Book Review 184 // The Serpent's Dance by Mike Brooks

I recently got my hands on some more Horus Heresy short stories. I like to break up my longer novels with some shorter tales as a refresher. This tale, for me, was an interesting one as it continued the adventures of Amendera Kendel, who I believe we met in Garro or was it Flight of the Eisenstein? Either way, let us get into the meat!

Title: The Serpent's Dance part of the Black Library Advent Calendar 2020.

Author: Mike Brooks

Fluff: A Horus Heresy short story

Amendera Kendel – once an Oblivion Knight of the Silent Sisterhood, now an agent of Malcador the Sigillite – seeks treacherous souls in the heart of the Solar system. Visiting the Jovian shipyards, she is determined to root out whatever nest of Horus' followers lurks there, awaiting the arrival of the Warmaster's armies. Yet what awaits her will test Kendel to her limits… and beyond.

Buy a copy: Amazon

Format: Kindle Edition, 30 pages

Review

It's funny that this is Mike Brook's first story in Horus Heresy. I have really enjoyed a lot of his Necromunda pieces, so I was hoping he could bring that energy into this setting. And boy did he! The thing you need to remember about this title is that it is kind of a teaser piece for Inquisitor fans. 

Amendera Kendel, alongside Garro, has been tasked by Malacador to be his secret pawns in future wars. For Kendel, it is to become the OG Inquisitor, while Garro was a proto-Grey Knight. But back to Kendel, we follow her on one of her early missions, taking her to Jupiter and the Jovian dockyards. Painfully close to the heart of the Imperium. Surely the heretics aren't this close?

Brooks manages to create an immensely readable story that I quickly absorbed. The main character is engaging and seems realistic in a world of heroic Space Marines. It read like a 40k novel but did not seem out of place in the 30k. I really hope this is just the start, and we will see more of Kendel and Brooks novels for her soon.

Have you read this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.

Audio Review 71 // Hands of the Emperor by Rob Sanders


I am continuing my adventures in the timeline of the Horus Heresy with this next title; Hands of the Emperor. Another short story that appears in collected stories of War Without End.

Title: Hands of the Emperor

Author: Rob Sanders

Fluff: There are no more loyal servants of the Master of Mankind than his own Custodian Guard... except, of course, for his appointed praetorians, the stalwart legionaries of the Imperial Fists. When Shield-Captain Enobar Stentonox is assigned to watch over the Palace, it is only a matter of hours before a full alert is sounded – secure airspace has been breached, by none other than their well-intentioned Space Marine allies. With neither side willing to accept responsibility for the mistake, tensions rise and a new battle begins in the skies over Terra.

Review
We join the forces located on Terra for a tense and nerve-jarring adventure. The main part of the tale follows Shield-Captain Stentonox for his first watch as commanding officer of the Imperial Palace, and what A first watch.
This title gives us a rare insight into the life of the Palace and how lack of communication can lead to outright conflict. As one hand (Imperial Fists) fails to conform to the other hand’s (Custodians) rules, we watch as a continent-sized orbital platform heads toward the Imperial Palace, and though piloted by “allies,” they can not be treated as such and soon paranoia reigns and conflict is joined. 
Was great to learn a bit more about the Custodians and Silent Sisters, along with discovering more about the orbital platforms. Overall a very good listen. It did seem strange that Dorn would move such a security risk into the cities airspace but we can ignore that in exchange for a good and exciting story.

As always thanks for stopping by and reading.

Beer Review 186 // Everyday Pilsner by Beyond the Pale.


Let's just throw this out there early. I work for Beyond the Pale, so I have easy access to these beers. I am not paid to promote them here, nor are there any benefits to me writing about them. Now let us get into the good stuff of drinking a beer!

Name: Everyday Pilsner
Style: Pilsner
Format: 473ml Can
ABV: 4%
Brewery: Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, Ottawa, Ontario. Canada. Come and visit me!
Fluff: Like our daily tablets, we prefer our Pilsners, to be honest, balanced and restorative. Brewed in Ottawa, Ontario, since 2022, this is a light, crisp Pilsner with dazzling clarity to be consumed alongside your favourite source of vitamins. This is an all-season brew best enjoyed fresh out of the can, featuring select German barley and traditional Czech hops.

It pairs well with vitamin D, sunshine and hanging with the buds.

Review

Well, it is definitely a Pilsner. Pours a beautiful darker-hued yellow and has a lively and full head. The body is crystal clear, and you can see straight through it. The head starts to fly away as I watch it but settles to a decent amount. The aroma is spot on, malty, straw, and light. The taste takes me back to all the classic Euro lagers of my childhood (lol). Very fresh, crisp and refreshing. Would definitely crush a few of these during the summer. I seriously hope the brew team brings this one back. I need it for patios and sunshine season!

Unless you live in Ontario, you will not get to try this. But what is a similar patio brew you have enjoyed?

As always, I enjoy seeing you all, so say hi! If you are a beer drinker or wannabe brewer, you may enjoy this beer journal over on Amazon. I've bought a few for friends, and they love them.

Comic Review 190 // Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 1: The Light and the Dark


Back on the library finds with this fantastic Star Wars find. Though aimed at a younger audience, I found the last one enjoyable enough, and I am hoping this will follow suit.

Title: Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 1: The Light and the Dark
Page Count: 144 pages
Format: Paperback
Buy Now: Amazon
Publisher: Disney
Creators: Michael Moreci, Ilias Kyriazis, Megan Levens, Katie Cook, Cara McGee, Nick Brokenshire, Sam Maggs, Davide Tinto, Shane McCarthy, Jordan Clark, Yael Nathan, Casey Gilly, Butch Mapa, and Daniel José Older.

Fluff: Brand-new middle-grade stories featuring all your favourite characters from the far reaches of the Star Wars galaxy, spanning the entire Skywalker Saga and beyond!

Three oversized stories featuring Rey, Finn, and Poe; Qui-Gon Jinn and the mighty Wookies of Kashyyk; and Padmé and Anakin; plus half a dozen short stories including tales of villainy starring Kylo Ren and Darth Vader himself!

First, Poe and Finn take Rey to a remote planet to continue her Jedi training. But they're surprised to find that the First Order's reach extends far and wide. Then, Qui-Gon joins the Wookiees of Kashyyyk for a special Life Day celebration! And after that, Padmé and Anakin face a major predicament as they struggle to navigate the politics of the Republic!

Meanwhile, on the Dark Side, Kylo Ren faces the difficulties of leadership and the politics of fear. And, following the siege of Hoth, Darth Vader explores the secrets of the abandoned Rebel base. All this and new stories of dastardly exploits by Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Maul, Tobias Beckett and Val, and the sinister Nihil.

Collects the first six issues of the Star Wars Adventures series starting in 2020.

Review

Hmmm, a mixed bag on this one. Nine adventures spanning the Disney films. The book kicks things off with a Rey story titled Obstacle Course. In this adventure, Poe and Finn create an obstacle course for Rey to practice on. Unfortunately for the trio, this out-of-the-way and dangerous world is also home to many pirates who figure out who the trio are in an attempt to capture them for their bounty. Great start to the book and a fun story.

We then hop all the way back to the start with Life Day. Set before Episode One, we get an Obi-wan and Qui Gon story, as they join the Wookies for a cultural event which is ruined by slavers hoping to capture the wookies for the slave markets. A lot shorter story than the first, but action-packed and has a great theme for an adventure. Would love more Qui Gon stories (know any good ones, comment below).

Then we move past Episode 2 with a Padme and Anakin tale. Set on Naboo, it has the duo facing off against a group of pirates looking for payment. Overall an okay story, but it was disappointing to see Anakin unable to handle three pirates solo. This is meant to be the hero of the Clone Wars, and he couldn't defeat three pirates? Lame. Let's move on.

Any idea why these weren't put in chronological order? From roughly episode 2, we jump into episode 5 with Invasion of Echo Base. For this adventure, we join Darth Vader as he leads the assault on Echo Base. Not super thrilling, as we all know what happens, but it is fun to view it from Vaders side.

After this, the stories get short and honestly not that interesting. We get a Kylo Ren tale showing his conflicted nature, but not much else. In the Hostage, Darth Maul slowly builds his criminal empire, but first, he has to take down some of the old guards. Then we got a Beckett story, which surprised me; this was due to the artwork. I did not recognize the title character and was left confused, then it all clicked. Knowing it was a Beckett story wouldn't have improved my opinion by the end. This was followed by another weak tale about Tarkin, a confusing and uninspiring read; just skip and save yourself some time. We then end the book with a story set during the High Republic era. Something I know nothing about, and due to this, I struggled to care, which is a shame as I feel this is definitely heading somewhere?

The book finishes like they all do with a cover gallery of variant covers.

I got to be honest and say a little disappointed. I may not be the target audience, but this missed the mark on many of the titles. The characters were flat and dull; the stories did not grab me beyond the Qui Gon and wookies. A real shame, especially for the opener, Volume one. Would love to hear your thoughts, so hit me up in the comments.

Unlucky for some - Alien Isolation Walkthrough Part 13



Unlucky for some - Alien Isolation Walkthrough Part 13. To catch up on the series, use this link: Youtube After the fun of last week's episode, I was looking forward to plenty of scares, close calls, and a few deaths. As always, thank you all for the love I've been getting. It means the world.

Follow my adventures now on Kofi.

Book Review 183 // Defenders of Ulthuan by Graham McNeill


Stepping into the World that was - Warhammer Fantasy. This is set in the original world of Warhammer and has us travelling to the realm of the High Elves. Luckily for us, we seem to be in the safe hands of Graham McNeill. So let us dive in.

Title: Defenders of Ulthuan (High Elf Novels #1)
Author: Graham McNeill
Publisher: Black Library
Fluff: Re-release of the classic high elf adventure to coincide with the long-awaited release of its sequel. High Elves have long been the protectors of the Warhammer World, and their homeland of Ulthuan is known for the powerful magic that surrounds it. At the heart of Ulthuan lies a magical vortex, and the mages who created it remain trapped in a space out of time, endlessly working the spell that keeps the world from becoming a seething Realm of Chaos.

When Ulthuan comes under attack from the forces of Chaos and dark elves led by the Witch King and the hag sorceress, Morathi, the high elves must hold firm or face disastrous consequences.

In Defenders of Ulthuan, Graham McNeill tells the epic tale of the struggle between good and evil.
Fantasy
 
Format: 416 pages, Paperback.

Review

I think it is well known that I enjoy Elves, mainly the sci-fi version of Aeldari, but I am changing that. I am in the process of learning some Age of Sigmar. Sadly, it does seem my chosen army Wood Elves, no longer exists!! But I digress, back to the book.

A big highlight of the Defenders of Ulthuan is in the background and lore within the pages. We get a lot of insight into the day-to-day life of an Elf, along with some fantastic locations located all over Ulthuan. The plot moves along at a building pace, and in the second half of the novel, you start to feel a building dread and danger build. It is also worth noting that we get to experience the villain's story, it isn't as full-on as the leads, but these odd chapters really help build out the villains and make me a more rounded out of the novel.

As a lore fan, I loved the detail McNeill goes into describing the land, whole pages of a clever script describing the plains and cities, and the world is brought to life with these. I really enjoyed the Eagle Gate pages; this fortress sounds beautiful and terrifying all at once. I can imagine it inspiring the defenders while a formidable bastion to an attacker.

The characters are pretty standard; if I am honest, it is hard to get attached to an amnesia-suffering character as they have no past, and everything is new to them. While their brother is a brooding and moody character to start with, and as things begin to pick up, he becomes more interesting as we discover he may be the reason his brother was captured and suffers from amnesia. These honourable High Elves aren't as goody two shoes as I had once believed. There are also many supporting characters, including love interests, Prince Tyrion, Teclis and a blademaster called Yvraine (I wonder if there is a connection to the 40k version?)

Throughout the story, there is intrigue, and the plot twists are easy to spot early on. This, for me, is a bit of a downer; I like to be kept guessing but worked out most of the plot hooks early on. Though it is not all bad, a couple did manage to surprise me and these were carefully hidden and masterfully executed. End of the day, this is a Warhammer novel, and as with a lot of their publications, it did not disappoint. Plenty of lore building, fighting/action, and threats seem genuine and dangerous for the wider world.

This was a big story at 416 pages and left me wanting, no, needing more. It ended with a great cliffhanger. Currently, I am seeking book two from a work friend who may have it. Otherwise, it looks like I need to get the omnibus. Overall I strongly recommend this book if you are a fan of Warhammer. If you are a fan of Elves, I seriously recommend this title.

I am truly grateful for all the support and any links you use to help me grow, so thank you! Until next time.

Audio Review 70 // Artefacts by Nick Kyme


Continuing the War Without End book series. This time we get a Nick Kyme Salamander story titled Artefacts.

Artefacts is a short story by Nick Kyme originally included in Sedition's Gate, released exclusively at Horus Heresy Weekender in 2014. It was later sold as an individual e-book in 2015 and then collected as part of War Without End published in January 2016.

Title: Artefacts.

Author: Nick Kyme

Format: Audio drama

Fluff: The story takes place before the Dropsite Massacre and describes Salamanders Primarch Vulkan's review of his powerful weapons and his fear that they could fall into the hands of traitors.

Before the massacre on Isstvan V, the Primarch Vulkan returns to his forge on Nocturne to prepare for war against the traitors. However, in light of recent conflicts with his wayward brother Konrad Curze, he looks upon his personal armoury with a startling new clarity. If the wrath of the supposedly loyal Night Lords can be unleashed upon their own home world in a moment of unchecked rage, is it wise for any Legion to have access to such devastating devices as the Engine of Woes, the Unbound Flame or the Song of Entropy?

Review

A rare Primarch Vulkan story. We join the Salamanders Primarch prior to him heading to the Isstvan system. During a conversation with Forgemaster T’kell, Vulkan remembers how he had worked alongside the Warmaster Horus in an attempt to “correct” Konrad Kurze’s flaws. Flaws that handled to the Extermination of the Nightlords homeworld Nostromo.

This story then leads us into the story's focal point, Vulkan’s weapons. Vulcan is assigning T’kell the painful task of destroying his artefacts. He correctly reasons that in the wrong hands this arsenal of weapons could and would destroy empires. After a back and forth Vulkan agrees to save 7 relics and to destroy the rest. 

Overall a nice story. A good prequel to the events of the Dropsite Massacre and "Vulkan Lives" novel, even though you only get to read it after the fact. It also leads us into the 40k book series as the Salamanders seek out the lost relics. It is nice to have more Salamander tales in the series.

Beer Review 185 // Drifter Hazy Pale Ale by Muskoka


Managed a day out at some local Ottawa bars, and as I did the rounds, I was handed a couple cans of this Muskoka brew. Having never tried it, I was excited to give it a whirl.

Beer Name: Drifter
Brewery: Muskoka, Ontario. Canada.
ABV: 5.6%
Style: Hazy Pale Ale
Fluff: With a fistful of Chinook, Simcoe, and Citra hops, our mysterious friend Mad Tom takes to the arid desert to enjoy nature’s finest: scorching sun, chilled nights, and thorny cacti. These elements are no match for this refreshing pale ale with citrus and stone fruit notes. Through sandstorms and heatwaves, Drifter Hazy Pale ale fills Mad Tom’s canteen for the perfect thirst quencher during his travels.

Review

Well, as I pour the beer, I am greeted by an unsurprising hazy orange brew, which, as poured, creates a thick creamy white head. This head hung around throughout the pour, which was beautiful to see. As I lent in from sniff, I was a little disappointed; I was expecting a bold, over-the-top tropical hit instead, I got gentle peach, and I think pear. It was also a little bready/yeasty.
The taste was delicious; fruity peach came through gentle in flavour, with very low bitterness. Extremely easy to drink.

Overall not a bad beer. Very solid beer, but I would love to see them turn up the hop profile a bit more. What are your thoughts?

Book Review 182 // Reign of the Mad(e) God by Joshua Hall


Something a little different today - An illustrated ebook. I felt it traversed both comic and book to fit nicely on a Tuesday post. Some disclaimers first, I was kindly offered a copy of the ebook by Joshua Hall, the author, in exchange for a review. 

Thoughts are all my own, but as I am officially blogging about it you should realize I enjoyed the title.

Title: Reign of the Mad(e) God
Author: Joshua Hall
Fluff:
The first instalment in a series of illustrated eBook novelettes.

The Varangian Guard is among the strongest enclaves in the new world, but they too will be faced with challenges—from massive constructs of iron and science to base human needs like hunger and shelter.

Follow these survivors in the new world through writings and illustrations by supposed prophets.

Don't let your eyes deceive you. There is no magic or miracles here... only science.

After enjoying a period of prosperity and abundance, mankind now finds itself living in a state of perdition, as the great construct, The Answer Man, which brought paradise, has now turned against its creators, forcing them to fight tooth and claw for whatever scraps remain.

Through a series of journal entries and illustrations by supposed prophets, follow the vestiges of humanity as they struggle to survive the new world, faced with either fighting or falling to The Answer Man's own constructs.

There is no magic here, no sleight of hand tricks, no smoke and mirrors... just pure science, untainted by man's greed.

Review

This is a strange title to review; the cover image included above is dark, gritty, and terrifying. I get major Silent Hill vibes from this. We get a strong feeling of man-made horror throughout the read, and you can tell this could have been avoided if the scientists had just stopped and asked, "should we do this?" 

This is early work and is very much a world-building piece. It reads like a bestiary of creatures for an RPG, which I love. There are a few errors throughout the title that I am sure Joshua Hall will fix as he progresses. But we are introduced to an Earth plunged into dark times. Mankind has gone too far, and in hopes of unifying the earth's religions, they have instead released the means of our destruction - The Answer Man! We have a man-made God who has found mankind wanting and is now creating his own version of paradise, filled with half flesh and metal constructs. Through the words of the journal writer, we are led into a world of madness where no sane human can survive for long.

I liked many of the monsters/creatures, and their descriptions were in-depth and lore-filled. I struggled with a few human characters as they felt a bit out of place. Especially the Judge character arc, which was a bit of a miss for me. I didn't ultimately understand her place or her evolution throughout the story. Finally, an exciting teaser into this new author's works and I am intrigued enough to want more.

Go support this writer at 0.99 cents. You can't go wrong.

How to Paint: Tabletop Ready Craftworld Aeldari Alaitoc

Trying out another - How to Paint: Tabletop ready Craftworld Aeldari Alaitoc. If you enjoy all things Aeldari, check out my playlist here: Aeldari Youtube Playlist.

Alaitoc is a major Asuryani craftworld known for spreading its influence further afield than other craftworlds, sending agents across the galaxy to act as its eyes and ears. Its forces favour stealth and misdirection on the battlefield over brute force, killing silently and with guile wherever they can.

This is also perfectly timed with the upcoming release of the new codex and boxset. But will I continue with Iyanden or be tempted by the Stealth of Alaitoc?

As always, I appreciate the visit and any subscribes on Youtube. If you are interested in any of the gear used, please use these links as it does support purchases.

Blue Yeti Nano / Sony Alpha ZV-E10 / Cutting Mat 


Book Review 181 // The Street (ARL) by Rock Forsberg


Following on from The Entrant comes The Street. I enjoyed The Entrant last year, and this short story is a free download after completing it. Unfortunately, I forgot I had this until recently, so I dived into wanting an excellent palette cleanser!

Title: The Street
Author: Rock Forsberg
Series: Antigravity Racing League - 1.5
Page Count: 95
Format: Ebook

Review

This title picks up on Zane's adventures straight after the ending of The Entrant and sees Zane headed back to Amera for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. He has the summer period of a few months to recoup before heading back into the league to secure a new spot on the newly merged team (which I hope will be the theme of the Pro).

Of course, we get to catch up with Zane's family and friends, but we also get to see the progression of his love for Elodie, who is actually an essential part of this story. But as a life off the track becomes dull, Zane finds himself being drawn into the world of the legal street racer.

It is great to watch this young man struggle with pride, honour, duty (issues we all faced in our younger years). Does he hurt his ego and do the right thing, or does he lie until he is cornered with no way out? Of course, Zane chooses the second option, and we join him as he attempts to fix everything. This is definitely a story about character growth and the realization that if Zane is to progress, he needs the help of those closest.

This story also made me really enjoy the character Elodie; she went from being a side NPC of little interest into being what I believe will be a critical character in Zane's life. I really hope the story has a continued role for her to play.

I am excited for The Pro now and can't wait for this to come out. But until then, I am currently downloading the Racer (a prequel) and will hopefully have that completed soon. As always, I thank you for stopping by and reading; until next time, cheers!

Audio Review 69 // Lord of the Red Sands by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Continuing my Horus Heresy adventures with the next title which is technically a part of the War without End collection. I love visiting the World Eaters and knowing Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the author means we should be in for a treat. Here are the details:

Title: Lord of the Red Sands (The Horus Heresy #Short Story).

Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Fluff: Angron, gladiator-primarch of the XIIth Legion, is renowned across the galaxy for his savagery and brutal martial code. But amidst the ruins of Isstvan III, even as he slaughters his own wayward sons, he finds a unique serenity in the carnage of warfare... no matter whose blood he spills. And for what does the Eater of Worlds hunger above all else? Nothing more than freedom.

Brace yourself for an unforgettable insight into the insane rage that drives the savage Primarch Angron. On a blood-soaked battlefield of Isstvan V, he reveals his rightful purpose for rebelling against the Emperor and his plans for vengeance. This is a unique story from the tortured mind of an uncontrollable madman who has a grudge to settle – no matter the cost.

Review

What a great insightful quick listen. We were treated to a glimpse inside the mind of Angron. As he muses on why he sided with Horus and the reasoning behind his betrayal. It's easy to forget that Angron is more than a bloodthirsty killer, and this story reminds of this fact, whilst leaving you with food for thought.

Aaron Dembski-Bowden does an amazing job leading the listener into the mind of the gladiator Primarch. We get to see the war from his very point and finally see the motivation behind his actions, which though still extremely bloodthirsty start to make more sense. This is a great insight into a character who for the longest time felt and read very two-dimensionally. Up until this story we have had to rely on Khan to add a human trait to the force, but it would now seem we have Angron as well. I would have loved to have had this earlier in the series, as it really did add depth. It also reminded me I need to get his primarch book and get reading up on this more.

If a Horus Heresy fan, I highly recommend this title. If new to the character and his story maybe wait a bit before diving in.

As always thank you for reading.

Beer Review 184 // Dublin or Nuthin' by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company


It recently was Saint Patrick's day, and it felt only suitable to partake in a Dry Irish Stout at work. Lucky for me, BTP has the perfect beer - Dublin or Nuthin'.


Beer Name: Dublin or Nuthin'
Style: Dry Irish Stout
ABV: 3.6%
Fluff: Dublin or Nuthin' is a dry stout with an emphasis on dark malts resulting in a chocolate flavour & coffee-like aromas. At 3.6%, this beer is easy to drink with tons of flavour for such a low-strength entry & the dry finish will have you Dublin up for another!

Part of the all-new Flash Series, these are small-batch releases that will be gone in a flash.

Review

The pour is a dark, rich chocolate brown, while the cap of the head is milk chocolate; this looks creamy even though it hasn't been treated with nitro (though the option is available at the brewery). I am greeted by a sweet chocolate aroma and a subtle coffee hint as I take that first sniff. The sip is smooth and mouth-coating, with the entire pallet being treated to a bit of enjoyment. As the beer warmed, more coffee was noticeable from the malt, but this was a really impressive brew. The head laced the glass to the end, and at 3.6%, I found myself ordering a second to enjoy. Highly recommend it if you live in Ontario. Treat yourself and grab a pint.

Looking to up your beer game or treat yourself to a campsite treat? I recommend the Fizzics DraftPour Beer Dispenser - It converts Any Can or Bottle Into a Nitro-Style Draft and makes an incredible gift for Beer Lovers: Check it out here on Amazon: Amazon Link.

Comic Review 189 // Slaine: Demon Killer by Pat Mills

With the building excitement of my Warlord Games Slaine game arriving, I had to dive in and read more of the epic adventures of Slaine by Pat Mills. This title is not the next in the series, but it was the next one I had on hand. So let us dive in:

Title: Sláine: Demon Killer (Sláine #5)

Author: Pat Mills

Art: Glenn Fabry, Cam Kennedy, Greg Staples

Fluff:

Sláine is summoned by the Earth Goddess to travel through time and defend the Britons from Caesar's legions at the side of warrior-queen Boudica. But the Romans are not to be underestimated, especially with Sláine's old foe, the demon Elfric, at their side!

Buy Now: Amazon Kindle Edition

Other: 165 pages. Published March 2010 by 2000ad/Rebellion

Review

Another excellent 2000 AD and Pat Mills title. The introduction, for me, was a very nice touch as he explains how we commonly take the viewpoint of the Romans as civilized compared to the Celts. Which, as we are learning, is not always true. It is easy to remember that history is written by the victors, and their viewpoint of other cultures is properly best not taken as pure fact.

We join Slaine at a low point as he discovers being the High King of Ireland to be rather dull. Now, of a rank too essential to be injured. Slaine is no longer allowed to fight or brawl with his fellows. This continues into the main feature, which sees Slaine reaching the end of his Reign and embracing welcomed Death. At this point, the Earth Goddess offers Slaine the chance to continue fighting for her and whisks him into the future to fight alongside the legendary Boudica.

As Slaine joins forces with the warriors of Boudica, we soon discover that the Caesarians (Romans) are being manipulated by a demon called Elfric. Slaine has met this demon in a book I have skipped, but I am sure there was blood drawn, ha. Elfric is sadistic and enrages Boudica by desecrating sacred worship sites and Boudica's own children. This led to the significant battles of Boudica's fame and an infamous uprising that stalled Rome's occupation of Britain and beyond.

Soon a lot of blood is being shed. And though Slaine enjoyed being a part of the action, he soon longs for Ireland, and as Boudica's forces are finally crushed, he asks the Earth Goddess to return him to Ireland ending the story. This story was violent, like actually shocking at times. Most of the adventure is set within a battle. We play witness to bodies mutilated, spilt or severed. We even see/hear of the acts performed on civilians. I really think this book should come with a warning.

Glenn Fabry's art style is definitely suited to this gore-filled adventure and adds depth to the bloody horrors of war. I think this was a great choice by the art department to use him, and I hope we get more shortly.

The interesting twist in the book is within the final pages as we are treated to a classic Choose-your-own-Adventure story. What a great way to end the book, and it also makes me want to dig out the Ian Livingstone books with the green spines I have hoarded away.

Overall, a solid tale, and I am excited for the next installment I can grab. Until next time I appreciate the support whether it is following here, on Youtube, Facebook, TwitterInstagram or Tik-Tok. I also love that a few of you are using my Amazon links or the Ko-fi Subscription. The little kickback I get is definitely helping to fund my life.

Cheers

1970's Space Walk - Alien Isolation Walkthrough Part 12

Time for a little more PC gaming with Alien: Isolation. This I titled the piece 1970's Space Walk - Alien Isolation Walkthrough 12. It feels like we are jumping straight into the 1970's Alien film, with full-on retro space suits and LV-426.

To catch up on the series, use this link: Youtube We finally get some answers and see how the Xeno lifeform ended on the station. It was great fun to step onto the surface of LV-426 and witness firsthand the terror of a Facehugger. I can't begin to describe how excited I was to step into those 70's Space boots and go exploring. As always, thank you all for the love I've been getting. It means the world.

Book Review 180 // Bird of Change by Richard Strachan


I'm continuing my adventures into the murky worlds of Warhammer Horror. This week we have an AOS Tzeentch-themed episode. I hope it is a good one!

Title: Bird of Change (Warhammer Horror Week 2021 #5)

Author: Richard Strachan

Buy Now: Amazon link

Fluff: A child was meant to be sacrificed in the name of the Dark Gods but confronts a very different form of evil – using their wits in lieu of weapons.

Take a rare glimpse into the madness of life – and Death – in the Mortal Realms and discover the dark nature of the bestial vampires that succumb to their hunger.

A community of Tzeentch cultists binds a youth to a tree to be sacrificed to the 'Bird of Change,' an annual practice that they believe has granted them the favour of their Dark God. As it turns out, the 'bird' isn't what they think it is, and the youth is forced to confront the terror directly.

Review

This, for me, has been the best title in the series so far. Set in the realm of Death, a local village that worships Tzeetch periodically selects 8 youths to feed to a local tree. Once a year, the tree gives birth to a bird of change that feasts on the young, blessing the village with mutation (or at least that is the lore).

During the story, we follow a youth who hasn't been blessed yet, and as the story unfolds, we discover that the bird is no bird at all and that a vampiric bat has, in fact, taken residence in the tree. As the child comes to terms with the dark truth, she aids the Vampire in remembering its past and sets a course for it to return to its birth place.

This was genuinely a great story; it was creepy, had a fantastic plot, and delivered an enjoyable evening of reading. Highly recommend this one.

Audio Review 68 // Howl of the Hearthworld by Aaron Dembski-Bowden


Continuing my dive into book #33, War Without End. The second tale should be a good one for multiple reasons. 1- Space Wolves 2- Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Let's see if it meet expectations.

Title: Howl of the Hearthworld (The Horus Heresy #Short Story)

Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Fluff: A Space Wolves pack rails at being sent back to Terra to watch over Rogal Dorn.

The Wolves think themselves the guardians over the loyalty of the Legions – even the castellans of Terra, the Imperial fists. Find out how the wolf pack assigned to guard over the most redoubtable of all the Emperor's sons, Rogal Dorn, feel about their mission.

Get a copy: Amazon

Review

An interesting title, not as exciting as I had hoped, though. Following the rulings of Malcador (who I still think is a villain), we play witness to Russ ordering his sons to watch over his fellow Primarch Brothers. The story focuses' on Thirteen Falling Stars' pack and how they vocalize their disapproval at the assignment. Forced to watch over Dorn on Terra feels like punishment to the pack, and they are the only ones to raise concerns out of all chosen. Unfortunately for them, Primarch Russ' words are law, and they begrudgingly head for Terra. 

It was interesting to see the Watch Packs finally explained as they have appeared in other titles; it was also interesting to see how the Wolves handle disagreements. But ultimately, this fell a little flat for me. It's Space Wolves! I want songs, adventure and brotherhood. I got brotherhood for sure, but I lacked the adventures and songs I was hoping for. As for characters, I felt Thirteen Falling Stars was tremendous and really hope we get to see more of him in future Terra-based novels.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by to read. Have you listened to or read this title? Does Thirteen Falling Stars come back? Let me know.

Beer Review 183 // Pleasure Craft by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company


Look at me having a drink! Work (aka Beyond the Pale) released a new Flash Series beer that sparked my interest called Pleasure Craft. It is a similar style of beer to the Yummy! NEPA, they sell. Knowing full well enjoy Yummy! I soon realized I had to try this one.

Name: Pleasure Craft
Style: Pale Ale
Format: Can - 473ml
ABV: 5.2%
Fluff: Oil up and get ready to set sail with our newest version of the classic Pleasure Craft Pale Ale. This batch comes full of stone fruit and classic citrus hop character. Muted bitterness balanced against a just sweet enough malt finish makes this one great for cruising to some Steve Winwood on your yachtiest of yachts.

Review

First up, let us get the bad news out of the way. This beer is already sold out! Lasted about a week and a half, so I only managed to snag a single can! I feel that the news will let you know how this review will go. It was a delicious, effortless drinking treat. It delivered the bold, welcoming taste of citrus fruits, like fresh OJ and then as you sip, the stonefruits push their way to the front. This is a cheeky little beer, refreshing, mouthwatering, and deserving of being a full-time brew. I only wish I had bought more.

I just wish more people could try this beer. As always, I appreciate you reading this far. Have a great week.

Comic Review 188 // Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 3: Endangered

Hey! Welcome back for another installment of Library Comic finds. I am having fun digging around my local libraries and finding new and fun comics to read. I continue the Star Wars fun this week with this Star Wars Adventures title.

Title: Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 3: Endangered.

Author: Delilah S. Dawson, Sholly Fisch & Otis Frampton.

Illustrator: Derek Charm & Sean Galloway.

Fluff: From the days when Imperial power was at its peak to the time of the First Order and the Last Jedi, the all-ages adventures continue!

Rose Tico--breakout character from The Last Jedi, and typically a behind-the-scenes operator--takes center stage in the fight against the First Order! Young Anakin Skywalker competes in a podrace unlike any he's seen before! And Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, and the rest of the Ghost crew must retrieve a sacred bird from the Empire's clutches, but space pirate Hondo Ohnaka might get it first!

A rotating crew of characters and creators reveal these and more untold tales from the Star Wars galaxy, in stories appropriate for all ages, from Padawans to Jedi Masters.

Collects Star Wars Adventures issues #6-8.

Want a copy? Amazon link

Format: Paperback, 80 pages

Other: Published June 19th, 2018 by IDW Publishing

Review

Straight up, I am not the target demographic, but this can't stop me from enjoying a fun little read. The prominent two short tales were surprisingly good. Some did just feel like filler pieces. For example, the "Tales from Wild Space" sits in the filler category, with most of the tales having a moral behind them. Especially the story that didn't even match the scenario in question seems a weird thing to do.

The opening tale "Rose Knows" was fascinating as it has Rose meaning Poe for the first time, and she ultimately saves his life. This was a lovely original tale of how being different or seeing things differently is a positive thing and that you should ignore the noise and follow your own path.

Following this up comes "Endangered." This was a great story, mainly due to starting the Rebels cast (a series I really enjoyed). It seems to be set in the tail end of the series and has the team following an Ezra and Hondo plan to save a score of endangered animals. This felt like a Rebel episode and was great fun to read.

Then we hit the Wild Space stories, which in all I could do without. We get an early Anakin story about doing what is best for the community, followed by a Nien Nunb and Shriv tale, where they should have looked before leaping (this was the best of the three) and a Jawa falling in love with a Droid and learning to let go.

Overall an okay read. If it had dropped the Wild Space in favour of a third proper story, this would have been stronger. Have you read any in this series? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for hanging out with me!

2000 AD/Warlord Games Judge Dredd - Wally Squad Dirty Frank


New Youtube video. Dirty Frank is a fictional character created by Rob Williams for Low Life's 2000 AD comic strip. This figure was created by Warlord Games and is the first time Dirty Frank has had a miniature made of himself.

Biography

He is a character in the Judge Dredd universe, set in a city of the future where uniformed Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence, and execute criminals at the crime scene. To crackdown on crime in the city's worst areas, undercover agents are the only option and must blend in perfectly. He speaks of himself in the third person and often disregards grammatical errors. Due to his "caveman" like appearance, Dirty Frank is often described as "crude," and his sadistic tendencies and racist jokes only serve to bolster that opinion. "Henry Flint is a superb cartoonist, with such a wonderful idiosyncratic style that he is a tough act to follow. Apart from looking at his character designs, I deliberately tried not to study his take on the Lowlife too deeply, as I felt that I would become intimidated by the prospect of following what he had established."

History

Creator Rob Williams talks about the inspiration behind the character:

"Dirty Frank was visually drawn to be a dead ringer of Alan Moore, which was down to Henry – a genius' choice, that. Frank's tendency to speak in the third person self-aggrandizing manner came from watching Premiership footballers, particularly Tony Adams, being interviewed. It always seemed slightly mad to me."

The character first appeared in 2000 AD #1389 (May 12, 2004), and then in issue #1392, drawn by Henry Flint. Dirty Frank was first featured in "Rock and a Hard Place," illustrated by Simon Coleby. Coleby fleshed out the character and discussed his creative choices:

"We share a love of ludicrously overwrought, heavy metal too, which indeed surfaced in one of the stories we created. If I recall correctly, it was a chat about Rammstein that led to the decision that Dirty Frank, at his most frenzied moment of metal mayhem, would probably start screaming in German…

Frank is outwardly insane, but I always feel that there is a sternly controlled side of him, the analytical core of the character. ... During my work on Lowlife, I particularly enjoyed working with Frank as it's impossible to push the character too far. I found that I became comfortable drawing him very quickly. I think that his mannerisms and expressions developed and grew as I continued to draw him. I have no idea why it seemed right to add those "I am 2" children's birthday badges to his coat, for example, but that kind of thing just fell into place as his personality developed on the page."

Subsequently, Dirty Frank became the lead character in the Low Life series. After Simon Coleby left to work on The Authority, D'Israeli became the character's prominent artist. D'Israeli discussed the character:

"There's the question of Dirty Frank, of course in some ways he's a more complex character to interpret (he has more than one facial expression for a start), but after some playing around I decided to stick pretty closely to Simon Coleby's version. There were two good reasons for this; first, Simon really made the character his own, and I wanted the readership to be drawn straight into his Low Life creation without spending the first couple of episodes adjusting to a new version of the character. Second, all my attempts to change the look of Frank ended up looking like degenerate versions of Ian Culbard."


As always for reading and joining in my hobby!

Book Review 179 // The Isenbrach Horror by Darius Hinks


It was nice to see a familiar author's name pop up this week to be read. Darius Hinks has produced some fun Necromunda stories that I have enjoyed, so I hope his skills transfer into this horror title.

Title: The Isenbrach Horror (Warhammer Horror Week 2021 #2)
Author: Darius Hinks

Fluff: A pair of Imperial citizens run afoul of a mythical creature they thought was just a legend.

Vampires aren't just for fantasy. The galaxy is vast, and untold nightmares lurk within it.

Set on a feudal planet in the Imperium, two men meet in secret at a ruined cathedral to discuss a plot to assassinate the world's Imperial Governor. The cathedral is rumoured to be the hunting grounds of a mythical beast – the so-called Isenbrach Horror. They soon discover the apocryphal stories just might bear a kernel of truth...

Buy Now: Amazon
Format: Kindle Edition, 25 pages

Review

Okay, let's get the rough bit out of the way. This has missed the mark. It felt like I was reading the intro/prologue to a book. It lacked horror and, sadly characters that I even cared about. Maybe I had set my hopes too high, so I am left with this gnawing disappointment.

The idea was definitely intriguing, as Vampires have been in the 40k lore since Rogue Trader times. But for me, the sci-fi was lost, apart from some of the terminology used. Add to this the fact that the horror just simply wasn't there. This may have even worked better as an AOS title. With the tale set in a feudal world, it was hard to imagine the grimdark of 40k. I just don't know what to write about...

8 out of 10 for background and plot but a 3 out of 10 for the story as written. This would be a grand opening prologue for a book about an Inquisitor coming to purge the Vampire, but it just misses the mark as a stand-alone piece. I fear the author played too safe with the material and failed to deliver.

What are your thoughts? Let me know.

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Book Review 188 // The Reaper's Gift by Ray Cluley

Continuing my short reads with what, in my opinion, is one of the strongest Age Sigmar tales out there. Unfortunately, this title is actuall...