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637

To Be Named Later Episode 003 – Beast Wrestling

Uncategorized

July 28, 2015

 

Wrestling happened. It happened late at night, but Bre and Aaron are still awake, slogging through fatigue to watch Beast in the East!

You can follow Aaron Golden on twitter @lastswann

You can follow Bre Fultz on twitter @breinpictures

Aaron hosts and talks. Bre directs, edits, does camera work, and talks.

This is because Bre is awesome.

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1304

God of Comics – the Punisher

Books & Writing, God Of Comics, Reviews, Uncategorized

July 24, 2015

The Punisher is a strange character.

On paper, it looks simple enough – a war veteran named Frank Castle witnesses his family get killed as collateral damage in a shout out between rival gangs and swears revenge. Some depth was added to the character during the excellent Punisher Max run, which gave Frank some layers, and that was good. Hell, that was excellent. It’s one of the best comics out there, what with the terrible sense of grime that coats the whole of it, and it’s utter lack of any other Marvel character.

See, there’s an argument that Frank couldn’t work in the Marvel Universe. It’s the same argument that people level against the likes of Hawkeye and Black Widow, that a non-powered character – and especially this one – couldn’t operate in a world with powered heroes and criminals, that he would be easy to hunt down and either capture or kill.

And you’d have to, wouldn’t you? If you’re a hero, the Punisher looks like a mass-murdering monster, with at least a four-figure kill count stretching from Vietnam to the modern era. He has, all by himself, filled cemeteries of criminals. If you’re a villain, priority one has to be stopping the guy that’s killed thousands of your friends and henchmen and will put a bullet through you if he ever gets the chance.

Here’s where we get to the problem, because what is the Punisher’s power?

He’s good with guns. That’s it.

At least, that what it looks like on the surface. If you stop to think about him about him, though, a whole new vista opens up. He was a black operative on Vietnam, trained to be one of the most lethal soldiers in one of the most terrifying wars this world has ever known, and he’s done nothing but fight ever since. He’s refined his technique, dedicated himself to fighting and nothing else.

Iron Man is a rich guy in power armor with no formal combat training. Spider-Man gets by on spider-sense and heightened reflexes. The X-Men are a civilian militia with a lot of practical experience.

Frank knows more than all of them combined when it comes to the preparation and application of violence. His power is that he’s been fighting for so long that he can’t do anything else and that there is nothing else to him.

Punisher 004

And not a weakness of whatever it is Frank has become.

He’s not even human any more, not in any way the rest of us could understand. He’s moved into some weird mental place where he exists all by himself, occasionally touching someone’s life or, more likely, ending it. He’s a force of nature pretending to be a man.

So when it was announced that Nathan Edmondson was going to be doing a Punisher series, I was interested. Good Punisher stories are hard to find, but when they’re good they’re great. Nathan’s written some interesting military-based characters in the past (Who is Jake Ellis?, Olympus), so that seemed like a good fit.

Then I read the solicit, which said something about the Punisher going out to Los Angeles, and how was he going to operate so far out of his element, which the solicit seemed to think was New York. I remember looking at this quizzically for one simple reason: Frank’s element is killing people. Location is incidental; he’ll know as much as he can about the terrain long before he gets there, and he’ll pick up the lay of the land quickly. That’s kind of what he is.

When the first issue came out I picked it up a little nervously, thinking that we were going to see Frank making mistakes because of the territory, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the various criminals assumed he’d be out of his element, and they suffered for it. It was fun and well written, with everyone showing the right amount of terror of Frank and Frank out-thinking them as best he was able.

Because, as dangerous as Frank is, he’s still only a man physically. He’s got human reflexes and endurance, is prone to exhaustion and incremental pain, and as likely to make mistakes as anyone. When the gangs call in Electro – who Marvel really began pushing to coincide with the last Spider-Man movie – even Electro was scared of him, and ready to run away rather than stay in the same state with him.

And that’s all well and good. Really. It seemed like a good Punisher tale about Frank going on summer vacation, heading out to LA to get some sun and kill some people. It was intelligent and everyone felt like people, with us getting a police officer character and getting to see how Frank’s actions affected her, specifically, and the rest of LA in general. The criminals came across as people making the best of their situation, and no one was made to hold the idiot ball. That counts for a lot, in any story, and especially in one that focuses on people over powers.

Pictured: In his element.

Pictured: In his element.

The story continued, and as it went on we got into the real heart of this. There were hints of something larger going on, and Frank got wind of whatever it was and started killing himself to answers. He took a trip down to a Mexican prison, killing everyone on his way out, and then kept the murder going on his way to the truth.

A gang war broke out and martial law was declared in LA, with Frank heading back as things continued to go wrong. We learned that the Howling Commandos – Nick Fury’s old unit from World War II, and the best active soldiers in the Marvel Universe – were after Frank. For reasons. We spent some time with them, getting to know them. We got to see how intelligent they are in the field, how carefully the plan and how skill they are.

If Marvel decides to have Nathan Edmondson write a Howling Commandos comic I’ll be all over that.

So, keeping in mind how skilled and efficient the Howling Commandos are, we get to see that even they’re taken aback when they’re ordered to go after Frank. Being soldiers and professionals means they’re willing to do it for the good of the country, but the respect they give even the idea of going after Frank shows exactly how terrifying he really is.

Punisher 005

They snipered him through a building use technology Frank didn’t know existed. It was either that or nuke the city.

It gets more complex, though. See, the Howling Commandos only get involved with things on orders, and usually around the world. Someone high up the chain has to want them to conduct operations on domestic soil, someone with a vested interest in keeping things violent in LA.

Here’s what we learn: the politics behind everything that has happened. Simple, right? And silly. We’re told never to talk politics in polite society, as if the various causes that form laws are somehow dirty and beneath notice. The truth is that there are few things that we should be discussing more, and it’s a truth that the young are adopting and claiming for their own as they come to understand how corrupt the politics they’ve inherited are.

And comics? Comics have always been a means of exploring different political causes, all the way back to their inception. The Punisher has always been about the lost, about how broken things can get, and about how crime both literally and metaphorically steals life. These are tales of societal and cultural entropy.

The Punisher is a rage-filled tragedy.

Frank is a character who stares into the face of every human evil and says no, because he’s already lost everything.

The brilliance of the Edmondson run is a sudden shift in scale.

Frank fights the symptoms of that corruption, the evil that comes from disenfranchising entire swaths of people, of forcing them into ghettos and feeding them drugs, of institutionalized racism and unchecked greed writ large. He fights against generations of criminals who come from generations of victims, the logical end result of a meat grinder society.

The Punisher goes after murderers, thieves, and rapists. He targets those organizations that are undeniably criminal, but not the white color criminals that destroy countries, that bankrupt nations, that cause the symptoms that he’s so effective at fighting. He is, in reality, nothing more than a painful bandage that does nothing to actually solve the problems he thinks he’s fighting.

Here, Frank finds himself trailing the cause of the symptoms he fights. He finds himself going to Washington DC, find himself in the office of an American Senator who put in motion a plan to incite riots and gang violence in Los Angeles so that martial law would have to be declared. The idea was to make money for both the military and a number of corporations, and the people that live in LA, well, they’re acceptable losses for the profits that will come as a result of this plan.

The senator in question is not afraid of Frank, because he hasn’t directly murdered anyone. He’s never held a knife or a gun outside of war time, if at all, and he’s certainly not going to go mug any one person. He has, however, played an indirect part on the deaths of hundreds in this political decision alone, and he admits that he’s done this sort of thing before and will do it again. This is what senators do, serve their corporate masters using whatever excuses they need to sleep at night, and the rest of the world can burn provided these senators get their kickbacks.

Punisher 000You want to talk about people that aren’t human anymore?

This is an evil that is above Frank. He can’t kill this senator and can’t fight the corruption that is causing the evils he fights every single day. They are, tragically, above and beyond him. He ends up facing off with Captain America after having this realization, and passes all this information along to Cap, but whether or not that will actively change anything in the Marvel Universe is questionable: Secret Wars came and derailed that story the same way it did everything else.

What we take away from this is a simple truth: violent revolution is all well and good, but nothing changes when you confront symptoms instead of causes. The simplest observable outcomes of an action are not the root action themselves, and without an intelligent look at why an action is happening, that action will continue to happen indefinitely.

For all his skill and lethality, Frank accomplishes very little. He’s a part of the very problem he thinks he’s fighting, another manifestation of the drama that is caused by the politics and greed that hover above him and every single one of his victims, and all of their victims, and so on, and so forth. No other comic has ever looked at the utter futility of what Frank has become like this one has, but Frank reacts predictably to this truth:

He heads back to LA, back to the riots that are now being blamed on him.

There are symptoms to fight, and that’s what the Punisher does.

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1321

Dark Nexus Arena

Uncategorized

July 21, 2015

Dark Nexus Arena has blown our collective minds. This is a big deal – Games Workshop might have done something good for once and let’s not kid ourselves – Warhammer 40k video games, by and large, suck. They’re pretty much universally terrible, despised by reviewers and fans of gaming and the franchise alike, seen as nothing more than cash grabs with maybe a passing respect for either gaming or the lore but never both. Every time a new game is announced we still come around, hoping not to be sorely disappointed yet again by an inferior product given maybe a passable paint job over a rotten core.

notsayingbutsayin

Conversely, this is one of the reasons we love Whitebox Interactive. They love Warhammer 40k as much as we do, and there’s not a single table in the dev pit that isn’t littered with paint, codex books, models, and art work. In those quiet moments before the dev team trickles in, the office looks like a gathering of fans that have come together to share tips and play some table top.

Whitebox Interactive Office Decorations

Even after the offices fill up, there’s banter about the armies and their strengths and weaknesses, arguments over color schemes, heated discussions about bits of the lore. It’s pretty great, and lets us know that these are people that love Warhammer 40k as much as we do.

It’s a good place to start understanding why the game is so damn playable.

We’ve been part of the beta testing team for a few weeks now, delving into the depths of the characters on offer and learning the mechanics of the game. We sit in, mostly, but the hardcore mechanics are there, melded with the lore in such a way that the whole experience traps you and feels authentic.

play testing Dark Nexus Arena

Dark Nexus Arena isn’t a Warhammer 40k MOBA; it’s what every Warhammer 40k video game dreams of being when it grows up. It’s not even a real MOBA, not as they’re currently understood. DNA is to the fastest growing genre in video games what Doom was to the first person shooter in the early nineties – such a giant leap forward in technology and application that every other game feels like a fading echo.

Here’s why:

MOBAs grew out of real time strategy games. They started as Warcraft III hacks. A lot of the control mechanisms are still designed around real time strategy, when the simple truth is that interface is dated and has no place in the modern scene. It’s a vestigial organ that DNA does away with, giving us complete control over our character in a way that is both intuitive and groundbreaking.

Warhammer 40k has developed the most complex lore in all of gaming. Starcraft? Warcraft? Diablo? Cool games with interesting lore that they cribbed from Game Workshop. Amazing how the Tyranids / Zerg and the Eldar / Protoss are still invading Imperium / Terran territories, isn’t it? Forsake? Vampire Counts. Prime Evils? Gods of Chaos, C’Tan, take your pick. And they’re not the only ones that have done this.

The point is, everyone cribs off the grandaddy of them all, and everyone falls short of capturing the true scope and majesty that Warhammer 40k brings to the table. The technology was never there to grasp it until this very second. Because here’s the truth: Whitebox Interactive has done it. Every faction. Every major character type. Everything. It’s all in this game, it’s all drawn from the lore, and it is perfect.

Now, we should note that one game came close – Dawn of War. A game that came out of the now defunct real time strategy genre, it brought all the armies to the table. Every faction was represented, and it added an engaging story that drew on the lore Games workshop has established to tell a hell of a story. It’s PvP was some of best of its time, but it failed to take advantage of one of the best and biggest parts of Warhammer 40k. It did not give you the ability to customize your army.

Customization has been a part of Warhammer 40k from the get go. Creativity is a big part of that culture, and that customization has recently found a place in video game lore. From the create-a-wrestler modes of the wrestling games to the hats of Team Fortress to the conversational models of Dragon Age and Mass Effect, a personal experience has become part of what video gamers crave. Dawn of War couldn’t give them that. Dark Nexus Arena can.

Over sixty character types are planned at present. Each character has 5 basic skins for players to choose from, and every skin can be customized with symbols or colors of everything – armor, weapons, symbols, even explosions and attacks. There is no part of the player’s character that cannot be customized to fit the player’s taste, making each character as unique as the player wishes.

Better still, there’s no need to invest in characters the player isn’t interested in. Real time strategies forced you to manage resources so that you could get to the characters you wanted to play with, whereas Dark Nexus Arena starts you off with what you want. No wasted time. No milling about, farming, prolonging the experience. No, this is exactly what you crave from start to finish.

KharnPreview

Yeah, sure, there’s only Orks and Tau and some Imperium in play now, but we’re starting to see the Chaos and Necrons that Whitebox Interactive has planned, and they’ll blow you away with their detail and differences in play. We’ve only seen them being tested, but we can’t wait to get our mitts on them and rampage through the Dark Nexus Arena with them, and we wait with baited breath to see what Whitebox Interactive plans on unleashing next.

As Games Workshop abandons an expansion of lore for the quick cash grab of ever more expensive models, Whitebox Interactive has picked up the torch to provide a lore-intensive, intuitive, and immersive experience. They have the love of the lore and skill of development, and they’ve combined both to make a game that is going to rock the grim darkness of the future, there is every other MOBA vying for second, and Dark Nexus Arena shining like the favored Primarch of the God Emperor himself.

 

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971

The Sixth Gun Role-Playing Game

Uncategorized

May 27, 2015

It’s no secret that we like role-playing games. Everyone on staff is a fan, to the point where our CEO went ahead and invented his own system. If you’ve seen our offices, well, this is one of the bookshelves that are full of splat books, fluff books, rule books… the point is, we love pen-and-paper role playing games. We adore them. We play them a lot, and discuss settings and characters. We go to comedy shows about them.

And we also love comics. It’s shocking, we know, given that we’re part of the Nerdcouver vlog, have been guests on the League of Manchildren Booked Podcast, listen to the Quiver podcast, and have a weekly column called God of Comics. One of the comics that we love and rant about whenever possible is called the Sixth Gun, a horror-western written by Cullen Bunn, whose comics frequently place among our weekly top five comics.

So the news that Cullen Bunn, Oni Press, and Pinnacle Entertainment Group are starting a Kickstarter to create a Sixth Gun Role-Playing Game? That’s kind of exciting to us. By I kind of, I mean really. As in, I need this to be a thing that happens.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group is responsible for Deadlands: the Weird West, a pen-and-paper role-playing game set in a haunted old west that features some of the most interesting mythology you’ll find in gaming, with a system that was so good that they ended up launching a line called Savage Worlds out of it. Deadlands and Savage Worlds are both some of the most fun you can have role-playing, and both setting and system lend themselves perfectly to the Sixth Gun setting.

They’re also threatening miniatures, and if you’ve been gaming for any length of time you know how useful those can be – and if you’ve been following the Sixth Gun, you have to know how cool some of those miniatures are going to look. General Hume, the Grey Witch, the Wendigo, and the Thunderbirds are only some of the minis we’re likely to see coming out of this. I mean, c’mon, watch this and tell me you’re not excited:

Now, if you’re as excited as we are, you can visit the kickstarter by clicking anywhere on this sentence.

C’mon, peoples, let’s make this happen.

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648

Jesse Inocalla discusses Northwest Fan Fest

Uncategorized

May 22, 2015

Jesse Inocalla is a local comedian, actor, and demagogue who has been one of the founding fathers of the modern geek community. One of his biggest contributions to the scene was the advent of the Cosplay Walk-Off, which he returns to this year at Northwest Fan Fest. Here’s his thoughts on the event to come. 

 

Jesse 00LMM: What does fandom mean to you?

Jesse InocallaFandom, n. a group of likeminded weirdos united in their mutual love and adoration of something. It could be candy, it could be the Steelers, it could even be…..alternative media and alternative media solutions. Which is what the fine people at Northwest Fan Fest have to offer.

 

LMM: How do you explain that to people not in the know?

Jesse Inocalla: I simply remind them that they, too, have their own fandoms. it could be candy, it could be the Steelers, it could even be….alternative media! We live in an era where the greatest majority of content being created and developed comes from sources that we all found near and dear to us, be it comic books, classic cartoons, or even movies of yesteryear! Did you like The Road Warrior? Now there’s Fury Road. Did you like Star Wars? Now there’s The Force Awakens. Did you like Last of the Mohicans? Now there’s Avatar! We are seeing an exciting new shift into recycled content and it’s working out beautifully for anyone who liked that content in the first place. Unless you happen to like the Ninja Turtles films, Jem and the Holograms, or the original Transformers series.

 

LMM: How has being a part of the fandom affected your life?

Jesse Inocalla: Being part of my own personal fandoms (Renaissance Literature, Mongol History, and Neon Genesis Evangelion) has taught me a lot of important lessons. It’s taught me that art is beautiful and meant to be appreciated, and that the genesis of great art is human ingenuity and inspiration. It’s taught me the most effective ways to subjugate the largest contiguous land empire in human history under my heel (Here’s a hint: Leave one person alive to tell the tale of your wanton destruction!). But most important of all, it’s taught me that the only real way to win the affection of my distant father is to pilot a robot containing the soul of my mother to defend humanity from the forces of God himself. And really, isn’t family the most important fandom of all?

 

LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?

Jesse Inocalla: Events like Northwest Fan Fest do a great job of synergizing the drive coefficient of the community. They help propel their earnings ratios into the stratosphere and streamline the buzz dynamic into a Web 3.0 interface.

 

LMM: What’s your favorite part of Fan Fest?

Jesse Inocalla: Friday at 1pm. BE THERE #doubleimpact

 

LMM: Who are you excited to see at NWFF?

Jesse Inocalla: The eminent Doctor Uwe Boll, smiter of critics. I will give him my resumé, headshot, and a firm, professional handshake indicating that I respect him, but do not fear him.

 

LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?

Jesse Inocalla: I would tell them that those guys over there told me they weren’t gonna go because they were chickens, and would then ask “Are you a chicken?”. No, you are not. You are people. Fine people. PROUD people. Stand strong. You show those other guys you’re better than them. Get thee to the Anvil Center. Strike a blow, for freedom.

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2349

Anne Honeycutt discusses Northwest Fan Fest

Interviews, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

May 17, 2015

Anne Honeycutt is one of the most outspoken and wise members of the Vancouver Geek Community, a frequent debater for West Coast Geeks vs. Nerds, and one of those people that loves Northwest Fan Fest so much that she’s involved (secretly) behind the scenes. Here’s what she’s got to say about that… 
 
Anne Honeycutt 02
LMM: What does fandom mean to you?
Anne Honeycutt: Fandom means Family. I spent most of my life being “weird”. I am not weird anymore. I have found an amazing community of people that love the things I love. I can sit anywhere at Northwest FanFest and be able to tell someone I love their Harley Quinn cosplay and be able to talk about the intricacies of large mallet construnction and then after that I can bump into someone at a panel about geek girl culture and have a conversation about how important Arya and Sansa Stark are.
  
LMM: How has being apart of the fandom affected your life?
Anne Honeycutt: I was raised in geek culture. I went to conventions as a child. Grew up with parents who played DnD and Klingon was my first language. Fandom is my life. It is how I was raised. Find something you are into and obsess. Life is nothing if you don’t have passion.
  
LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?
Anne Honeycutt: Well, it shows that you are a) not alone. b) that you can find your “tribe” and that no matter what you are into you are going to at least find one other person who likes what you like and the level you like it. c) It strengthens community. The panels at FanFest are diverse and community driven. The shows at FanFest are diverse and community driven.
  
LMM: What’s your favorite part of Fan Fest?
Anne Honeycutt: Last year, my favourite part of it was just hanging out in line for things. I was cosplaying as DJ Hello Kitty and my bestie was cosplaying as a member of DaftPunk and we started line raves. This year, I am excited for the chance to do panels myself and then also the VIP afterparty.
  
LMM: Who are you excited to see at Northwest Fan Fest?
Anne Honeycutt: Improv Against Humanity, Westcoast Geeks vs. Nerds, MissingNo, Reboot Musical, Tom Cook, Andy Rae Cosplay, and Kayla Rose Cosplay. AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE ATTENDING!
  
LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?
Anne Honeycutt: Little kids cosplay contest will prove to be the most adorable thing ever. If you don’t like children in cosplay.. then think of all of the adults in cosplay. And if you don’t like cosplay. we have gaming! and we have ALL THE THINGS! Just come, if you don’t like it.. you can tell me about it and I will give you a hug.

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1992

God of Comics 2015-05-06

God Of Comics, Reviews, Uncategorized

May 7, 2015

This Week: Afterlife with Archie #8, Amazing Spider-Man #18, Ant-Man #5, Arcadia #1, the Big Con Job #3, Cluster #4, Convergence #5, Convergence – Batgirl #2, Convergence – Batman and Robin #2, Convergence – Harley Quinn #2, Kanan – the Last Padawan #2, Convergence – Nightwing / Oracle #2, Convergence – the Question #2, Day Men #7, Dead Drop #1, Guardians Team-Up #5, Jupiter’s Circle #2, the Punisher #18, Rocket Raccoon #11, Secret Wars #1, Spider Gwen #4, Spider-Woman #7, Sword of Sorrows #1, Thief of Thieves #28, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5, the Wicked + the Divine #10

 

 

 

Afterlife with Archie #8

Afterlife With Archie 008-000Finally. I’ve been waiting for this comic for months, and it’s well worth the wait. Moody art and deep stories, explaining even the good-natured wholesomeness that has always surrounded Riverdale and adding a greater degree of depth to everyone and everything that’s happened. This comic is brilliant, and has been since issue one. I would like more now, please.

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

 

Amazing Spider-Man #18

Amazing Spider-Man 018One of my fellow Nerdcouver podcasters was talking about this, so I decided to take a look and found he was right. This is like a checklist of a decent comic, save that the villain feels forced and out of place, and even the writer knows it and uses Peter to comment on it. Art is fine, but the story is just kind of there. It’s a thing that happens. Forgettable.

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

 

Ant-Man #5

Ant-Man (2015-) 005-000And our fun little series that was just getting started and was the best sort of Shameless-style comedy gold gets culled because of things that have nothing to do with it. This comic was good, with interesting character arcs and laugh-out-loud moments, and now we get a dreary (though decent) ending for the sake of Secret Wars. Fuck Secret Wars.

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

 

Arcadia #1

Arcadia 001-000This is a whole different take on the whole computer apocalypse scenario, in that humanity is wiped out by a disease and uploads most of itself into a computer system. You get the disconnect and ennui of living in a world based on false scarcity mixed with the horrors the survivors have to deal with on the outside, and it’s telling and brilliant. Get in on this.

Art LMM Tree of Life + 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 Life Three Quarters

 

The Big Con Job #3

Big Con Job 003So, a bunch of washed-up, washed-out actors are putting together a plan to hit the San Deigo Comic Con and steal as much money as they can. It’s been a good build so far, and here we find out that the people that are organizing it are setting them up, but the actors just learned what’s going on. This is one of the best heist stories I’ve read in a while.

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

 

Cluster #4

Cluster 004Goddamn Cliffhanger! We learn exactly how badly our poor heroine is willing to go while under the influence of grief and guilt, and how corrupt the system has become and the terrible things that are being done for greed. It’s all kind of great and building to a head, and continues to be a rather strong narrative. I can’t wait for the trade.

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

 

Convergence #5

Convergence 005Look, everyone! Telos is like the Silver Surfer, only he’s in DC and Brainiac is Galactus for some reason! Everyone fight and now Deimos is in charge of everything, and if you’re scratching your head, wondering who, don’t worry! It’s just because DC doesn’t want your business! Wheeeeeeeeee! The art is actually good this week. The story not so much.

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

 

Convergence – Batgirl #2

Convergence - Batgirl 002The artwork errs on the bad side of good. You can follow it, and it’s bright, but there’s some weird issues with proportion and I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not. There’s some weird stuff here where not-Steph wins by convincing someone else to give up. It’s kind of dumb, really, but if this was a new series? I’d read these characters.

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

 

Convergence – Batman and Robin #2

Convergence - Batman and Robin 002A nice tale about sibling rivalry and Batman using himself to heal a rift between the second Robin and his natural son, both of him he refers to as his children. This comic actually gets Batman, which is nice. A shame it’s happening in the midst of a crossover and we’re never going to see any of this ever again. The art is also not good.

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

 

Convergence – Harley Quinn #2

Convergence - Harley Quinn 002Manages to be both clever and stupid at the same time, which is an impressive feat. It also manages to be both heartbreaking and funny in equal measure, which is what a good Harley comic does, though I was digging the recent Palimotti run – which skewed towards the funny side of things – right up until Convergence ended it. Decent.

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

 

Convergence – Nightwing / Oracle #2 – Top 5 Comics

Convergence - Nightwing-Oracle 002Oh, look, Gail Simone gets to write a Birds of Prey comic and makes it better than anything we got in the nu52 and almost everything we’re getting in Convergence. This comic and the one directly below it actually justify the whole of the Convergence Big Dumb Event Thing. Basically, Dick goes out to save the day and doesn’t think things through, relying on pluck, skill, and sass to save the day. Barbara, on the other hand, turns the weapons of everything against her enemies because she’s a damn genius. The art is good, but the writing is spot on perfect. Which is good, I need this. Thank you, Gail.

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Convergence – the Question #2 – Top 5 Comics

Convergence - The Question 002And then there’s this. I need this to not end. I need this comic to keep going, because this is Greg Rucka at his best, writing characters he very clearly loves and knows to a degree that is unmmatched anywhere else. The art is sharp and captures a sense of weight and motion that is unlike anything I’ve seen out of DC Comics in a long while, and the writing… well, it’s Rucka. It’s deep and complex and layered and nuanced, and I’ve bought both of these as single issues and would buy this as a series, and the trades, because it’s that good. If you’re only going to read one title out of the whole Convergence thing, make it this one.

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Day Men #7

Day Men 007The thing about a double-blind is that you need to know what’s going on to understand it when it hits. This is one of those, and the implications of this issue are horrifying – which is the sort of emotional resonance you get from the writers of this comic. The art is good, the stakes are clear, and even the reasons make sense given the intro. Well done.

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Dead Drop #1

Dead Drop 001Does anyone else remember Global Frequency? There was an issue of that series that dealt with someone doing parkour through a city to get to a bomb, which they deactivated. This is X-O Manowar chasing someone doing parkour to avoid him, and she’s carrying a virus. It’s kind of great. Simple, straight-forward, and you know it’s going to get more complex later.

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Guardians Team-Up #5

Guardians Team-Up 005Rocket teams up with the pets of the Avengers to fight Pets of Evil Masters, led by a vulture that’s been exposed to a bit too much radiation in Latveria and has gained sentience and believes himself ugly, but, hey, he’s a vulture. This is much more fun than it sounds, which is about par for this comic outside of Black Vortex. We’ll see if it holds after Secret Wars.

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Jupiter’s Circle #2

Jupiter's Circle 002Mark Millar is a great writer who mostly hates the medium he writes in. It can make reading what he writes frustrating, but when he decides to abandon his self-loathing he inevitably creates incredible stuff. This falls into that spectrum, dealing with the nature of heroism and the importance of it, without “tough choice” bullshit. Recommended.

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Kanan – the Last Padawan #2

Kanan - The Last Padawan 002There were some good things that came out of the prequel trilogy – the narrative was good, though the execution was terrible. Like Secret Wars, or Convergence. Anyway, this deals with what life was like for those poor younglings that escaped the initial purge, and goes a long way towards informing what’s going on in Rebels. Really damn cool.

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The Punisher #18

Punisher 018A year and a half brings us to this, with everything we wanted to pay off being paid off, and the start of something new. We get to see the disconnect between a corrupt news media and the politicians and corporatists that back them, as opposed to the people that have to live with their decisions. And Frank remains Frank as the world changes around him. The art is good and expressive and Nathan Edmondson has nailed this character, his motivations and what makes him so dangerous in his world, to an absolute tee. It’s fantastic.

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Rocket Raccoon #11

Rocket Raccoon 011There’s something beautiful about this comic. There usually is – it’s a multi-time Top 5 Comics winner, and an office favorite – but this issue in particular deals with the idea of the retcon by dismissing it and moving forward. It’s wonderfully drawn and expressive and funny and brilliant. I love this comic quite a lot and urge you to read it.

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Secret Wars #1

Secret Wars 001aHave you been paying attention to what Jonathan Hickman has been doing in the Avengers? An admittedly brilliant idea undone by blatant character assassination, nihilism, and inserts that displace pre-existing characters for no good reason? It got to the point where everyone in the core Avengers became unlikeable idiots, a sickness that’s been spreading since Civil War. Well, it all comes to a head here. The faces are hideous in places and the pacing is strange, characters that are dead or otherwise incapacitated find their circumstances hand waved, caricatures of characters you might like are murdered wholesale to give the illusion of gravitas. There is no gravitas here. There’s nothing but the idiot ramblings of a brilliant idea man who needs an editor, lacking an editor and killing a universe. Fuck this comic.

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Spider Gwen #4 – Top 5 Comics

Spider-Gwen 004Wow, the heartbreak here. Gwen goes to the Parkers place for the first time since Peter’s death, and we get to see how both Ben and May Parker are dealing with the loss of their son in this world. The answer is – well. They recognize Peter as having been a good but flawed person, and it turns out that May doesn’t blame Spider-Gwen for Peter’s death. This changes things for Gwen dramatically, and she’s dealing with a lot of random stuff and she’s very human and very alone and she needs to deal with the very many traumas in her life, so she goes and plays with the Mary-Janes, and it’s perfect. So is this title. And I’m happy it’s not being touched by Secret Wars.

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Spider-Woman #7

Spider-Woman 007Clever little comic. Okay, so the wives of a bunch of c-list supervillians get together, pretending to be kidnapped and blackmailing their husbands for money so that they can live in peace, away from the world and the media and superheroes, and, you know what? This comic is pure magic. The art is good, the writing tight and witty, and the characters likeable and fun. Recommended.

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Sword of Sorrows #1

Swords of Sorrow 001Another comic I wouldn’t have picked up without my Nerdcouver cohorts. Some of the dialogue in this is terrible, but that’s to be expected when everyone is flitting through time. A maybe deity dude-bro villain trying to take revenge on all women throughout time and space, as written by Gail Simone? I’m in. I’m curious. Let’s see where this goes.

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Thief of Thieves #28 – Top 5 Comics

Thief of Thieves 028The shadows in this book… the art looks like they started with blacks and carved color out of darkness. Every etched expression, every line, every patient weight feels like it matters. There’s silence without waste, and action with meaning, and a lesson in claiming a name you have no right to and the consequences of thinking yourself better than you are. And, in the end, there’s the lesson that when you devote yourself to a thing and become that thing, you cannot escape it no matter how much you might want to. This is one of the best heist comics being written today, and if you like that sort of thing you really need to be reading this.

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 005OMG this comic. I need it to go on forever. The only reason Squirrel Girl isn’t in Secret Wars is she would have solved the whole thing by herself. A group of people trapped in the Statue of Liberty during a Robot Dinosaur Attack tell Squirrel Girl stories from different eras of comics, and it’s pure comics gold. Not reading this comic is a form of masochism.

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The Wicked + the Divine #10 – Top 5 Comics

Wicked + The Divine 010Look, this isn’t an easy story. It’s a very complex one with a very strange narrative arc, because the antagonist is a concept rather than anything that can be directly attached. The underlying theme here is one of finding meaning in the face of nihilism, and becoming who you are and achieving godhead, sometimes literally. The art and words are just etchings that touch on something much more powerful and meaningful, literally defining divinity as a means by which we find meaning, and through that meaning manifest divinity. If you can wrap your head around that, this very strange journey makes a lot of sense – but that understanding does not make it any simpler. Personally, I’m a myth-head and I love every freaking page of this comic.

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Northwest Fan Fest 2015

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Northwest Fan Fest 2015 – We Are Excited

Uncategorized

April 27, 2015

Where were  you last year when the Vancouver Scene changed?  When Northwest Fan Fest brought all the fandoms to one place?  Geek flavored events took center stage across our city and we didn’t have to look very hard for them.  From the Gentlemen Hecklers to Geeks vs Nerds, from Geekenders to the Fictionals. This increasing appreciation of geekery got all nicely packaged up for us as Northwest Fan Fest. The change was so good even the mainstream noticed.

And why not?

It’s not just Vancouver that’s feeling this change, but the world: the biggest movies are superhero-themed. The biggest television series are based on books or comics. The idea of fandom is shaping the world, as the things we like spread, grow, and inform us about what we could be.

That change deserves a party. Celebrating fandom at Northwest Fan Fest brings a place for those that have found this culture to declare their victory, while welcoming anyone looking to come in from the cold. It didn’t take a genius to recognize the necessity of this, but it did take a genius to put it all together – to bring together Vancouver’s hottest acts, to create a space in which the passions we all feel could be shared, experienced, and exalted.

Enter the West Coast Fan Society, a secretive group of heroes with the dedication, drive, and guts to put together something special. They started last year when they launched Northwest Fan Fest, a for-fans-by-fans gathering designed to bring out the best in this growing community while welcoming anyone looking to get in on the fun.

A wild success, celebrating everything from anime to cosplay, from music to movies, from gaming to comics. They had it all,  panels and shows featuring the best and brightest of the local community were put on, a single location that for three days became a temple to the greatest parts of the new culture.

It was awesome – there were dances, rock concerts, contests, events, any and every possible moment offering some new way to celebrate the things we’re all fans of.

So, naturally, this year they’re doing it again.

With a little over four weeks before the launch of Northwest Fan Fest 2015, we’re going to take in depth look at what this community of ours has grown into. We’ll discuss the what was and what is coming, talk to some of the hottest acts and performers, chat with the vendors that will have their wares out for sale, and do everything we can to let you know what’s coming to Vancouver’s greatest Celebration of Fandom.

And, hey, if you’re looking to be an insider and get your tickets sorted early, we can help.

For those of you that need more convincing, well. We’ve got some awesome content coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled and we’ll keep you posted on what’s what – but, trust us, you’re going to want to be there.

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God of Comics 2015-04-15

God Of Comics, Reviews, Uncategorized

April 16, 2015

This Week: Archie vs Predator #1, Bloodshot – Reborn #1, Convergence – Aquaman #1, Convergence – Catwoman #1, Convergence – Green Arrow #1, Convergence – Shadow of the Bat #1, Convergence – Supergirl / Matrix #1, Convergence – Superman – Man of Steel #1, Ghosted #19, Hexed #9, Legendary Star-Lord #11, Loki – Agent of Asgard #13, Magneto #17, Ms. Marvel #14, Reyn #4, Runlovekill #1, S.H.I.E.L.D. #4, Thor #7, The Tithe #1, Uncanny X-Men #33, Unity #17

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1463

THE BEGINNING, AGAIN

Uncategorized

April 6, 2015

Given all the trepidation that preceded Wrestlemania this year, it was tough to muster appropriate excitement for the event. Between the weak booking and the specter of Roman Reigns hanging over the show, things were looking somewhat dire for the tentpole shows of the network era – but the WWE managed to deftly silence these critics by putting on an absolute top-level pay-per-view. So now that the WWE has passed the test of Wrestlemania with flying colors, what direction will they take with their major performers in the first leg of the wrestling year? The baseless speculation starts, now!

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