Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mini-Comic Review - Secret Empire #0

Name - Secret Empire #0
Published by - Marvel Comics
Written by - Nice Spencer
Art by - Daniel Auna and Rod Reis
Letters by - VC's Travis Lanham
Release Date: April 19, 2017

 
To be able to truly appreciate the 'Secret Empire' crossover you have to be vested in the idea that Captain America: Steve Rogers series' is built upon, that Steve Rogers thinks himself to be a secret Hydra agent. This event is the ultimate culmination of that fact as Steve Rogers uses his brilliant strategic mind to achieve his goal of one nation under Hydra rule. And this 0th issue of Secret Empire does more than enough to launch this new event based on all the build up from the last year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mini-Comic Review - Batman #21

Name - Batman #21
Published by - DC Comics
Written by - Tom King
Art by - Jason Fabok
Coloring by - Brad Anderson
Letters by - Deron Bennett
Release Date: April 19, 2017


This story, or rather this crossover was a long time coming and there were lots of expectations regarding this one to say the least. Ever since DC Rebirth started and its ties to 'Watchmen' or rather to 'Dr. Manhattan' were revealed fans all over the world were waiting for further insight into the matter. And 'The Button', after its announcement was surely added excitement with its promise of revealing more about this exciting new direction of DC characters.

Monday, April 17, 2017

March 2017 New Comics To Watch For

As the saying goes, 'Better late than never'. So here is me finally being better with my march list for new comics.


HELENA CRASH #1 (of 5)
Written by Fabian Rangel Jr.
Art and Cover by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell

From writer Fabian Rangel Jr (Space Riders) and artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (Tank Girl) comes a new pulse pounding, caffeine fueled, sword swinging, machine-gun firing, car crashing sci-fi adventure comic! In a future where coffee is illegal, Helena is a courier, delivering black market goods to anyone who can afford her services. When Rojo, a ruthless crime boss, asks her to assassinate his rival, the alien mobster known as White Demon, Helena finds herself in the middle of a gang war! To survive, Helena must use all of her skills, and seek help from her friends to stay ahead of her enemies!


ROYAL CITY #1
Story, Art and Cover by Jeff Lemire

NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal, project to date.



EXTREMITY #1
Story, Art and Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson


Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead…who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.






THE MAGDALENA #1
Written by Ryan Cady and Tini Howard
Art and Cover by Christian Dibari

The Magdalena has always defended the world from demonic evil, empowered by the blood of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene in her veins. But when a brush with death leaves her gravely wounded, Patience decides to seek out the next in the bloodline and train her replacement. The replacement, meanwhile, is having enough trouble with finding her purpose even without the whole holy- warrior gig.






SAVAGE THINGS #1 (of 8)
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Ibrahim Moustafa

Twenty-five years ago, a secret government organization kidnapped children and trained them to be chaos agents who went on to foment unrest and execute enemies of the state around the world. When these cold and unfeeling creations proved too difficult to control, the powers that be exterminated their kill squad with extreme prejudice.
Too bad it didn’t work.
Now a rogue band of the worst monsters the world has ever known is cutting a swath of terror across the United States, threatening not just a disruption of the peace but to expose secrets their handlers never wanted to come to light. The only way to stop them is to call back the only man who ever walked away from them. His code name is Abel, and he’s not afraid of getting his hands bloody.


BATWOMAN #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art and Cover by Steve Epting

“The Many Arms Of Death” part one! At last—Batwoman is back in her own ongoing series! On the island nation of Coryana, anything goes for members of the criminal underworld…and during her lost years after being drummed out of the military, Kate Kane found a kind of refuge there. But now, a deadly new bioweapon is available in the markets of Coryana, and Batwoman will have to face up to the things she did in those days…and the people she left behind, some of whom would be happier to see her dead than alive!
Writer Marguerite Bennett (DC BOMBSHELLS) is joined by James Tynion IV (DETECTIVE COMICS) and superstar artist Steve Epting (Captain America, Velvet) to present an epic Batwoman story that will alter the course of her life forever! This one’s unmissable!


AMERICA #1
Written by Gabby Rivera
Art and Cover by Joe Quinones

At last! Everyone’s favorite no-nonsense powerhouse, America Chavez, gets her own series!
Written by critically-acclaimed YA novelist Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes A Breath) and drawn by all-star artist Joe Quinones (HOWARD THE DUCK), Marvel Comics’ brand new AMERICA series shines a solo spotlight on the high-octane and hard-hitting adventures of the one and only America Chavez!
America has always been uncontestably awesome, and as the newly appointed leader of the Ultimates, she’s now officially claimed her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the Marvel Universe! But while leading a team of heroes and punching out big bads is great and all, it doesn’t really leave much time for self-discovery… So what’s a super-powered teenager do when she’s looking for a little fulfillment? She goes to college!
She just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first, plus shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits!


IRON FIST #1
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Mike Perkins

THE GAUNTLET STARTS HERE!
K’un Lun is in ruins. The chi fueling Danny’s fists is wavering. Is there a future for the Iron Fist? Danny Rand pushes himself to the breaking point, finding fights to prove his worth. But a bigger fight than he can handle may have found him…


 





X-O MANOWAR #1
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Tomas Giorello

WAR IS COMING!
Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth...only to find himself stranded in the modern day.
But that was a lifetime ago.
Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.
But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!


[ In March I am mostly interested in the new 'X-O Manowar', 'Batwoman' and 'Iron Fist'. But who knows the other new series' just might surprise me. ]

Friday, April 14, 2017

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - April 2017

It seems April is a huge month for fiction with lots of interesting releases. There are new books from old and tested writers as well as some new blood starting their way into weaving new tales.

"Borne" by Jeff VanderMeer from HarperCollins Publishers

"Am I a person?" Borne asked me.
"Yes, you are a person," I told him. "But like a person, you can be a weapon, too."
In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech.
One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts—and definitely against Wick’s wishes—Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford.
"He was born, but I had borne him."
But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.


[ Well, I had read very good things about Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach series. Hopefully, this one is as good or better.]

"Special Purposes" by Gavin Smith from Abbadon

At the height of the Cold War, a Russian special forces team target New York with a horrifying new virus.
Vadim Scorlenski is the sergeant in charge of an elite Spetznaz squad at the height of the Cold War. Sent by the Politburo on a training exercise to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, Scorlenski and his men discover too late that the practice ‘weapon’ they’re carrying – an exotic chemical agent – is all too real. Betrayed by their allies and cut down by the American police, they go to their deaths...
...and awaken to a scene of turmoil. New York City has been overwhelmed by a horde of the walking dead, a plague that even now is spreading across the globe. Somehow holding onto their identities where all others have become mindless monsters, Scorlenski and his squad set out to return to Russia, to take revenge for what has been done to them.
 


[ Zombie army action, with quite an interesting setting. Should be fun. ]

"Avengers of the Moon" by Allen Steele from Tor Books

The solar system needs a hero and it's about to get one in an old-fashioned pulp adventure with modern sensibility
It was an age of miracles. It was an era of wonder. It was a time of troubles. It was all these things and more . . . except there were no heroes.
Naturally, one had to be created.

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret since the murder of Curt's parents.
Curt's innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There's only one way to uncover the evil mastermind—Curt must become Captain Future.
With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.
 


[ Ah, rewriting of Space pulp. Captain Future is a hero I have yet to check out, why not start from the newest version. ] 

"Winter Tide" by Ruthanna Emrys from Tor.com

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. Government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.
The government that stole Aphra's life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.
Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature
.


[ Another Cthulhu novella from Tor.com, this is always an interesting setting that makes readers wanna come back for more. ]

"Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1)" by Mark Lawrence from Ace

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
 


[ Anybody who knows about my taste in fantasy, knows I am a huge fan of Mark Lawrence. 'Red Sister' is the first book of his new series, need I say more? ]

"Within the Sanctuary of Wings (Lady Trent #5)" by Marie Brennan from Tor Books

The conclusion to the thrilling memoirs of Lady Isabella Trent and her legacy of dragon evolutionary research and anthropological adventures.
After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent--dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.
And yet--after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia--the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure--scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland's enemies--and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.
 


[ Last book in the acclaimed series by Marie Brennan. I have been meaning to check these out for a while now, now that the series is done, I know I should finally get on with it. ]

"Skullsworn" by Brian Staveley from Tor Books

Brian Staveley’s new standalone returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess attempting to join the ranks of the God of Death.
Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer--she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.
The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including "the one you love / who will not come again."
Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.
Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother—in the hope of finding love...and ending it on the edge of her sword.
 


[ Brian Staveley is one of the new stars of epic fantasy, 'Skullsworn' is his newest standalone. May be its high time I jump on the bandwagon. ]

"Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine" by David Annadale from Black Library

The mighty Warlord Titans of the Adeptus Titanicus go to war against the forces of Chaos.
The Battle Titans of the Adeptus Titanicus are towering war engines, striding to war as holy effigies of the Omnissiah, and the mighty Warlord Titans are the most renowned among all the forces of the Imperium of Man. Their weapons bring righteous death to the alien and the heretic alike, and the merest glimpse of them on the march has stalled entire planetary rebellions. But as the galaxy burns before the rampaging hordes of Chaos, it will take more than any one single Titan Legion to hold the line...
  


[ Latest Black Library novel from David Annadale, featuring Adeptus Titanicus action, what more does a fan need? ]

"Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia (The Horus Heresy: Primarchs #4)" by Guy Haley from Black Library

While crusading to build the Imperium, Perturabo, mercurial primarch of the Iron Warriors, hears ot turmoil on the world where he was raised, and abandons the crusade to return home and save his people.
Born to a life of political conflict, Perturabo was always considered a child prodigy among the people of Olympia – indeed, his philosophical and scientific works were beyond compare. But then, after his rediscovery by the Emperor and decades of thankless military campaigning on the Great Crusade, the primarch begins to resent his Legion’s place in the Imperium. When word reaches him of turmoil on his adoptive home world, he orders the Iron Warriors to abandon their campaign against the alien hrud and crush this emerging rebellion by any means necessary...
Focusing on Perturabo during his youth on Olympia, in the Great Crusade and upon his return to the world that defined him, this is a definitive look at what makes the master of iron tick.
 


[ Fourth book in the Primarchs series gets its limited edition release this month, should be a good read. ]  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Book Review - City of Stairs

Book - City of Stairs 
Writer - Robert Jackson Bennett

Series - The Divine Cities #1   
Published By - Broadway Books
 

I can hardly say anything about this book that hasn't already been said, so I will keep my review short. 'City of Stairs' is a book that I started reading with a mind that it might not reach the high expectations I was having of it based on the reviews on the internet. But I am delighted to say that it reached far beyond. This is an extraordinary tale of fantasy slash murder mystery with quite a memorable and powerful cast of characters and such fascinating world building as I have ever experienced.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Best New 3ds games of 2016

Well, on with my 3rd list of 2016 and I know I am way late, its the 4th month of 2017 already. But better late than never I guess.

This time I'll be keeping the list list very short while only including 5 titles. This list is totally based on my opinion and it is a bit biased obviously due to my preferences in genres and franchises.

In an ascending order -

No. 5: Monster Hunter Generations

Monster Hunter Generations is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS.  Like other titles in the Monster Hunter series, players undertake quests that involve hunting dangerous creatures. Major additions in this installment include special attacks, new combat styles, and the ability to play as Felynes, who have traditionally only appeared as a companion to the player. Announced in May 2015, the game was released in Japan in November 2015, under the title Monster Hunter X, and was released internationally in July 2016.

[ Though I am not that much skilled in the style of the Monster Hunter series, I do like the premise and execution of this franchise. Generations seems to be the latest entry improving greatly on previous ones, tempting stuff. ]

No. 4: Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, known in Japan as Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final, is a post-apocalyptic role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for the Nintendo 3DS. It is set in the same universe as Shin Megami Tensei IV and forms part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, the central series of the Megami Tensei franchise. It was released in Japan in February 2016, in North America in September 2016, and in Europe and Australia in December 2016.

[ Something about the setting and game play of this series intrigues me, and I know it is a series that I will like a lot and I need to start playing. ]

No. 3: Fire Emblem Fates

Fire Emblem Fates, known in Japan as Fire Emblem If, is a tactical role-playing video game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld video game console, developed by Intelligent Systems and Nintendo SPD and published by Nintendo. It is the twelfth game in the Fire Emblem series, and the second to be developed for Nintendo 3DS after Fire Emblem Awakening. Fates was released in three versions, each following a different storyline centered around the same characters: Birthright and Conquest as physical releases, and Revelation as downloadable content. The overarching story follows the protagonist, a customizable Avatar created by the player, as they are unwillingly drawn into a war between the Kingdoms of Hoshido (their birthplace) and Nohr (their adopted home), and must choose which side to support. In Revelation, the Avatar rallies both sides against the true mastermind behind the war. The gameplay, which revolves around tactical movement of units across a grid-based battlefield, shares many mechanics with previous Fire Emblem games, although some elements are unique to each scenario. It was released in June 2015 in Japan, then released internationally in 2016.

[ While not really my cup of tea, this game just might No. 1 on many peoples list for 3ds library this year. I did play a bit (never really delved into the depth of the mechanics) and I know I need to get back in on the fun soon. ]

No. 2: Zero Time Dilemma

Zero Time Dilemma is an adventure video game developed by Chime. It is the third entry in the Zero Escape series, following Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (2009) and Virtue's Last Reward (2012). The story is set between the previous two games, and follows nine people who are kidnapped by a masked person known as Zero. They are divided into three teams, and forced to play a death game called the "Decision Game". The player takes the roles of three of the characters, and plays through the chapters the story is made up of: these consist of animated cinematics, escape-the-room puzzles, and moral decisions for the player to make. The chapters represent 90-minute periods, and can be played out of order. The game was directed and written by series creator Kotaro Uchikoshi, and features music by Shinji Hosoe and character designs by Rui Tomono. It was released for Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita in June 2016, by Spike Chunsoft in Japan and Aksys Games in North America and Europe.

[ 999 provided me with a experience that I am doubtful I will ever forget; the suspense, the characters and the slow revealing of the story is something that I still reminisce fondly even years after I finished the game. I bought the second one for my 3ds and can hardly wait devouring the trilogy as a whole. ]  

No. 1: Pokémon Sun and Moon

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. They are the first installments in the seventh generation of Pokémon games. As with previous installments, each game follows the journey of a young Pokémon trainer (and the trainer's friends) as they train Pokémon. This time, the game takes place in the Alola region—based on Hawaii—with the object of the game being to thwart the schemes of Team Skull, and later the Aether Foundation, all while attempting to challenge various Pokémon trainers of gradually increasing difficulty. Sun and Moon introduced 81 new Pokémon species, and includes new features such as Alolan forms of previous generation Pokémon, powerful moves known as Z-Moves, new, powerful creatures known as Ultra Beasts, updated battle and training mechanics, and improved polygonal 3D graphics. First announced in February 2016 through a special Nintendo Direct, both Sun and Moon were released worldwide in November 2016, commemorating the franchise's 20th anniversary.

[ Pokemon has had a huge impact on my childhood, it introduced me to the joy of adventure and the pleasure accomplishment upon reaching your goal. I have played at least one game of each generation and completed some as well. Well, as a matter of fact, I bought my 3ds so that I could enjoy Pokemon as it was meant to enjoy. While Sun and Moon may not be as fun with new stuff as the last generation, it definitely adds enough new mechanics and interesting new Pokemons to keep me occupied for a long time. So, without a doubt, it is my best 3ds game of 2016. ]

Thursday, April 6, 2017

February 2017 New Comics To Watch For

The 2nd month of the year seems like a great month for new comics. With some varied new series' that are promising great stories for the future.

DARKNESS VISIBLE #1
Written by Mike Carey & Arvind Ethan David
Art and Cover by Brendan Cahill

When the demons came, humanity reluctantly learned to share the world with another sentient race. Eighty years later, this uneasy co-existence has spawned an endless terrorist conflict. Detective Daniel Aston, charged with being the thin blue line between the two sides, is tested to the limit when a demon sets up house inside his soul. But to save his daughter, he’ll pay any price—including genocide.

THE OLD GUARD #1
Written by Greg Rucka
Art and Cover by Leandro Fernandez

Eisner-winning writer GREG RUCKA (LAZARUS, BLACK MAGICK, Wonder Woman) and critically acclaimed artist LEANDRO FERNANDEZ (THE DISCIPLINE, Deadpool, Punisher: MAX) team up together to introduce THE OLD GUARD, the story of old soldiers who never die…and yet cannot seem to fade away.
Trapped in an immortality without explanation, Andromache of Scythia—“Andy”—and her comrades ply their trade for those who can find—and afford—their services. But in the 21st century, immortality is a hard secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates worse than death.




ELEKTRA #1
Written by Matt Owens
Art by Alec Morgan

CASINO BATTLE ROYALE!
Running from her tumultuous past, ELEKTRA attempts to lose herself in a vibrant sea of neon, noise and anonymity: LAS VEGAS. But how long can a former ninja assassin really hope to escape the vortex of violence that encompasses her life…especially when there’s a new player in Sin City that has her in his sights for his newest game? Enter: Arcade.







BULLSEYE #1 (of 5)
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Guillermo Sanna

SHOOT FIRST!
Daredevil, Elektra, Punisher… You name ’em, Bullseye beat ’em. But that was just business… This?
This is pleasure. What does the world’s greatest assassin do for fun? Find out what Bullseye gets involved in for laughs in this deadly first issue, way down in South America!









JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art and Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

Meet the Extremists—self-proclaimed saviors from another Earth, they thirst for peace, prosperity and total submission to the will of their leader, Lord Havok! How can the newly assembled JLA stop this group of misguided maniacs before the Extremists unleash their own unique—not to mention dangerous!—brand of law and order on our chaotic world?







SUPER SONS #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and Cover by Jorge Jimenez

“When I grow up” part one! The sons of Batman and Superman have graduated to their own monthly comic—but if they want to survive, they’re going to have to share it! Writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN & ROBIN, SUPERMAN) teams with rising-star artist Jorge Jimenez (EARTH 2) to bring you the adventures of the World’s Smallest. This debut issue looks at the lives of Robin and Superboy and their destiny to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, while we meet a new villain whose ascension parallels the boys’ own understanding of their powers—except that he believes it’s his right to rule over every being on the planet!

THE WILD STORM #1
Written by Warren Ellis
Art and Cover by Jon Davis-Hunt

A troubled woman, barred by her employer from continuing her research, walks miserably through New York City. It takes her a moment to notice that everybody else is looking up. A man has been thrown from the upper floor of the Halo skyscraper.
And that woman—Angela Spica, sick from the transhuman implants she’s buried in her own body—is the only person who can save him.
What she doesn’t know is that the act of saving that one man will tip over a vast and secret house of cards that encloses the entire world, if not the inner solar system. This is how the Wild Storm begins, and it may destroy covert power structures, secret space programs and even all of human history.
New York Times best-selling writer Warren Ellis (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, RED, THE AUTHORITY) returns to DC to curate Jim Lee’s WildStorm world, with this debut issue resetting the WildStorm universe with new iterations of Grifter, Voodoo, the Engineer, Jenny Sparks and others.


[ February features some new stuff that seems quite promising. I specially like what DC has to offer, damn, they are getting better and better after Rebirth, in my opinion. ]

Monday, April 3, 2017

Graphic Novel Review - Suicide Squad Volume 1: The Black Vault

Name - Suicide Squad Volume 1: The Black Vault
Published by - DC Comics   
Story by - Rob Williams 
Art by -  Carlos D'Anda, Jason Fabok, Gary Frank, Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Philip Tan, Scott Williams and more...

 
First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and DC Comics for this opportunity.
So, I have always had a mind to check out what the hell 'Suicide Squad' was all about (even more after the movie that left a lot to be desired). Fortunately Netgalley was offering the first volume for requesting and I picked it up. So the question is, does the new comics counterpart of the series disappoint like the movie or does it live up to the promise?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March 2017 New PC Games To Watch For

Last month might have been the best so far in terms of quality of games released this year. There are some big name entries into massive franchises as well as a few port of quality games of the past.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris. It is the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise and is the first Ghost Recon game to feature an open world environment. The game moves away from the futuristic setting introduced in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and instead feature a setting similar to the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. Ubisoft described it as one of the biggest open world games that they have ever published, with the game world including a wide variety of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts and salt flats. The game was released on March 7, 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Styx: Shards of Darkness
Styx: Shards of Darkness is a stealth video game developed by French developer Cyanide and published by Focus Home Interactive. It is the sequel to the 2014 game Styx: Master of Shadows and the third game set in the fictional world of the Of Orcs and Men series. Like its predecessor, Styx will be able to clone himself and to lay traps for his enemies, and will also be able to temporarily turn invisible. The player will have the option of engaging enemies or avoiding them. Ropes and grappling hooks can be used to reach high areas. The game was released worldwide on 14 March 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata is an open-world action role-playing video game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. Nier: Automata is a sequel to the 2010 video game Nier, a spin-off of the Drakengard series. Set in the midst of a proxy war between machines created by otherworldly invaders and the remnants of humanity, the story follows the battles of a combat android, her companion, and a fugitive prototype. Gameplay combines role-playing elements with action-based combat and mixed genre gameplay similar to that of Nier.Upon release, Nier: Automata was given highly positive reviews, with critics praising the game's narrative, characterization, music design, combat system and usage of different gameplay genres. Criticism was leveled at the game's technical problems. The game released worldwide on Steam for PC in March 17, 2017.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare Montreal and published by Electronic Arts for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. It is the fourth entry overall in the Mass Effect series and the first since 2012's Mass Effect 3. The game begins within the Milky Way Galaxy during the 22nd century, where humanity is planning to populate new home worlds in the Andromeda Galaxy as part of a strategy called the Andromeda Initiative. The player assumes the role of either Scott or Sara Ryder, an inexperienced military recruit who joins the Initiative and wakes up in Andromeda following a 600-year journey. Mass Effect: Andromeda has a lighter tone than previous installments in the series, with open world elements and an emphasis on exploration. Many of the series' traditional gameplay elements remain, while others have been modified, such as combat, which is less cover-based and more mobile. The game was released  in March 21, 2017.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games
It is bundle containing the first two games in the series Zero Escape, which is a series of adventure games directed and written by Kotaro Uchikoshi. Each game in the series follows a group of nine individuals, who are kidnapped and held captive by a person who goes by the name "Zero", and are forced to play a game of life and death in order to escape. The gameplay is divided into two types of sections: Novel sections, where the games' stories are presented, and Escape sections, where the player solves puzzles in escape-the-room scenarios. The stories are affected by player choices, and include multiple endings. This bundle containing the first two games, titled Zero Escape: The Nonary Games, was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in the West on March 24, 2017.

BONUS ENTRY
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U video game consoles. The game is a part of the The Legend of Zelda series, and is set in Hyrule and follows amnesiac protagonist Link, who awakens from a 100-year slumber to a mysterious voice that guides him to defeat Calamity Ganon. The title's gameplay and mechanics constitute a departure from the series' usual conventions, featuring an open-world environment, a detailed physics engine, high-definition visuals, voice acting, and the ability to play through the game's dungeons in any order the player chooses. Announced in 2013, the game was initially planned for release as a Wii U exclusive in 2015, but was delayed twice prior to its release on March 3, 2017. Breath of the Wild was a launch title for the Switch, as well as the final Nintendo-produced game for the Wii U.

[ Wow, what a month. Full of quality contents, containing multiple games which should be on many 'best of' list of 2017 to be sure. ]

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Book Review - Norse Mythology

Book - Norse Mythology 
Writer - Neil Gaiman   
Published By - W. W. Norton & Company
 
Mythology or rather stories dealing with regional folklore and ancient religious belief have always fascinated me, well at least since I can remember. And the Norse version or rather Scandinavian myths have been one of my favorites in this regard. On the other hand Neil Gaiman is also an author I am quite fond of from my previous experience. And, thankfully this book delivers on almost all grounds.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - March 2017

Once again, I am quite late with my lists this month. Job and life will do that to anyone I guess. But then again, I hope it can be as varied as ever and hopefully the books will provide on their promises' as well.

"Chalk" by Paul Cornell from Tor.com

Andrew Waggoner has always hung around with the losers in his school, desperately hoping each day that the school bullies — led by Drake — will pass by him in search of other prey. But one day they force him into the woods, and the bullying escalates into something more; something unforgivable; something unthinkable.
Broken, both physically and emotionally, something dies in Waggoner, and something else is born in its place.
In the hills of the West Country a chalk horse stands vigil over a site of ancient power, and there Waggoner finds in himself a reflection of rage and vengeance, a power and persona to topple those who would bring him low.
Paul Cornell plumbs the depths of magic and despair in this brutal exploration of bullying in Margaret Thatcher's England.


[ I rather tend to avoid books focus on bullying, having been a victim quite often in my own childhood as I was born a nerd. But this one has an edge from the blurb that interests me and the reviews all over the net is quite promising too. ]

"Hunger Makes The Wolf" by Alex Wells from Angry Robot

The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves.
Ten years later, she discovers that the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home.


[ A sci-fi from Angry Robot that promises an interesting premise, count me in. ]




"The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)" by John Scalzi from Tor Books

The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man's War.
Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible -- until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.
Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.
The Flow is eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals -- a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
 


[ I have read and heard a lot about Jon Scalzi, but sadly, have yet to experience reading his works. This might be my chance to do something about it. And this one has a hint of "Foundation' from the blurb, what am I still waiting for?! ] 

"Magic for Nothing (InCryptid #6)" by Seanan McGuire from DAW Books

Improbable, adjective:
1. Not very likely to happen; not probable.
2. Probably not a very good idea anyway.
3. See also “bad plan.”

As the youngest of the three Price children, Antimony is used to people not expecting much from her. She’s been happy playing roller derby and hanging out with her cousins, leaving the globe-trotting to her older siblings while she stays at home and tries to decide what she wants to do with her life. She always knew that one day, things would have to change. She didn’t think they’d change so fast.
Annie’s expectations keep getting shattered. She didn’t expect Verity to declare war on the Covenant of St. George on live television. She didn’t expect the Covenant to take her sister’s threat seriously. And she definitely didn’t expect to be packed off to London to infiltrate the Covenant from the inside…but as the only Price in her generation without a strong resemblance to the rest of the family, she’s the perfect choice to play spy. They need to know what’s coming. Their lives may depend on it.
But Annie has some secrets of her own, like the fact that she’s started setting things on fire when she touches them, and has no idea how to control it. Now she’s headed halfway around the world, into the den of the enemy, where blowing her cover could get her killed. She’s pretty sure things can’t get much worse.
Antimony Price is about to learn just how wrong it’s possible for one cryptozoologist to be.
 


[ My recent experience from Seanan Mcguire has left me begging for more, and this was on netgalley, and I was approved. Now it's high time to dive in on the fun I guess. ]

"Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder #1)" by Brian McClellan from Orbit

An epic new fantasy series from Brian McClellan, set in the same world as his wildly popular Powder Mage trilogy.
The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place - a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires.
The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with wile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall's present.
As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.
 


[ Still didn't read the first series from Brian McClellan, and this one should be new reader friendly. Hmm, I am rather conflicted... ]

"The Malice (Vagrant Trilogy #2)" by Peter Newman from Harper Voyager


Following Peter Newman’s brilliant debut, THE VAGRANT. This is the much-anticipated sequel, THE MALICE.
In the south, the Breach stirs.
Gamma’s sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more.
But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life and so he turns his back, ignoring its call.
The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers.
Her name is Vesper.

[ The first one of this series was on many 'Debut of the year' list. This should be good too. ]





"Phantom Pains (Arcadia Project #2)" by Mishell Baker from Saga Press

In the second book to the “exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted” (Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author) Borderline, Millie unwillingly returns to the Arcadia Project when an impossible and deadly situation pulls her back in.
Four months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project after losing her partner Teo to the lethal magic of an Unseelie fey countess. Now, in a final visit to the scene of the crime, Millie and her former boss Caryl encounter Teo’s tormented ghost. But there’s one problem: according to Caryl, ghosts don’t exist.
Millie has a new life, a stressful job, and no time to get pulled back into the Project, but she agrees to tell her side of the ghost story to the agents from the Project’s National Headquarters. During her visit though, tragedy strikes when one of the agents is gruesomely murdered in a way only Caryl could have achieved. Millie knows Caryl is innocent, but the only way to save her from the Project’s severe, off-the-books justice is to find the mysterious culprits that can only be seen when they want to be seen. Millie must solve the mystery not only to save Caryl, but also to foil an insidious, arcane terrorist plot that would leave two worlds in ruins.


[ I have quite high expectations for this one, because of the 'my kind' of urban fantasy vibe this series brings. Yet to read the first book of the series though. ]   

Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Novella Review - Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Novella - Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day 
Writer - Seanan McGuire    
Published By - Tor.com

While urban fantasy is not really my favorite genre to say the least, I really did have rather high expectation from this one. Seanan McGuire is a writer with a lot of hype on the internet and the blurb promised an interesting setting for this novella. The novella might not be extraordinary stuff (but it nearly could have been); but it does provide an unique experience with an unorthodox and imaginative setting, well fleshed out and realistic characters, and a dark and moody atmosphere which is a thought provoking read.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Best New English Mangas of 2016

I know this 2nd 'best of the year' list is a bit late. But better late than than never, right?

There are quite a lot of new mangas that started to be published in the year 2016. I have just selected some series' for this list which I think are must reads.

(PS: In no particular order of preference is this list created and only new series' that started being published in English for the first time were the main selection criteria.)

"Orange"
Written by Ichigo Takano
Published by Seven Seas

A Plea From the Future
On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!


[ Although Shoujo/romance manga is not my cup of tea, the amount of praise that 'Orange' gets is really note worthy. I think this might be a story worth checking out and its short length is also a plus in my opinion. ]

"Goodnight Punpun"
Story & Art by Inio Asano
Published by Viz Media

Meet Punpun Punyama. He’s an average kid in an average town.
He wants to win a Nobel Prize and save the world.
He wants to go far away with his true love.
He wants to find some porn.
But Punpun’s life is about to unravel…


[ It is said to be one of the best Seinen as well as one of the best coming-of-age manga of all time and now it is out in English. Definitely worth checking out. ] 

"I Am a Hero"
Story & Art by Kengo Hanazawa
Published by Dark Horse Manga

The zombie apocalypse has never been more surreal! A mentally unhinged manga artist witnesses the beginning of a zombie outbreak in Tokyo, and he's certain of only two things: he's destined to be the city's hero, and he possesses something very rare in Japan--an actual firearm! Kengo Hanazawa's award-winning series comes to Dark Horse, and this realistically-drawn international bestseller takes us from initial small battles for survival to a huge, body-horror epidemic that threatens all of humanity! These special omnibus volumes will collect two of the original Japanese books into each Dark Horse edition and include all of the color pages.

[ Zombie fiction is something that I am quite interested in and this one seems to have a setting that is different from the generic. And the reviews over the net seems to be mostly positive too. ]

"Haikyu!!"
Story & Art by Haruichi Furudate
Published by Viz Media

A chance event triggered Shouyou Hinata's love for volleyball. His club had no members, but somehow persevered and finally made it into its very first and final regular match of middle school, where it was steamrolled by Tobio Kageyama, a superstar player known as "King of the Court."
Vowing revenge, Hinata applied to the Karasuno High School volleyball club... only to come face-to-face with his hated rival, Kageyama!


[ A sports manga that is quite well received, should be good. ] 

"Kuroko's Basketball"
Story & Art by Tadatoshi Fuzimaki
Published by Viz Media

Kuroko Tetsuya doesn't stand out much. In fact, he's so plain that people hardly ever notice when he's around. Though he's just as unremarkable on the basketball court, that's where his plainness gives him an unexpected edge-one that lets him execute awesome moves without others noticing! And now that he's a high school student, he's on a mission to defeat each member of his legendary middle school team, known as the Miracle Generation, with the help of a new transfer student fresh from the U.S.-Taiga Kagami!
When incoming first-year Taiga Kagami joins the Seirin High basketball team, he meets Tetsuya Kuroko, a mysterious boy who’s plain beyond words. But Kagami's in for the shock of his life when he learns that the practically invisible Kuroko was once a member of the “Miracle Generation”—the undefeated, legendary team!
  


[ It seems good sports mangas are the thing this year, who am I to disagree with so many fans of this series, promising indeed. ]

"Platinum End"
Story by Tsugumi Ohba
Art by Takeshi Obata
Published by Viz Media

Troubled Mirai’s life changes when he gains the power of an angel, but he may need to become a devil to survive in the battle against others just like him!
As his classmates celebrate their middle school graduation, troubled Mirai is mired in darkness. But his battle is just beginning when he receives some salvation from above in the form of an angel. Now Mirai is pitted against 12 other chosen humans in a battle in which the winner becomes the next god of the world. Mirai has an angel in his corner, but he may need to become a devil to survive.
Mirai's once-great life turned to hell after his family was killed in a mysterious accident. But now that an angel is on his side, things might be looking up. With his newly received angelic powers, can Mirai get over his tragic past and find true happiness…?


[ From the creators of 'Death Note', hopefully it can deliver on the desires of so many. Still early for a decision but one can surely hope. ]

"Fire Force"
Story & Art by Atsushi Ohkubo
Published by Kodansha Comics USA

From the creator of Soul Eater!
The city of Tokyo is in the grip of a reign of terror! Possessed by demons, people have begun to burst into flame, leading to the establishment of a special firefighting team: the Fire Force, ready to roll on a moment's notice to fight spontaneous combustion anywhere it might break out. But the team is about to get a very unique addition: Shinra, a boy who possesses the unique power to run at the speed of a rocket, leaving behind the famous "devil's footprints" (and destroying his shoes in the process). Can the Fire Force discover the source of this strange phenomenon and put a stop to it? Or will the city burn to ashes first?


[ And lastly, a new series from the creator of 'Soul Eater', should be a simple yet enjoyable shounen for everyone. I already ordered two volumes from amazon and am keeping my fingers crossed. ]