God of Comics – Bankshot #3


August 28, 2017

Bankshot #3 (Dark Horse Comics)

America’s been up to some shady shit for a while now.

They rode American Exceptionalism that World War II bought them for a long while, and they really were the world leader in the concept of hope and making everything better. People believe in the American Dream, in the idea that America was a magical place where anything and everything was possible. The interesting part was that it looked like America was heading in that direction, but in the early sixties things began to crumble.

Kennedy was probably the first sign that things were going to fall apart. The country rallied, but corrupt presidencies and politics turned democracy into an oligarchy that continued to erode away the American Dream until what’s left is a powerless last gasp that is catching fire and burning into revolution, as the greatest wealth disparity in the history of the world comes crashing down.

So let’s talk about the middle-east and CIA meddling.

At the tail end of World War II, the Americans brought in a bunch of Nazi scientists under assumed names in order to get a jump on the communist threat (such as it was). Secrets and science were traded for amnesty and the racists fleeing Europe met the racists already in America and they got on like a house on fire… or a burning flag. The resulting love affair with racism would color how things were mangled in the Middle-East, where the American government deposed a progressive democracy in favor of a fascist theocracy because it sounded like a good idea in the short term and is kind of biting everyone in the ass today.

You might have noticed it more if it weren’t for the racist showman who failed upward and stole the White House, finally killing the American Dream, but the White House is a mess due to a combination of American arrogance, ignorance, and greed – and it started long before he even joked about taking the presidency back in the nineties.

Back in the eighties under Reagan, America funded Osama Bin Laden (yes, that Osama Bin Laden) to fight against Russia. Bin Laden was as much a monster then as he would be later and was not part of the ruling power structure, but with American support, he was able to destabilize the whole region we call Afghanistan. In return, Reagan got good press to fight the Russians, bodies to fight and die for American interests, and illegal drugs that intelligence agencies could use to fund off-the-books operations around the world.

That’s the set up for this comic and why I’m writing about it now. See, in this comic, there was an American soldier in some non-American backwater and he was sent there by a spy agency that fed him and his people bad information and got most of them killed. He survived because his supposed allies thought it would be funny to paralyze him and leave him to die, and he only survived because Arab hospitality had not yet been eroded by American colonialism.

A CIA operative came to debrief him and then kill him, but his nurse saved him, helped him fake his death, and then took him to someone that could help him recover. He’s been haunting the oligarchy ever since, going after them and causing trouble around the world, but they think he has something they want and they’ll happily go after anyone and do anything to get it, because the oligarchy ignores the law that the rest of us live by.

Thankfully, this is a comic book and not the real world, so he has a chance to actually take them down.

Still, we’re learning.

The amazingly talented Alex de Campi is writing this, and you might remember her work from Archie vs. Predator. We certainly do and tend to show that comic off to everyone we can find whenever we get the chance – the fact that she was able to combine those two worlds and remain true to both… just wow, you know? She’s been paired with ChrisCross for art, and he’s done some incredible work over at Valiant for Bloodshot, which is another series that is well worth checking out. Snakebite Cortez is on color and does their standard awesome job of making images pop. This comic has no weakness. Only greatness. Only greatness, and you should read it.

Read article


Gentlemen Hecklers: Anaconda


August 21, 2017

Your Anaconda don’t? I wouldn’t worry about it. The Anaconda movie didn’t do too well in theaters, either, and with good reason. It’s a glorious mess of a film that tries to add malignancy to a giant snake in the fashion of Jaws. It fails, with actors that can’t quite carry awe of the monster and a location that’s more frightening than the monster itself. It’s kinda not good, but don’t take our word for it.

Check the trailer:

Also, that cast: Ice Cube as he’s transitioning into acting, halfway between Ghosts of Mars and XXX2: State of the Union. Jennifer Lopez struggling to remain relevant before the world moved past her and South Park finally ended her career. Jon Voight looking vaguely confused and still acting his way around the rest of the cast, seemingly out of spite. Owen Wilson, genuinely confused because it’s Owen Wilson and he’s always just a little confused.

You know who isn’t confused? The Gentlemen Hecklers. They’ve found a movie that is just asking for the treatment only they can give it.

Three of the geniuses that brought us the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot head on Safari, bringing one of the worst monster movies ever back to the big screen. On September 12, Eric Fell, Shaun Stuart, and Patrick Mahlia return to the Rio Theater to give one of cinema’s true horrors the audience it deserves.

You can see for yourself if you happen to be in Vancouver, British Columbia and go to the intersection at Broadway and Commercial and buy your ticket to take the ride. You can do that by clicking here, or pay $14 at the door. There is nothing better you can do with your September 12th evening than this.

Doors open at eight, show starts at nine. See you there.


Read article


God of Comics – Centipede #1


July 10, 2017

Centipede #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)

Wait, what?


Someone is basing a comic on an old Atari video game, one of those titles that’s so old it didn’t really have a story so much as an objective? Ah, okay. Sure. What?

Alright. Centipede. This was a game where you controlled a block that could shoot other blocks as a longer block came closer to the bottom of the screen. You could shoot the longer moving block, but every segment that you shot became a place for the next long moving block that would try to get you. Also, there were other weirder blocks that would bounce around you. The instruction manual mentioned something about aliens, but how many other people read those things? Here’s a look because, well… I need you to see what this is.

… and that’s the game.

Someone saw that and decided to expand upon that story. Better still, they came up with a good way to do it: a terrifying creature from beyond the stars attacks the earth, growing in size as it devours everything in its path. Our hero, the man that humankind once called Dale, is the only thing that stands in its way, but here’s where this veers from your typical alien invasion story.

The Centipede has already won.

Dale’s world is gone and he might be the last human left. He’s certainly on the few survivors. He’s out to fight this thing not to protect our world, but to avenge it. There’s nothing else left for him, nothing else he can do except try to take out the monster that ended all life on Earth.

Max Bemis, who you might know from his recent run on Fool Killer and Worst X-Man Ever (no, it wasn’t the obvious choice. Good guess, though.) somehow came up with a way to apply story to a game so old that it had none. He’s joined by Eoin Marron, who you might know from the Sons of Anarchy Redwood Original.

Sometimes you just need to talk about and see a thing to believe it and this is one of those times.

Read article


CONTEST TIME! Tell Me Your Nightmares – Wow! That Is One Crazy Nightmare Contest


June 27, 2017

Tell Me Your Nightmares – Wow! That Is One Crazy Nightmare Contest
We are holding a contest for the craziest nightmare! Enter your nightmare. If we like it, we will bring you on stage, have you tell the audience your nightmare and you will get fabulous prizes!
Prizes: Entry to the show for free for you and your guest. We will give you a cool thing. We will buy you a drink. Don’t worry, if you aren’t picked to come on stage, we might contact you later to be on the podcast to talk about your crazy brain theatre. Enter as many time as you want. People have a lot of messed up dreams!
If you don’t want to enter… but you do want to come to the show you can purchase tickets here

Read article


Preview: Shakespeare After Dark at The Rio


June 14, 2017

We sat down with  Instant Theatre to talk about the upcoming show.

LMM: Can you give a brief history of Shakespear After Dark and how it came to be?

IT: It started as part of the young and spontaneous series. Every year Instant Theatre does a festival of experimental improv shows. This year it’s called the Prototype Festival. One of our co-director, Zach Wolfman, tested the concept of an improvised Shakespeare show then. This was three years ago. Last year, our Artistic Director at that time and our founder Alistair Cook, asked the cast to pitch late night show concepts. Zach pitched an improvised Shakespearean tragedy, our other co-director Chelsey Stuyt pitched a drunk improvised Shakespeare. Alistair put us together and the show was born!

LMM: What is it like working with Affair of Honor?

IT: An absolute pleasure. They are so precise and professional, yet creative and flexible. We couldn’t ask for a better opener. We love them!

LMM: What is the drunkest someone has ever gotten?

IT: We try not to focus on that as the tone of the show highlights the joy of seeing someone succeed at an impossible task, not laugh at someone in an out of control state. To that end, the person who got the drunkest never went on stage. They arrived at the theatre and were promptly taken home with a guardian to sleep it off. That said, we have a number of players who don’t remember what happened on stage! But we always ensure they have someone with them to get them home safe.
LMM: What are the weirdest/most interesting suggestions you have gotten from the audience?
IT: The weirdest is actually titles of plays or movies that already exist. There’s one guy who really wants to see the Shakespearean tragedy of Terminator 3.
LMM: What are you hoping people will feel after the anniversary show?
IT:  Uninhibited and inspired by Shakespeare. Our goal is to knock The Bard out of the ivory towers of academia and give him back to the people. No one should feel intimidated by old Billy Shakes. He’s crude, rude, and hilarious. We’re here to bring back the raucous energy that belongs in his works.
If you don’t want to try your luck at the contest you can get event information and tickets here.

Read article


We Are Back


March 10, 2017

There were some strange happenings. Life happened and it was nerdy and strange and okay, but it lacked the feel of the mythic – and the mythic is where we live. It’s time to come home and talk about the myths that define our lives, the legends that we make our goals, and the way that media impacts our dreams.

Living Myth Magazine.

A pirate organization (we have one ninja who we keep in a box), Living Myth Magazine is interested in explaining why things are cool, what works and what doesn’t, getting into the deep of why a thing matters and what the likely outcome of an event or product is to be.

We can talk movies, comics, politics, religion – any and everything that people use to define ourselves and the world we all share.   

Have you ever considered a career in piracy? Yes, you. You would make a good Dread Pirate Roberts. Join us on our crazed adventure. We will bring ourselves to the horizon. Yar. Click here to learn more about how YOU can join us on our voyage and become our matey., the idea is that a bad thing ish  


Read article


God of Comics 2015-12-16


December 15, 2015

All-New X-Men #2All-New X-Men #2

One of the better X-Men comics from before Secret Wars continues to be one of the better X-Men books post Secret Wars, largely by ignoring Secret Wars. The original five X-Men were brought to the present by present Hank McCoy, largely to screw about with present Cyclops, only for the past versions of those characters to upstage the current versions by being generally awesome. Since then, they’ve picked up X-23 – or Wolverine, now that Logan’s dead – Kid Apocalypse, and Oya. Good art plus good characterization equals good comics. All this needs Jean Grey.


Axcend #3Axcend #3

Imagine yourself playing an MMORPG or any game that uses a similar interface. Shouldn’t be hard. A lot of us have experienced the sense of wonder and power that comes with playing those games. Now imagine that you could be your character from that game in real life. That’d be cool, right? Unless other people can do that, too, and they’re not good people. That’s the premise of this comic, which would be cool even without the identity-based consideration. It does have that, though, and that might make this comic exceptional. The ride to find out is going to be hella fun.


Batgirl #46Batgirl #46

This is an interesting character, both as a metaphorical case study and as a story. In the former case, she was a thoughtful and considered character in the DCU before becoming the ultimate expression of the grimdark nu52 before evolving into the segueway into the more hopeful and entertaining DCYou; she is, in many ways, the soul of the company. In that sense, Batgirl is the soul of DC Comics, the star by which the rest of DC positions itself. As a character, well, her comics are among DC’s best and brightest, and well worth reading. Check ’em out.


Batman The Doom That Came To GothamBatman: The Doom That Came To Gotham TPB

We normally don’t mention trades when they come out, which is weird considering trades are what we buy to keep in office. We make rare exceptions for rare works of art, and this is one of them: it’s Batman versus Cthulhu, and anyone that didn’t get to see this when it came out needs to read it this time around. It’s great stuff, featuring a Cthulhu Mythos-compliant Batman and Gotham, with Dick, Jason, and Tim, helping their dad after he unleashes a terrible madness on his city by accident, ruining lives and shattering sanity. It’s breath-taking stuff. Make sure you grab it.


Batman and Robin Eternal #11Batman and Robin Eternal #11

You’re reading this, right? You should be. You must be. DC Comics is going out of their way to do a weekly thing, expanding the Bat-mythos in the wake of Bruce losing the Bat. We’re getting strong narrative arcs with Dick, Harper, Tim, and Jason, the re-introduction of Cass Cain, and an increased presence of Spoiler. It’s all good stuff, with an utterly chilling villain that is worthy of the heroes assembled to fight her – a corporation that makes custom people for those that can afford to pay. This issue, we get to learn about their techniques. This should be fun…


Clean Room #3Clean Room #3

… but not as much fun as this. Gail Simone is writing a tale about madness and the nature of reality. See, we all live within our subjective perception of reality, but one of the characters in this book has created a space wherein one can enter the core subjective realities of others, and thereby influence the objective reality we all share. It’s a monstrous concept that is played to the hilt, because Gail Simone is awesome and can do things like this whenever she wants. This comic is about what sanity truly means and the illusion of definition, which plays well with horror. Tremendous.


Darth Vader Annual #1Darth Vader Annual #1

If you like Star Wars, read this. Marvel has been firing on all cylinders since getting their hands on Star Wars again – even the worst of these comics is ‘only good.’ Everything connected to Vader, however, has been outstanding, while rebuilding the dignity and terror that were associated with the Dark Lord of the Sith before the prequel trilogy robbed him of such. Story here is that a planet has gone against the will of the Emperor, so Darth Vader is sent to get them back in line. This won’t be hard for him; Vader is a force of nature in these books. If you’ve avoided them until now, hop on.


Goddamned #2Goddamned #2

It’s Jason Aaron retelling some of the darker parts of the Old Testament, all the terrible stuff that inspired God to try and wipe everything out with the Flood. The epic nature of these stories play to all of Aaron’s strengths, and the brutality of the artwork drives home every possible degradation, the various evils that required the Flood in the first place. The first issue was a chilling look with the reveal of Cain, the first murderer, and this looks to continue his journey through the lands of Nod and all the evils and corruption that followed. Come see what made God repent.


Hacktivist Vol2 #6Hacktivist #6

Go read this. The Internet is one of the most powerful tools mankind has ever devised, and we’re losing it, bit by megabit. There’s those that are fighting the power and those that are being used to keep us in chains, and this comic is a crash course in the realities of hacker culture and real politick in the modern world. If this was an ongoing series it would be a serious challenge for the best of all comics; as it stands, this is the office go-to comic, the one we all look forward to with baited breath, and we cannot recommend it enough. Everything here is intense and driven, an impossibly powerful reflection of our times. One of the most important pieces of literature in the whole damn medium.


Harley Quinn #23Harley Quinn #23

This might be DC Comics’ best consistent book, at least in the main line. It’s pure insane fun, a romp through the absurdity of comics and media in general, Jimmy Palimiotti and Amanda Conner poking fun at every sacred cow with some truly gorgeous artwork. Harley returns home from her vacation out west to lead a two-pronged assault with the Gang of Harleys. She needs to break a friend out of prison while also dealing with an ancient supervillain who would like to kill her, and doesn’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. Sound grim? It won’t be. It’ll be amazing.


Huck #2Huck #2

An interesting tale: a simple man living in a world without heroes lives in a small town, helping out as best he can while avoiding the attention celebrity would bring. A couple of greedy out-of-towners reveal his secret to the world, bringing cameras and opinions swarming like flies and buzzing around the head of a simple man who just wants to do good. This has an incredibly strong premise and a fascinating first issue, and we’re expecting more of the same here, along with art that highlights how good the story is. If you’re looking for realistic superheroes, this is for you.


Illuminati #2Illuminati #2

This could be so damn cool. Various supervillains get caught, serve their time, and then try to re-integrate into society. Normal criminals have a difficult time with this, as so much of the world is willing to punish them for past mistakes and make it impossible for them to do more than repeat their mistakes – how much worse would it be for people with superpowers? The reveal at the end of last issue implies that they’d be duped by another supervillain into doing terrible things. There’s a better story to tell than what’s on tap here, which is frustrating, but there could be merit here.


Imperium #11Imperium #11

Buy it. Trust us. This is one of the best comics being published today, a long running look at what happens when the ends justify the means, and the consequences that come with that sort of thinking when you have power on an almost absolute level. Harada is trying to build a utopia to show people that it is possible, which offends both the human powers that be and the alien species called the Vine, who have their own agenda that has been playing out over centuries. This is one of the most thought-provoking and well-crafted comics you’re ever going to read, and you should read it.


Ivar, Timewalker #12Ivar, Timewalker #12

Okay, so, the inventor of time travel rescued this immortal guy and taught him how to time travel so that he could rescue her from herself, as she becomes someone who breaks time by shattering time lines. We knew some of this, but now we get to the end game – the part where Neela Sethi becomes the villain of her own story and Ivar tries to fix things… again. This is the cleverest story on time travel you’re likely to see, regardless of medium, with head-ache inducing dialogue that’ll still make you smile and art that catches the absurdity of everything. Awesome stuff.


Jem and The Holograms #10Jem and The Holograms #10

Music journalist Rico Pacheao digs deep and pries back the layer of two of music’s hottest acts – the old guard known as the Misfits, and the up-and-comers known as Jem and Holograms. We’ve seen both bands through their own eyes and through the eyes of one another, but now we get the perspective of a historian and professor of music culture, the sort of guy that understands history without being a part of it. For those of you that were disappointed with the movie, give the comics a try. Those of you reading the comics already know how incredible they are.


Jem and The Holograms Holiday SpecialJem and The Holograms Holiday Special

This week we get a double-dose of Jem and the Holograms, because we’ve all been good this year. The record label that has signed both the Holograms and Misfits is demanding that both bands exchange gifts with one another, which should be interesting considering the Misfits maybe kinda sorta tried to kill Jem earlier, and then crashed the Holograms house party, and then Pizazz nearly got herself killed. Maybe the holiday spirit will get to even these most bitter of enemies? It’s going to be fun to find out, and for those few of you not reading this, give it a try.


Judge Dredd #1Judge Dredd #1

I’m hoping we all saw Dredd. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so… maybe around the same time you watch other Christmas Classics, like Die Hard. Then settle in and read this comic, which sees Dredd having with deal with a Mega-City One devoid of people. That’s going to be hard for Dredd to deal with, a man who has devoted himself to the rule of law suddenly finding himself with neither, as both require a society to have any relevance. Also, is that Archie on the cover? Are Archie and gang responsible, or their doppelgangers? Perhaps the Explorers of the Unknown…? Okay, I’ve dated myself.


Kanan The Last Padawan #9Kanan: The Last Padawan #9

Had some family members over a few nights ago. They got comfy and we ate some Thai while watching the cartoon version of this, which they’d never seen. Their daughter was as enthralled as they were, which is a credit to the power of good narration – the ability to capture the attention of different age groups through strong characters and storytelling. These comics further flesh out that story by giving us the backstory of Caleb Dune, the last Jedi, and here we see he and his Master take control of a Clone troop back during the Clone Wars, as they face off with General Grevious.


Lucifer #1Lucifer #1

The Lucifer comics by Mike Carey have a special place in my heart, and an exalted place on my bookshelf. They are unassailable, a complex interweaving of mythology that acts as a character study of the Devil. This? This looks like it might have more to do with the TV Show, which was fun but nowhere near as good. Still something I plan on watching, though… basically, the angels of Heaven find that Nietzsche was right and God is dead. Or murdered. Gabriel accuses Lucifer, who claims he can prove his innocence, and off they go to try and solve the murder of God. Of course I’m going to read this.


Ms. Marvel #2Ms. Marvel #2

Kamala Khan returns~! Kamala’s crush has started dating someone else because Kamala didn’t have time for him, what with all the superheroing she’s been doing – but while no one was looking, someone copyrighted her likeness and is selling toys and things while destroying her neighborhood, ruining her good name in for greed and profit. How can Kamala defeat the corrupt forces that threaten not just her home, but the spirit of America itself? Also, there might be something about a bad hair day. This is the logical successor to the original run of Spider-Man, and one of Marvel’s best.


The Mighty Thor #2The Mighty Thor #2

Of course, why should Marvel stop there? Jason Aaron has been rocking his run on Thor, with everything he pens feeling like the most important thing happening in Marvel on a macro-cosmic scale. Jane Foster has proven Worthy of the Power of Thor, which is killing her even as she’s using it to save the world a bit at a time. For the first time however, Jane gets to deal with Loki – who is no longer the God of Lies, Evil, or Mischief, but the God of Stories. He was pretty tight with then Thor and now Odinson before Secret Wars, but it remains to be seen how the new Thor and Loki will get on; the only thing we know for certain is that it will be excellent.


Red Thorn #2Red Thorn #2

There’s something about the British Isles – that whole little patch of islands, where a world-spanning empire emerged from. What drove people to leave that place and conquer? What ancient and unknowable power could have made people flee with such terror all over the world, only to conquer the demons of other places? My book has an answer, and this comic has another. A woman looking for her vanished sister finds folk who are not fair, a gentry that isn’t gentle and a presence that has been waiting a very long time for a crown. Sinister and haunting. Merry Christmas.


Secret Six #9Secret Six #9

Someone at DC Comics must have remembered how interesting a character Swamp Thing can be, because he’s popping up in a lot of books right now. Here, he pops by as a mystic character being effected by whatever it is that has Black Alice in such a such a tizzy. A group of barely-getting-by grey-area villains band together to save the world out of their own self-interest and trauma, because sometimes that’s how things work out. Also, they’re going to New England, because that always works out for anyone looking to avoid creepy things what are terrible.


Silk #2Silk #2

Cindy Moon is another character that seems custom-built to capture the energy and creativity of the initial Spider-Man run that so many people at Marvel are obsessed with. Here, Cindy is someone else with Spider-powers who was locked away in a bunker and released ten years later. She’s trying to build a life for herself with that disconnect, while also being a double agent, working with the recently re-criminalized Black Cat. Sadly, some people that should know she’s a double agent don’t, and that includes a certain Peter Parker. He’s going to do something about it. Should be fun.


Spire #5The Spire #5

I remember someone – a letterer – mentioning that no one gives letterers their due. So, fair’s fair. The writing in this is excellent and immersive, thrusting you into a strange world that feels lived in. The artwork goes a long way towards completing that feeling, but it’s the lettering here that makes the comic as effective as it is. You can feel accents here, which is not a thing I would have thought possible until I read this. The Spire is one of the final bastions of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world that was fought with gene-engineering as a weapon, and it’s on the verge of civil war.


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3

Squirrel Girl really is unbeatable. She has a handful of superpowers – the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel, the ability to talk to squirrels, and the inability to ever be defeated by anyone, no matter what. MODOK? Beaten. Doom? Beaten. Thanos? Beaten. Galactus, who was last beaten by the full might of the Ultimates? Beaten. This is a problem for some people, so she’s been sent back in time so she can’t effect the present. This was slowed her down somewhat, but her friend Nancy remembers her from before she was shuffled through time and is going to fix things. There is nothing else like this on the shelves. It is a thing that must be read to be understood.


The ViolentThe Violent #1

Hey, did you know Ed Brisson is going to be at Big Pete’s Comics tomorrow – December 16th, 2015, for reasons of signing comics? Now you know. You do. And you should go there if you live in Vancouver. And on the note of Vancouver, this comic deals with the weird realities of living in a city where the housing market keeps raising prices, where people are dispossessed and kicked out of their homes to make way for condos that no one can afford and the minimum wage is about a third of what you need to actually live in the city. Ed veers between good-topical and great-topical, and this is veering towards the latter; a slice of life comic without whimsy, just grim modern realism.


Wayward #12Wayward #12

Read this comic. There’s a handful of titles that we have complete and utter faith in, comics that we know are going to be excellent every single time they come out. This is one of those. Take everything you’ve ever loved in Japanese mythology or anime and give it a greater context while also going into historical and theological detail and that’s what this comic is. It’s unreal, with gorgeous art and truly epic storytelling, characters as fascinating for their identities as for what they represent, and an appendix that only adds to the weight of what’s on display. This is outstanding stuff.


Web Warriors #2Web Warriors #2

So, spider-verse worked out really well for everybody. As event comics go it was mostly self-contained, made sense, had some cute cameos, resurrected forgotten characters, introduced new characters, and generally evolved the character upon which it was centered. It did so well that Marvel has decided to continue with it, and this isn’t a terrible idea. Basically, this gives Marvel a chance to explore new Spider-Man archetypes and identities, to play with their mythology in extremis and across multiple realities. Here, Spider-Gwen is lost in space and needs a pick up. Neat.


Weirdworld #1Weirdworld #1

Imagine yourself. Who you are, but younger. Like, back when you were maybe ten years old. Imagine you were on your way to school and instead of ending up in school, you found yourself in WEIRD WORLD, a place where magic is real and everything is insane and nothing every truly makes sense, but, man, everything is pretty and everything is possible. It’s a sword and sorcery tale where the lead character has no experience with either, and all she really wants to do is go home. This is another comic that Marvel is doing to create new IP, which has worked well for them so far. This should be no exception.


The Wicked + The Divine #17The Wicked + The Divine #17

And we get a cat god. The Egyptian Goddess of War, Sakhmet, who is also a Goddess of Healing. There’s a few of those throughout mythology – a very few – but this is WicDiv, and while the gods here are recognizable they are also very different than what anyone might expect. This is also the final guest issue before series creator Kieron Gillen returns to move his story forward, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t important: the guest comics have all revealed bits of lore that made the preceeding comics more interesting, and this should be no exception.


We Are Robin #7We Are Robin #7

DC Comics decided they needed their own version of Anonymous, and get it with We Are Robin, a group of kids that decided to get together and save Gotham through vigilante action and general hackery. The corrupt city government has since made anything robin-like illegal, up to and including wearing the color red while being a minor, and the Court of Owls has decided to be sinister in the background while some actual Robins – Jason and Tim – have ended up at one another’s throats. This has been a fun little event thing, but Hacktivist is out this week, so…


Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #2Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #2

Charged by the earth itself to live forever, to fight in every war, the Eternal Warrior did everything possible to save all life on Earth from the very dawn of human civilization. Sadly, he’s been removed from that fight, taken to some other place… and not being on Earth is killing him. There might be a way back but he’s going to have to fight for it, which, well, he’s had an eternity of learning the ins-and-outs of violence. First issue was pretty decent and I’m curious to see where this goes.

Read article


The Warcraft Movie: Not Just a Video Game Movie


November 7, 2015


Yesterday was a good day for movie trailers. While there is much excitement over the international Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer (and rightfully so), my fangirl squee has been reserved for the full Warcraft trailer. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this ever since the movie was announced, and it did not disappoint. Well, okay, if I’m being honest, maybe it did a little. For some reason, the voices sound… off to me. Travis Fimmel basically sounds like he’s come right off the set of Vikings, and the modulation on the voices of the Orcs seems a little much. Maybe I’m just in a weird mood today, I don’t know… but it threw me more than I was expecting. Visually however, it is absolutely stunning.

Whenever I talk about being excited for Warcraft, one of the first questions that people invariably ask me, is “do you play?,” and they seem surprised when I answer “no,” (I mean, sure, I played Warcraft I and II back in the day, but they, like most of high school, are nothing but distant memories). So the natural follow up question to that answer is, “why are you excited about a video game movie when you don’t play the video game?,” And I have an answer for that.

See, I’m a child of the 80’s. I basically grew up on fantasy movies and I miss them. I miss them a lot. The only real high[1] fantasy movies that we’ve had recently have been set in Middle Earth – and I can’t wait to see something from someone other than Peter Jackson. I don’t think of Warcraft as being a video game movie, I think of it as being the start of what could be an epic fantasy movie franchise. And that is why it is important that it do well – so we can have more. We’re currently in an era of superhero films, and while I absolutely enjoy those movies wholeheartedly, I want creatures again; I want to see worlds other than our own. I want to once again let my imagination run wild, to see a movie where anything is possible.


See this? I miss this.


The problem with most fantasy movies set in our own world is that there is still a nationalistic theme that runs through them (i.e., the Avengers are very much American) rather than dealing with larger issues that affect humanity as a whole. In contrast, the benefit of fantasy movies is that you don’t associate characters as being American, or British, or Russian. Instead, they are simply… human (or Orc, as the case may be). That means that the story can focus on issues that are central to everyone on the planet, regardless of where one grew up. They are often used as metaphors that in turn can help us deal with the complexities of reality. In many ways, fantasy movies instill a sense of hope – that when the odds are against us, heroes can still stand up and do the right thing. That we can choose to be better[2]. Fantasy also differs greatly from science fiction works, in that science fiction is grounded in reality. Science fiction, in essence, could happen, and is often used as a commentary on where our society is headed (which is why we are overburdened with dystopic science fiction at the moment). Science fiction often hits far too close to home.

Why is fantasy important? Fantasy is an escape. Fantasy takes us away from our world and our troubles and puts us somewhere else. It awakens our sense of wonder and magic and brings us back to the way we felt when we were kids, when our imaginations had no limits. Fantasy movies are filled with whimsy, a grown up version of kids pretending that a cardboard box is a giant castle.

So don’t look at Warcraft as a video game movie. It’s a fantasy movie, pure and simple. And THAT is why this movie needs to do well. So we can have more. Not just more Warcraft; but more opportunities to play make-believe. Even just for a few hours.



[1] I consider high fantasy to be anything set in another world. The Harry Potter franchise would be an example of middle fantasy – fantastic elements, but still set in our own “reality.”

[2] I have to be careful here, or else this is going to turn into a rant about how we need Star Trek back on the air. Which is finally happening.

Read article


God of Comics 2015-09-09

God Of Comics, Reviews, Uncategorized

September 8, 2015

1602 - Witch Hunter Angela #31602: Witch Hunter Angela #3

Marvel Comics

There’ve been some good things coming out of this wretched crossover. Thors is near the top of the list, even if we haven’t been covering it. Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde (see last week) and Spider-Man – Renew Your Vows (see below) are also great. And this? This was one of the best comics Marvel had going before Secret Wars, and continues to be one of Marvel’s best in spite of this insipid event. Beautiful art, incredible writing, this is pretty much must read.


The Amazing Spider-Man - Renew Your Vows #5The Amazing Spider-Man – Renew Your Vows #5

Marvel Comics

Few comics annoy me as much as this one. Seeing this iteration of the Parker family – Peter, Mary-Jane, and their daughter – makes me salivate for the comics we missed so that Spider-Man could sell his marriage to Satan. The fact that we’re only getting this because of the crossover annoys me more. This is Dan Slott shining bright and fast, giving us the Spider-Man we could have and should have been getting for years. More of this, please. This is awesome.


Catwoman #44Catwoman #44

DC Comics

DC Comics continues with a Game-of-Thrones style crime story that just happens to have Catwoman in it, and now Spoiler, too. Selina has been sharing the Catwoman name with a woman named Eiko, a criminal rival and sometimes lover, the two of them called upon to make emotionally devastating decisions to move forward the agendas of their respective families.Since Batman Eternal, this title has taken on a unique air of menace, and it’s worth getting into.


Darth Vader #9Darth Vader #9

Marvel Comics

Hey, did you know we’re doing a podcast/vlog about these comics? We are. This comic has gone along way towards restoring the gravitas and dignity that Vader lost during the prequel trilogy, which is what you get when you let Kieron Gillen write anything. Vader has been going through watchers as he moves between Episodes IV and V, seeking the command and respect of the Emperor that he lost when he lost the Death Star. He’s also discovered he has a son. Things have been interesting until now, but they’re about to explode.


Deadly Class #16Deadly Class #16

Image Comics

How good has this series been? It’s a bleak mess, a hot emotional essay on the violence of moving from youth to adulthood told in a visceral style that is unlike anything else on the market. A school acts as a front for training assassins, where the faculty is perfectly willing to quietly deal with students as the students deal with one another. Lives spiral out of control as those with little experience and too much skill try to become adults and end up corpses.


Diesel #1Diesel #1

Boom Studios

We all like to imagine that we can do great things, but sometimes we feel inadequate; like there’s nothing that we do that is especially special, that when destiny chose people to be great that we were skipped over. And that’s who this comic is for – those of us that feel that sense of personal stagnation and need something to shock us out of it. Destiny and life are what we make of it, and sometimes that includes a flying skyship and a crashing flying engine. Read this.


Gotham Academy #10Gotham Academy #10

DC Comics

The kids at gotham Academy move onto a study of the Bard, delving into the bloody politics of the Scottish Play. Or MacBeth. It’s one of the two. Gotham Academy being what it is, though, it would appear that something is haunted and that we have a new and suspicious student, and if you think our gang of young explorers isn’t going to be drawn to that like moths to a flame then you clearly haven’t read this comic. Fix that immediately. This is one of DC Comics’ best.


Harley Quinn - Road Trip Special #1Harley Quinn – Road Trip Special #1

DC Comics

Back before the nu52, Catwoman moved in with Harley and Ivy and they became good friends mostly. It was revealed towards the end that Bruce asked Selina to keep tabs on two people that had a good chance of rehabilitation, and I like to think that worked out rather well. Here, we get the three of them reunited for a cross-country road trip, and given this writing team we’re expecting great things. This might be the most fun you’ll have reading comics this week.


Injection #5Injection #5

Image Comics

It’s Warren Ellis with Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. That right there is enough reason to buy this comic. Not willing to rest there, however, this comic deals with the concept of reality and perception, has a mad air of mystery and character that is unlike anything else you’ll ever read, and embraces an epic scope that few writings manage to brush against, never mind explore. This is an example of how good the medium as a whole can be, an intelligent story that deserves study.


Lantern City #5Lantern City #5

Boom Studios

There’s often more to any political struggle than is apparent on the surface, because with people are mostly people. Exposing yourself to them allows you to see them as people, and being gifted by those born luckier than you can draw you into their circle – at least some of the time. This comic is a complex study of idealism and real-politick set against a stage that feels like Midgar in Final Fantasy VII – that game without those characters – and it’s bloody gorgeous.


The Legacy of Luther Strode #3The Legacy of Luther Strode #3

Image Comics

Remember those old ads in the backs of comics that promised to make you a tough guy? Imagine if you sent for one and it worked, and made you mighty. Imagine that screwed up your life beyond repair. And imagine being on a hunt for the originator of those techniques, a man bound because his merest step is an invitation to murder. That’s this comic, a quiet essay on the history and application of killing from rage or expediency, in heartbreaking gory glory.


Mirror's Edge - Exordium #1Mirror’s Edge – Exordium #1

Dark Horse Comics

Are comics based on video games making a comeback? Because I’d murder someone to write a Metroid comic. Mirror’s Edge was a video game that featured a parkour running messenger helping to fight against a corrupt totalitarian government in the future, as opposed to the totalitarian governments we have today. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can carry that same sense of motion onto the printed page while building that mythology. Given the quality of the Tomb Raider comics, we have faith.


Ms. Marvel #18Ms. Marvel #18

Marvel Comics

Some comics have used the threat of the big dumb crossover event to tell compelling stories using their characters – Silk, Loki, and Magneto all come to mind as the best of the lot – and yet, that list remains incomplete without this title. Kamala has been working with her idol, Captain Marvel, to help keep things calm in the wake of apocalypse, all the while making a mockery of the “hard choice” idiocy that some people pass off as good stories. It’s been beautiful and fun and creative, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from one of the most creative, well-written, and wondrously drawn comics on the shelves.


Ninjak #7Ninjak #7

Valiant Comics

Oh, Matt Kindt, why is everything you do so great? A British superspy with a thing for ninja has infiltrated an illegal arms dealer ring, only to discover a deeper conspiracy that ties into his first days as a spy, and we get to see what Matt has been building to since the first issue of this comic. The answer is something chilling and brilliant, a revelation that will make you want the next issue right the hell now, as Ninjak takes its place among Valiant’s best.


Pixu - The Mark of EvilPixu: The Mark of Evil

Dark Horse Comics

I’ve got a soft spot for urban horror, and horror in general. We’ve sung the praises of the horror genre in the past and how scary stories reflect the values of the cultures that create them, and talked about some of the best horror movies of the modern era. Dark Horse wanting to get into the fun is a welcome addition, and this sounds interesting enough: strangers living in an apartment complex are drawn slowly towards an otherworldly evil. Looks like it might be fun, a tale about how much we don’t know about the places we live and the people around us. I’m in.


Starfire #4Starfire #4

DC Comics

A lot of people give Teen Titans Go a lot of flack, but things change. Teen Titans is still there; we can still watch it, and Teen Titans Go is harmless enough. I bring up both shows because this comic feels like the Kori from the old Teen Titans cartoon, all grown up and making her way in the world. She’s moved to Florida, started making friends, and gets to battle a sea monster because Aquaman is the one superhero who cares for seventy percent of the planet. Just sayin,’ dude is busy. It’s okay, this comic is full of the joy that’s underlying a lot of DC’s comics lately.


Tet #1Tet #1

IDW Publishing

Okay, this sounds interesting: a Vietnam veteran starts investigating the murder of an old comrade and ends up enmeshed in a hard-boiled world of crime and heartbreak and ill-fated romance. The concept is sound and feels like it might lead to something great, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m usually willing to give new things the benefit of the doubt, though, and I’m getting Criminal-style vibes from this. Nerdcouver will let you know if it’s any good.


Unity #22Unity #22

Valiant Comics

We’ve talked before about how Valiant, at their best, approaches old stories from a mature perspective that lends those stories a sense of wonder. Unity brings the most powerful heroes that Valiant has to offer to battle concepts as much as villains, which lends itself to some brilliant storytelling. Here, we have a counterpart to the Eternal Warrior, an immortal woman warrior who loves violence for it’s own sake, and has already proven a match for Unity. They’ll need something new to take her down – or possibly something old.


The Wicked + The Divine #14The Wicked + The Divine #14

Image Comics

This is the third Kieron Gillen comic this week and has just as much chance of the others as getting a Top Five spot. When he’s working on a comic you know it’s going to be good – the question becomes how good, and how deep will today’s myth go? This comic is all about mythology and the purpose of Gods, mortals who become deities for two years and then die once every ninety years. This issue focuses on Woden, a god who’s mostly kept to the shadows. Kieron’s going to have reasons for that, and those reasons are about to be revealed. Prepare for the awesome.

Read article


Fiction – Love is War 03:00:01:02

Books & Writing, Short Fictions, Uncategorized

August 21, 2015

So, way back when, some rather good books were published a page at a time in newspapers. The Sherlock Holmes series, the Count of Monte Cristo, and the Three Musketeers are all tales that got their start in this fashion, and we’d like to follow suit. Every week, we’re going to post something new 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.


– 03:00:01:02 –

They called her the Golden Champion.

Hekro Gherlid of House Gebo had lost count of the soldiers that had come to her and told her that they believed they would survive this war only because of her guidance. Sometimes she let herself believe their words but she knew a grim truth that would have broken the ranks around her; that she was not the giant that all these people made her out to be, was merely a Vanir noble doing what was needed of her, even though she did not feel she did it especially well. Her forces won more than they lost and she held her independence and lived up to her word. These were not qualities, she thought, that should have made her the object of such blind adoration.

Ages had past and she had served along the Coeecian border all her life, fighting against the hordes of savages that sometimes surged from the southlands. She had learned a little of their strange ways and even knew a smattering of their language. She even knew how to pass for one of their number from a distance – the ways they stood and carried themselves – but the blood of the Vanir ran proud in her veins and her features would never be mistaken for anything less.

She stood with arms at her side, one hand resting on the pommel of the levl she wore across her back, the preferred weapon of the Vanir nobility. She had fought many duels with the weapon and won all of them. Generals and Dukes sometimes came to study her form, to master the techniques that she had cobbled together on the battlefield so they could train their own warriors.

In her youth she had sought tutors in levl fighting and had studied all three major styles, taken from them what she could while most children were still learning how to hold the weapon properly. She was happy to pass on her knowledge to those that wished to stand with her on the killing fields.

Those who came to learn for their own political or social benefit she sent away.

Rare among her people, Hekro believed in the sanctity of certain concepts, places, or objects. The levl was one of the things in which she had faith. A two-and-a-half foot length of metal inlaid with runes and hardened to the point of unbreakability, infused with the blood of the Vanir it was made for. Levls were sometimes passed down through family lines but most of the time they were designed specifically for the noble who wielded them. She had been told that the grip was as sure as any lover’s caress but this was not a thing that she had any knowing of.

Not that anyone else needed to know that.

She sighed and walked across the battlements that were her most recent assignment. The Vanir bards had taken to calling her army the Band of the Golden Cross, for her pennant displayed two golden lines on a black background. She had marched her soldiers over three thousand miles of terrain to bring them here, a soft spot in the Coeecian border, a valley that had been mired in conflict for centuries. It had been handed to one noble after another, claiming life after life until the ground itself was soaked crimson and the air smelled of copper.

When songs were sung of this place, the bards called this valley Ashaewulo’sabberkena – the Shadow of Death.

The latest offering the Vanir had made to the valley was a young man from House Jera, a noble line that Hekro had never had much use for. A slight youth, Figo Jera was more cute than handsome. Despite his boyishness he had proven to be a quick study and a capable officer.

For all his good qualities, however, he was still young and terribly naive. His enemies took advantage of both flaws, drawing him into the Ashaewulo’sabberkena with every intention of spilling his blood on the unholy grounds of the valley. When Hekro had arrived she had found Figo taking risks where what was lost far outweighed what there was to gain, even if he had been capable of gaining whatever goal it was he sought.

Hekro had quickly realized the boy’s limitations; Figo was not brash, just innocent. The Coeecian in charge of the forces which opposed them had recognized that failing for what it was, had taken advantage of it to fully decimate Figo’s forces. The loss had been devastating and even more experienced nobles would have found their troops demoralized in such circumstances. To his credit, the boy had managed to maintain a surprising amount of control over his forces and, having now met and spent time with him, Hekro could understand why.

“Good morning, my Lady.” Figo approached from the east, his levl at his hip. It was the custom of many noble Houses to wear their levls in such fashion, but most nobles had not stood on the frontlines of the war. Fewer still had witnessed the horrors that House Gebo stood against on a regular basis. The nobles of House Suwilo did but they were healers, not warriors, a distant presence in every conflict. Hekro had explained the advantages to Figo at length but the boy was still a creature of his upbringing – another decade or so on the border, Hekro thought, would change that for the better.

“And you, my Lord.” Hekro clasped the boy’s wrist, a casual and friendly show of dominance that Figo had never sought to contest. The boy took his place at Hekro’s side and looked out over the assembled forces that waited on the lip of a distant horizon, their mass looking like nothing so much as a sea of chaos.

“Do you think they’ll attack today?” Figo asked. Hekro looked in the boy’s wide silver eyes and earnest expression; the boy was so very eager to learn.

“At twilight, yes.”

“How can you tell?”

“Do you see the pinions, there, there, and there?” The boy nodded. “See how they move north to south? They wobble a little, yes, and they look like they’re just part of the crowd, but the Coeecian’s method of war is a complex architecture. The swarming mass of chaos only looks that way. In truth we face three separate armies that have all fallen under the command of a single warlord. If we can find him and kill him, that force will disperse.”

“You know all that just from their pennants?”

“Yes. Coeecians put great stock in their leaders and the favor of their gods, but their minds are soft from their reliance on superstition. Hence, they dress up their forces to remind themselves of who is on what side and what they are doing. There is a language to their horde, and I have learned to read it – which is why I know that there are three armies down there, that they do not like one another, and if we kill their leader they will fight among themselves and then disperse.”

“Only to reform somewhere else.”

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it. One thing at a time, Lord Figo.”

The boy nodded, studying the mass and memorizing the pinions that Hekro had pointed out. Hekro could have told him not to bother – the Coeecians were a superstitious people, changing the color and designs of what mattered according to which of their barbaric castes was ascendant at any given moment in time. Hekro was able to spot the leader’s campfire with only a little difficulty and judged their enemy to be of the Skie caste, a group of mountain dwellers as known for their arrogance and sense of entitlement as they were for the powerful storms they could summon.

Figo had met that warlord in personal combat but, like so many Vanir, he knew none of the details that defined the Coeecian swarm and so had let his enemy go. Figo’s scouts had spent some time within Hekro’s, the combined force able to learn that their enemy’s name was Jesam and that he had developed an obsession with Hekro’s young charge, a powerful lust for ownership that had rewritten his view of this campaign.

Jesam emerged from his tent, his white robe coated in dust, the lightning blue cloak on his shoulders hanging loose around his throat. He kept his black hair spiked and, as he saw Hekro, waved and offered an insipid grin as he moved towards the ashes of an abandoned campfire. Hekro scowled and crossed her arms, knowing the man was preparing some sort of ritual working and knowing that she was too distant to do anything about it. She stood still when the rain started, remaining still when the chill seeped into her bones. She did not react even when Jesam looked up and raised his hand in a mock greeting.

Turning on her heel, Hekro went back the way she came and settled into her quarters. They had the high-ground, their walls on a massive embankment that would keep the Coeecians from any sort of direct attack. Some of their magicians were capable of great wonders but such magicians had to be in eyesight to make use of their most potent rituals, a limitation which would put them within eyesight of the Vanir scientists, who could then complete the circuits of science to crush their enemies. It was, in Hekro’s opinion, a stupid and endless cycle that rendered both groups completely useless – the best the magicians and scientists could do was annoy their enemies, like what Jesam had done with his little working.

Hekro returned to her quarters with the intention of sleeping, leaving strict orders that she was to be awoken the moment the Coeecians did anything out of the ordinary. She was confident that her soldiers knew exactly what she meant. She walked into her room and stripped off the jacket all nobles wore when going into battle, a thick fabric interwoven with metal thread. The weight of it off her shoulders brought with it a dull ache that she ignored, her well-muscled torso covered in old scars. She took note of them all, remembering those who had died to leave proof of victory etched into her skin.

Manuind Berhagala. Ashaewi Manuund. Iwasund Berkenaund

She was awoken by a knocking at her door, her hand gripping the levl beside her before her mind was completely aware of her surroundings. Long vigils all along the Coeecian border had taught her that sleep was a luxury and coming back to the waking world without a weapon at hand could be a costly mistake. She blinked at the empty room, shrugged into her jacket and sheathed the levl across her back before walking back among her troops.

“Report.” She looked at the fidgeting Lord Figo while fastening the jacket closed; the blush along the boy’s cheeks was both flattering and bearing clear evidence of his youth.

“We thought that the Coeecians were using the rain as a distraction,” he began. “But it, uh, seems that they’ve been using the storm to erode the earth out from under the keep.” Hekro snapped to attention, looking at the boy and considering the applications.

The keep they lived in was the centrepiece of Vanir presence in Ashaewulo’sabberkena, a bastion that had stood since before Hekro was born and had provided haven, refuge, and staging point for the Vanir nation. It had allowed the Vanir, even in the leanest of times, to keep the Coeecians from encroaching further into Midgard, the home of the Vanir people. The loss of the keep would be devastating both strategically and moralistically, a truth that someone like Jesam would know.

Hekro finished straightening her jacket, strode outside and stood on the heavy walls. Figo followed, chattering on about logistics. Hekro ignored him as she crossed her arms and looked outside. The rain was so thick that she could only just make out the Coeecians down below, using their tools and fell trickery to erode the base upon which the keep stood, and she knew that Jesam had trapped them – for if they went out there they would be walking into a trap, but if they kept behind their walls the walls would crumble and the Coeecians would swarm over them and kill them all.

She explained this to Figo, trying to decide if there was a way out of Jesam’s little gambit. Figo wanted to go out and fight, confident of his ability to win, but Hekro held him in place with a look. There was more going on here, some plan that they did not see.

“Figo Jera!”

The cry caught them all off-guard. A moment later twelve arrows were fired from down below, each of them striking the battlements. No other volley was fired and even Hekro could see that the arrows were tied with messages around them, the paper treated to resist the strain of water. She strode to the edge of the wall and claimed the arrow, ignoring the warnings of Figo’s men. The Coeecians would not shoot someone in the act of retrieving a message; they considered it bad luck.

She untied the string around the shaft and unrolled the paper, looking at the girlish Coeecian script. The Vanir held the Coeecian written language in contempt for its complexity and facade of elegance, preferring the economy of their own written codes, and most Vanir nobles would have had no idea how to interpret Jesam’s message. Hekro was not so ignorant, though she did have trouble with the strange curves and loops that the Coeecians used for their inert written sigils.

My Darling Figo,

As much as I admire your persistence in resisting my advances, I have to admit that I’m finding the drudgery of our game growing a little old. You know I want you and you know that there is nothing that you can do to dissuade me from getting what I want. How many more of your people must die before you turn yourself over to me so that we can both sate our desires?

Oh, my lust, my lust… can you not see that what I’m doing is for the best? You are so precious, Lust, a treasure. I will keep you safe, lock you away like the most precious of gems. Surely this is what you crave because it is what I crave for you. How could you want anything else?

I’ve spotted you speaking and walking with that blond harlot. I want you to know that she will not stand between us much longer; my plans have nearly come to fruition. Soon, we will be together and you will be mine and all will be well.

Until then, my Lust, know that the seed I spill I do in your name,

Jesam of the Skie

“They’ve been sending arrows like that every couple of weeks,” Figo said, looking over Hekro’s shoulder. “Our ritualists claim that there is no magic about them, but there must be some meaning to this act… is it some sort of superstition?”

“Yes, that’s it exactly.” Hekro felt no guilt at the lie as she crumpled the paper and tossed it into the nearest fire. His knowing the full details of Jesam’s obsession would benefit no one.

A deep growl rumbled underneath them, the earth giving way under the deluge that assailed them. Hekro’s hand immediately went to her levl, the weapon drawn as she walked towards the sound and ordered the soldiers on those walls back. No Coeecian rope or ladder touched the battlements above the sound as Hekro ordered her country-folk into position. For long moments nothing happened, nothing more than rain tumbling down from on high, liquid shattering on stone.

Then the world screamed as mighty stone walls were dragged out of sight by simple entropy.

She did not flinch when those walls fell. She held her ground and Figo stood with her, his own levl held at the ready. She did not turn to see how much of her people’s resolve had broken with the wall, did not take her eyes from the gaping emptiness that waited before her, a threat, a promise, a sigh made real. She held her ground and she knew that those behind her did so only in honor of her strength.

When the Coeecians swarmed through, a horde of them bashing through like rats, Hekro lifted her levl had howled a warcry, leading her people forward to meet the enemy. Bones shattered and blood swept out in arcs as she struck, cutting a swath through the invaders as an answering cry rose behind her, the Vanir finding their courage and joining their attack.

Time passed. The rain continued. Her limbs felt heavy, her breath coming in long and painful gasps. For the moment no Coeecian dared approach her. She stood straight, taking a moment to assess the situation. Piles of the dead lay all around her, Vanir and Coeecian blood co-mingling an offering to Midgard below. She glanced around, knocking stones out of the air with her levl as she assessed the situation. The Vanir, from what she could tell, were winning.

Hekro’s knowledge of the Coeecian war machine allowed her to know what they were doing and how they were moving. A few shouted orders stymied the efforts of those they fought, stuffing their games before they ever took effect. She caught sight of Jesam in the crowd, holding one of the short blades his people favored, his cloak free of the gore that coated everything else. Hekro scowled at him, envious – she would be bathing for hours to get the blood out of her hair.

Jesam smiled at her and vanished into the crowd, safe behind the lines of his people. She grimaced and forced herself onward, heading towards the spot where he had been. If she could kill that one man, the Coeecians would retreat, fighting among themselves until they had another leader to guide them. She got to that point, a small group of her own soldiers following her as best they could as she cut down the cattle that tried to stand before her.

She caught sight of him again. He wasn’t looking for her, she saw, his eyes on the figure of his obsession – Lord Figo Jera. The boy was holding his own, a credit to a noble line that did not deserve such as he. He stood, levl and dryw drawn, fighting his enemies one at a time. Unlike the rest of them, Hekro saw, Figo was fighting one duel after another. He was being worn down, being left mostly unharmed. She could see what Jesam wanted to do and felt bile rise in her throat at the thought of it.

LiW 002


Pushing herself forward on limbs that were already screeching fatigue, she pressed through the crowd and broke past any fool that thought to stand in her way. She was halfway to Figo when she felt the blade enter her back and push through, steel exiting from her midriff. She spun, trying to backhand with her levl, but her killer ducked under the blow and used her movement and strength to make the wound he had inflicted upon her so much worse.

“I want you to know,” Jesam said, cradling her as the levl dropped from her fingers, “That I could never have done this without you. The Golden Champion, the Vanir who knows our ways. Did you ever think that perhaps the language of war could change? No?” He pressed his lips against hers, recoiling when she bit him and laughed when he tasted his own blood.

“Figo will stop you.” Her voice faltered but her glare did not.

“Doubtful.” Jesam smiled, his words slurring together in her ears. “He is a beautiful bauble, nothing more. Without his walls to protect him…?” His smile deepened. He left her there, among the corpses and the muck. She heard him shout out a challenge to Figo, demanding a duel to end the conflict. The boy, flush with the victories he thought he had won, accepted.

She tried to shout a warning but spat up blood, drowning herself. He had punctured her lungs with his blade. She could do nothing but lie there and die, listening as the beautiful Lord Figo was lost.


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

Read article