Skulduggery Pleasant

skulduggery pleasant

This request has been a long time coming but this review goes out to my friend Danny, a awesome dude. Miss ya man.

Stephanie Edgley is both saddened and surprised when her uncle, a famous fantasy/ horror writer, passes away suddenly; saddened because he was one of the few people in her family she connected with and shocked that he left her with his estate. A strange man outside of her family shows up to the funeral and will reading, dressed from head to toe with a scarf around his face. This stranger is Skulduggery Pleasant, a living skeleton and magic detective who will change Stephanie’s life forever, showing her that there is more to the boring life she knew- magic, intrigue, ancient artifacts, monsters, and ancient enemy who basically wants to bring an end to the world. It’s up to an enthusiastic Stephanie/ Valkyrie Cain ( as she will be known later on), the wise-cracking detective, a sword wielding young woman, and some friends to take down Skulduggery’s old enemy and save the day in this opening chapter of a huge series…

I’m really honestly surprised the Skulduggery Pleasant series hasn’t reached Blockbuster status in the US the way so many other series have because it has some cool ideas behind it. I really like how well magic was broken down and the rules the system was given. The characters are likable and interesting; Tanith maybe my favorite because she did have a epic intro and some cool fights throughout. I also liked the White Cleaver at the end, who I kind of pictured as an anime version of Mr X from RE2. Serpine, the main villain was fine but I found him generic as a bad guy but seeing as it’s the first of a series I can’t say I’m too surprised. There’s a few times in the second act leading into the third kind of slow but nothing damming. Overall, it’s a really cool book I’d recommend to readers younger or older and a series worth checking out. May the gaming gods bring you glory…

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Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles( DC Rebirth)

batman jokes and riddles

As a kid, Riddler was one of my favorite Batman villains, likely because of Jim Carey in Batman Forever . As I got older, I realized there was certainly more dangerous villains, but I always thought he deserved a darker incarnation on screen. I’m glad to say I got my wish with this book…

Batman has been haunted by a memory for years, a time he almost crossed the line, so he recounts the tale for his beloved Selina ( Catwoman) of the War of Jokes and Riddles. Edward Nigma, known to Gotham as the Riddler, is one of it’s greatest criminal masterminds and has been aiding the police in solving crimes they didn’t want the Bat involved. One night, in a bloody display, he escapes Arkham Asylum in search of Batman’s greatest foe, the Joker. Joker, who has lost the will to laugh, is in the midst of a rampage to find laughter again. Riddler makes a truce with Joker, for them to team up to kill Batman, to solve the ultimate riddle and tell the ultimate joke. As you would imagine, this partnership doesn’t last long and suddenly the criminal underworld of Gotham is divided, a gang war killing hundreds on the streets. the police can’t handle the madness and Batman finds himself unable to take both forces on himself. In the end, he’ll have to choose a side, but who do you side with?

First and foremost, Riddler steals the show for me here. He’s creepy and damn memorable with his riddle filled dialogue and his ruthless nature. This is the Riddler I’d love to see on screen. The story has a great character list that doesn’t get used much except for show, though Riddler does have a nice stroll with Poison Ivy and there is a epic sniper war between Deadshot and Deathstroke. The story isn’t bad but I felt disappointed, although it does pick up by the end. The art is fine but the character designs are more classic based and none really standing out. I was not a fan of Joker in the story, who just comes off as blah to me here. In the end, it’s not a bad story I suggest checking out if you like the Riddler and want a very villain based story, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy/ All New X Men: The Trial of Jean Grey

trial of Jean Grey

So, before we begin, let me pose a question that has been asked in fiction and is what got me to read this book: how far should you go to prosecute someone for something they haven’t committed yet? I love the All New X Men series, where the original 5 X Men go forward in time to stop a radical mutant movement while having to come to terms with there futures, whether it’s Iceman coming to terms with his sexuality, Beast discovering he’ll lose much of his physical humanity and it will eventually be his end, or in this case, Jean Grey finding out she will be the death of millions as the Dark Phoenix.

A console of planetary figureheads led by J-son of Spartax ( Star-lord’s real father; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) changed that hard). Earth has been put under a sort of quarantine because of the damage done to the universe as well as the amount of super-powered people there. The Guardians of the Galaxy have fought back and forth against this. The problem is, word gets out Grey is alive and well on Earth. This news sparks outrage amongst the others, especially Earth’s former ally Gladiator of the Shi’ar Empire who takes it upon himself, against everyone else’s wishes to have her captured and brought to trial and punished. A crew of mercs attack the X men and manage to capture her; the Guardians investigate thinking it was part of a plot from J-son Quill, showing up soon after Grey was captured. The X men and Guardians decide to free her, but it’s the Guardian’s allies, the Star-Jammers that wrecks Cyclops’s world- meeting his long lost father in space. Can the Guardians of the Galaxy and X men free Jean Grey and bring down a alien empire?

I had a lot of fun with this story and it’s a quick read. My favorite aspect was the interactions between the two teams, like Angel and Iceman being terrified of Groot or a quiet exchange between X-23 and Drax. The character roster and art work is pretty good and may I say the variant covers, which feature a member from each team paired together which are pretty epic. Good news for those who aren’t familiar with either series or it’s characters, there is a character sheet and two detailed synopses that bring you up to speed. The only drawback I have is there isn’t as much action as I would have liked to have seen and while it doesn’t make much sense, I would have loved a quick fight between the two. In the the end as I stated in my post 5 Marvel stories that hooked me and I’d say it’s worth checking out. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

Batman: White Knight

batman white knight

If you’ve been following our humble blog lately, you’ve likely noticed the villain posts lately, including such as 5 great Superman villains and 5 great Flash villains . Well, let’s face it, when it comes to super hero and villain relationships, none are more enigmatic, traumatic, and psychotic than Batman and Joker. But White Knight asks the question, what if Joker went sane, what would become of Gotham’s Dark Knight?

After the millionth or so go between the iconic figures, enough starts to seem to be enough. The collateral damage Batman inflicts on Gotham is huge but the day is saved; Joker bets Batman he he can be a greater hero and idol in Gotham than him. In Arkham Asylum he begins taking an experimental medication that does the impossible- makes the Joker sane. As Jack Napier, he wins his freedom back in the court of law and begins his long road to saving Gotham. He reignites his relationship with Harley, while breaking the second Harley Quinn’s psyche in the process and begins aiding the police. Meanwhile, Batman is riding the line as Alfred lays dying and he has become more quiet and violent than normal. Not even Mr Freeze’s aid can aid him and his anger is affecting Nightwing and Batgirl, who fight amongst themselves what to do with Bruce. If that wasn’t enough, a horde of Batman’s deadliest villains is running amok and the second Harley, now christened Neo-Joker, is out to get her psychotic hubby back but who be the one to save us and the one to damn us, the former clown prince of crime or the Batman?

I consider this a modern Batman classic but I have some tiny issues. The story is complex and exciting, raising some good points about Batman and exploring the relationship between the two enemies. There is a really good villain cast and Mr Freeze has some good character moments. Napier steals the show for the book and that’s actually refreshing because he’s a separate, flawed character in his own right. The artwork is cool and there is a lot of action. An issue I have is that the story takes a few liberties with Batman’s lore that don’t outright piss me off but one I feel can be used to make a tired ass sequel if followed. In the end, it’s a great story and I consider it to be one of the better Bat stoies. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Green Lantern: Earth One(V 1)

lantern earth 1

Sometimes I love long ass wait times on games to install. While doing just that I picked up a story I’ve been much anticipating, the Earth One version of Green Lantern. During my Man of Steel review I talked about how much the movie took from the first volume of Superman: Earth One. What makes the Earth One series unique is it is a more grounded re-imagining of our favorite DC heroes, so I was really curious how Lantern would turn out.

Hal Jordan was just another crew member on a mission to mine materials from a rock in space, escaping his past on Earth and wishing he wouldn’t have to return. During this mission, him and Volkov discover the remains of a destroyed vessel. Inside the wreckage they discover corpses, a metal skeleton, and a glowing green ring and what appears to be a battery. On there way back to the rest of the crew, Volkov places the ring on his finger and destroys there’s lander but in the mysterious artifacts keep Jordan alive in dead space. The metal corpse attacks him and almost instantly Jordan destroys it before blacking out. He awakes on another world with a alien named Killowag who explains these are the weapons of the long gone Green Lantern Corps that once protected the universe, before the mechanical Manhunters exterminated them, leaving relics and myth behind. It’s up to Hal and Killowag to cross the oceans of space to find more lanterns and answers while being hunted and survive with what little powers they have dying. Can the Green Lanterns resurface and destroy the machines?

I was in no way disappointed by this story and I can’t wait for volume 2, which we have some great teases at the end of book 1. I really like how much of the superhero pretext is stripped away and we get a dark sci-fi epic. I enjoy the changes to the characters and I enjoy how the story is layered to keep you guessing what really caused the Lantern’s downfall. The art is bleak with ques to scenery from the first Alien as well as Star trek (reboot) . My only real complaint is the action scenes can be a little confusing and there’s a rough story transition into the third act but otherwise it’s some of the best Lantern I’ve read in a while. I really recommend this story to fans and new comers alike. May the gaming gods bring you glory and beware Green Lantern’s light…

Of mice and men

of mice and men

So to start the year 2019, let’s begin with a classic: Of Mice and Men, a story most American kids nowadays are forced to read in middle school or high school English class much like Animal Farm and Lord of the flies (usually if you got a cool teacher or were an honor student).

Of Mice and Men follows two migrant workers and traveling partners and companions making there way to a much needed job during the depression. Life isn’t easy for George, the thoughtful and ill tempered of the two, who just wishes he can live a life less hard, put some roots down- but life with Lenny isn’t so easy. Lenny is a gentile giant with the mind of a child and some pretty harsh strength to match. Lenny’s curious and cumbersome nature makes life harder in a hard time but a dream George keeps telling Lenny keeps them afloat- a dream of a home and stability, and rabbits…but it’s with that sad truth George realizes some dreams are only that as he faces the hardest choice of his life after trouble comes for the last time…

Before I go onto my final verdict, I’m stating this now: this book is not for everyone. 11 year old Torsten though this book was long, drawn out and boring as shit. 25 year old Torsten found it a quick read that nearly brought a tear to his eye. It is slow paced, despite the actual minuscule size of the book but damn it hits you in the feels by the end. It is better a second time around because the foreshadowing becomes rather ominous and foreboding which I really liked and the ultimate tragedy hits harder. Overall I can’t recommend this book to everyone but if you want a great tragedy, definitely give this short but powerful book a go. May the gaming gods let you pet the rabbits…

Ultimate Fantastic 4: N- Zone

ult f v3

Originally my plan was to cover volumes 3 and 4 together but the next volume is literally like 3 stories in one where as volume 3 is one solid story. Also to avoid a recap, check out my review on Ultimate Fantastic 4: Fantastic / Doom but essentially we’re wrapping up there primary origin as the 4 embark into the N- Zone, where it’s believed they got there powers.

After facing the nefarious Mole Man and Dr Doom, Reed Richards ( Mr Fantastic) discovers a means to travel to the Negative Zone, the place who’s mere exposure caused there mutations and Doom’s deformation. It takes some talking with the volatile General Ross but Reed gets clearance to venture unto the breach with there custom shuttle, the Awesome. The N Zone is a dying universe, cold and near lifeless. The rules of physics are nearly null and void. The environment has a nasty, almost lethal effect on Johnny and his powers but they can’t go back without answers or empty handed. They come across a mangled space station inhabited by the starving dwellers of the universe, overseen by Nihilus, a eerie fly like creature who is desperate and wants a way out by any means necessary. Can the Four overcome this new threat with a man down and escape this dying hell?

This is a solid book but there is some drawbacks. There are some strong character moments between Sue and Johnny as brother and sister and I like seeing the conflict in Reed stemming from his ambition.  Nihilus does have a creepy vibe to him his motives are sympathetic. A problem that kills the story for me is the fact he’s honestly a wimp. One punch from Thing basically takes him out, and once they return to our dimension Johnny pretty much roasts his damn posse in 30 seconds. I felt like the pacing was off and the beginning was a little too long and the end game was too quick and there were a few times there could have been some sweet action scenes. In the end its a good solid story I think many would enjoy. May the gaming gods bring you glory.