeth the tale....for now!

Great finish for now with this tale. Gene is a well rounded out character compared to book one. He has a family, he has independent thoughts, he's still a badass. I also love the fact that Them can evolve so fast to deal with threats, along with a group of Masters just chilling in space watching all this go down. I just wish the next book was out so I could continue the series. Fingers crossed it comes soon.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Audio Drama 05 // Snuff (Discworld #39) by Sir Terry Pratchett

I've been heavy on the Horus Heresy audio dramas so decided to take a break and hit up the Terry Pratchett drama first. Snuff is way ahead of my current reading of Pratchett and though there are small spoilers about Vimes I feel it won't really affect my enjoyment of the books. With this in mind I sat back and started to listen to the longest audiobook I have experienced so far.


Commercial Fluff: According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.

And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder.

He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment.

They say that in the end all sins are forgiven.

But not quite all...

Review: Snuff follows Commander Vimes (one of the more infamous disc characters). The story begins with Vimes, his wife and his son heading on a long overdue holiday. In fact it is Vime's first ever holiday and he really doesn't want to leave Ankh-Morpork. But having a dull holiday won't be a problem for Vimes as soon a murder mystery is forced upon him, as we get introduced to the Goblin Race and some classic Pratchett social commentary. The main theme of this tale seems to be about the fall out of oppressing minorities and how class systems ultimately will fail. But at the same time this is a Pratchett tale so we learn a lot of info about animal poop and how goblins collect everything from themselves in bottles (including toenail clippings).

I found Vimes to be a likeable character, who no matter what wants the disc to be a better place for everyone. I also enjoyed seeing how he brings the Goblins into the large world and I hope to read more about this race in later books (once I reach them).

I found the audio drama hugely entertaining. I was fully absorbed into the story and found myself worried for goblin characters more than for Vimes. Knowing full well Vimes would survive. I also found myself laughing out loud and loving how Goblins named themselves and spoke. Once again Terry Pratchett delivers the goods and brings a smile to my face and Tony Robinson was an excellent choice for the voice - Just Ice will forever live on in my mind.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Comic Review 40 // Kingdom: Call of the Wild by Dan Abnett

Coming hot on the heels of Promised Land comes Call of the Wild. Gene the Hackman and Leezee Sower have escaped the Them and are now travelling the Lawn into territory where the Them seem to not travel as much. This is Book Two of the series and sees Gene getting into more trouble than he can possibly handle.


Commercial Fluff: Earth, the far-future. With the planet now overrun by gigantic alien insects, Mankind is all but extinct. Genetically engineered dog-soldier, Gene the Hackman, now protects one of the last remaining human beings – a young girl named Leezee Sower and the two of them have travelled to the land of Auxtralia, straight into the territory of a new pack.

Review: An enjoyable follow up to the Promised Land. It's not fully explained but Gene amd Leezee have ended up in Auxtralia, after fleeing from the farm following the Them attack. It also seems for now the Them in Auxtralia have fallen quiet, but when the Them do appear they are huge and completely different to anything Gene has seen before (see the left). We also discover that here the Aux's are not pure anymore and are bred from many breeds of dogs, what this allows for is a freedom in the artwork and the ability to bring in some more interesting characters. I love their leader in particular.

We also get to see why the Aux came about and the early years of the war against the Them. We also see the Masters as they attempted to come up with a plan to save the human race. We are introduced to an aggressive war leaders need to win an unwinnable war and starts the Aux program. Jump forward to Gene's time and the mad War leader (now interned in a robot stasis suit) is back and he is hugely disappointed in the Aux of modern day Auxtralia and how they are nothing compared to the pure strain Gene. Soon Gene is forced to choose between the Masters and Aux and choice almost destroys Gene.

Then to make things even sadder Leezee Sower's part in Gene's story comes to an end. After discovering another human on earth, Leezee is extracted to an orbiting space station, leaving the loyal Gene alone again and wandering the lawn on his own once more.

As I said at the start, this story was enjoyable and it was interesting to discover the origin of the war. The stories artwork is on point just like the first book. Gene seems to suffer again and again in this tale, especially with the loss of Leezee. How often can Gene lose the ones he loves before he snaps? I'm sad to know there is only one more book in the current series.

Leave a comment below if you have read this tale...

Cheers

Miniature Monday // 1987 GW Talisman Pirate

Something a little bit different this week as I delve into the past. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a 1987 Talisman Dungeon Pira...