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Fiction – Love is War 03:00:02:01

Books & Writing, Projects, Short Fictions, Showcase

October 16, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

***

Click here to read previous entry.

***

– 03:00:02:01 –

Life was a whirlwind of passion, sensation, joy.

This was a truth that Endrall Sahr had long believed and now that he was beginning to venture out from underneath his father’s shadow he was learning so very much. Grais, his first love, had proven to be nothing more than the poison that his father had warned him women acquired with age – the few missives she sent were filled with the blackest sort of bile. Endrall shouldered them with due grace and cried into the shoulders of Figo Jera and Veskur Wyrd, two people that were becoming her closest friends and confidantes, and other things as well.

He was young and beautiful, wise beyond his years, possessed of a mature air and charisma that drew others like motes around a star. He smiled and the world paused to watch, he laughed and all that would ever be chuckled along with him. He was quiet and lovely and shining – everyone said so – and worth so much more than what he had been born into. Given all that he was and all he could do he felt as if his talents would be wasted doing anything other than changing the world.

Sometimes, he considered what it was he wanted to do. His father and all his House were renowned healers, the best the Vanir had to offer. He could do what they did, be better at it than any other member of his line. He could turn his mind to the realm of politics, to the games the Houses played with one another, games that his House generally avoided. He could save his House, make it as mighty as Fehu or Wynn in the world of treaty and word.

Veskur told him that he was destined for greatness, and if anyone knew it would be her. He didn’t see why he couldn’t do both politics and healing, perhaps make one an extension of the other. Figo said it would be difficult to do that, but Veskur believed he was more than capable. Grais told him she hated him and all he was, despising him for his wandering heart, but while he had been moving, growing and becoming more, Grais had stayed the same.

Static things and people did not interest him. He put the idea of her on a mental shelf and resolved to come back to her later, when there was time or when he felt like it. He knew it didn’t really matter; he strongly suspected that other people existed only for his own amusement.

Figo sometimes stopped by to have small hurts healed. He had returned to the borderlands, picking up his fight with the Coeecian horde. His legend was growing and they called him the Prince of the Rose, his levl in his right hand, the glove that his Lady had made him adorning his left. The legend of him upon the battlefield was coming to rival that of even the fabled Golden Champion and he was much sought out, his soldiers coming to be known as the Band of the White Rose.

As for the Golden Champion, she spent much of her time in the back countries, passing on what she knew to the future leaders of the Vanir nobility. Endrall had yet to meet the woman, but he was sure their paths would one day cross.

Endrall had visited Figo on the rolling hills of southern borders, learning to heal along with the rest of his House’s nobility despite his father’s protests. Figo was as gentle as he ever was, eyes haunted and smile sad, the core strength of him always in evidence. Veskur came and joined them sometimes and the two of them would go out and walk the land together, leaving everyone else behind. The soldiers Figo commanded did not like this, but Figo assured them nothing would happen, that the Coeecians would not be able to touch them.

When the lovers were out of earshot Endrall learned it was not the Coeecians that Figo’s soldiers worried about.

He had heard the stories, of course, the many whispered horrors that people lay at the feet of Veskur Wyrd. His father had warned him and Farrell had warned him and the Band of the White Rose did nothing but repeat tales whispered in all the noble halls. Veskur made herself a simple target for innuendo, but Endrall had never asked her about any of it. The woman did not lie and he was not certain that he wanted to know the truth.

Figo took other lovers besides Veskur and Endrall. Some of them came from his Band, though none of those relationships bore the passion that bound him and Veskur together.

Endrall could sometimes see those ties that bound people, webs of light that shone different colors and blazed with the intensity of the sun. He was not certain what the colors meant – he had tried to keep track of them, thought they might be tied to emotions, but if there was pattern it was not one that he could recognize. The webs that tied Veskur and Figo were strong, stronger than any he had seen before or between anyone else.

He wondered what it would take to sever them entirely and claim both of them for himself.

There was no maliciousness in the thought, no intention to cause either of them harm. Endrall was a healer: he only wanted to make people stronger, better, to heal the wounds within themselves so that they could be more. Veskur spoke of things like that sometimes, when she was lucid and had remembered to do things like sleep and eat. Figo tried to make the people around him better, too, though Endrall warned him that he made it too simple for people to take him for granted. His soldiers especially.

Figo’s Band of the White Rose had the lowest number of casualties in any of the Vanir’s forces, Endrall knew, but not a one of them lay this remarkable statistic at the young noble’s feet. No one thought to credit the glove he wore for this, either, Veskur’s little mark of affection. Endrall wondered if he could talk Veskur into making him one, wondering what sort of power it would have.

It was with this in mind that he made his way into the northern wastes, a trek he made with more frequency than even Figo. He sought control of his own destiny, a mastery and completeness that had denied his father.

My life was set by your mother, Endrall’s father had said, narrowed eyes matching tight lips. I live this hell because of what that woman did to me. Despite his father’s misgivings, Endrall could not help but feel that Veskur held some secret, some bit of wisdom that would help him accomplish more than any other Vanir in history.

Veskur was not at her keep when he arrived this time. He was as late as he ever was, but still her absence annoyed him. Her servant had the gall to tell him that she had left to walk her lands after three days of fruitless waiting.

“When do you expect her back?” Endrall asked, not bothering to hide her annoyance. The man was only a servant.

“I will send her a message,” the servant answered, bowing his head. “After that, I expect it will be a matter of hours. She doesn’t like to wander far when she’s expecting you.”

“Well, there’s that, at least.” Endrall removed his gloves, finding the idea of her tied to her home for want of him amusing. “Still, it’s rude of her to keep me waiting. We will have words when she returns. A piece of my mind as a welcoming gift.”

“Which one?” the man asked.

Endrall blinked, not understanding, and the man left.

He was permitted free entry and made himself comfortable. He was one of the few people that Veskur let into her home when she was not present, one of the highest gifts that the Good Lady could bestow on anyone. A number of letters between her and Figo had gone missing during the time when that Raido noble had stayed with her and she had grown increasingly paranoid since, especially with Figo’s ever more frequent absences.

He knew that Figo was growing, but still felt tied to Veskur while Veskur assumed nothing was wrong – it was a surprising sort of stupidity from someone that was otherwise intelligent, one that Endrall was taking advantage of in order to sate his curiosity.

Veskur returned eventually, her face white and drawn. Endrall ripped into her anyway, watching her nervous eyes and the way her shoulders shook and felt nothing, nothing. When he took her in his arms he felt her melt, her breath on his chest. She wanted him so very much.

Only two people were allowed into Veskur’s laboratory when she worked – he and Figo. He followed her in while she worked, he telling her of the many things that were happening in his life. Sometimes, rudely, she would try to interrupt him to bring up her own little foibles, but she had never been the most social of creatures and so he forgave her this indiscretion before resuming his tales.

“Hey, Veskur?”

“Yes, Love?”

“You built Figo one of those gloves,” Endrall said. He swallowed, dropping his gaze as Veskur turned to look at him with her haunted, haunting eyes. “Could you build me one?”

Veskur was still for a long time. There was a single long sigh where Endrall thought there should have been a scream, and then a valley of silence.

“I sometimes think I made a mistake building Figo his,” Veskur admitted, the words a faint whisper. Endrall looked at her, her slumping shoulders and twitchy fingers. “There’s a weight to them, a terrible weight. Figo didn’t want his. Why do you want one?”

“Figo’s has let him take control of his world,” Endrall said, leaning forward on his stool. “I’d like that sort of freedom. And you’ve said yourself that I’m more your equal than Figo is.”

Veskur nodded; she had said that when she noticed how his body language mirrored hers, how the two of them processed information in ways that seemed to echo one another.

“If we are equals in mind and spirit, should we not be equal in capability?” he asked, staring at her and realizing that her gaze had gone distant, to some place only she could see.

“Even so.” Veskur blinked and shook her head, the madness that claimed her so much of the time shrugged off for the moment. “Do you know what these gloves do? How they work?”

Endrall gave a slight shake of his head, frowning. He did not like admitting his own ignorance.

“Every time you make a decision or perform an act, there is a chance that it will work and a chance that it will not work,” Veskur said, perching on the nearest surface. “For every choice or act performed by every person, this is true. We live in a world of endless possibilities where anything could be and the chances of success as are determined by circumstance as by skill.

“The glove creates a circuit, similar to the circuits used by lesser scientists, only this one eliminates all but one possibility – those other possibilities simply cease to have any weight or any chance of coming into being. Energy is focused through this tool to destroy a single possibility, the energy of that destruction then used to eliminate the next and the next until only the desired outcome is possible.

“I built the original glove, mine, with a sigil of my House working as the home for the circuit. This means that all energy that I move through and by the glove is shaped by the sigil itself. This resulted in a number of abilities, the greatest of which is the…” She paused, looked at him.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m trying to think of the easiest way to explain this,” Veskur said. She hopped off her perch, began pacing, waving her left hand around despite the lack of glove on it. “When you stare at the world, what do you see?”

“The world.”

Veskur looked at him, and for a moment he though he had said something wrong, but then she was ranting again.

“Alright. Alright. Fair enough. But everything large is made of smaller things, interlocking parts that go towards building a larger whole. If you divide down far enough, however, what are you eventually going to hit?”

“I don’t know. God?” They both laughed; the illusion of divinities that the other, lesser, nations clung to was proof of their base inferiority. Only the Zaerm seemed to share this understanding.

“The base line of everything must be nothing, which means that the entirety of what we live within is illusion. We are all ultimately made of the same stuff, but as that illusion moves through time it adheres to certain shapes, concepts, and equations. An act is taken, a consequence results. Even our behavior and the capacity of that behavior is defined by these equations, which would be so monstrously large that one could spend a decade working through the mathematics to predict the entirety contained within a single day for a single vector.

“However, the equations would deal more with ratio than a base equation with real numbers. There are certain events or outcomes that come more naturally to us due to the nature of the math behind us, certain capacities that specific individuals carry that others, by the nature of their math, do not. Moving energies through the sign of my House allows one to change those numbers, resulting in a chosen outcome rather than a passive one.

“So when you say you want to take control of your life I understand and there is more truth to that statement than anyone else should ever know. When I fought Jesam all those years ago? I saw the whole of his life; I saw all the possibilities in it. I took away the numbers that would have given him victory while making certain the only outcome for myself with success. And, with that glove, I can do that with any one at any time.”

Veskur paused and looked at him. Endrall realized that he was shaking and forced himself to stop.

“Figo can do this, too?”

“No. No, no, no, a thousand times no. His glove does something different.” Veskur walked over to a pile of books, sorting through her notes. “As far as I can tell, Figo’s glove lets him stop the flow of time around people, places, or things for a certain period of time as we understand it. Whatever that noun is simply ceases to exist within out continuity for a specific duration and is unaware of whatever passage happens around it. He can also reset himself. The reason so few of his people die isn’t his knowledge of tactics but rather his ability to reset things to a time before the death of his soldiers and, while they may not remember what happened, Figo will. He remembers the placement and movement of his enemies.”

“No wonder the two of you were always felt so confident walking off on your own,” breathed Endrall. “Even if there had been an ambush, Figo could have reset it so that you were ready and you could change the ratio of victory to favor you and fail them.”

“Or change things so that we avoided the confrontation entirely,” Veskur said, looking up at him with eyes that were all too sharp. She ran a hand through her hair, nervous. “This is not a power to be used lightly. The math, well, the math is terrifying and the powers being used are incredibly complex. I can barely wrap my head around it most of the time. I think… I think there’s a responsibility to use power like this sparingly, if at all.”

“How come?” Endrall asked. Veskur went quiet.

“There was a river by your family’s home, right?”

“The one we dammed, yes.”

“What happened when you dammed it?”

“There was some flooding,” Endrall said, remembering the consequences of that action. A village had been lost, a full fourth of the peasants who lived in that village caught by the change and drowned. Almost all the rest had been injured, but the end result had been exactly what the nobles of House Suwilo had expected – a source of fresh water to better clean the wounds of those that came to them for healing.

“Yes, some flooding.” Veskur hissed, pacing again. “Your House moved a river, a simple river. I’m moving the numbers that define everything. There is an important illusion that we all possess, that of choice. By using that glove I remove myself from the proper equations and make up my own as I go along. Figo, to a certain extent, is doing the same thing.”

“You’ve made yourself and Figo the gods everyone else claims to worship,” Endrall whispered. If he hadn’t been sitting he might have fallen as the enormity of what Veskur had done struck him, the full weight of what lay between them.

For a long time neither of them said anything.

“I tried to make Figo’s glove like mine.” Veskur sat on the floor, hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. “I tried to make Figo’s glove exactly like mine, with my House sigil on it. It didn’t work for him, it can’t work for him. There’s something in our intrinsic math that won’t let us use the sigils that are not our own.”

“What would my glove do if you were to make one?”

“I don’t know,” Veskur admitted, closing her eyes, her voice so soft that Endrall could scarcely hear it. He went to her, held her, felt her stiffen and then relax, her head pressed against his chest. “I won’t know until it’s built. If it gets built. It’s not a toy and it’s not a tool. It’s as much a weapon as a levl, but on a much grander scale. There’s a weight to taking such a thing. Are you sure you want it?”

Love is War 00-02-01

Endrall was quiet for a moment, considering.

“Yes.”

“Alright.” Veskur whisper was a slow sigh that went trickling along his flesh. “You know I can’t deny you anything, not really. You’ll have what you want.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t. Just… don’t.”

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

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1072

Canadian Politics – The Great Goofsky

Culture, Projects, Showcase, The Truth

September 21, 2015

We really like to celebrate our heroes in Canada.

There was a small town boy named Wayne Gretzky who rose to become an international celebrity because of his skill on the ice. Hockey is pretty much the most important thing in Canada, a sport that we pride ourselves on above and beyond any normal understanding, and Gretzky was the best at it. He was hailed as the Great One, number ninety-nine, and in 1988 he was traded out of Canada to the Los Angeles Kings and never looked back.

And, you know, good for him. He deserves everything he’s claimed through the skills he mastered. Over this past weekend, though, he took a large contract to come and endorse Stephen Harper, our current Prime Minister, a man who is destroying the environment so he can continue failing at the economy.

Wayne, who has not lived in Canada since 1988, came back, shook Haprer’s hand, and said “You’ve been an unreal Prime Minister.” I suppose there’s not enough money in the world to call him a good Prime Minister, but the photo-op ensued – Harper standing and shaking the hand of one of Canada’s heroes.

We won’t be picking apart Wayne for this; there’s a host of other pundits that have done that already. And there’s plenty of other Canadian celebrities who have weighed in against Harper, ranging from acting legends Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Donald Sutherland, to more recent talents, like Katie Findlay.

No, what we want to bring attention to is this: famed political historian and scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt put together a checklist we can use to measure the presence of fascism in any given government.

Here’s what that looks like:

fascism-checklist-big

Now, let’s see which segments of this checklist Stephen Harper has checked off:

fascism-checklist-big Harper

Point by point, each one of these has a link to support the thesis:

Identifying Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause 

Rampant Sexism 

Obsession with National Security 

Corporate Power is Protected 

Disdain for Intellectuals / the Arts 

Rampant Cronyism / Corruption 

Disdain for Recognizing Human Rights 

Supremacy of the Military 

Controlled Mass Media 

Religion and Government are Intertwined 

Labor Power is Suppressed 

Obsession with Punishment / Crime 

Fraudulent Elections

And this past weekend gave us

Powerful Continuing Nationalism

See, Harper called upon the power of Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement to give his government a sense of age; by calling upon an icon from an almost mythical time, Harper is able to tie his own era to that which came before and give his government the illusion of representing that time, when his politics have done everything possible to destroy what Canada was in that era. And his comment of “Old Stock Canadians” is another like-comment, meant to evoke a semi-mythical tie to history, and make his party look like the natural continuance of the Canadian narrative.

That’s all kind of terrifying, isn’t it? And there’s the old question of if you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you? Of course you would, most people say. We don’t have the technology to do that just now, but on October 19th you can, must, and should stop Harper.

Get out and vote.

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731

GIMMICK MATCHES TO BE BROUGHT BACK

Showcase

April 21, 2015

Wargames

Two rings, wrapped in a cage, filled with 10 guys representing two teams beating the everloving bejeepers out of one another. What’s not to like? Well, if you’re the WWE, it has too much of the WCW/southern stink on it and thus cannot be used. Some of the individual components have been cannibalized and reused for WWE gimmick matches: the large team aspect appears in the traditional Survivor Series matches, while the timed introduction of competitors appears in both the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble.

(more…)

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2375

God of Comics 2015-04-01

God Of Comics, Reviews, Showcase

April 2, 2015

This Week: Batman Eternal #52, Batwoman Annual #2, Cluster #3, Convergence #0, Cyclops #12, Gotham Academy – Endgame #1, Guardians Team-Up #4, Harley Quinn #16, Kanan – the Last Padawan #1, Lady Killer #4, The Punisher #17, Rick and Morty #1, Rocket Raccoon #10, Spider-Gwen #3, Southern Bastards #8, UFOlogy #1, The Woods #12, X-O Manowar #35

[toggle title_open=”So good getting to chat with people. Thank you all.” title_closed=”Emerald City Comic Con was amazing!” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]We are Living Myth Magazine, and we are here to read comic books! Every week, we go and feed our addiction (single issues mostly online, trades mostly from conventions or  Big Pete’s). Then every Wednesday we respect Woden, the God of Comics, and we speak of the stories that he, in his greatness, has brought us. We speak of it on twitter. That’s a preview, though, and there are times we don’t pick up the things we were looking for or end up picking up things we didn’t talk about.

So, here’s are the comics we got this week and what we think about ‘em after the reading. We rate these things on a five symbol scale. The first two symbols are for art, the second two for story, and the last is based on whether we think this is a gateway comic – is this something we would lend to friends to get them into this series? This last one is a tricky thing, but if we think it is, then the comic gets this symbol: LMM Tree of Life

Symbols can be broken down into quarters and look like this from quarter to whole: LMM Tree of Life One Quarter,  LMM Tree of Life HalfLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters, and LMM Tree of Life. Two symbols is a good comic, three symbols is worth taking the time to hunt down and look at. Anything at four or more symbols is of the highest possible quality.

If you click on a comic’s title it’ll take you to where you can buy that title on Amazon (at least until Big Pete starts selling comics online, after which it’ll take you to Big Pete’s), unless it’s not on Amazon at the time when this article is published. Non-title links will open new tabs and take you to places I think are either informative or funny, depending upon whim.

We’ll give you a very brief overview of what we thought of each comic, and whether we think you should buy it or not. We’ll go a little more in-depth when it comes to our top five comics of the week, and make sure that you can tell them apart from all the rest.

Wrestlemania was good as a stand alone thing, but story-wise? Going in was misery, and coming out we have little faith in the future.

Lastly, Aaron Golden or anyone else writing this review is not the God of Comics. That would be absurd. Comics come out on Wednesday, which was a day named for the Norse God, Woden. Also called Odin and a whole host of other things. He’s a god of many things, and we sorta think he’d dig comics, so, you know, he’s the God of Comics. Because of course he is.

Okay. Savvy? Everyone with us so far? Cool. Onwards goes us.

[/toggle]

 

Batman Eternal #52

Batman Eternal 052Okay, so the plan was Cluemaster’s, and Lincoln March just rode on his coattails. That’s actually kind of funny. Batman Eternal comes to a close and it should be interesting to see where this goes from here. There’s a lot of changes in this that I love – some of which are quite controversial – but I’m curious. Gotham evolved. Mission accomplished.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters

 

Batwoman Annual #2

Batwoman Annual 002A mercy killing that tries to make up for everything since Williams and Blackman left, and just kind of feels flat – especially with the epilogue in Batman Eternal robbing Batwoman of a book that really should be hers. The art fails to be consistent in detail and is drab besides, and the writing is, well, it’s there. It’s sad that I’m hoping this is the end.

Art LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Story LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

The Big Con Job #2

Big Con Job 002Okay, here’s the hook – a number of out-of-work sci-fi actors get sick of being treated like afterthoughts, because of course they do. One of their agents comes up with a way to rob the SDCC. They figure they have nothing left to lose, so they’re all in. The concept is interesting and the art captures their straits, dire or otherwise, perfectly. Fun.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter

 

Cluster #3

Cluster 003Wow, this comic. A girl with an influential family gets a life sentence and opts out of that to go to war for fifteen years instead. Her father puts pressure on the military to get her out, but while she’s out gallivanting around the galaxy she learns the truth of how corrupt the war and the powers behind it are. The art paints the harshness of this reality, and it’s all a really good time.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters

 

Convergence #0

Convergence 000Dammit, DC. I don’t want to like this. I really don’t want to like yet another stupid reboot meant to move away from the other stupid reboot and all the other stupid reboots. The problem is that you have some incredibly talented writers on staff, and the writing here is actually quite good, even if you do have Superman punching a neglected child.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Cyclops #12

Cyclops 012I get the feeling I missed something somewhere. I’m not sure what, but this is the problem with all the damn crossovers going on all the time. Who can keep track of all this stuff? What if things happen in a book you don’t read? This is frustrating. Beyond that, this is a perfectly serviceable comic, and has been since Rucka left.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Gotham Academy – Endgame #1 – Top 5 Comics

Gotham Academy - Endgame 001This is everything I love about Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan. The Joker attacks Gotham, the lights go out, and there are Joker zombies everywhere thanks to gassing. So what do the kids do? Hunker down and tell ghost stories and put on their brave faces, because that’s what kids do, and in Gotham you’d just get used to this sort of thing. The ghost stories themselves are fantastic, and ones I plan on sharing the next time ghost stories become a thing (fairly often around our office, actually). The art continues to be awesome, playing with light and shadow and granting a depth of darkness that is simply lovely. The reveal at the end is also great, and makes me love this all the more.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Guardians Team-Up #4

Guardians Team-Up 004Cute, really, and I hope the pairing of She-Hulk and Gamora becomes a thing because it’s not easy being green and both of them could use the friendship the other could provide. Especially Gamora. The art is interesting and the clone troopers are a nice touch, but it’s the dialogue that makes this book great. If you enjoy fun this book is worth reading.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Harley Quinn #16

Harley Quinn 016How can anyone not like this book? It’s an homage to the character starring the character, a title that knows exactly what it is and revels in the insanity it provides. The art is lush and bright and perfect, the lettering is outstanding and always is, and it’s hard to go longer than a page without grinning like a lunatic. Qualitatively, I wish more of DC was like this.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Kanan – the Last Padawan #1 – Top 5 Comics

Kanan - The Last Padawan 001Can we all agree that Star Wars: Rebels is awesome? We can? Good. This comic is a prequel to that, following the adventures of Kanan back during the Clone Wars, and showing us what he was like before the Republic crumbled. And this? This is great. One of the things it does is expound on what the differences are between the Jedi and the Sith, and even the Separatists and the Republic. This one thing makes these comics better than the whole of the prequel trilogy; the philosophy and artwork that get explored here, and how it all ties into the present is even better. Seeing the depth and dignity that the Jedi carried themselves with makes this comic great, and the artwork captures every expression perfectly. Well done.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Lady Killer #4

Lady Killer 004Someone needs to turn this into a Made-for-TV movie. Use this comic as a direct storyboard, hire Katherine Isabelle or Eleanor Calder or someone to star, and get the Soska Sisters to direct it. It’s that sort of comic. I like to imagine this happening at about the same time as Agent Carter, which just makes this better. Good art, clever writing, excellent comic.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

The Punisher #17 – Top 5 Comics

The Punisher 017Where do I even begin to praise this comic? The art? I’m told I need to do more of that, so here goes: Mitch Gerads and Brent Schoonover create one of the bleakest, moodiest looks at America’s capital outside of House of Cards. The fact that there’s two superheroes fighting within those confines – one of whom represents the best of what America – makes no nevermind. The darkness swallows them both, until Frank changes the rules of the game. And that’s where the writing comes into play, and where Nathan Edmondson shines. Frank is dangerous because he knows he’s limited, because his monomania plays to his training. Choosing to tackle the moral complexities of modern politics terrifies even the Punisher, and that’s where even he needs a hero. Fantastically done, all around.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter

 

Rick and Morty #1

Rick & Morty 001Let’s get the bad out of the way immediately – the colors feel a bit washed out. It’s not actively bad, not at all, but it does make everything feel a little flat. That’s it. That’s all the bad. Other than that, this comic captures the look and feel of the show perfectly, being perfectly aware of its own structure and savvy as to its own use of tropes.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Rocket Raccoon #10

Rocket Raccoon 010If you ever wonder what pure imagination looks like, it’s this. The vastness of space as explored by a violent talking raccoon and his tree god bestie. It’s outstanding, the writing and the artwork both – ludicrous small details lurk everywhere, aiding to the main flow of everything while also hinting at the madness of continuities past.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Southern Bastards #8

Southern Bastards 008Hard to believe we’re only eight issues in. This feels longer, doesn’t it? It feels like you’ve been walking on this blood-soaked ground forever, as we see exactly how far Eugene Boss is willing to go for the game he loves, and how that obsession made him a monster. The artwork drips heat and atmosphere, and there’s nothing like this narrative anywhere else in comics – a look at small town crime and how obsessions can fester into something so much worse.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Spider-Gwen #3 – Top 5 Comics

Spider-Gwen 003I have mixed feelings on the art in this book. Every now and again it feels a little bit too loose, but then it turns around and lends itself to some brilliant bits of atmosphere, echoing itself the same way the writing does. It’s beautiful, extremely well put-together, and works perfectly with the narrative as a whole. And the narrative here shows us an absolutely terrifying Frank Castle, introduces us to a living Ben Parker and what’s left of the Parkers in the wake of Peter’s death. The pain that lingers over the Stacy family as they come to terms with who and where they are and the choice to be better, both of them for the other, is incredible. This is the best Spider-Man book being published today.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

UFOlogy #1

UFOlogy 001You know that feeling you get when you’re reading something and you think, “yeah, okay, this is good, but I know this is going to get mind-breakingly excellent soon?” That’s this comic. We get a series of introductions and a soft exposition dump that implies a lot of information very quickly, and then veers into something related but unexpected. This is going to be a title to watch.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

The Woods #12

The Woods 012Oh, Karen. You really didn’t. You may have screwed up everything for everyone – because as far as we can tell, Adrian and the woman that nearly got things going before him have all reacted with violence, but not instigated it. In fact, it is their trust that ends up killing them. It’s so sad, but shadowed tragedy is where this book thrives. Awesome stuff.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

X-O Manowar #35 – Top 5 Comics

X-O Manowar 035Remember when this comic started? Remember how simple Aric was, and how simple the Vine seemed? How far we’ve all come, Valiant as a whole and this comic in particular. Aric returns to the Vine world to defend it from a horror he inadvertently unleashed when he defeated the last of the Armor Hunters. He does not run, will not let anyone die because of him, will not shrink away from the responsibility of his actions – but there is nothing he can do. Not with all his power, all his might, all he’s learned and grown. How does one stop a force designed to scour the galaxy of life? The scope and scale of what’s at stake here is difficult to comprehend, but the art and small stories in the writing really drive everything home. There’s a reason we call this the best of all comics.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter

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2317

Deadpool The Movie: A Tale of Ressurection

Opinion, Showcase, The Truth

April 1, 2015

If you spent even ten seconds on either Facebook or Twitter today, you were probably inundated by a series of reposts about Ryan Reynolds’ tease of the new Deadpool costume. Sexy as all hell, am I right? Of course I am. This has caused a lot of talk about the production and I figured it might be a great opportunity to go over how we got here. Deadpool has had one of the most treacherous transitions to film of any of the upcoming comic-themed productions to date.

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842

Wrestlemania Preview

Showcase

March 26, 2015

Last week I railed against the lackluster booking that has led up to the biggest show of the year. But now all that is behind us, the hype is over, and all that is left is the show itself. And it doesn’t look too bad when seen in isolation; sure, there are lots of better ways that things could have gone, but, looking forward, we have some interesting possibilities. So here we go! It’s the Wrestlemania breakdown!

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2073

Bi-Monthly B-Movie: Orc Wars and Ninja Shadow of a Tear

film, Reviews, Showcase

March 25, 2015

Welcome to Bi-Monthly B-Movie, an article where we look at the very best of the very worst movies we can get our grubby paws on. We’re aiming for the sorts of things made by studios you’ve never heard of, and starring people you don’t want to. Why are we looking at these films? They’re fun to heckle. Just ask the Gentleman Hecklers, who are professionals. For those looking for a more amateur experience, or some light (very light) entertainment, these are the very best in quality.

Ranking comes in five categories, but they’re a little skewed because these movies are never good. Never, ever, good. Well, rarely. Still, acting, direction, sound design, script, and entertainment are things that these movies presumably have, so we figure they’ll be noted using a single symbol that can be broken into four pieces, like so: LMM Tree of Life One Quarter,  LMM Tree of Life HalfLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters, and LMM Tree of Life.

We’ll provide links to Amazon for these movies. We’ll also misquote some things we heard in these movies. Feel free to reply with your own quotes should you suffer through these films. We’ll pick a winner every couple weeks, and send you an e-prize.

Everyone on board? Cool.

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2580

Pixels vs. Wreck-It Ralph, or Story Before Reference

Opinion, Showcase, The Truth

March 18, 2015

When it comes to Video Game movies, there are basically two categories: movies based on video game franchises (Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros.) and movies that are ABOUT video games (The Wizard, Wreck-It Ralph, Tron). The most recent iteration, in the latter category, is the upcoming Pixels, a comedy/adventure featuring the acting talents of Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Kevin James, and Peter Dinklage.

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1579

WHERE’S THE EXCITEMENT?

Showcase

March 18, 2015

Wrestlemania this year feels flat – why is that, and is there anything the WWE can do to bring some more interest and urgency to its biggest show of the year? The last couple years have lost a fair amount of steam with regards to the Wrestlemania buildup, but this year is the first in a long while where there is genuine apathy towards the grandest stage of them all. This week, I’ll be looking at what has led us to this malaise and how other years have avoided the same fate.

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4382

Interview with Peter S. Beagle – Author of the Last Unicorn

Books & Writing, Heroes of the Living Myth, Interviews, Short Fictions, Showcase

March 10, 2015

Interview with Peter S. Beagle

Date: April 21, 2014

(Back in April of 2014, Aaron Golden and Gregory Milne were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with legendary writer, Peter S. Beagle, and his agent, Conner Cochran. They sat down and talked for a couple of hours about everything surrounding the creation, loss, and claiming of the Last Unicorn, but, sadly, the sound file of the interview was damaged. A lot of effort was put into saving that file, and we finally managed to get it transcribed a couple of months ago. At the time, we sat down and wondered about when the best time to release it was, now that we’d had to delay the interview so long, and considering what a gift we thought this interview was, it made sense to us, for us to release it as a gift to you. So, without further ado…)   

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