Audio Book 19 // Soul Wars by Joshua Reynolds

After the trip down memory lane with Trollslayer, I felt I needed to try some of the newer lore of Age of Sigmar. I know very little about Age of Sigmar and had heard good things about Soul Wars so here we are. Let us start with the commercial info:

It is said that all who live to belong ultimately to the Undying King. In the shadowy lands of Shyish, Nagash, God of Death, calls forth his soulless legions to reassert his dominion. His dread advance begins with the free city of Glymmsforge, a bastion of Azyr in the Realm of Death. Standing between Nagash and his prize are the brooding Anvils of the Heldenhammer, an ancient host of Stormcast Eternals, and LordCastellant Pharus Thaum, guardian of the Ten Thousand Tombs. As battles between the living and the dead rage throughout the Mortal Realms, the War of Heaven and Death begins anew. But even Sigmar’s chosen may not be enough to cease the onslaught. For how does one destroy what is already dead?

Read by Andrew Wincott.

Where to begin? I will start with the good parts, the good and the bad guys. Up first the God-King of Sigmar and his Stormcast Eternals, these characters call Glymmsforge their home. This city is a rare bastion in the lands of Death and is protected by Stormcasts known as the Anvils of Heldenhammer. These glorious heroes are reborn time and time again and this angers Nagash the villain of the piece. Nagash wants these souls for his growing army of undead and hopes to march his legions of the dead across the realms of the living to claim the souls of everyone. Here ends the positive part of the story.

Ultimately this book was lacking throughout. Examples include, Characters not progressing or evolving, leaving you not caring what happens to them. The story also seems to continually repeat itself or lean into the same themes, which slowly becomes repetitive and dull. Now I know what the issue is, the author wasn't planning to make this book, he didn't have a story to write and wasn't given much to work with. He was put into a corner to create a tale that would help sell the starter set. This ultimately leads to a story that goes nowhere, no winners, no losers and an open-ended tale that is decided by the players when they play the game.

The story is sadly a miss for me. Have you listen to or read this story? Let me know your thoughts below in the comments or if you have the chance give me a follow. Thank you for stopping by, show support and feel free to use these links to start your own adventures. I get a kickback if you use the Amazon link, so thank you in advance.

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Book review 115 // Path of the Outcast by Gav Thorpe


A long, long time ago, in July 2017, I started reviewing books I was reading. I started the whole show with Path of Warrior, book one in this series by Gav Thorpe. Then for over two years, we had to wait, then boom book two Path of the Seer hit the blog in October 2019. I promised myself to not wait two more years, so here we are 15 months later sneaking in the review.

Let's start with the commercial description:

Aradryan has chosen to leave his sheltered life on Craftworld Alaitoc and walk the Path of the Outcast, seeking the myriad pleasures and threats the wider galaxy has to offer. Still unfulfilled as a ranger, he is lured into the life of a star pirate, bringing him into conflict with the Imperium of Man. A chain of events is set in motion that could have catastrophic consequences for Alaitoc, forcing Aradryan to take drastic action if his old home is to survive.

Where to begin? Maybe a recap will help. The trilogy follows three friends, with each book following their paths how they are all intertwined in one another lives. Korlandril - Path of the Warrior. Thirriana - Path of the Seer and Aradryan - Path of the Outcast. In the first two stories, we watch as the two leads both become trapped on their unique paths and how the actions of the three friends lead to the eyes of the Imperium turning to watch the Craftworld.

But back to the novel. Aradryan, unlike his friends, hates the structure of the Path, he hates his home and through his life choices becomes an Outcast. This was a great part of the novel as we got to explore all versions of the Aeldari, be it Exodites, Drukari, Harlequins and the Corsairs. During this period of his life Aradryan, rises through the ranks of the Corsair band to become a Pirate Prince. It is during this time that Aradryan's actions prove his undoing and he gains the attention of one Commander De'Vaque.

Commander De'Vaque declares war on Alaitoc and manages to raise a massive force about him including the Sons of Orcar. The ending battle is pretty epic and ties up all the loose ends of the previous books. I feel bad to be finally leaving this series behind, I have enjoyed it so much that to finish it feels like an end of an era.

The ultimate goals of these books are to teach us the trap of hubris, all three characters thinking they knew best, caused the death of untold hundreds of Eldar. Eldar that can now never find peace. Just like the other two books, this was hugely enjoyable, the Aeldari race as a whole is fascinating and these novels expanded by Aeldari Enclyopedia so much. Gav Thorpe for me the ultimate writer for Eldar stories and I can't wait for more books by him to come out.

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Path of the Outcast

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Beer Review 126 // Cowbell Double Exposure

New brewery to blog, Cowbell Brewery. Located in Blyth Ontario, this brewery has been making waves. I was kindly gifted this brew by my co-worker and I am excited to see how it tastes. Enter stage left Double Exposure New England DIPA.

According to the official write up, this is a dangerously delicious New England-style Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA. Sultana and Huell Melon hopped hopefully giving it citrus and tropical aroma. Similar to a can of pineapples.

The pour is a hazy, golden yellow and is capped beautifully with a thick white head, looks great in a glass. Definitely, a strong hoppy aroma coming off this. It is strong and potent. Citrus is in the forefront and a slight tang which has me thinking back to the can of pineapple comment above. The taste is tangy, sharp and lip-puckering. The hops are green, very flavourful to the point of overpowering in my opinion and I could have possibly sat on this can for another week and had a brew more suited to my pallet. Flavours of ripe oranges and grapefruit hit straight away, followed by a lingering roof of the mouth hop burn.

Ultimately not a bad beer and I am very glad to have tried it. I would love to get hold of another can that is older (maybe try and find in an LCBO) and compare it in taste. If you enjoy bold, hop-forward beers I highly recommend treating yourself to one of these. Let me know if you have had this brew and drop me a comment below.

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Comic Review 120 // Predator Omnibus Volume Two


And like that, it is the last comic of January. Wow, this month went by quickly. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this chaotic time? Today's comic review is Predator Omnibus Volume Two by Dark Horse. Here the company line on this issue:

Trophy hunters from another world, hiding in plain sight, drawn to heat and conflict. A historical scourge, lethal spectres, powerful, savage, merciless. Utilizing their feral instincts and otherworldly technology in the sole pursuit of the most dangerous game... Man. Whether haunting the blazing deserts of the Southwest, stalking the claustrophobic woods of the Pine Barrens, or infiltrating a maximum-security prison, the Predators take no prisoners and leave only death in their grisly wake. But even these bestial killing machines can meet their match when men swallow their fear and channel their own primal rage... and the hunter becomes the hunted!

Predator Omnibus Volume 2 continues the complete presentation of these comics classics-some never before collected-featuring over three hundred gripping pages in full colour, penned by a who's-who of top writers.

Sounds impressive right? And for the most part, it actually was. We start with Big Game a fun enough action story, where we see a single predator pretty much tear his way through an entire army base. Though a great opening story, I did find artwork jarring at times. 

This was followed by God's Truth a tale too short to be interesting, full of characters that had no time to connect to the reader and when it got interesting it ended, disappointing. 

Race War - A weird crime series with a predator, and a crack team of cops who decide to capture a living predator (umm lousy idea). Their target though has better plans and decides to use a local prison as it's hunting ground - soon inmates are being slaughtered and an uneasy truce is formed between the rival factions. This story went on for far too long, it read like a bad 80's movie.

The Hunted City - Sets us in Manhattan during the 1940s at a guess. We have old-world gangsters and Tommy guns taking on a Predator. Though not super original it was fun enough and I enjoyed the read and the Hellboy style noir artwork.

Blood on Two-Witch Mesa - Has us returning to the opening story arc, along with its lead Enoch. Since his encounter with the Predator, Enoch's life has unravelled, he has been dishonourably discharged from the army and forced into silence. Enoch now works as a pump jockey, as his dreams still haunt him you can't help but feel bad for the guy. It would also seem he is not the first in his family to meet a Predator! Soon the tale is told of Enoch's grandfather and his predator experience. This is a solid story and rather interesting, a strong contender for the best tale. 

Invaders of the Fourth Dimension - Set in 1959 and playing into the whole B-Movie genre. A young child wearing 3d glasses manages to see through the predator's cloaking device and steal some of the predator's equipment. Soon chaos is unleashed as the Pred attempts to track the kid down and recover his gear. Whilst this is happening a B-Movie is being launched and everyone seems to believe the Pred is a promotion stunt. A very good story, really enjoyed this one.


1718 - Final tale and by far my favourite. I a short one-shot involving pirates. Following a mutiny, a pirate captain is fleeing through an Island jungle being chased by his former crew. As things seemed lost the pirates are ambushed by a Predator. Soon the Pred and Captian are fighting back to back and a mutual bond is formed due to the combat. As the Pred and the Captain finally face-off, the captain is shot in the back by a cowardly pirate. The predator has his revenge and buries the captain before honouring the dead pirate by leaving his blade as a grave marker. A simple tale perfectly executed. Great story.

This book seems a stronger offering than the first and is a worthy 4 out of 5. It had some failings as far artwork goes, but most of the stories had strong plots and were enjoyable reads. Hopefully, the quality can continue and not slip like the Aliens series.

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Unfortunately, this book is now no longer published a newer version is up or preorder.

Aeldari Craftworlds // Biel-Tan

Project Craftworlds is building up steam, I can say that as I now as I have two completed. If you haven't read about the plan please head to the Craftworld Project Page. I will be attempting to paint at least one model to represent each Aeldari craftworld (where possible), and I will also try to capture key details about each sect, using online sources and through doing this expand my own Aeldari knowledge a bit more.

BIEL-TAN


Biel-Tan
- Rebirth of Ancient Days.

Location - Segmentum Tempestus/Ultima Segmentum border. Now fractured.

Colours - White and Green.

Favoured Units - Aspect Warriors

Rune Meaning -  The Reborn: This rune stands for the principle of reincarnation, a fate thought to have befallen every Eldar before the Fall. The symbol denotes the craftworld of Biel-Tan, whose name means 'Rebirth of Ancient Days'. For them, winter has fallen on the Eldar but the Biel-Tan are convinced that spring will soon return.

The Biel-tan Craftworld is famous for its inhabitants' militancy; it is home to more Aspect Warriors than any other craftworld.

The Eldar of Biel-tan are honourable warriors, who have taken it upon themselves to rebuild the lost glory of the ancient Eldar empire, through the destruction of the lesser races who have "usurped" the galaxy, and believe it is glorious to die fighting the enemies of the Craftworld. At the centre of Biel-tan is the Chamber of Heroes where the spirit stones of dead Aspect Warriors are placed. Farseers often come to this room to consult the dead on courses of action.

As well as their traditional colours of green and white, the forces of Biel-Tan sport patterns of dark thorny ivy.

When the Eldar of Biel-Tan goes to war they assemble a warhost known as the Bahzhakhain, which means "Swordwind", "Tempest of Blades" or Frozen Leaves Falling to Cut. The Swordwind's tactic is a single, swift strike taking the enemy by surprise. This tactic works considerably well with the elite fighting skills of the many Aspect Warriors eliminating the enemy before they can respond. The Biel-Tan, therefore, makes perfect use of the speed and maneuverability of the Wave Serpents and Falcon Grav Tanks.

Structure of a Swordwind

Biel-Tan Command

  • Autarch
  • Avatar of Khaine
  • Wraithgate - Functions as a Webway portal to bring Biel-Tan forces quickly onto a battlefield.

Biel-Tan Craftworld Hosts

Aspect Warrior Warhost - Consists of Aspect Warrior squads chosen from the following: Dire Avengers, Striking Scorpions, Howling Banshees, Fire Dragons, Warp Spiders, Dark Reapers, Swooping Hawks, Shining Spears.

Aeldari Guardian Warhost - Consists of one Farseer and Guardian squads. Sometimes this warhost includes Support Weapon Platforms, Wraithguard units and Wraithlords. This formation is traditionally mounted in Wave Serpents.

Biel-Tan Craftworld Troupes

Ranger Troupe - Eldar Rangers and Outcasts.

War Walker Troupe.

Windrider Troupe.

Falcon Troupe.

Fire Prism Troupe.

Night Spinner Troupe.

Engines of Vaul Troupe - Scorpion, Cobra, Storm Serpent or Voidspinners (or any combination of these).

Biel-Tan Craftworld Spacecraft, Aircraft & Titans

Aeldari Spacecraft - One Wraithship or one Dragonship.

Warlock Titan - One Warlock Titan.

Revenant Titan - One Revenant Titan.

Nightwings, Phoenix Bombers, Vampire Raider. - One Vampire Raider.

Biel-Tan Persona

  • Anath'lan - Anath'lan was once one of Biel-Tan's most skilled Farseers. Alas, pride caused him to misread the runes, dooming a Maiden World to a bitter demise. Unable to forgive himself, Anath'lan died of grief. His Spirit Stone refused to bond with the Infinity Circuit and guides other Aeldari away from error to this day.
  • Avele Swifteye - Known as the Duke of Asteri Reach, Avele Swifteye leads a Corsair fleet out of Biel-Tan craftworld and has continued Biel-Tan's pledge to protect the Maiden Worlds from settlement by lesser races. Swifteye has been known to display the greatest compassion to his defeated enemies if it pleases him to do so. On the world of Yrthal, Avele destroyed half a dozen Human settlements before the fledgling Imperial colony surrendered. He took the surviving forty thousand colonists to a nearby habitable moon, keeping them in stasis aboard his ships while they shuttled back and forth in short warp jumps, and promised that no further hostilities would be taken against them if they did not stray back to Yrthal.
  • Macha - Macha is a powerful Aeldari Farseer psyker who had originally sealed a Greater Daemon in the Chaos artifact called the Maledictum on the world of Tartarus. She later sought to prevent its unwitting release by the agents of Mankind. Later events indicate that her destiny had become intertwined with that of Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens Space Marines Chapter.
  • Mauryan - Mauryon is a militant Autarch who leads campaigns to purge non-Aeldari presences off Exodite Worlds and Maiden Worlds. A former warrior of the Fire Dragons Aspect Shrine, Mauryon is filled with burning rage and hatred of the "lesser species" that now inhabit these worlds. He has led many a ruthless campaign to purge these "infestations" of both Orks and Humans. One of his greatest challenges came in the early 41st Millennium during the Baran War, where the Autarch managed to defeat both a detachment of Raven Guard Space Marines and an Ork horde under Warboss Snagga-snagga.
  • Tyladrhas - Farseer Tyladrhas is known for leading a Biel-Tan Warband against an Ultramarines Space Marine force.
  • Tagtrill - Like many of the Biel-Tan bloodlines, Tagtrill is a militant Autarch who leads campaigns to purge non-Aeldari presences off Exodite Worlds and Maiden Worlds. As a former warrior of both the Striking Scorpions and Swooping Hawk Aspect Shrines, Tagtrill is filled with a patient hatred of the "lesser species" that now inhabit her birthright worlds. She specializes in stealth actions and has been known to wipe out entire "threats" in well-coordinated dawn raids involving Striking Scorpions aided by Swooping Hawks. Since the sundering of Biel-Tan, Tagtrill has been active throughout the maiden worlds, forming Exodite militia to help stem the tide of feral invaders and seeks out Ynnari whenever possible believing them to be the future of the entire Aeldari race.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments and if you wish to support the blog hit subscribe or use one of the following links:

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Vlogging looking back at weeks 1, 2 & 3

Hey! Did you know I have a Youtube Channel? Well I do. It's called John - Adventures with Peps and is a campaign to this page. Most videos will ultimately end up hear but it is always nice to have some followers over there, so if possible please give me a follow.

But back to this update. I want to show you two of my vlog videos for January. This is the kind of quick blast content I want to make to highlight the blog and then alongside these I will produce unboxing and hopefully some painting and solo play videos.

Have a watch, then like, follow or subscribe and thank you for your continued support.


Week one
 

Week 2 and Week 3.
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Audio Book 18 // Trollslayer by William King


As I looked for inspiration on what to listen to next, I remembered fondly, my Warhammer Quest adventure days as a teenager (20+ years ago). Wanting to reignite that excitement, I searched for a classic Warhammer story, which of course lead me to William King's Trollslayer. Trollslayer is a collection of short stories designed to introduce the reader to the main characters: Felix a human bard/warrior and Gortek a shamed Dwarf warrior seeking his doom.

Diving into the short stories we start with a creepy human sacrifice story involving the Chaos Gods, setting the tome for the work. This is going to be a gory, battle filled trip. We follow the pair as they move through tales and the realm of men starting within the Border Princes region and then up into the Empire heading to Nuln. Throughout this, we get to view the world through two very different sets of eyes, and it is a rewarding experience. We have Felix, who still sees the chance of a real life, he falls in love, he loses love, but ultimately due to his honour aways stays besides Gotrek. Whilst Gotrek, seems to be a one dwarf wrecking ball on a suicidal quest, but he isn't one dimensional in the slightest and even has a soft side, as he struggles to admit he enjoys the comradeship of Felix. It is these two playing off against each other, that really makes the stories. It is through these small very realistic moments of brotherhood, that King is able to bring the Warhammer World to life, reminding me why I loved it so much back in the day.

This has definitely sparked my interest in listening to more of the series, which I believe moves away from the short story format into a more rounded fuller stories. This excites me as I want to delve into the characters more, which you can't do with a short story. You are just expected to assume things about the characters and except that they aren't completely formed individuals. We will see where this take us moving into 2021.

Solid opening novel that was lacking in parts, the voice acting was great and for the time it was written this was the height of Warhammer Lore. I have to give this a 3.5 out of 5. Solid piece but I need more character info to want to commit to loving it. As always drop me a comment, or sign up for email notifications of posts. Using any of these links provided also helps to support my blogging adventures. Cheers!

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Trollslayer by William King

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Book Review 114 // Red Salvage by Josh Reynolds

The last of the Necromunda short stories for a bit. I don't wish to burn out so I am stepping away to stay keen. What better way to end than with a Kal Jerico and Scabbs story.

The underhive holds many sinister secrets, and swashbuckling bounty hunter Kal Jerico is about to discover that some of them are best left hidden… When the sump lowers, an ancient vessel known as the Red Salvage is revealed – and Kal is hired to plumb its depths and return any riches to his employer. Along with his companions Scabbs and Yolanda, Kal ventures into the rusting wreck and faces dark horrors, desperate muties and inevitable treachery…

Whilst hunting down a bounty, Kal Jerico and his team are convinced to go on a treasure hunt! Within a sump lake, a sunken wreck believed to be full of archeotech has risen from the depths. Now Kal and his team race against a rising tide to discover the fate of this boat and it's cargo. Inside the ship's many holds,  they discover a tribe of Cannibalistic Scavvies, who worship a Spider God. Unfortunately for everyone the Spider God is real and living in the ship's hold. Then to make matters worst a rival group of treasure hunters have followed the team there and guns are soon blazing in every direction.

This was a great short story with plenty of action and once again a great insight into the Necromunda. The idea that there would be these giant lakes in a towering city is crazy, but at the same time inspires me to want to build a crazy gaming table. I also was fully creeped out by the idea of this giant spider eating its own children and the odd Scavvie. Great read and reminds me how much I enjoy Kal Jerico tales.

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Beer Review 125 // Raspberry Universe - Saison by Great Lakes Brewery.

Beer glorious beer. I do enjoy a beer, and it is with this in mind, that for 2021, I am slowing down my drinking. Moving forwards, I am only enjoying a drink on a Wednesday and a Saturday. Why? Because I want to, I want to blog more about comics and figures and not feel the pressure of posting up a new beer picture every day of the week. Now that we are three weeks into January, I am comfortable admitting I like this change. This week I am looking at Great Lakes Brewery from Toronto.

Great Lakes have produced in the past some of my favourite go-to brews, especially Octopus wants to Fight IPA. Meaning, when I had the chance to try Raspberry Universe, I jumped at it. Now, I slightly wished I read the label first. I was hoping for a sour or a fruited IPA. Instead, I got a Saison. For those who have followed my reviews, you will know by now I dislike a Saison yeasted beer. Something about either the spice or the flavouring of this yeast puts me off a beer. But hey, I had the beer so may as well try it.

The pour was beautiful as you can see in the picture. Bright beautiful red, capped by pink foaming head. The aroma is sweet raspberries and a candy/bubblegum hit (that is when I realized my Saison error). The taste was a little lacklustre across the board. I wanted more raspberry tartness, I wanted some lip-puckering, instead, it is gentle throughout. Very light, a little too sweet and just okay. Not bad in any way, just missed the mark for me like a lot of Saison do. Nothing against the brewery or the beer, just not for me.

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Comic Review 119 // The Dead Man and Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files 14

Welcome to this week's comic review. Lucky for you, I am merging two graphic novels together in this post. The first graphic novel is The Dead Man, and the second is Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files 14. Together they form the Necropolis saga - aka the return of the Dark judges some of my favourite 2000 AD strips. Let us dive in.

Tales of the Dead Man. Written by John Wagner and illustrated by John Ridgway. 

"In the harsh wastelands of the Cursed Earth, Yassa Povey makes a gruesome discovery; the badly burned body of a dead man. But the 'dead man' lives and when Yassa takes him back to his village to help him recover, something evil follows. Soon villagers start dying and the Dead Man is sent into exile. Yassa follows, curious to know more about the stranger. However, it is a decision he will come to regret, as Yassa is plunged into a world of horror when the Dead Man discovers the shocking truth behind his identity!"

I remember reading this as a young child. Meaning I know the surprise twist. That in no way discouraged me from the entertaining read. Throughout, we watch Yassa unknowingly head straight into danger time and time again. What draws him into helping the Dead Man is never understood or explained, and we are left to believe he is just a pure soul. This is helpful as the Dead Man needs one to help face off against creeping horror that is stalking across the Cursed Earth. Now for the spoilers! If you wish to not know then stop reading now. The Dead Man is actually Judge Dredd, after taking the Long Walk he is attacked by the Sister's Phobia and Nausea and hounded across the Cursed Earth. By the end of the story, Yassa is left blinded by his experiences, whilst Dredd is ready to go save Mega-City One. This ending perfectly leads us into the Case Files Volume 14 which we will now delve into.


The graphic novel picks up straight from the above tale with Tale of Dead Man. Judge Dredd aka Dead Man is heading back to MC-1 and with his memory restored he starts to recall how this all happened. We learn of Dredd having severe doubts about the Justice System, his entire belief shaken beyond repair by a letter from a child. With doubts nagging in his mind Judge Dredd is forced to complete the training of Cadet Kraken, a former Judda and an actual clone brother of Dredd. During the final tests, Dredd realizes Kraken is flawed and fails him, before requesting to retire and take the long walk (leading us to the above Dead Man story). A great arc, for once showing that Dredd is only a human and that even he has doubts and fears. It also shows us an ageing Dredd, something not truly mentioned until now, but Dredd is noticing he is being slower with age. After this tale, we enter an official countdown of strips to Necropolis, a 5 strip countdown starting with Lethal Injection (which is technically 5 & 4 of the countdown).


Lethal Injection; brings back the team-up of Wagner and Ezquerra and I am taken back to reading this series in my youth and it brings forth a giddy excitement. In this issue, we follow Cadet Kraken as he is informed of Dredd's decision. As Judge Odell tells Kraken the news, they load into a Department truck and head off to the Resyk unit, where Kraken will be executed. Wanting to prove he is a true Judge and not a failure, Kraken grabs the lethal injection and injects. Following his demise, Kraken's body is claimed by Odell and they head to the Grand Halls. Here we discover that Kraken was actually being tested one final time and has passed. Now with a street Judges uniform, Kraken speaks with Chief Judge Silver and discovers he is to be Judge Dredd's replacement!


Countdown to Necropolis 3. Rights of Succession. Judge Kraken aka Judge Dredd is now on the streets. Fearing discovery of the deception, Chief Judge Silver is keeping Kraken working solo. The story is slightly a filler piece and spends most of the issue, working through Kraken's thoughts about the strength of a name. Ultimately he doesn't seem to care as long as he is serving the law. Kraken is growing on me, the only issue is I know what is going to happen, so I feel bad.

Countdown to Necropolis 2-1. Dear Annie. The last of the opening tales and more strangely zero Judge Dredd/Kraken.  The story opens with Chip writing a letter to an agony aunt style publication. Chip retells his concerns about his wife who had a run-in with Judge Death. Following her encounter she falls into a coma for days, upon awaking and returning home she is forever changed. Xena the wife becomes obsessed with Judge Death, believing herself to be his wife she plots to kill Chip. As we reach the end of the story Xena sacrifices Chip, this breaks her out of her hypnosis but it is too late the Sisters of Death are loose in the city.

Necropolis 26 parts. We are finally here, Necropolis. The Sisters of Death are loose in MC-1 and a chaotic adventure starts at Rowdy Yates in Dredd's apartment. The Sisters announce their present to Dredd and attempt to overwhelm him. The first attempt fails but they do manage to affect his mind and over time they wear down Kraken's defences until they finally control him. Now with Kraken as a puppet they use him to find a stronger host one PSI Judge Agee.

Judge Anderson discovers the plot and using her powers is able to force the information out of a confused Kraken. As the Justice Department mobilizes its might, the sisters strike. Within moments the Sisters have neutralized the force and have taken over Judge Kraken. Using him as a puppet they force him to attack Judge Anderson, but before he can finish the job Anderson is seemingly crushed by a tank! With Dredd in the Cursed Earth, Anderson dead and Kraken mind controlled the City is wide open to attack. With their new Judge Puppet, the Sisters use Kraken and the Tech 21 facility to bring the Dark Judges back from limbo, it would seem Judgement Day is here in MC-1.


From this, we jump into the Cursed Earth. With the Dead Man revealed to be Judge Dredd, we join him as he heads back to MC-1. Annoyingly we must have missed some adventure as Dredd has a car and a new companion called Lumps. As they travel the wasteland they are ambushed by a crazed woman who turns out to be former Chief Judge McGruder. But this unlikely trio isn't the only would-be heroes. Inside the city, a group of rookie cadets let by Cadet Giant are attempting to get out of the city, as they flee through the ruined city they manage to grab the attention of Judge Mortis. In a terrifying chase through the city, the cadet manages to escape with the help of a well-placed grenade and end up in the undercity. Here the PSI cadet Ekerson, is drawn to a troggy encampment and with the help of the other cadets, they save an injured Judge Anderson. Seems like Ekerson wasn't the only one being drawn to Anderson, Judge Dredd was also arrived on the scene creating a dream team!

From here the story tempo changes pace. I feel sad that the story was so rushed in the end. Pretty much in one issue, Judge Dredd rids the dangerous sisters and leads the charge to capture the Dark Judges. Fear is the first, captured rather simply with bingo material, then Fire gets his body destroyed before having his spirit sucked into an airlock, Mortis's body is destroyed and Anderson traps him and finally Death fees into the undercity and is lost in the confusion. This only leaves us with one loose end - Kraken. Finally freed from Death's grip Kraken knows he has failed, facing off against Dredd he apologizes to his clone brother before Dredd executes him. This had so much more of an effect on me as a child, now as an adult, I am left a little disappointed by the rushed ending. I really wish it went on for another 10 issues and gave us a fuller and more complete story. Ultimately a great read, just could have been better - 4 out of 5 Clone Dredds.

Miniature Monday // Strontium Dogs - Johnny Alpha

Warlord Games 2019 Johnny Alpha

Welcome to a Strontium Dogs post, following on from the Gronk and Brute Mosely painted figures comes Johnny Alpha, the leading hero of the Strontium Dogs. Now as I have admitted a few times I have let to start reading the comics or play a game yet (Warlord has solo rules which I plan to cover soon). I personally only know Johnny Alpha through a couple of audiobooks and from the Judge Dredd Verse so my info is limited.

With that being the case I have lifted some info off an earlier post I shared when I painted a 1980's version of him (LINK), it is rather basic as I wish to delve deeper into the game and comics and reveal more as we actually learn it, rather than suffer from spoilers. Enjoy.



Guide to Alpha's Gear


Alpha and Dredd Team-Up.


Games Workshop 1980's Johnny Alpha

Known Background

The most famous and respected of the Strontium Dogs is Johnny Alpha, whose mutant eyes allow him to see through walls and read minds. He is responsible for such legendary achievements as destroying the Wolrog homeworld, leading the mutant uprising on Earth, and bringing Adolf Hitler to the future to face trial. His legendary career and his assistance to mutants in trouble - such as donating a large sum of money to the Milton Keynes ghetto - has made him an icon to Earth's mutants. He is a highly skilled and dangerous fighter, a highly dogged bounty hunter, never giving up in the pursuit of his quarry.

He is the son of Nelson Bunker Kreelman, a bigoted politician who drafted the anti-mutant laws and gained power on the back of bigotry. Despised, abused and hidden away by his father, Johnny escaped at a young age and joined the Mutant Army, becoming one of its key leaders by age 17 and playing a major part in the mutant uprising of 2167. He never revealed the identity of his father, changing his name from Kreelman to Alpha.

Weapons/Abilities

Like all Search/Destroy agents, Alpha is armed with highly advanced technology including a variable-cartridge blaster, electrified brass knuckles, a short-range teleporter, a "time drogue" that can briefly "rewind" the last few minutes of time, and "time bombs" which can transport somebody minutes or hours forwards or backwards in time (by which time the planet has moved along in its orbit so that the victim reappears in empty space).

Over the years, Johnny Alpha's white, incandescent eyes have provided him with several mutant abilities. Most frequently, the high-level alpha radiation emitted from his eyes allows Johnny to see through walls and other solid objects, or to read people's minds. He has also used his piercing stare to inflict severe headaches on his opponents, guide small objects remotely with a kind of limited telekinesis, or to "suggest" illusions or hallucinations (e.g., while fighting the Necromagus, Sabbat, Johnny made Sabbat believe the Grim Reaper was behind him.).

For a second class citizen and scum of the universe title he has a lot of cool gadgets, I am excited to get some more models painted so we can start running some games. Hopefully, soon I will also find some time to set aside to read a comic and we can start a true dive into Strontium Dogs.

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Audio Review 17 // Valdor: Birth of the Imperium by Chris Wraight


Who would have thought a Lockdown would help so much with my listening time? Well, here we are Ontario (Canada) is in a stay at home scenario. For myself not much has changed, I am still heading out to work every day as I have a hands-on role at the brewery. But, with less staff, I am able to enjoy my audible books more with fewer interruptions.

This week I sat and delved into the Valdor audible book by Black Library. Here is the official write up. 

Explore the history of one of the most well-known heroes of the Imperium in this awesome new novel from Chris Wraight. 

Constantin Valdor. It is a name that brings forth images of heroism, honour and peerless duty. For it is he who commands the will of the Legio Custodes that most esteemed and dedicated cadre of elite warriors. He is the Emperor’s sword, His shield, His banner and he knows no equal. Clad in shining auramite, his fist clenched around the haft of his Guardian Spear, he is the bulwark against all enemies of the throne, within or without.

Nearing the end of the wars of Unity, Valdor’s courage and purpose are put to the test as never before. The petty warlords and tyrants of Old Earth have been all but vanquished, and the Emperor’s armies are triumphant. What now for the nascent Imperium and what fate its forgotten soldiers, its Thunder Warriors and armies of Unity? A new force is rising, one which shall eclipse all others and open the way to the stars. But change on Terra is seldom bloodless and for progress to be ensured darker deeds are necessary.

Review

I am left a little disappointed, I was expecting a Valdor heavy story. This is not that. Luckily though this is a great book of lore for an unknown period of time - the ending of the Unification Era and Terra as a whole. 

The story is told through the eyes of a rather large supporting cast of throw away characters. Though they are interesting, we can't help but know they are just chaff to support the story progression and is hard to connect with them in such a short story. Also, the low page count of Valdor's perspective of the story is a bit of a letdown. It's called Valdor, I want Valdor!

Moving past these flaws the highlights in the story are the Thunder-Warriors, the explanation of why they existed, how they were flawed and why they had to be removed from history. It also shows the birth of the Space Marines and that even Valdor is unimpressed by them. We also get to experience the building of the Emperor's Palace and some of the Primarch program, which makes up for the faults of the novel.

If this had been called Birth of the Imperium: End of Unification, I would be giving it a 4 or maybe a 5 out of 5. Instead, I'm left a little disappointed so have to give it a 3.5 of 5. As always drop me a comment, or sign up for email notifications of posts. Using any of these links provided also helps to support my blogging adventures. Cheers!

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Valdor: Birth of the Imperium by Chris Wraight

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Book Review 113 // A Common Ground by Mike Brooks


Can't believe how quickly I burning through these Necro short stories. I am really going to miss them. Today's read is A Common Ground by Mike Brooks. Here is the write up of the story:

In the Underhive of Necromunda, people fight for many reasons… Goliath ganger Jaxx may be a stimm-fuelled pit fighter, but there are all manner of reasons why he steps into the ring. When a mysterious woman offers Jaxx a chance at glory, as well as revenge against his conniving fight master, he must decide whether it's worth the price… his life.

A great short, here we have a story all about fighting, violence and the glory it can bring you. Jaxx is a brute, jacked up on Stimms, looking for his next fight. But he isn't all bad as the funds he is raising he gives to his closest relatives and surprising background for a Goliath. The short story manages to squeeze in a lot of character info and we are treated to some well thought out characters, including different hive houses and even a Noble House visiting the slums. Overall this tale offers a rare behind the curtain view of the hive and how people survive, or in most cases don't. There is plenty of violence throughout but a strange sense of sacrifice and trust that was unexpected. One of the strongest stories in this series so far, well worth the read.

I would love to read your thoughts on the novel if you have read it? Do you prefer love stories and bonds of kinship or do you want blood and guts with full-on gang warfare, when it comes to Necromunda?  Let me know in the comments and if you wish to support the blog hit follow or use one of the following links:

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Beer Review 124 // Bellwoods Donkey Venom

Sometimes a beer name stands out, other times it is the design. Well with Donkey Venom, it was both. The name seems childishly comically but when combined with a donkey head snake, I knew I had to buy it. Produced in the heart of Toronto, Canada by Bellwoods. Donkey Venom is a barrel-aged Dark Sour and comes in at 8.5%. From the commercial description it sounds like a lot of dark malts, fruits and brett are combined with this recipe to create something unique.

It pours like a lively porter, dark, dark brown body with a lively mocha coloured head. It looks delicious in the glass and very tempting. The aroma is similar to a stout, with coffee, chocolate leading the way, along with a burnt note (not very good at describing that). The taste is definitely tart. There is a sweetness running through the beer similar to caramel, then chocolate malts, a dark fruit flavours like cherries. A pretty delicious brew across the board.

Let me know if you have had this brew and drop me a comment below.

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Comic Review 118 // Predator Omnibus Volume One


Time to dip the toes into the world of Predators. This time rather than trying to force my way through all the Dark Horse comics, I will be alternating between Dredd and predator for the next few reviews, so wish me luck.

To start off the Predator season we will kick off with 400 plus page, omnibus volume one.

Concrete Jungle - The summer has hit New York City. As sunspots affect tv reception, crime rates start to soar. NYPD Rasche and Shafer (brother of Dutch Shafer aka Arnie in Predator) are on the scene of a brutal murder but as Shaefer investigates he discovers the killers are linked to his brother's disappearance. Soon we are knee-deep in Predators and Government Officials. A good opening to the book, the artwork seemed very 90's.

Cold War - The story jumps from the hot city to the cold Siberian wastes. A Russian team guarding an oil field is torn apart by a predator troupe, leaving Lt. Ligachev as the sole survivor. After a debriefing, Ligachev is sent back to discover who the killers truly are. Back in the states the Military have noticed the activity and are creating a team to go hunting, but first, they have to get Schaefer onboard. Now the two opposing forces have to face an unsteady alliance if they are to survive the Predators. Another solid story, a good start to the omnibus.

Dark River - Looks like it is time for round three of the Schaefer adventures. He managed to survive New York and Siberia, now he is once again chasing Predators but this in South America. It seems like the predator he beat in Concrete Jungle didn't die and now Schaefer has to correct his wrongs. Overall an okay story, I am a bit bored with the NYPD Schaefer stories now, but I am rather intrigued by the follow-up story of Dutch, will we ever find out what happened?

Rite of Passage - Straight up this was an exciting story as it had no writing, it was silent, no written words. It follows a plains hunter, who whilst hunting a wild cat returns to find his village destroyed. Tracking down the cause the hunter comes face to face with a Predator. Following an intense fight off the hunter wins and claims the Predator skull as a trophy. A great story really enjoyed this one.

The Pride at Nghasa - We seem to be on a theme. Once again we are in the plains but this time the Predator is hunting some Western hunters. The story was a good as the previous and a bit far-fetched, especially when all the wildlife came to attack the predator. A pretty average tale.

The Bloody Sands of Time - A nice attempt at providing background info to previous Predator visits. Following a mysterious tip-off an investigator discovers a diary from a French trooper, the logs take place  during World War One, and describes the interactions between the forces and a ghost (aka Predator). A fun story with the classic plot twist at the end. Rather enjoyable.

Blood Feud - The final tale in the ominbus. Set within the crowded streets of Tokyo, we meet a blind scientist by the name of Juta, who is working on an infra-red implant to assist with his slight. Juta is far from being a defenceless man, he has trained and honed his other skills to aid him. But following the discovery of his murdered apprentices, Juta starts having visions of a feudal time, when he believes in a past life he had slighted the predators and now they are back to event the score. Another fun story.

A great start to this series. All the stories are pretty solid and the main issue I had was the fact that the Schaefer tale went on a bit too long. I'm excited to see if the stories can stay this strong for the whole series or if like Aliens it will start to suffer from Quanity over Quality.

Have you read these? How is the rest of the series? Let me know by dropping me a comment below. Thanks for reading and continuing to support the blog.

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Aeldari Craftworlds // Alaitoc

The new Craftworld project is underway! I will attempt to paint a model to represent each Aeldari craftworld (where possible). I will also try to capture key details about each sect, using online sources and hopefully through doing this expand my own Aeldari knowledge a bit more.

Enjoy!

ALAITOC

Alaitoc - Unknown meaning

Location - Ultima Segmentum

Colours - Blue and Yellow

Favoured Units - Rangers, Pathfinders

Rune Meaning - The Doom of Eldanesh: Eldanesh was an Eldar hero who was slain by the jealous war god Khaine. The symbol of Alaitoc depicts the sword of Khaine bisecting the Red Moon, the sign of Eldanesh. The Red Moon is an ill-omen for most Eldar and the Alaitoc use it to remind them of what happens if mortals offend the gods.

Alaitoc is a major Asuryani craftworld, known for having spread its influence further afield than any other Craftworld. Their agents spread across the galaxy acting as its eyes and ears.

On the battlefield its forces favour stealth and misdirection over brute force, killing silently and with guile wherever they can.

The world-rune of Alaitoc depicts the sword of Khaine bisecting the Red Moon; the sign of the House of Eldanesh, borne in grim memory of the act that brought about the War in Heaven in Aeldari Mythology. The Red Moon is an ill omen for the Aeldari even now, used as a reminder of the fate of mortals who offend the gods.

Alaitoc and its forces are associated with the colours blue and yellow (blue primary and yellow secondary). The Craftworld is known to be currently located in the Ultima Segmentum that was once the heart of the ancient Aeldari Empire.

Notable Alaitoc Aeldari

Alladrios Kulcassian - A Farseer of Alaitoc, Alladrios had great fear and hatred for the Officio Assassinorum's Culexus Temple. He coordinated a centuries-long effort to locate and destroy this temple. Through unknown means, he discovered the location of this elusive temple and despatched the Legacy of Eldanesh, a Shadow-class Cruiser. However, using his precognitive powers to see the skeins of the future, he discovered to his utter amazement that the temple's destruction would lead to the annihilation of Alaitoc. Choosing the lesser of two evils, he called off the attack and recalled the cruiser to return home.

Arhathain - A notable Autarch of Alaitoc, he formerly studied in the Dark Reapers, Dire Avengers and Howling Banshees Aspect Warriors shrines. As an Autarch, he would go on to command Aeldari strike forces against the Orks on the Exodite world of Eileniliesh and in the eradication of humans from an unnamed world which the craftworld's Farseers predicted would one day bring the threat of Chaos to Alaitoc. Arhathain would later lead the forces of Alaitoc in the defence of their craftworld when it was invaded by the military forces of the Imperium.

Eldorath Starbane - A notable Farseer of Alaitoc who led a small group of Rangers to aid the beleaguered Chapter Master Pedro Kantor of the Crimson Fists Chapter against a large force of Orks -- remnants of WAAAGH! Snagrod -- at the Battle of Traitor's Gorge on Rynn's World. He would later lead the valiant defence of Carnac from a large force of Necrons, led by Trazyn the Infinite, though in the end, the slumbering tomb complex beneath Carnac awoke, forcing the Aeldari forces to withdraw from the planet.

Illic Nightspear - Illic Nightspear is an Aeldari Ranger of Craftworld Alaitoc and has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, striding the skeins of fate and seeking out the unknown paths that span the galaxy. He is known to different Ranger bands by many different titles; the Sentinel of the Stars, the Wayforger, and the Shield of Alaitoc. To Illic, one name is as good as another. Such is Nightspear's knowledge of the Webway that it is said by the Aeldari that he can arrive unheralded upon any planet, stepping through its portals and out across the galaxy with the ease of a man drawing breath. Whilst this is undoubtedly an exaggeration, Illic clearly knows more of the hidden paths than any other living being save the Harlequins themselves. Indeed, some say that he knows too much.

Kayleth - Kayleth is an Aeldari Autarch of Craftworld Alaitoc. A superb, yet pragmatic warrior, Kayleth is a master tactician, having spent many centuries mastering all aspects of warfare. Her main focus in battle is on victory and how best to achieve it for her people. She led a strike force of Aeldari to Typhon Primaris in order to prevent the realization of an ancient prophecy that implied the imminent destruction of this world.

Fialla-Thandiriel - Fialla-Thandiriel is an ancient but potent Wraithseer -- a Warlock in life -- whose mortal spirit now resides within the Wraithbone matrix of a Wraithlord. Rare and precious beyond compare, the Wraithseers are to the Aeldari's spirit host what a Warlock is to its Aspect Warriors and Guardians -- a war-leader. As such they are precious indeed, and each loss is keenly felt and rarely can they be risked upon the battlefield. It was while searching the Webway, and the worlds that lie beyond it, for the missing Wraithseer Fialla-Thandiriel that Alaitoc's Rangers discovered the portal that led them to the lost craftworld of Mymeara.

Personal Character.

Alaiteir: Alaiteir is a newly raised Farseer on Craftworld Alaitoc. A headstrong, aggressive farseer and untested in the skeins of fate compared to the rest of the ruling council. Alaiteir and his household guard are at the forefront in most engagements and it was due to this behaviour that Alaiteir had to be saved from a Genestealer infested world. Unlucky for Alaitoc he was saved by the actions of Silar Dathelith of Iyanden. Since then the council of Alaitoc has questioned Alaiteir's motives, as he is now seen constantly in the company of Iyanden crews and corsairs at the harbour gates and mysteriously disappears for cycles before returning with injured brethren. It would seem this bright Farseer is now a pawn of Iyanden.



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Audio Review 16 // Eisenhorn - Xeno By Dan Abnett

Feels nice to be listening to some Audiobooks once again. I feel this is something I need to start getting back into, so hopefully doing the odd blog post will help. If you have any recommendations for podcasts or audiobooks please do drop me a comment and let me know. This time we delve into the realms of Dan Abnett and his Eisenhorn series. A beloved character by many (including myself), I first read this novel when it came out. I have been meaning to re-read for so long but it deeps eluding my reading list but no more! After picking up the audible app I knew I had to pick a winner and what better than this.

Xenos - Book 1 in the Eisenhorn series

THE STORY

The Inquisition moves amongst mankind like an avenging shadow, striking down the enemies of humanity with uncompromising ruthlessness. When he finally corners an old foe, Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn is drawn into a sinister conspiracy. As events unfold and he gathers allies - and enemies - Eisenhorn faces a vast interstellar cabal and the dark power of daemons, all racing to recover an arcane text of abominable power: an ancient tome known as the Necroteuch.

Written by Dan Abnett

Audiobook running time 9 hours and 56 minutes. Narrated by Toby Longworth

Review

Best 10 hours of my life. I mainly enjoyed this reading whilst walking to and from work. Before we delve into the story aspect, I just want to be clear and state how much I enjoy a Toby Longworth read story. Anyone who has heard one of his audiobooks will attest to how good he is absorbing you into the tale. Very relaxing, very entertaining.

The book/story is amazing. What we have here in the first title in a series, is a well planned and thought-out galaxy-spanning web of intrigue. We start off on a hell hole of an ice-world experiencing first hand Eisenhorn and his team in action (a strong cast of characters), there is blood, gore, death aplenty. Pure 40k at it's best. What seems like a small localized case starts growing and developing into a more sinister plot. We get to travel worlds on a creepy rogue trader vessel, discover plots to undermine governments using military forces, religious power bases, forbidden lore and Xeno tech. A lot of info is thrown at the listener at a pace that keeps your attention without feeling rushed or overwhelmed, some knowledge of 40K is helpful but not needed. The descriptive use of first-person retelling is a great way to get you into the story as you do feel like you are in someone's memories rather than watching from afar. Got to admit I am hooked.

It was a completely enjoyable listen, made better by Toby Longworth and has me eyeing up the next in the series. As always drop me a comment, or sign up for email notifications of posts. Using any of these links provided also helps to support my blogging adventures. Cheers!

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Xenos by Dan Abnett

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Book Review 112 // Burned by Darius Hinks

Look at us in 2021. New year, fresh starts and a strong start to the book reading. Book eight of my Necromunda short stories and this time the book is titled Burned by Darius Hinks.

The story follows a trio of Goliaths who in the past discovered a very important relic; knowing the heat would be on them they broke the relic into three pieces and went their separate ways. Unfortunately, one of the trios fell into a furnace never be seen again and the other two drifted apart. Speed forward to the present timeline and it turns out the dead Goliath has returned and it is time to reunite the relic.

I enjoyed the 19-page adventure. We discover the relic, is in fact, a set of Dark Angels wings. I also enjoyed the fact that one Goliath grew tired of his third and sold out to the Cawdors and I enjoyed a story arc that has been overused and is very obvious from the get-go. But that is the joy of a short story, it is short. Read it, enjoy it and then move on. Ultimately just a fun quirky adventure. A great 3.5 out of 5.

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Beer Review 123 // God's Flesh by Blood Brothers

Well, here we are, it's 2021 and a fresh new year. We are going to start the year strong with a beautiful Blood Brothers beer.

God's Flesh is a barrel-aged North East India Pale Ale, sitting at a boozy 8%. It was dry-hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Wai-iti and Motueka. I'm excited to pour, I personally find Brett beers a hit and a miss, so I am interested to see where this lands.

Straight up the pour. A bright and misty orange body, which is topped by a creamy head that thins down quite quickly. A big fruity aroma coming off this beer, think grapefruit and tropical stonefruits. The first sip is enjoyable bringing to mind pineapples, grapefruit zest, that finishes slightly bitter. The brett is present but in no real forceful way.

An enjoyable enough beer, but it wasn't really a standout brew. The flavours though initially bold, fade rather quickly and you are left with an okay beer. Not much else to say. Have you had one? Let me know in the comments below.

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Comic Review 117 // Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 13

Been away from Judge Dredd too long. It is now 2021 and time to dive back in and we are starting back with the unlucky volume 13. A bold green cover and a portrait of Judge Dredd himself on the cover. I get the tingles just looking, can't believe the last one was back in September, shame on me. As with these newer Dredds I am having to split them into parts as these books are beasts. So let us begin.

Locking up the House (Cube Mix) - The D-Mob apartment block house party is out of control and soon the Judges are on-site to calm everyone down. A classic use of Stumm gas the party is over. I nice fun one-shot story to ease us into this issue. A nice start.

Breakdown on 9th Street - Our poor victims have taken a wrong turn and ended up on 9th street in sector 41. Not the most friendly area to be trapped in. As the unlucky couple await to be saved, we watch as the Mo-pad is slowly deconstructed by local gangs for parts. Will anything be left by the time Judge Dredd arrives? A solid story, I really enjoy the traditional stories of life in MC-1 over the grand end of the world stories. Sometimes it is easy to lose your way with Dredd and these tales are great for grounding the readers once more.

On Meeting your Enemy - Remember when Dredd beat Stan Lee? Well, his Dojo has been shamed and we get to glimpse what they are planning to have their revenge. Here enters Dragon Daughter of the Fighting Heart, a lethal assassin. We watch as she destroys a robot version of Dredd in a one on one fighting match and we are warned she will return soon! Old Stoney face, best watch out!

Banana City - Finally Dredd and Hershey are chasing down the rogue Judge Kurten in Banana City.  They attempt a two-pronged attack, with Hershey using diplomatic means to get Kurten. Whilst Dredd goes undercover to track down the rogue judge. Of course, Dredd finds him first and we get a couple of standoffs before the real fighting begins. Unfortunately for Kurten, the comic is called Judge Dredd and he ultimately loses to the Lawman. A great dark and gritty story, I love the look of Banana city judges. Makes me want to dig out my old mini of one and paint it.

In the Bath - A comical one shot of two stupid criminals who decide to break into an apartment that happens to belong to Judge Dredd. To make matters worst Dredd is home and trying to have a bath. A silly tale that brought a smile to my face.

John Cassavetes is Dead - John Cassavetes is dead. A once-famous actor, filmmaker and star of "Johnny Stacatto", at least that is what this 120-year-old newspaper says. Benjamin Toenale has a secret stash of prohibited literature, why does he have to hide it? Why can't the people of MC-1 know this information? Who's knocking at his door?

10,000,000 is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia - Cynthia is a Mo-pad owned by the Willbury family and is 100 kays away from 10,000,000. Cynthia has survived the Robot Revolution, Block Mania, it even survived the Apocolsype War. Unfortunately, it won't make it to the end of the road. Judge Dredd spots a faulty tire and when trying to stop the Willbury's he is ignored and Cynthia speeds away. Soon the faulty tire pops and causes a massive crash killing the family and the supportive crowd. A fun, sad story that even involves Trump Towers so perfect themed for this year.

A Total Near-Death Experience - A terror-inducing story. A citizen believed dead, resurrects! The only problem is they are halfway through the resyk machine. It's now up to Dredd to find out what the hell happened. A depressing tale of failed revenge and job loss.

A Child's Tale - Whilst chasing a perp, Judge Dredd accidentally kills an innocent citizen in front of her son. With the child in care, Dredd goes to visit three months later and reads a comic written by the victim's child. Quite a sad tale if truth be told seems so strange to have such a serious story.

The Confeshuns of PJ Maybe - PJ Maybe a thirteen-year-old serial killer, has finally been captured by the Judges. Whilst in the confession room PJ tells Judge Dredd everything, he admits and owns up to every murder he has committed. A fun catch up with this story and I am now left wondering if we will ever see PJ Maybe again?

An Elm Street Nightmare - A full-on rip of Nightmare on Elm Street. We follow a killer dressed like Freddy Kruger as he attempts to strike fear in a young couple. Of course, Dredd arrives to save the day and leaves the killer dead in the street. But the story doesn't end there. The killer comes back alive and runs off into the darkness, at this point the story within the story comes out to play, and a drunk street person wakes up announcing he will never drink again. A silly tale, cashing in the Nightmare franchise of the '80s.

Dead Juve's Curve - A story about young Juves and the risk of street racing. The infamous Dead Juve's Curve has claimed many a Juve. This time one will survive but what is the likely hood of this Juve surviving Cube time. A beautifully drawn story, the tale seemed a bit straight forward but still enjoyable.

And the Wind Cried - A sad love story set in a destroyed sector, that was nuked by the Sovs. During a routine patrol Judges, Dredd and Anderson are travelling the wasted landscape, when Anderson hears the voice of a ghost. Here starts the tale of the last ghost and the last living human of the sector. A great story, lots of emotions involved in this one and the power that love has on the human spirit. I am surprised this tale does not appear in the Anderson series.

Kirby's Demon - A lot of one-shots in this issue. At the age of six, Kirby killed his brother believing he had summoned a demon and lost control. Kirby is now back home with the parents after his social worker believed him cured. Unfortunately for them, all Kirby is not any better. After completing a ritual Kirby attempts to show off his pet demon, but no one can see it! With this act, Kirby's sanity is finally broken and Kirby grabs an axe off the wall (who has an axe on their wall?) and kills his family. Soon Dredd is on the scene and in disbelief that the kid was let go. Great story, great artwork.

Curse of Spider Man - A while back we heard of the spider virus a lethal virus that turns the human into a giant spider. Well, sadly for Dilip he has just been told he has it. In an attempt to get double the payout from the insurance Dilip attempts to get accidentally killed. Following multiple failed attempts Dilip kills a Juve and is arrested by Judge Dredd. As the story wraps up we discover that Dilip was wrongly diagnosed and will now be spending life in the cubes.

The Amazing Ant Man - Got ourselves a double creature feature. A classic tongue in cheek as 2000 AD take a pop at Marvel Ant-Man. In the 2000 AD verse, Henry Pymm has three pet Cursed Earth Ants. After they kill an umpty dealer they go wild on the sugar rush and it is up to Dredd to save the day. Beautiful artwork by Carlos Ezquerra, his style of art just sums up the Dredd world so much for me.

The Great Little U-Front Disaster - Today is Dernot Wrasse's Birthday and his son has made him a custom pair of U-Fronts with built-in heating. Everything was going okay until they malfunction and in a fit of panic Dernot strips off and launches the now on fire U-Fronts into the mega way. 5 minutes later and massive explosion 19 lay dead. Comical story and very MC-1.

Playaday - A kids tv show goes down the drain during live filming when the lead discovers his wife with a co-star. Soon the cast is throwing punching and Dredd is called in. A silly tale, with some very weird art choices. The artist seems to change drawing styles halfway through for a few panels and then swaps back. Strange?

Cardboard City - Dredd is looking for Maria his ex-housekeeper in a local Cardboard city. Unlucky for the tenants of Cardboard City, the local wealthy house owners have decided to burn the place down tonight. Sadly, Dredd is too late to save the down and out, and when the fire finally ends multiple people lay dead. As the perps attempt to escape Maria stops them with some classic street violence. Once Dredd finally catches he arrests Maria for assault and sends her into the rehab system. Beautiful Cam Kennedy artwork, paired with a sad tale of poverty in the city of the future, but could also represent now.

Over the top - A bit of a dull piece about the power and brutality of the Judges. I feel this is just the beginning of a bigger story. I feel we will just have to wait and see.

A Monkey's Tale - What is with the depressing stories in this issue. We story of the lucky man. His back was broken in seventeen places and his girlfriend was killed after a batguilder fell on them. Now crippled the man is electronically connected to a monkey. Using the monkey he attempts to trick Dredd into shooting him, unfortunately for all involved the monkey loved her owner and saves him from the bullets, leaving the man alone and still trapped in his body. Great story but very sad.

Confessions of a Rottweiller - A classic weird tale, man loves wife, the wife is cheating with the hairdresser. The wife convinces the man to have a brain transfer into a Rottweiller, wife makes the dog a pet and starts openly seeing the hairdresser. Rottweiller loses it and kills them both! Such a weird and funny tale.

The Shooting Match - Dredd is up against a new recruit on the shooting test at the Academy of Law. Both did the same test with Dredd coming second! But who is the new recruit? Finally, we are seeing Judge Kraken in action. It feels like forever since we last saw him, which can only mean the Dark Judges are coming!

Young Giant - First up another Carlos Ezquerra artwork comic, meaning it is a beauty to behold. We start the story with the shocking news that the heroic Judge Giant (Killed by Orlock in Block Mania), wasn't so clean-cut as we all believed. Seems Giant had a son! After seeing his mom killed Cadet Giant is taken into the Justice system and is soon progressing through the program. His trainers believe he has a temper issue and in an attempt to stem this, they send him on a training course with Judge Dredd. During this, in the field training, the pair discovers a murder for profit group that is possibly linked to Cadet Giant's dead mother. Can the young Judge hold his cool, or will Judge Dredd fail him of the course? This was an amazing story, I knew of it and that the cadet becomes a full Judge but this is the first time reading this one and I loved it.

Politics - Vanilla Batcave is a vocal pro-democracy leader. During a peaceful rally, undercover Judges pretend to attack the rally, "injuring" Dredd and kidnapping Vanilla. In a hidden location, the operation is revealed to Vanilla and she is informed that she will undergo a face change along with a mind wipe, before being shipped off to a colony away from the city. Sadly even though no crime is committed apart from inspiring free will, Vanilla is facing the wrath of the Justice Department. As Dredd says Politics is a dirty business.

It still pays to be mental - The return of the mental Juve from prog 468. Finally released from the cubes, it doesn't take long for him to come to the attention of Judge Dredd. But the real problem is why does that suitcase have legs? Another kooky Dredd tale, fun enough and easy to move past.

Little Spuggy's Christmas - Little Spuggy is being paroled early, thinking his luck has come in he heads off to find his old associates, unbeknown to him Judge Dredd is tailing him. In a classic Dredd strip, there is violence and a comical death. A fun little filler.

Family Affair - Judge Dredd kills an armed robber and due to a lack of Judges, he is forced to inform the family himself. Of course, they don't take it well and the body count starts to rise. Soon the whole family is either dead or arrested. Another solid tale.

I'm Manny, Me Fly - Manny is a Steward on a popular airline, following a crash in the Jungles of Antarctic, he has become infected with a weird fly virus. After changing in public Manny flees home only to be captured by Dredd. Following a round of testing Manny is released with new meds and we have for once a happy ending. But come on let's talk about that human-faced fly, nightmare material.

A Letter to Judge Dredd - A Juve for a class is tasked with working out if the justice system works. The smart decides the easiest way to find out is to ask Judge Dredd and writes him a letter. The letter asks a lot of awkward questions that I am sure would make even Dredd sweat to find the right answers. The story is great and has a dark ending which seems to be the theme of this volume.

Wow, it's great to be back in 2000 AD mode. I've been diving into Dark Horse of late and have come to the realization a lot of American comics suck! Give me that British sense of humour and dark, tongue in cheek action. It is so refreshing to be back on this train. Have you read this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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