Tuesday, October 18, 2016

August 2016 New Comics To Watch For

Have quite a big list for this month, and some of these stuff are really things to look forward to.

Written by Greg Pak
Art and Cover by Mirko Colak 
Old West, new magic. After thirteen years in prison, a Chinese gunslinger named Kingsway Law just wants to find his wife. But in a fantastical American Old West crackling with magic, monsters, and racist vigilantes, trouble just won’t leave him be. And in this case, trouble is a woman with a magic sword who needs his help. Greg Pak and Mirko Colak (Turok) team up for a magical western!

Written by Jonathan Hickman 
Art and Cover by Tomm Coker
ALL HAIL GOD MONEY! From JONATHAN HICKMAN (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and TOMM COKER (UNDYING LOVE) comes a new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money… and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our proper place.

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser

The bestselling team of ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS (THE FADE OUT, CRIMINAL, FATALE) launch their new monthly series: KILL OR BE KILLED, the twisted story of a young man who is forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret as it slowly ruins his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones. Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS have ever done.

Written by Scott Snyder
Art and cover by John Romita Jr., Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey

“My Own Worst Enemy” part one! Superstar writer Scott Snyder explodes into an all-new Batman series alongside legendary artist John Romita Jr., reimagining some of the Dark Knight’s greatest villains. First up: Two-Face! Batman must take Two-Face to a destination out of Gotham City, but the duplicitous villain has a two of spades up his sleeve. Every assassin, bounty hunter and ordinary citizen with something to hide is on their tails with one goal: kill Batman! Handcuffed together on the road to hell, this is Batman and Two-Face as you’ve never seen them before! 

Written by Christopher Priest
Art and cover by Carlo Paglayan and Jason Paz

“The Professional” part one! Deathstroke’s latest contract takes him to a war-torn African country, where he finds himself caught in the middle of a disintegrating alliance between a ruthless dictator and a deadly super-villain. With an entire nation at stake, Slade Wilson must choose between fulfilling his contract and saving an old friend.

Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Chad Hardin

“Die Laughing” part one! Welcome back to Harley Quinn’s crazy world on Coney Island…now get ready to wave goodbye, because everyone there just might get eaten alive! Harley’s gotta protect her neighborhood against an all-out zombie apocalypse! Break out the chainsaws, everybody! 

Written by Rob Williams
Art and cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams

“The Black Vault” part one! When a mysterious and definitely super-important cosmic item falls out of the heavens and into enemy hands, America has only one option: Task Force X, Amanda Waller’s strike team of incarcerated super-criminals. A one-stop-shop for plausibly deniable espionage and ultra- violence, this “Suicide Squad” only handles missions they’re not expected to survive. An insane new era of SUICIDE SQUAD begins here with superstar artist Jim Lee and red-hot writer Rob Williams (UNFOLLOW, MARTIAN MANHUNTER). 

Written by Phil Jimenez
Art by Phil Jimenez and Matt Santorelli

“Who Is Superwoman?” part one! Lois Lane takes flight! Now powered up with the abilities of Superman, Lois pledges to carry on the super-legacy as Superwoman! There’s only one problem: Lois’ new powers are killing her, and neither she nor her friend and confidant Lana Lang know what to do about it. Will Lois even survive long enough to learn the deadly secret of Ultra Woman?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - August 2016

A month that is too quiet for my taste. But lets check out the stuff that are promising anyways.

"The Last Days of New Paris" by China Mieville
"Beauty will be convulsive...."
It's 1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer - and occult disciple - Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of the dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.
It's 1950. A lone surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Resistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts - and by the forces of hell. To escape the city, he must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the exquisite corpse.
But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties - to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.

[Latest from China Mieville, should be as good as expected.] 

"Spiderlight" by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen.
Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…
Spiderlight is an exhilarating fantasy quest from Adrian Tchaikovsky, the author of Guns at Dawn and the Shadows of the Apt series.

 [A short new novel from the acclaimed Adrian Tchaikovsky, should be a fun read.]

"The Guns of Empire" by Django Wexler
As the “audacious and subversive” Shadow Campaigns novels continue, the weather is growing warmer, but the frosty threat of Vordan’s enemies is only growing worse...
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace…
After their shattering defeats at the hands of brilliant general Janus bet Vhalnich, the opposing powers have called all sides to the negotiating table, in hopes of securing an end to the war. Queen Raesinia of Vordan is anxious to see the return of peace, but Janus insists that any peace with the implacable Sworn Church of Elysium is doomed to fail. For their Priests of the Black, there can be no truce with heretics and demons they seek to destroy, and the war is to the death.
Soldiers Marcus d’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass find themselves caught between their general and their queen. Now, each must decide which leader truly commands their loyalty—and what price they might pay for final victory.
And in the depths of Elysium, a malign force is rising—and defeating it might mean making sacrifices beyond anything they have ever imagined.

[Another series that I need to read, and I think I should start this one sooner rather than later.] 

"The Obelisk Gate" N.K. Jemisin
The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.
It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

[I still haven't checked out anything from Jemisin, this series does seem to be a good point to begin the journey.] 

"The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe" by Kij Johnson
Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her.
"Kij Johnson's haunting novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is both a commentary on a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and a profound reflection on a woman's life. Vellitt's quest to find a former student who may be the only person who can save her community takes her through a world governed by a seemingly arbitrary dream logic in which she occasionally glimpses an underlying but mysterious order, a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares. Those familiar with Lovecraft's work will travel through a fantasy landscape infused with Lovecraftian images viewed from another perspective, but even readers unfamiliar with his work will be enthralled by Vellitt's quest. A remarkable accomplishment that repays rereading." —Pamela Sargent, winner of the Nebula Award

[A Promising new Tor.com novella, the setting is quite intriguing to say the least.] 

"The Gate of Sorrows" by Miyuki Miyabe
A series of murders shocks Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, but Shigenori, a retired police detective, is instead obsessed with a gargoyle that seems to move. College freshman Kotaro launches a web-based investigation of the killer, and comes to find that answers may lie within an abandoned building in the center of Japan’s busiest neighborhood, and beyond the Gate of Sorrows. In this New Adult sequel to Miyabe’s The Book of Heroes, you will meet monsters from other worlds and ordinary horrors that surpass even supernatural threats.

[New translated work from the imaginative Miyuki Miyabe, gotta start on her works soon, I guess.]

"Praetorian of Dorn" by John French
As the first assault on the Solar System begins, the strength of the Imperial Fists and the seemngly impregnable fastness they have built is tested at last…
Recalled from the Great Crusade after Ullanor, Rogal Dorn and the VIIth Legion were appointed as the Emperor’s praetorians – but only after the Warmaster’s treachery was revealed did the full extent of that sacred duty become apparent. Now, the Solar System comes under attack for the first time since the war began, and many of the seemingly impregnable defences wrought by the Imperial Fists prove inadequate. With all eyes fixed firmly upon this new threat beyond the gates of Terra, who in turn will protect Dorn from the enemy within?
At last, Rogal Dorn and the VII Legion take centre stage in a Horus Heresy novel! And it's a doozy, as the assault on the Solar System begins. Or does it?

[Latest from the Horus Heresy series, need I say more?]  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

August 2016 New PC Games To Watch For

Finally a month with quite a good bunch of games to sort out through. It was really quite hard to distill these five games from the rest this month.

Batman: The Telltale Series
Batman: The Telltale Series is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure video game developed and published by Telltale Games and distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment under its DC Entertainment label. The game is based on Bob Kane and Bill Finger's Batman comic book series, though not tied to any previous adaption of the work in film or other media. Episode 1 was released on August 2, 2016.

No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky is an action-adventure survival video game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows.  The gameplay of No Man's Sky is built on four pillars — exploration, survival, combat, and trading. Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion (1.8×1019) planets, many with their own sets of flora and fauna. The game was released worldwide in August 12, 2016.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a cyberpunk-themed action role-playing stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Set two years after Human Revolution, Mankind Divided features the return of Adam Jensen from the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with new technology and body augmentations. The game was released on August 23, 2016.

Obduction is an adventure video game developed by Cyan Worlds. Obduction is considered a spiritual successor to Cyan's previous adventure games, Myst and Riven. In the game, the player finds their character transported to strange alien worlds but with human elements within the settings. The player must explore and solve puzzles to figure out how to return home. This was released on August 24, 2016.

God Eater 2: Rage Burst & God Eater: Resurrection
The God Eater franchise is a series of sci-fi action/adventure video games developed by Shift and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, starting with the titular game released on February 4, 2010 for the PlayStation Portable. Similar to the Monster Hunter franchise, it depicts the desperate battle between humanity and a race of omnivorous monsters in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world. God Eater 2: Rage Burst was released finally on PC on Steam on August 29, 2016 with God Eater: Resurrection as an added bonus.

Although this has not yet been released for the PC, nor is there any news regarding whether it will ever be released on any platform other than PS4, this most definitely is my most wanted game of 2016. And, boy oh boy, have I been waiting a long time for this one.

The King of Fighters XIV
The King of Fighters XIV is a fighting game in The King of Fighters series developed and published in Japan by SNK. The game is notable as the first main-series The King of Fighters game rendered entirely in 3D, in contrast to previous installments which used 2D raster imagery.
Critical reception to The King of Fighters XIV has been generally positive with video game publications praising its fighting system that would appeal newcomers and experts of fighting games. Nevertheless, it has also been criticized for its use of dated 3D models.
It is developed for the PlayStation 4 released on August 23 in North America, August 25 in Japan, and August 26 in Europe.

[What a fine list? Can't really pick any favorites this time.]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Manga Review - Black Clover Vol. 1

Manga Name : Black Clover (Volume One)   
Author: Tabata, Yuuki (Story & Art)  
Original Serialization: Shounen Jump (Weekly)
English Publisher : VIZ Media
Genres: Shounen, Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Magic 

Generic can be quite fun at times. The manga 'Black Clover' is a good example of that. Despite having generic and cliché characters, a generic setting and magic system, this manga somehow shines through. It's may be due to the writers passion for his story and characters. The crisp and enticingly detailed art helps too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - July 2016

Not really much to look forward to in terms of the big names this month but July does have some interesting titles if one went in deep.

"The Doomed City" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, Roadside Picnic, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide. Yet the novel they worked hardest on, the novel that was their own favorite, the novel that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English.
The Doomed City was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their best friends for sixteen years after its completion in 1972. It was only published in Russia during perestroika in the late 1980s, the last of their works to see publication. It was translated into a host of major European languages, and now appears in English in a major new translation by acclaimed translator Andrew Bromfield.
The Doomed City is set in an experimental city whose sun gets switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its sole inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves under conditions established by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a diehard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. And as increasingly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect.

[Although this is just a new translation from an old book from what I have read by the authors this is a must read for me.]

"Time Siege" by Wesley Chu
Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future.
Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland – the perfect hiding place for a fugitive ex-chronman to hide from the authorities.
James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James’s mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world.
James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James’s head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it.

[Sadly I haven't read anything from Wesley Chu yet, but I am sure I will like his writings a lot when I do.]

"SoHo Sins" by Richard Vine
They were the New York art scene’s golden couple until Amanda Oliver was found murdered, and her husband Philip confessed to shooting her. But was he a continent away when she died? Art dealer Jackson Wyeth sets out to learn the truth, and uncovers the secrets of Manhattan’s galleries and wild parties, a world of  beautiful girls growing up too fast and men losing their minds.  But even the worst the art world can imagine will seem tame when the final sin is revealed…

[Another promising new title from Hard Case Crime, should a fun Noir.]

"The Waking Fire" by Anthony Ryan
The Waking Fire is set in a vibrant new world where the blood of drakes—creatures similar to dragons—is valued beyond reckoning, and can be distilled into elixirs that grant fearsome powers to those who are “blood-blessed.” The novel follows an unregistered blood-blessed as he searches for an elusive variety of drake so potent, its capture would mean unrivalled riches; the second in command of a blood-burning ironclad ship; and a young woman in a lifelong contract to a trading syndicate, whose espionage mission places her on the front lines of a newly declared war. As empires clash and arcane mysteries reveal themselves, these characters are tested again and again and soon discover that the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.
The Draconis Memoria is a remarkable new epic fantasy series with steampunk flavor, full of the phenomenal worldbuilding and non-stop action that have gained Anthony Ryan a global fan base.

[Should be a fun book from another respected author I have yet to check out. The start of a new series so this might be the chance I was waiting for. Did I mention Dragons?] 

"The Stars Askew" by Rjurik Davidson
The stunning adventure begun in the critically acclaimed debut Unwrapped Sky continues
The Stars Askew is the highly anticipated sequel to the New Weird adventure begun by talented young author Rjurik Davidson. With the seditionists in power, Caeli-Amur has begun a new age. Or has it? The escaped House officials no longer send food, and the city is starving.
When the moderate leader Aceline is murdered, the trail leads Kata to a mysterious book that explains how to control the fabled Prism of Alerion. But when the last person to possess the book is found dead, it becomes clear that a conspiracy is afoot. At its center is former House Officiate Armand, who has hidden the Prism. Armand is vying for control of the Directorate, the highest political position in the city, until Armand is betrayed and sent to a prison camp to mine deadly bloodstone.
Meanwhile, Maximilian is sharing his mind with another being: the joker-god Aya. Aya leads Max to the realm of the Elo-Talern to seek a power source to remove Aya from Max’s brain. But when Max and Aya return, they find the vigilants destroying the last remnants of House power.
It seems the seditionists' hopes for a new age of peace and prosperity in Caeli-Amur have come to naught, and every attempt to improve the situation makes it worse. The question now is not just whether Kata, Max, and Armand can do anything to stop the bloody battle in the city, but if they can escape with their lives.

[This seems to be the month to remind of how far behind I am on my schedule for the reading from my TBR pile. Promises fun world-building.] 

"The Ghoul King" by Guy Haley
Quinn returns in THE GHOUL KING, another story of the Dreaming Cities by Guy Haley.
The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world – whatever that means, any more – to restock his small but essential inventory.
After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot.
But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many…

[Another Tor.com novella and this is a sequel, seems to be full of action.]

"Four Roads Cross" by Max Gladstone
The great city of Alt Coulumb is in crisis. The moon goddess Seril, long thought dead, is back—and the people of Alt Coulumb aren't happy. Protests rock the city, and Kos Everburning's creditors attempt a hostile takeover of the fire god's church. Tara Abernathy, the god's in-house Craftswoman, must defend the church against the world's fiercest necromantic firm—and against her old classmate, a rising star in the Craftwork world.
As if that weren't enough, Cat and Raz, supporting characters from Three Parts Dead, are back too, fighting monster pirates; skeleton kings drink frozen cocktails, defying several principles of anatomy; jails, hospitals, and temples are broken into and out of; choirs of flame sing over Alt Coulumb; demons pose significant problems; a farmers' market proves more important to world affairs than seems likely; doctors of theology strike back; Monk-Technician Abelard performs several miracles; The Rats! play Walsh's Place; and dragons give almost-helpful counsel.

[Just started the first book in the series, and it has got an imaginative setting, and the author is regarded as getting better with each release, intriguing indeed.]  

Quite a diverse list this time. Hoping for something similar for the rest of the year. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mini-Comic Review - New Super-Man #2

Name - New Super-Man #2
Published by - DC Comics
Written by - Gene Luen Yang

Art by - Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend, and Hi-Fi
Letters by - Dave Sharpe

Well, Kong Kenan is quickly and smoothly turning out to be one of my favorite superheroes. He has a eschewed moral compass, is kind of a bully making fun of both fat people as well as being provocative to women, he wants to show off his newly gained powers even at the expense of others and in a sense is a total jerk; yet he seems to have a hidden bit of heroism inside him which makes him almost inadvertently come to the rescue of people (go figure!); and once again more importantly he is a true enough depiction of a realistic Asian middle-class teenager.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

July 2016 New Comics To Watch For

Well this month is bad for the non-superhero comics actually, once again series' from 'DC Rebirth' dominate this list. What can I say, I really don't see much promising new stuff elsewhere this month.

Written by Bryan Lee O'malley
Art and Cover by Leslie Hung
WHO IS LOTTIE PERSON? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this new ongoing series from New York Times Best Seller BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY (Scott Pilgrim) and dazzling newcomer LESLIE HUNG!

Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea
The oceans rise. The earth quakes. And an ancient power rises to reclaim not just the world, but the universe itself -- and not even the combined might of the Justice League can stop it. An all-new era begins with this epic by comic book legend Bryan Hitch (JLA, The Ultimates) and master storyteller Tony S. Daniel (BATMAN: R.I.P., DEATHSTROKE).

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona
"SINESTRO'S LAW" Chapter One
With no backup and only his ring and battery to keep him alive, Hal Jordan streaks toward battle with the Sinestro Corps, while his greatest foe prepares to wipe the last Green Lantern of them all out of existence!

Written by Tim Seeley
Art and Cover by Javier Fernandez
"BETTER THAN BATMAN" Chapter One: Batman taught Nightwing everything he knows -- but what if everything he taught him is wrong? When Dick is stuck with a new mentor who challenges everything Batman taught him, Nightwing has to shatter his concept of justice in order to fight for what he knows is right. Writer Tim Seeley (GRAYSON, BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL) launches Nightwing onto a new quest alongside rising talent Javier Fernandez (RED HOOD/ARSENAL).

Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art and Cover by Victor Bogdanovic
"MADE IN CHINA" Chapter One: An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. Rising from the ashes of The Final Days of Superman, award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang and on-the-rise art star Victor Bogdanovic introduce readers to Kong Kenan -- the New Super-Man! When the world needed a new hero, China made him!