Friday, 27 March 2020

Book Review 75 // Legion by Dan Abnett

With this forced leave from work I am finding time to start working my way through some of the bookshelves of shame. It's crazy to think it was 18 books ago that I read Descent of Angels, shame on me for leaving it for so long.

Book Details

Title: The Horus Heresy - Legion

Author: Dan Abnett

Publisher: Black Library

Type: Paperback

Page Count: 416 (damn weighty book)

Commercial Fluff: A Great War is coming, and it will engulf the Imperium of Man. The Space Marines of the Alpha Legion, the last and most secretive of all the Astartes brotherhoods, arrive on a heathen world to support the Imperial Army in a pacification campaign against strange and uncanny forces. But what drives the Alpha Legion? Can they be trusted, and what side will they choose when the Great War begins? Loyalties are put to the test, and the cunning schemes of an alien intelligence revealed in this latest instalment of the ground-breaking SF series by Dan Abnett, as the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.

Review

Okay some truths I'm big Dan Abnett fan, I have a lot of novels by him and his Sinister Dexter Comic strips for 2000 AD are just a pure joy to read. So far the Heresy Novels have produced some great stories, but I feel this one is in my top 3 (with Fulgrim & Flight of the Eisenstein).

What was a real stand out part of this story was the view point it was coming from. For once we followed the action through the eyes of humans! The main character of the tale from my view point was John Grammaticus, a constantly reincarnated human spy working for a Xeno group known as the Cabal. The Cabal seem to be a group made up of Elder races, with named members being an Eldar Autarch and a Xshesian. They collectively have seen the coming war and are attempting to show the Alpha Legion the dangers of Chaos in hopes of swaying the legion to their cause. They do this by manipulating the Nurth Culture into completely falling to Chaos and manipulating the Alpha Legion to be in position to aid the Geno Five-Two Chiliad.

With the forces in place the Cabal start rising the stakes, but soon seem to lose control of forces in play. Soon the plan unravels and the future is left hanging in the balance.

I found this book an interesting read as it was more a spy/espionage novel. With plenty of manipulation and intrigue going on. It also hints at the whole which side of the war are the Alpha Legion actually on (which still no one really knows, just like the Dark Angels)? This book can easily be read alone from the series, as it is set apart from the series. But for me it is a true masterpiece in the series so far.


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Beer Review 87 // Paradise Lost - Soursop Lychee by Blood Brothers

Well as I write this post the isolation has kicked in. Myself and my family are healthy and well and slowly working to the new way of living. I am hoping it will increase my output but no promises as the kids are absorbing the time as they should :)

Up now though is a Blood Brother brew, it's been awhile since my last review and when I drank this last night I knew I had to blog about it straight away.

Details

Name: Paradise Lost - Soursop Lychee

Style: Sour

Brewery: Blood Brothers

Country: Canada, Ontario. Toronto.

ABV: 6.9%

Commercial Fluff: This beer is straight out of the 2020 cruise wear line. Golden body, bright acidity and aromas of citrus and white wine. The combination of soursop and Sabro give the body smoothness and a touch of coconut on the palate. Right when you forgot about the lychee, it comes around the corner and finishes late on the palate.

Own Opinion

Label: Beautiful pale blue, oil effect label with the classic palm tree image from the Paradise Lost series. Nice effect for sure.

Pour: Hazy, hazy, hazy, nice bright yellow with a clean white head.

Aroma: Fruity lychee aroma, smells sweet and makes the mouth water. Very excited to drink this one.

Taste: Fruity and mouthwatering sharpness, bold citrus flavours similar to pineapple I think. Then you get a finishing note of Lychee and Coconut. Extremely drinkable.

Would I buy it again: Yes. Very tasty brew and I am so happy I purchased it. By the time this goes live they should still have bottles available so go treat yourself.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Miniature Monday // Strontium Dogs - The Gronk

Welcome to an actual Miniature Monday! That's right it is a Monday and I have a painted mini. Not a WIP but an actual painted mini. But the shocks don't stop there I actually have two minis...I guess all I needed was isolation to get some hobby done.

So what did I paint.......THE GRONK.

What is a Gronk? Well here is the official history.

The Gronk is a character from the Starlord and 2000 AD strip Strontium Dog. Gronks are a timid life-form from the planet Blas in the Gallego system. Mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha first encountered and befriended a Gronk, later named as Gloppus, fairly early in his career, on the astro-liner Sondheim. The creature promptly keeled over and died of a heart attack caused by the shock of being hijacked by space pirate Papa Por-Ka. Alpha's partner, Wulf Sternhammer, took the Gronk's pelt to wear, in deference to the traditions of the Gronk's home planet.

Shortly afterwards, on the planet Paprika (a windswept outpost on the far reaches of the galaxy) Alpha and Sternhammer met another Gronk masquerading as a female human fortune teller called Madame DesirĂ©. This Gronk recognized Wulf's pelt as having belonged to his brother. (All Gronks are identical — to the casual non-Gronk observer, anyway — and apparently have no names, although the second Gronk said that his brother had been called Gloppus. A nickname, perhaps?) The Gronk insisted on joining Alpha and Sternhammer in their adventures as their medic, despite the perils of such an occupation and the tendency of Gronks to suffer heart failure at the slightest sign of excitement.

Eventually, when Johnny Alpha's father Nelson Bunker Kreelman took over the Strontium Dog's orbital HQ, the Doghouse, in order to seek revenge on his son, the Gronk suffered several near fatal heart attacks after discovering his plans. He did, however, manage to free Alpha from his father's torture machine. Following this, the Gronk ceased to accompany Alpha and Sternhammer on missions and, indeed, it was assumed by many that he had died.

According to one account which may or may not be true, following the destruction of the Doghouse and Johnny Alpha's apparent death, the Gronk suffered another heart attack which resulted in a hitherto unsuspected aggressive and fearless side to his nature coming to the fore, and he took up Johnny's badge and, alongside the mutant Feral Jackson, travelled to the homeworld of the Lyran sorcerers in order to release Johnny's soul. In an emotional scene, the Gronk seemingly killed his friend again in order to free him from everlasting torment — a fate worse than death — before declaring of the Lyrans that "nobody gets out of here alives", and apparently destroying them all. NB: This story may be apocryphal. Since new information concerning Alpha's fate has since come to light, it's probably best to regard the entire 'savage Gronk' storyline as not canon.

There you have it, The Gronk. Now you know all about him/it/them let us move onto my painted versions.

As mentioned before I have painted two Gronks the first is a very old metal model made by Games Workshop about 1984. This was back in the time when Games Workshop had the rights to 2000ad and even had a Judge Dredd Roleplaying game (how cool was the 80's). What I don't understand is why they made this as they had no rules or a game to play along with unless someone knows different.

This is most likely lead judging by the age of the model. It was also crazy tiny! It is about the size of my wedding ring. It was a very simple paint job, base coated black, then brown, then dry brush grey and finally white. Of the white I did pallid flesh on the skin and then finally Gulliman Flesh Contrast on this. I then attempted to pick out the eyes and clean up some errors. Definitely not super pretty, but great for table top.

Then we move forward to 2019 and the Warlord Games Gronk. Warlord Games (currently my favourite game producers) managed to pick up some licensees from 2000ad and started producing the Strontium Dog figures before moving onto Judge Dredd. The Warlord Games Gronk shows exactly how far miniature design has come, still made from metal but this time user friendly and not lead. He is also carrying a cool little first aid kit. I love the expression as well, it is full of character and life. I painted it exactly the same way as the Games Workshop one.

Between the two minis I spent about 30-40 minutes tops on these from start to finish and they were truly a joy paint. Now I'm itching to paint more. I am eyeing up a Wulf Sternhammer at the moment so watch this space.

As always I hope you enjoyed this and drop me a comment and if possible hit that follow button! Until next time.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Book Review 74 // Warhammer 30,000 - Primarch: Roboute Guilliman by David Annandale

Been on quite the Judge Dredd trip of late so I am attempting to move away from that and back into the realm of Black Library. I was lucky of late and got my hands on a Humble Bundle e-book deal. In that collection sat Primarch: Roboute Guilliman by David Annandale.

Now the Ultramarines seem to sit in the love them or hate them category due to GW using them for everything. Personally I don't mind them and have on many occasion come close to building an army of them. I am genuinely excited to see how this book plays out.

Book Details

Title: Warhammer 30,000 - Primarch: Roboute Guilliman.

Author: David Annandale

Publisher: Black Library

Type: E-book

Page Count: 192

Commercial Fluff: Roboute Guilliman, the Battle King of Macragge, leads his Legion, the mighty Ultramarines, in conquest of the galaxy as part of his father's Great Crusade. Faced with an alien empire, all his dreams of a shining galaxy of peace threaten to fall into ruin...

Long before the coming of the Imperium, the realm of Ultramar was ruled by Roboute Guilliman, the last Battle King of Macragge. Even after learning of his true heritage as a primarch son of the Emperor of Mankind, he strove to expand his domain as efficiently and benevolently as possible, with the XIII Legion Ultramarines as his alone to command. Now, facing a rival empire on the ork-held world of Thoas, Guilliman must choose his weapons carefully – otherwise his dream of a brighter future could be lost forever.

It's the start of a brand new series of 18 books focusing on the greatest of heroes, the primarchs themselves. This volume kicks it all off with a tale of Roboute Guilliman at the height of his powers, leading his legion into battle at the apex of the Great Crusade.

Review

Straight up lets get passed the obs point...yes it is a book all about Guilliman. The point of this series is to give us a closer look into the Primarchs who tore the galaxy apart on the eve of unity. If you don't know about the Horus Heresy then read up on it first. If you don't want to do that (shame), then no worries all you need to know is that this is set in a time before that. When Guilliman and his sons marched for war under the banner of the Great Crusade!

The book though almost 200 pages in length is only split into nine chapters. Before you start each chapter we are given one of Guilliman's treaties. Of courses these little captions, hint at what is going to happen in the chapter so they are worth a read. It also allows us to delve into the mind of Guilliman as he expands his art of battle, using this to build his pre-cursor to what would become the codex of warfare for the Space Marine Chapters of 40k.

Out of most of the Primarchs I only know his tale from the 40k side. Having not let reached him in the Horus Heresy novels. All I really know is he is a great leader, political genius and the creator of the chapter system. I also know most of his brother primarchs find him annoying as he is almost too good at everything, especially empire building (which I believe gets him in trouble in the 30k story arc). But in this tale we have him as a true Primarch, a fighter, a leader and a killer. And who better for him to fight against than the xeno filth of the galaxy.....ORKS.

What surprises me is the link to Lorgar (his brother) and the Word Bearers. It is due to their feud that we get some of the most interesting sections and plots of the book. We see through Guilliman's eyes his pain at the behest of the Emperor to destroy Monarchia (a city built by Lorgar), in order to teach his wayward brother that the Emperor is not to be worshipped as a God. Because of this destruction we end up with a Guilliman seeking to prove the Ultramarines are builders and not destroyers. This is a theme that comes into play in the book, as rather than orbital cleansing the ork world as his brothers would, Guilliman instead makes planet fall in the hopes of preserving the world for a future colony.


The story itself is a simple one. The Ultramarines are busy getting rid of an ork empire on the edge of the Ultramar system (their homeworld). They are seemingly on the verge of completely removing this empire from the galaxy, when they discover an infested world that once held a human civilisation. Though the humans are long gone there history and architecture remains. And with the guilt of Monarchia still hanging over him, Guilliman decides to make land fall and fight the orks rather than destroying them and the ruined civilisation from space.

The great thing about this novel is Guilliman's interactions and his personality portrayal. You get to experience his way of battle, his leadership and how pragmatic he can truly be. We even see him disliked by some of his "sons" and have doubts over his decisions! This actually gives us a character who is realistically flawed and not as sure of his actions as we are lead to believe. He is truly a human in a godlike form (lol). What this does, is to showcase him as an individual that does care about what is left to be claimed once the fighting finishes.

I have to say no big revels, it is a pretty standard battle for the Space Marines aka Marines find orks, orks get their asses kicked. It is a great way to start the Primarch series with the next book being Leman Russ which I will have to purchase very soon. Down side to this is the urge to create a Ultramarine force! Maybe I can do a killteam?

As always drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Or better yet hit follow.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Audio Review 12 // Horus Heresy: Dark Compliance #52

Welcome to another 30k audio book, this time it falls under #52 Herald's of the Siege. By now the Horus Hersey is in full swing, the galaxy is being carved in half by the traitorous forces and the march to Terra is underway. This is just one story of many and I am sure I will revisit the other tales soon so expect more at some point.

Title: Dark Compliance
Number: #52
Written by: John French
Running time: 64 minutes.
Performed by: Gareth Armstrong, Ramon Tikaram, Jonathan Keeble, Matthew Hunt, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Melvyn Rawlinson, Penelope Rawlins

Commercial Fluff: For more than two hundred years, the armies of the Emperor of Mankind fought to reconquer the galaxy – led by the superhuman primarchs, the Space Marine Legions brought countless worlds back under the rule of ancient Terra. Now Horus, once honoured Warmaster and favoured son of the Emperor, has been corrupted by the whispered promises of Chaos. At his command the Imperium is torn apart by a terrible and bloody civil war, the likes of which the galaxy has never seen... As Horus’s rebellion gains momentum, more and more worlds flock to his banner. For some, it is through fear of annihilation; for others, it is out of malicious desire. Any that consider resistance are given one chance to swear fealty. To do anything other is to court disaster and worse. Accazzar-Beta is one such defier, but in bringing this heavily-fortified Mechanicum world to heel, just how far is the Warmaster willing to go and what truly is the meaning of a dark compliance? As two fleets engage across the gulf of the void, Accazzar-Beta will find out.

Review

A rather simple tale, even though it is only a filler, it does a great job of portraying what is happening in a galaxy wracked by civil war. The tale begins with a planetary system that is refusing to bend the knee to Warmaster Horus. As the Planetary Governor faces off against Emissary Argonis of the Sons of Horus, he is informed of the demise of Accazzar-Beta, a planet that was brought to ruin in one day by the forces of Horus. Why this important? Accazzar-Beta was heavily fortified world and if it can fall so quick, how can anyone hope to survive?

This is basically a fear mongering tale taken to the extreme. Designed to bring systems into the fold without a shot fired. It shows a Horus wanting to preserve troops and resources for the final push on Terra. But it also shows he isn't an out of control killer, he is still the skill tactician and diplomat.

After the 64 minutes comes to an end I feel satisfied by the tale. Did it move the story arc forward? Nope. Does anything special happen? Nah. But as stated above it does show a side of the story we haven't seen for a while but does happen behind the action packed scenes and was well worth listening to.

As always drop me comment or even better hit the follow button!


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Beer Review 86 // Pink Fuzz by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company

Wednesday one of my top seven days of the week! Time to unwind, relax and crack a beer. Once again I am visiting my work (Beyond the Pale) for another taste of a beer. This time I am supping on the mainline beer Pink Fuzz.

Details

Name: Pink Fuzz

Style: American Wheat with Grapefruit Zest (A style I don't really enjoy normally).

Brewery: Beyond the Pale Brewing Company

Country: Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

ABV: 6%

Commercial Fluff: Not your Bavarian grandfather's wheat beer. Rather than adorn the glass with a fresh slice of citrus we choose to brew the entire batch with a veritable orchard of grapefruit zest. This American style wheat beer uses a west coast american hop bill to emphasise the use of citrus in the brewing process. Move over mimosa, this town ain't big enough for the both of us.

Own Opinion

Label: Beautiful label, tells you exactly what you need to know. This beer has grapefruit, so the label is dominated by it.

Pour: Nice golden yellow colour, with a beautiful white cap. The beer itself is hazy due to the unfiltered nature and the wheat body.

Aroma: A bit hit of citrus, mainly grapefruit which is no surprise.

Taste: This is nice and refreshing. The grapefruit, citrus hits the tongue and is so fresh. Whilst this beer also finishes with a strong bitterness. Pretty easy drinking.

Would I buy it again: Yes. But not to often. Though this is a tasty beer, it is not one I could drink constantly. It is pretty bold in flavour so one of these is normally enough. But it is a beer that is easy to find in Ottawa and well worth drinking when you have the chance.

As always hit follow or drop me a comment below.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Comic Review 78 // Insurrection 2000 AD

Welcome back to another comic review. This graphic novel I first read about three or four years ago and had completely forgotten to review it, so I now I am finally reading it again and correcting my errors with this review.

Let us dive into Insurrection.

Insurrection

Page Count: 131
Written By: Dan Abnett
Artist: Colin MacNeil
Commercial Fluff: Mega-City One mining colony K-Alpha 61 has declared independence from the ‘Big Meg’ and renamed itself Liberty. This act of defiance has angered the Justice Department’s Special Judicial Squad and in a bid to stop further colonies from rebelling, war is inevitable...

Set in the Judge Dredd universe, this high-octane space adventure is written by best-selling Warhammer author, Dan Abnett (Horus Rising, Legion, Prospero Burns) with art by 2000 AD stalwart Colin MacNeil (Chopper, Strontium Dog, Fiends of the Eastern Front).

Review

This comic is split into two parts the first is Insurrection, which is where we will start. Originally published in the Judge Dredd Megazines 279-284, this story lasted five issues. Our main character is one Karel Luther a Colonial Marshal on K-Alpha 61. For the last two years Luther and forces on K-Alpha 61 have been fighting an alien force called the Zhind, in order to defeat the alien forces Luther granted the mutant, droids and uplifts a citizenship status (ie. equal now in rights to humans). Once the threat of the Zhind had been dealt with MC-1 attempts to regain control of the world ordering Luther to revoke the offer of citizenship. This Luther can not do and instead claims Independence from MC-1 and names the world Liberty.

Of course MC-1 doesn't take it lightly and sends the SJS space fleet to deal with the issue and bring Liberty to heel. Soon Liberty is back on a war footing and fighting for their lives. It sadly becomes apparent they can't win and the hard choice is made to flee and continue to build a rebellion in the outer colonies.

Highlight

The C.A.T mounts. C.A.T stands for Combat All-Terrain Transport a four legged mount with built in anti tank weapons. Now these are bad ass and I seriously hope Warlord Games create one of these for their game.

This is an amazing opening story. With plenty of characters to enjoy and a classic underdog story arc. I am excited to see where it goes and for how long the group can survive the wrath of MC-1.

Insurrection II

Insurrection II orginally written and published in Megs 305 -310 we once again have a five part story. Unsurprisingly it follows on from the first tale with the leaders of the new formed Rebellion on the run. But before they can continue the good fight they have to save Freely from the hands of the SJS. A daring rescue is completed Simeon and his gang of Uplifts, but unknown to them they are assisted by the Sinister Judge Syren who hopes they will lead him straight to Luther.

Turns out Judge Syren was right and is lead straight to Luther! In the ensuring fire fight Luther is thrown out of a high rise factory window, horrifically burned and believed dead. In the lower factory levels the rebellion leaders retrain the droid populous to become a fighting force to strike back against the SJS. During this period of conflict the droid Handcog discovers a way to strike a blow to MC-1, if they do it they will set mankind back by ten years, if they don't it will disenfranchise the non-human elements of the rebellion.

Here ends part two, with Luther's finger resting on the button!


Highlight

Judge Syren - A SJS Psi Judge/ Psi Hunter. A completely eerie character, who doesn't verbally talk, has unknown powers and is always accompanied by a cyber dog that can fire flames from it mouth! I really hope this character is seen more in the follow up tales, there is something so sinister and evil about this character.

Final Thoughts

Great opening two stories. The idea of a disenchanted colony uprising is a great theme. I also like that it is set after Judge Dredd, into the future of MC-1. Meaning the writers and artists had some freedom and the ability to play with things like technology.

The characters are likeable, especially the villains. Who end up caring for all them but I feel Simeon could well be my favourite.


Have you read this comic? What are your thoughts on it all? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Book Review 73 // Judges - When the Light Lay Still by Charles J. Eskew

Here is the third short novel in the 2033 Judges series, ie the Genesis of Judge Dredd. So far I have enjoyed the previous two tales Avalanche and Lone Wolf, so with When the Light Lay still I will have completed Volume 1.

As far as this series goes we have dealt with small town America and big city America and how the Judges system is affecting everyone. We have also seen how it is affecting the newly formed Judges, who seem to be a lot more human than their future counter parts. But anyways less chat and more reviewing!

Book Details

Title: When the Light Lay Still

Author: Charles J. Eskew

Publisher: Abaddon Books

Type: Paperback

Page Count: 137

Commercial Fluff: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 2038 A.D.

Ezekiel Jones was a cop, and proud of it—until his partner shot a kid and covered it up. Ezekiel testified against her, but the inquiry went nowhere, leaving everything he’d believed in ruins. He joined the new Judges programme the next day.

Moulded and shaped to be the first of the new breed of law-makers, Jones hits the streets again. But as a new weapon gets into the hands of radicals and the tension rises, both Jones and those he serves have to decide where their loyalties lie.

Review

Hmm where to begin. First up that title When the Light Lay Still, what on earth? I don't get it, what is the point of such a wordy title? It seemingly is not referenced in the story or has any links to it. I find this annoying among many other aspects.

This is the third tale in the opening volume and by far the worst. It had some big problems in the writing that really ruined it for me. I was very happy to be finished of it and it sadly left a bad taste in my mouth for the series.

Problems for me included the constant swearing (not needed) and the weirdly forced racial and political commentary that was just overbearing and confusing. Then the biggest issue overall was the writing style, it spent a lot of the story in the first person, making it hard to understand who's point of view we were actually reading. Add into this mix a lot of time and place hopping and it's completely a mind fuck, that constantly lost me.

Ultimately this story just didn't read or feel like the other two and it really did not appeal to me. I highly recommend avoid it.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Audio Review 11 // Judge Dredd: Get Karter

Time for another Big Finish Judge Dredd Audio. With the licensee on these completely gone, these discs are becoming harder and harder to find. IF my any miracle people out there have some and want to trade please send me a message and lets chat!

For this disc we are listening to Get Karter. A follow up adventure to The Big Shot! and the closing story arc for Judge Steel.

Details

Name: Judge Dredd: Get Karter

Author: David Bishop

Cover Artist: Henry Flint

Cast:

Toby Longworth (Judge Dredd / Driver / Adam Steel)
Clare Buckfield (Judge Amy Steel)
Jeremy James (Blake / Dispatch / Tannoy)
Trevor Littledale (Detective Judge Armitage)
Hannah Smith (Eve Karter / Judge Dalton / Computer / Ms Wynters)
George Telfer (Payne / Chief Justice Willink / Intercom)
Steven Wickham (Harry Karter)

Director: John Ainsworth

Duration: 66 minutes

Commercial Fluff: Judge Dredd is heading for Brit-Cit on a revenge trip, after crime boss Harry Karter sent the assassin Erebus to murder Mega-City One's toughest lawman. A precog said Dredd would cause problems for Karter in the future - now Dredd wants to make that prophecy come true!

Judge Amy Steel also has a score to settle with Karter. She believes he is responsible for the murder of her father thirteen years ago - but she could never prove it. Soon after Karter married Steel's mother. Amy joined the Judges to escape her step-father and later transferred to Mega-City One. Now the young judge is returning home to confront her step-father. Steel wants to find proof that Karter killed her real father and she will stop at nothing to get the evidence.

Chronological Timeline: This story takes place in October 2124.

Review

This audio drama follows on from Judge Dredd: The Big Shot! And focuses on Judge Steel.

Here is a quick recap of The Big Shot! episode. Whilst Judge Dredd protected a celebrity from Brit Cit, an assassin was sent after them. The Judges initially think it was the celebrity the assassin was after, when in fact it was Judge Dredd. With the help of the newly full eagle Judge Steel, the assassin is thwarted and the trail leads to the renown Brit-cit Crime Boss Harry Karter.

At the start of this drama, it is discovered that Karter will become a future problem for MC-1 so Judge Dredd is sent on an exchange to Brit-cit to covertly (ha) investigate Karter with the help of my favourite grumpy character Armitage! At the same time it is revelled that Judge Steel is in fact the step daughter of Karter and possibly thirteen years ago Karter killed Steel's father.

This audio drama is more focused on Steel and though a great follow up and conclusion to her arc, I would have loved more Armitage and more Brit-Cit in general. This tale is great though and even has a few twists and turns to it that will leave you thrilled to have listen. As always the Big Finish production on these is fault less and I hope to find more on ebay soon to listen too.

As always thanks for reading. Please hit follow in the side bar to show your support.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Beer Review 85 // Pale Sour by Ommegang

Been slowing down on the beer drinking of late which is good for multiple reasons, but it does mean I can catch up on the beer blogging! This time we have a Belgian beer via Cooperstown New York, via LCBO so not the freshest, but it is a sour so the flavour should stand up.

Details

Name: Pale Sour

Style: Sour

Brewery: Ommegang

Country: USA though technically Belgian as it brewed at the Liefmans blendery.

ABV: 6.9%

Commercial Fluff: Gently tart, delicately sweet and completely refreshing, this incomparable ale is crafted exclusively for Ommegang by Liefmans, our sister blendery in Belgium.

A mixed-culture fermentation in open copper vats is followed by months of aging in stainless steel. Master blenders regularly mix new batches with older ones to achieve the ideal combination of flavors and the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Pouring a bright gold with a brilliant white head, Pale Sour drinks like a fine white wine.

Own Opinion

Label: A pretty dull label, I can see they are trying to invoke classic Belgian breweries labels but it misses the mark for me. I also feel the name has had no effort put into it. I know a name really means nothing but the straight forward bluntness is dull.

Pour: Bright yellow with a fizzy head that disappears before you can even finish pouring.

Aroma: A pretty fruity flavour coming of this almost a sweet apple.

Taste: Hmm. Flavours remind me of cider, a little tart sharpness, sweet and dry finishing. I know the mention wine, but in my head it is aiming me towards cider.

Would I buy it again: No. Perfectly drinkable but more a case of dullness. This seems like a base beer. Something that a brewery would build off either with fruit or a dry hopping. Glad I tried it but once is most likely enough.

Have you tried it? Drop me a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Comic Review 77 // Judge Anderson PSI Files 04

It's been a while since a PSI File issue (PSI 03), so I best do a little recap. Judge Anderson lost her way in PSI Files 02, leaving the Justice System and exploring the galaxy and was a pretty great story arc. After finding herself she came back to MC-1 for PSI Files 03, facing Judgement by Dredd himself and taking on Satan as well (what a comeback).

For me personally the tales have been taking a dark turn and I really hope this theme continues into this collection so let's jump in.

Story: HORROR STORY - Written by Alan Grant, Art by Steve Sampson. Opening tale is about Rookie Evayne who is on final assessment with Judge Anderson. During this final assessment the name Nikodemus arises, an old foe of Anderson's.

Turns out Nikodemus was a powerful psi criminal caught by Anderson and imprisoned. Facing heart failure, Nikodemus chose to suffer a time stretch sentence rather than imprisonment. It was during this that he was able to jump from his body into someone elses. Using this new means of body jumping Nikodemus is able to take over Evayne and cause some chaos.

Highlight: The final Anderson twist. Don't want to give it all away but it was great and a honest opening that continues on the dark path of story telling. The artwork of Steve Sampson is also eye catching and beautiful in it's brutally.

Story: SEMPER VI - Written by Alan Grant, Art by Steve Sampson. Whilst Judge Anderson is driving around Sector 11, she receives a PSI Flash of a gang creating torture vids of toys being destroyed. Soon Judge Anderson is tracking them and taking the gang permanently out of business.

Highlight: After seeing his entire gang brutally killed by Judge Anderson the Leader of Gang questions the whole Justice System and for his trouble he just gets a half ass comment. Not a big fan of this story, seemed poorly thought out and a real filler. Great artwork once again by Steve Sampson.

Story: R*EVOLUTION - Script by Alan Grant, Art by Arthur Ranson. Judge Anderson is visiting Vernan D'Arque a man made filthy rich by mining asteroid fields at the edge of our Solar System. He has an alien piece of technology that allows him to absorb other human minds into his own, making him a very successful being. Whilst visiting D'Arque in space Anderson is tasked with discovering the tech and if possible stealing it away for the Tech Judges to play with. But as always nothing goes to plan.

Highlight: Anderson mind along with D'Arque and seven others are transferred into the mind of Kong an uplifted Gorilla, who is then forced to work in an abattoir. It so strange I could never in my right mind think up this story. Love it!

Story: HALF-LIFE -Script by Alan Grant & Tony Luke, Art by Arthur Ranson. Such a weird and strange tale. The big issue is this tale follows on from one not in this PSI File. It would seem Anderson will face off against Judge Death and end up in a comma. Whilst in this comma Anderson is astral projected in the realm of Judge Death back to when he was just Sidney and Anderson sees Deadworld and the rise of Death through the eyes of a young juve.


Highlight: Any reason to experience Deadworld is a Highlight. I love this story, I just wish I understood the beginning more. But Arthur Ranson's artwork is beautiful and eerie in equal measure.

Story: WMD - Script by Alan Grant, Art by Arthur Ranson. A team of five specialists (PSI's) use a special machine to enter Anderson's Mind in an attempt to destroy a PSI virus that has attached itself to her mind. One of of the Judges is from the rare Witch branch of the Justice System and is treated with disdain by the other Judges.

Highlight: Gistane - A Judge Witch. A weird branch of the Justice System that practices witchcraft in all it forms. Gistane is distrusted to all and it seems they have good reason to fear this unusual Judge.

Story: LOCK-IN - Script by Alan Grant, Art by Arthur Ranson. Anderson is back in training following her Half-Life ordeal. But when the PSI Block enters lock Anderson's training becomes a lot more hands on. What is causing the dead to rise?

Highlight: Judge Anderson is 50 years old! I understood they aged every year in the comics but damn 50 and still fighting crime.

Story: CITY OF DEAD - Script by Alan Grant, Art by Arthur Ranson. The Half-life virus has been passed into nano bugs and is now rapidly spreading throughout MC-1. The virus seems to have one of two effects. One - You become a murder. Two - You commit suicide! It's up to Anderson to discover a way to stop it, before MC-1 becomes a City of Dead.

Highlight: I'm really liking the Witch branch of the Justice Department. I wish they would explore this more. I know I feel inspired by it. I also love the dark as fuck final panel showing the Resyk full of the dead.

BONUS STRIPS

Story: THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME - Text Story, Script by Mark Millar, Art by Dermot Power: Every year Mega City One plays host to the Charades games between rival blocks. But this year following a murder, Judge Anderson is brought in to investigate.

Highlight: Not a big fan of the story. Seemed rather dated, but did have some classic Judge Dredd tongue in treat moments.

Story: BABY TALK - Script by Alan Grant & Tony Luke, Art by Russell Fox: A new drug is being tested on the down and out. It's name Atom Seed. Unfortunately one test victim is a pregnant lady who's child has a PSI gift. The gifted child manages to reach out to Anderson but can the Judge save the child in time.

Highlight: A pretty dark and depressing tale. Great black and white artwork adds to the story telling.

Story: GEORGE - Script by Alan Grant, Art by Russell Fox: George is a Satanic Tapeworm and making his human host murder on demand. Lucky Anderson is on hand to deal out justice!

Highlight: George has to be the highlight. A Satanic Tapeworm with a thirst for murder. What is more Judge Dredd!!

Final Thoughts

I great volume of Judge Anderson stories. I really enjoyed these tales all of them which is a rare thing to write. The standout stories for me all happened to have the same artist Arthur Ranson. His art work is so detailed and let grim dark it helped to enthral me into the stories. I am actually so interested in his artwork I am going to try and get a hold of Mazeworld which he was the sole artist for so watch this space.

Ultimately I can only score this a 5 out 5 it is great. To finish this post I am leaving you with a Gorilla gunning down some Judge. Thanks for reading.



Friday, 28 February 2020

Book Review 72 // Judges - Lone Wolf by George Mann

See I told you I was hooked to Judges. After reading the Avalanche I knew I had to pick up book two Lone Wolf in the Judges series. For this tale we leave small town America and head to the big city New York. Not only do we now start seeing how the system works, but we also start to see the political fall out of it all. Here are the details:

Book Details

Title: Judges - Lone Wolf

Author: George Mann

Publisher: Abaddon Books

Type: Paperback

Page Count: 146

Commercial Fluff: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 2034 A.D.
Eustace Fargo’s Judges have been on the beat for a year. Crime is down but tensions are high between police and Judges, and millions rail against the radical new laws.
A summary execution sparks a crisis: only the killer knew where his last, still-living victim was hidden.
With the largest storm in decades brewing off the East Coast and a city about to erupt into violence, can Judges Ramos and O’Shea find him in time?

Review

It's 2034 and the Judges system is starting to take root throughout America. But not everyone is keen on the new system, especially the Governor of New York State. But even in the biggest city New York itself, it seems Judges and Police are starting to work together for greater good. That is until a serial killer is executed by a Judge after surrendering to the police.

At this point the story ramps up, with a possible victim still alive and no one left to question! The Judges are thrown on a back foot as they rush to find the possible victim, before all chaos breaks lose in the city as a giant storm heads in from the coast. Into this mix throw in protests, a breakdown in department relationships and an early look at a mega block and you are left with a thrilling short story.

Would have loved for it to be slightly longer, but given such a low page count Mann was able to really squeeze in a lot to this tale. I loved how the Judges especial O'Shea were very human and not the straight cut Judges of the future. I also enjoyed how the story would jump from the Judges to the victim and add a real sense of urgency. It also left me guessing all the way to the end and truly surprised me with the outcome.

This Judges series is truly impressing me. I wasn't sure when I first picked up the book but I am finding myself absolutely hooked. Now to read the third novel When the Light Lay Still.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Audio Review 10 // Judge Dredd: Trapped on Titan by Jonathan Clements

Time for a quick audio book review. Once again it is a Big Finish production about Judge Dredd. I truly love these dramas, but they are becoming increasingly hard to find. I really hope Big Finish will one day release them once more. If a generous follower has audio and wants to share I would to chat.

Details

Name: Judge Dredd: Trapped on Titan.

Author: Jonathan Clements

Cover Artist: Henry Flint

Cast:

  • Toby Longworth (Judge Dredd / Grudfather / McRoy / Babs)
  • Nicola Bryant (Judge Mordin / Titan Public Address System)
  • Adam Blaug (Malcolm / Control / Guard #3)
  • Laurence Bouvard (Stacey Dolan)
  • Andrew Fettes (Honest Bob / Guard #2 / Seamus / Bubba)
  • Jack Galagher (Riley / Martos / Computer)
  • Alfred Hoffman (Jude / Guard #1 / Bowles)

Director: John Ainsworth

Duration: 68 minutes

Commercial Fluff: It's the most hellish place in the Solar System - a prison for the Earth's worst criminals. Now Titan is under new management - a cabal of two-faced spin doctors intent on bleeding the inmates dry.

But something is out there on the freezing plains of Titan. For thirty years, people have committed murder to keep it quiet, but now its secret has escaped. Time is running short for Titan, and Dredd alone can stop the killing.

The future of the Earth is at stake, and Dredd must go into the prison undercover. He must walk among serial-killers and mass-murderers to find the answer to the puzzle, before he spends the rest of his life Trapped on Titan!

Chronological Timeline: This story takes place in September 2124.

Review

One of the darker Dredd stories in this series so far. Following the death of thirty prisoners, MC-1 sends Judge Mordin and an undercover Judge Dredd to investigate. Their main goal was to decide if the Titan Governor was corrupt, their secondary goal was to discover Rico's Rock (yes Dredd's Brother Rico). During this adventure the Governor shows her true colours and attempts to kill Judge Mordin, setting in process a full lockdown which leads to riots lead by the Grudfather.

It's during this mess that an alien warfleet approaches readying to attack earth on Rico's command. The only way to save earth is for Dredd to pretend to be Rico and communicate with the aliens. Ultimately earths destruction is avoided but at the cost of the prison. Rebuilding will take time but ultimately it was worth it.

Actor Toby Longworth once again brings Judge Dredd to life and the script writing was perfect with it's in jokes and perfect 2000 AD humor. It is the perfect tale and an excellent listen for sure.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Beer Review 84 // Robohop New England Imperial IPA

Welcome back for a cheeky brew review. This is an interesting brew as it is a recipe alteration, normally Robohop is a traditional West Coast IIPA but for this one they edited to make it into a North East Style IIPA. So let's skip all this talking and get onto the interesting stuff!

Details

Name: Robohop

Style: Imperial New England IPA

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewery

Country: Canada, Ontario. Toronto.

ABV: 8.5%

Commercial Fluff: RoboHop Imperial IPA, this one New England style... is not a beer to trifle with. Tropical fruits abound from the glass, which consist of passion fruit, guava, lemon with notes of white grape and evergreen mingling together. The full-bodied 8.5% Imperial IPA is very gentle on the palate, making it one sneaky bugger. Many of the aromas come through in the taste, resulting in a very pleasant juicy finish that’s slightly dry.

Own Opinion

Label: It's a pretty fun label with the Robohop character dominating the image. Very cartoonish and very in style for this brewery.

Pour: A slight cloudy, dull orange coloured pour. Off white head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma: Bold pine and a tropical fruit hit. Smells nice.

Taste: Tropical fruits and citrus lead the way. Surprisingly sweet with a caramel note in the back end. Seems a little sticky sweet the more you drink. Pleasant enough.

Would I buy it again: Truthfully nope. For my personal taste this is a bit to sticky sweet for me, I prefer my North Easts in the 3%-6% mark. I guess the maltier backbone just adds that extra sugar that I am not a fan off in this style. I am glad I had it but I feel some time needs to pass before the next one.

As always drop me a comment or hit follow! Until next time bye.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Comic Review 77 // Alien vs Predator: Thrill of the Hunt

Okay, okay I know I've done a lot of Alien franchise comics of late, but I've found a treasure drove of comics at the library. I promise I will give it a rest for a bit after this one and head back into the MC-1 verses. Now this is a well thumbed novel and has seemingly been enjoyed by many, which hopefully bodes well though from the look it is a short story for sure.

Details

Title: Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt

Author: Mike Kennedy

Illustrator: Roger Robinson

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Type: Graphic Novel

Page Count: 96

Commercial Fluff:
In the farthest reaches of space, a creature terrified us. Acid blood. Armoured skin. Razor-sharp teeth. No mercy. In the depths of a rain forest, another creature hunted us. Perfect camouflage. Fearsome weapons. Brutal methods. No conscience. In 2004, these monsters clashed on Earth in the greatest battle the universe has ever known. But far in the future, long after a technological catastrophe that started a second Dark Age, all memory of these two species has been forgotten. And when Mankind again reaches for the stars, we will discover that, truly, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Once again, Man is caught in the middle of a deadly struggle.

Review

Hmmm. Definitely a weak showing from this novel. Felt like we jumped back to the 80's with the artwork. Very flat with line work with a basic colour palette as well. Seriously what is going on? I thought this comic came out in 2004. Have I missed something? A bit disappointing for sure.

The story itself isn't much better, feeling like a 80's action movie. It lacks meat to the story, it just comes across as a flat, violent comic. It also suffers from lack of pages as you don't really get to know the characters enough to care and they end up being more of a background piece on a planet with Aliens and Predators. Whilst we talk about them, why are these two races here? Why aren't they fighting more, why bother telling this pointless tale?

To be honest this was a disappointment. As I've mentioned before I don't expect high brow scifi but I do expect a plot of some sort beyond hey we are all on the same planet. Please avoid this tale and spend time doing something important like watching paint dry.

You have been warned.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Book Review 71 // Judges - The Avalanche by Michael Carroll

Welcome back readers, this week I am actually starting a new series of books called Judges. Created by 2000 AD, Rebellion Publishing and Abaddon Books, the series follows the genesis of the Judge system that would ultimately lead into the World of Judge Dredd.

This is an exciting idea as it set in 2033. Only thirteen years into our future. What does that mean for the reader? Well it means not to much has changed in the world, the cities are all the same ie. no mega-cities, there hasn't been a war yet so no Cursed Earth or high pollution. What is happening though, is a United States of America struggling to handle crime, we are starting to see a big divide between the rich and poor, corporations are taking root and pushing out the little man, the idea of a mega block is starting to be formulated to rise up in cities like New York. The general populace is on a knife edge ready to riot over anything. And into this heap pile the new Fargo Judge System is being unveiled. How exciting!

As I write this I have complete book one The Avalanche and I am nearly finished book two and I am liking how the stories are being portrayed. It's not from Fargo's view point or some high ranked figure. It is instead the view point of the first Judges. The people on the front lines and how everyone including the Judges have to get on board with a new changing Justice system.

Now for Avalanche.

Book Details

Title: The Avalanche

Author: Michael Carroll

Publisher: Abaddon Books

Type: Paperback

Page Count: 232

Commercial Fluff: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 2033 A.D.
In a time of widespread poverty, inequality and political unrest, Special Prosecutor Eustace Fargo’s controversial new justice laws have come into effect.
Protests and violence meet the first Judges as they hit the street to enforce the Law; the cure, it’s clear, is far worse than the disease.
Is this a sign of things to come?

Review

Yep. This series has peaked my interested for sure! As I ready mentioned America is on the brink of chaos, the rich are getting richer and crime is on the rise. A man named Fargo has risen in political power and has convinced the President that the police system needs changing. They need a force who can step in and beat back crime. This system is the Judges, a force able to do all aspects of the Justice System from investigating to dispensing the sentencing. These new Judges are being drawn from across all professions be it law enforcement, military and legal. They are the future of law enforcement and they are ready to hit the streets.

But this story isn't set in some big city giving us access to melting pot of chaos, no instead we are in the small town of St. Christopher. Not the nicest place to live but also not the worst. I imagine it as a factory/industry town that has lost most of it's trade and is slowly becoming rundown and derelict. We all know a place like this, a place that once was the place to live and now is just a few stores and some empty warehouses, full of low income families forced to live below the poverty line.

Into this back drop we get a lone Judge arriving a day earlier than her squad because she has family there and after a cold welcome by her brothers at the police station, she rides off alone into the night. This is the last we see of her as she is murdered! The next day the rest of her team arrive lead by Judge Deacon and their first case in this new town is to investigate their team mates death. Faced by police force closing ranks and a general populace who have yet to come to terms with the Judge's system the team will have a hard time fitting in.

This really was a great intro into this new series. We see how the system will ultimately work once up and running but that is at least five years away, until then the Judges have to work along side the police force they will ultimately replace. We get to see also the new mindset for the system, it is going to be brutal and bloody. If you break the law expect to have justice served.

Though a short tale it is amazingly written and very enjoyable to read. If you have any interest in Judge Dredd than I can't portray strong enough why you should read this. It is great. By the time you read this I should have finished Judges - Lone Wolf so watch out for that review soon.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Meg 213 // 2000 AD Megazine 213


Welcome to this weeks comic review. Not sure if anyone is truly reading these posts but I am enjoying writing my thoughts and getting some inspiration as I do it. So this is it! We have hit December 2003 issue 213. An end of an year normally means end of strips or single tale strips and this seems to be the case for a lot of the tales in this issues. We have Judge Dredd: Crime of Passion (One Shot), Devlin Waugh: Rid Tide (Part 12) Final piece, Xtnct (Part 5), Armitage: Apostasy in the UK (Part 2) Final Piece, Judge Death: Wilderness (Part 5), Harry 20 on the High Rock, Charley's War and Apocalypse Soon. So let us dive in.

Story: Judge Dredd - Crime of Passion (One Shot): The World Sex Championships is underway in MC-1, and the mixed pair for MC-1 are in with a strong chance of winning. Only issue is their son has been kidnapped and the pressure is affecting their performance. Can Dredd locate the kidnapper and save the child before the final performance? The whole issue is the highlight. I love the idea of sex becoming a sport and the artwork is great. Only downside is that Judge Dredd is not in enough. When it is a Dredd tale I really want and demand Dredd to play a bigger role, I guess this is a filler piece so really doesn't matter. But a great start to the issue.

Story: Devlin Waugh - Red Tide (Part 12): Finally we are the final stage of this tale, it has felt like ten parts of chase scenes, so I am happy to read this. All scenes have been leading to this, Devlin and Landis finally get their showdown. After a bit of to and through Devlin is pretty much beat and everything is looking bad for team, that is until Lilith actually comes to the rescue. But with all things Lilith has a game plan, following her death she claims the body of Helsing's  daughter and disappears into the Daylight. The final scene is new Lilith giving Devlin a blood kiss to grant him the power to walk in the sunshine.


Story: Harry Twenty One on High Rock: Looks like the tale has finally come to an end. Though I never got emotionally attached to the tale or even wanted to blog about it every time. I am glad I finished the tale. My main gripe was that it was too 80's sci-fi, too high science fiction for me. I enjoy a bit of humour in my tales and this was very straight edge.

Story: Charley's War: Yep, seriously can't work with real world war comics. Through it is nice to read I have no real connection to it and no passion to write about. So I am going to skip and move on.

Story: Xtnct - Part 5: I am really lost on this tale, I don't see where it is going or what the point is. I orginally remember stating being excited about this one as I thought it was going to be a revenge tale, but I truly feel this lost it's way so quickly! I just don't know what I think about it.


Story: Armitage - Apostasy in the UK (Part 2): How on Earth was this just a two part story. I love Armitage and to discover this is just a two part tale breaks my heart! Armitage is racing to save Steel from a weird ass cult that has formed around the minister from the Church of Grud. Thomas Ablom has seen across the void and discovered a parallel world were a new Judge system took root, one based on aged. Basically anyone beneath the age of 30 is killed as it is believe only the young can commit crime! I just love how this tale is mocking the Dark Judges in MC-1, this is what makes 2000 AD stories some of the best out there. This is a real highlight to the issue.


Story: The Wilderness Days - Viva Las Vegas - Not! (Part 5): I'm glad the stories in this issue are rapidly improving. Last time we left Death in the ring killing left right and centre, well that's were we begin in this issue. Death is rapidly reaching his goal on the kill tally and soon the Vegas boss will have to keep his promise....or will he? Death actually discovers he is being played and goes on killing spree hoping to get the Chief Judge. Instead he is violently gunned down and left searching for a body. I am really digging this tale and the artwork is still on point. It's a great piece.

Story: Apocalypse Soon: The Four Horsemen have been captured by Bush and Blair and are now being held in Guantanamo Bay. Looks like they are in deep shit. But things get a lot worst, when God arrives and fires the horsemen before announcing that Bush and Blair are becoming his new messengers of death.

And with that we have reached the end. Not just the end of this issue but also the end of 2003 for the megazine. This issue had some highs, Judge Death, Armitage and Dredd. Then there was lows, Charley's War, High Rock, Extnct. But ultimately this issue was a win.

So what's next? For now I am taking a break from the megazines and will instead hop over to the progs. There has been a sale on 2000 AD for yearly back logs so I just dived in and got them, so I hope you will continue to join me on this adventure. As always please comment below even if it is just to say hi! Or better yet hit the follow button.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Beer Review 83 // Rye Guy by Beyond the Pale

Now it shouldn't be a secret that I enjoy beer, but why? Well the big reason is I work for a brewery here in Ontario. Which brewery you may ask? Well I work for Beyond the Pale, yep the same Beyond the Pale we are beer reviewing today. What does that mean for the review, well not a lot to be honest. I will still write my true thoughts as the owners respect honest over everything, so let's dive into this beer.

Details

Name: Rye Guy

Style: West Coast IPA

Brewery: Beyond the Pale Brewing Company

Country: Canada, Ontario. Ottawa

ABV: 6.7%

Commercial Fluff: Rye Guy one of our original beers when we first opened in 2012. This IPA showcases everything that is great about a West Coast style IPA. The American Hop profile gives it a distinctive citrus and pine notes flavour made even more impressive by the ton of rye malts we added as part of the all-Canadian grain bill.

The result is a crisp, full-bodied IPA that is surprisingly session-able during spring, summer, autumn or winter.

Own Opinion

Pour: A light hazy orange pour with a crisp white head, that dissipates to leave a good lacing on the glass as you drink it.

Aroma: Classic west coast hop aromas. Big citrus orange pith hit, with some lingering pine and resin in the background.

Taste: Easy drinking with the citrus and pine notes upfront. But as you continue to drink a slight lingering spice builds on the tongue from the rye character. It also has a bitterness that though not overwhelming lets you know you are drinking and makes you take another sip.

Would I buy it again: Yes. It is a staple in my fridge. It is always a good one for sharing as well, it show how a good IPA should taste and it helps remind people that it doesn't always need to be a North East IPA.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Comic Review 76 // The Case of Dexter Ward by H.P Lovecraft

Wow half way through February already. Not going to lie there has been a lot of sci-fi graphic novels so far this year (not a surprise considering it's my preferred genre). But for this post I decided I should mix it up a little and go for a cosmic horror instead! So let dive in with this library find and see if the horrors of existence will claim our minds and souls.

Details

Title: The Case of Dexter Ward: A Graphic Novel

Author: H.P Lovecraft

Illustrator: I.N.J. Culbard

Publisher: SelfMadeHero

Type: Graphic Novel

Page Count: 144

Commercial Fluff:
Providence, Rhode Island, 1928. A dangerous inmate disappears from a private hospital for the insane, his method of escape baffling the authorities. Only the patient's final visitor, family physician Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett—himself a pece of the puzzle—holds the key to unlocking The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. A macabre mixture of historical investigation, grave-robbing and bone-chilling revelation, this adaptation artfully lays bare one of H.P. Lovecraft's most horrifying creations.
"The New York Times" best-selling comics writer, Brian Wood pens an epic space odyssey filled with gritty, fearless art by up and coming artist, Tristan Jones. Aliens Defiance #1-6.

Review

What a great story. I haven't actually read the short story this is based off, but it is now on my radar for sure. Unsurprisingly the story is about Charles Ward, a medical student of some intellect who drops out of school and social circles to investigate his family origins. This path of obsession ultimately leads him to discover Joseph Curwen an alchemist and accused wizard!

Soon Charles Ward's own family worry for him and involve Poe a psychological professor and friend of the family. Here the story becomes more of a detective novel, as Poe attempts to track down the elusive Charles Ward. We are treated to all manner of occult mysteries as you would expect from a H.P Lovecraft tale. And we also delve into how far Poe can be pushed before going mad himself!

The artwork is very unique in my opinion and really adds to the tale and the retelling seems to flow nicely and make senses. It definitely delivers on the horror front and is a pretty creepy tale, even though you can workout the ending about half way through.

Overall a fun solid read and one I would be happy to add to my collection.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Gaming and how I enjoy my corner of the worlds.

Work for a brewery in real life.
Something a little different today. This is going to be more of an inside look to me and why I collect. I hope to explain what drives me as hobbyist and let you get to know me more.

Like many people in this hobby of a certain age I started with Heroquest. I was around the 10 year old mark and I found the game at a car boot sale. I was instantly hooked by the idea of elves, orcs, dwarfs, heroes and high adventure. It also didn't take much to get friends hooked or find like minded people. I guess for me this was the golden age, playing into my teenage years I experienced 40k 2nd edition, blood bowl, necromunda, gorkamorka, space hulk. We use to play games almost every weekend and I remember fondly my Iron Warrior army and my Goliath gang. But then slowly real life gets in the way, we got jobs, we had bills to pay, our hangouts more involved painting and drinking than actually playing and then I moved away. Upon moving my gaming time really died, in a new town I didn't have a connection for gaming, nor did I really have the time. So I painted and converted and read stories always keeping a toe in the systems I loved.

Wally Squad Judge Jennings
Jump forward 20 years and I can properly count the number of games I've played on two hands. But I still love the systems (currently 40k and Warlord Games Judge Dredd). For me now it is not the playing that matters, it is the calming escape I now get from reading novels or comics, gluing a figure or even just getting a paint brush out. It is relaxing, it is fun and most importantly its all mine. I feel I have reached a point were everything needs a story. It is no longer just a Pirate model sitting on a shelf, it is in fact Wally Squad Judge Jennings working undercover in the local bar of Sector 102. It is all a part of my own evolving stories that I use to entertain myself and escape for a while. Made more possible by my renewed reading of 2000 AD lines of comics and novels, which I blog about here. It is also the same for 40k, I don't just collect Aeldari of Iyanden but in fact collect the House of Ulthanash. Every squad has a story or background, the leaders have ships that are named, I have a list of models I wish to build that can never be used in a game but will show background of the army. I have moved pasted the dice rolling and more into the story telling, I guess it's almost like rpg world building and I love it.

As my children grow and start showing interest in my "toys" I tell them the stories I've come up with, sparking their imagination with my stories based of these bits of metal and plastic. With hopes one day they will join me in my hobby and when/if they do I want them to expand upon what I have created so far and start their own adventures.

So what about you lot who have read this, why do you hobby? Is it the painting, the gaming, the lore, the world building? What excites you? I would love to hear about it. Drop a comment below and let's get chatting.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Book Review 70 // The House of Night and Chain by David Annandale

This was an interesting tale to dive into as it is kind of a jump outside of my normal reads. As I am sure you have guessed by now, I love sci-fi action a lot. Yes I've delved into fantasy or history but they are still action based novels. So to head into a horror themed novel was a exciting change. I did play safe a stuck to Black Library for it and the setting of Warhammer 40k, but what can I say apart from better the devil you know.

Book Details

Title: The House of Night and Chain

Author: David Annandale

Publisher: Black Library

Type: Paperback

Page Count: 288

Commercial Fluff: In a bleak corner of the city of Valgaast, the House of Malveil awaits. A place of darkness, its halls throb with a sinister history. Its rooms are filled with malice. Its walls echo with pain. Now it stirs eagerly with the approach of an old heir – Colonel Maeson Strock of the Astra Militarum has returned home to his ancestral mansion. He is a man broken, both by the horrors of war and by personal loss, and he has come home to take up the mantle of Planetary Governor. He hopes he can purge his home world of political corruption, and reforge connections with his estranged children. He hopes he can rebuild his life.

Malveil will feast on these dreams. Strock believes he has seen the worst of the galaxy’s horrors. Malveil will show him how wrong he is.

Review

I'm glad this is my introduction to Warhammer Horror. What an intriguing tale, weaved around Strock and his family. Strock is heir to the governor's seat but first has to serve in the Astra Militarum, whilst his ageing uncle wastes away in Malveil as the current governor.

We then skip forward a few years (possibly 10-15 years) the uncle has died and Strock is still off world, leaving his wife to set up in the abandoned Malveil alone. At this point the pace picks up with Strock's wife passing away, and Strock being seriously wounded fighting the Tyranids. It is following his recovery that Strock returns to Valgaast and follows in his wife's footsteps and sets up in Malveil and here the story starts proper.

Brought back to Valgaast in hopes of turning the planets corrupt ruling around, Strock finds himself in a political hotbed of lies and distrust. This aspect of the story is actually really good. I could have happily read a political novel in this setting and what Strock as he takes on the corrupt elements of his homeworld.

But like a true horror the main story all takes place in the creepy house at night. With our main character exploring the abandon rooms and hallways of Malveil. The chapters focusing on this aspect were some of the best in my opinion as it leaves you fearing the shadows and constantly feeling the need to look over your shoulder. Made even more scary as read most of this book in bed. As the house chapters continue Strock finds his late wife's personal diary and attempts to retrace her steps through the house ultimately leading him into a dark mystery as the truth unravels more and more.

Though a some what obvious ending it was still hugely satisfying to see it reach that point. I can only speak highly of this novel and I am excited to read more horror tales from Black Library. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or better let give me follow!

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Beer Review 82 // Triverse IPA by Bellwoods

Got very lucky last weekend and went to Toronto for a few days. Part of this trip was actually a quick stop in at Bellwoods Brewery. So I picked up a few brews and went on my merry way so expect a few Bellwood reviews in the upcoming weeks as I work through my treasures. Up first is a nice little IPA called Triverse.

Details

Name: Triverse IPA

Style: IPA

Brewery: Bellwoods

Country: Canada, Ontario. Toronto

ABV: 7.2%

Artwork: Unknown

Commercial Fluff: Our latest instalment in the 'verse' series, Triverse is an enigmatic and delicious IPA brewed with a pale and oat heavy malt bill, and an intergalactic blend of Sabro, Citra, and Mosaic hops.

Own Opinion

Label: Very bellwoods, looks a wallpaper design you would find in IKEA. I mean that in a great way, it's like European style artwork. Very quirky.

Pour: Fluffy pour, opaque bright yellow with a nice white fluffy head.

Aroma: Tropical fruit cocktail. Yummy is an understatement this smells so, so good. Lots of peachy fruit notes coming through. I can tell this will be fun to drink.

Taste: Smooth almost creamy mouthfeel, fruit notes of peach dominates whilst in the background Coconut plays out to cover the tongue. Pretty low on the bitterness, just a hugely drinkable brew.

Would I buy it again: Yes. Might be a while before they brew again but this was a tasty beer and lucky for me I grabbed a couple of cans.

Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments. Also please take the time to hit the follow button, it would mean the world to me.

Book Review 75 // Legion by Dan Abnett

With this forced leave from work I am finding time to start working my way through some of the bookshelves of shame. It's crazy to th...