Dreamcatcher

Jonesy, Pete, Beaver, and Henry are four longtime friends with 2 unique things binding them: a cabin in the woods and the psychic link they share with other. The four share this link with their best friend, Duddits, a mentally handicapped child they saved from bullies when they were younger. Duddits had a strange way of bringing joy and fun to their lives, and also that gift; Duddits was indeed a strange and special kind of boy. On what would be seeming their final hunting trip, the snow is falling hard and strange things start to happen. Why are the animals fleeing? Why are there army helicopters locking the forest down? and why did the friends find two strangers sitting alone in the snow?

Stephen King is undoubtedly a master horror writer and has given us dozens of masterpieces such as The Shining , Pet Sematary , Cujo , and Christine just to name a few. I say this because even a true legend is intitled to a few duds here and there; I feel like I have to mention this was the first book King wrote after his near-fatal accident and upon research, he was flying really high on pain meds so I give the man a break here. Dreamcatcher is one of King’s worst books. The book is drawn out and despite all that’s going on, I couldn’t help but not be invested in a story about alien slugs that explode out of your ass. Well, ok, I laughed really hard at that, which killed a lot of the suspense that the book tries to build up. Kurtz, unhinged head of the black ops team hunting the aliens down, seemed like an unremarkable King villain. As for the movie, while most of the book’s problems are present with some dodgy CGI thrown in, I have to say the actors are trying their asses off and there are some really beautiful shots here and there but alas, a good movie these things don’t make. I have to recommend the movie more because at least it breeches into WTF funny territory which helps kills the dragged-out feeling, but you can totally skip the book. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

The Store

Bill Davis is an average guy with a regular, loving American family living in a quiet little town of mom n pop shops and a generally nice atmosphere. Until the The Store comes. The Store is a major retailer that has everything for ridiculously competitive prices that takes his town by storm. Having the businesses of town strained and the albeit rapid expansion of its premises is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to big business, it is just the beginning. Disappearances, unexplained deaths, and a cult-like devotion to the Store is sweeping through the town; no matter the Store does, they find a way to buy themselves out, becoming a plague not only destroying the town but Bill’s own family, leaving him to question how far will they go?

Ok, so this story hit me in a nasty personal spot much like HORRORSTOR did, just on a way grander scale. I spent almost a decade of my life working for a certain evil empire I can’t name and I can tell you, anyone who’s ever worked retail, this is your worst nightmare. Unlike HORRORSTOR, this book goes to some outright disturbing places that somehow don’t feel out of the realm of possibility. What I love about the story is the Davis family and the townspeople are simple, relatable folk; the book is written with an easy, friendly style that lures you in instantly. Bently Little genuinely freaked me out while I read this and I give him a lot of credit for making a story that stuck with me and actually helped me leave the evil empire. In the end, I highly recommend this surprising read for a rare and unexpected kind of scare. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Superman: Brainiac/ Superman: Unbound

Superman had always known of the fate of his and his cousin, Kara Zor El’s, homeworld of Krypton. What he didn’t know was the massacre and eventual capturing of the city of Kandor at the hands of Brainiac; Kara, scarred by the horrors of watching her family being blipped away by the biomechanical tyrant, has never forgotten. When Superman comes upon a lonely probe, Supergirl fears the worst- Brainiac is coming. Hosting knowledge from throughout the universe garnered from billions of conquered species as well as an army of drones and a devastating mother ship connecting to his body, can the duo save Earth from the same fate as so many others?

I have to admit, I always loved Brainiac so I was glad to read the story as well as watch the movie based off of the book. They follow pretty closely but if I have to choose, I like the movie Unbound better than the book. There is a lot of action and characterization in the movie and I feel like Superman and Supergirl’s character arcs are realized much better in the film. The book feels blunter and to the point. Regardless I do love how cold and menacing Brainiac is portrayed as and I do love that he is shown to rightfully be one of Superman’s biggest threats. How he is defeated is also pretty creative and satisfying. I really like Supergirl; in the movie, I like that she has a pretty badass streak and I like how a lot of her story is about overcoming her fear of Brainiac. For the movie, the animation and voice acting are top notch; as for the book, it’s written fine and the artwork is really good at points but the pacing feels off and because of that, you don’t get everything the movie offered. In the end, it’s a really good story but I much more recommend the movie Unbound vs the book Brainiac. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Superman: Earth One (v1)

Clark Kent is an exceptional young man with a world of possibilities in front of him. A promising athlete, a gifted scholar, Clark is special, but how special most don’t know; Clark has extraordinary abilities, abilities that can change the world for the better or the worse. The last son of the dead world called Krypton, Clark is a young man struggling with the burden of isolating his true self and finding his true calling. When a malevolent alien force descends upon the globe led by the ruthless Tyrell looking to exterminate the last of the Kryptonians, Clark is given a choice: stay hidden at the chance for the normal happy life he yearns for, or unleash his potential before the world is destroyed.

I briefly talked about this story during my Man of Steel review and how a lot of this story went into the movie. Honestly, this was my first Earth One story and I couldn’t help but love it. Clark is made really relatable in the story and he feels like a regular college kid just trying to figure out where to go in life. The debut as Superman is really cool and there is some really cool action scenes towards the end. Tyrell is meh as a villain and I’m curious why they didn’t go with a more well-known villain for the first outing, which is one of my only real complaints. The artwork is really good and the book is written pretty well. In the end, I’d say this book is a good start for anyone wanting to try a Superman comic and as for me, I hope to read the other 2 books in the series. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Phantoms

Snowfield is a peaceful, picturesque, mountain town. Young Doctor Jenny Paige is traveling back home with her little sister Lisa after their mother just died. The two get along really well but Jenny can’t help feeling guilty over staying away for so long and avoiding her family. The town suddenly and eerily feels deserted as Jenny and Lisa uncover bodies all over town, each looked to have died in tremendous horror but nothing seems to make sense as each death defies rationality. The sisters manage to call reinforcements from the neighboring town but it becomes soon clear something deadly is lurking around Snowfield that defies more than just rationality.

I got to start by saying this is the first time I finished with a Dean Koontz book; I’ve tried several others but none really vibed with me until Phantoms. For positives, Koontz has really good flow and pacing. The characters and atmosphere are pretty good and their is even a few really good suspenseful moments. I really like the beginning and I was engaged to find out what the hell was going on. Around the third act the book started losing me and I couldn’t help feeling grateful the alien from The Thing wasn’t able to talk. The ending was basically your standard Hollywood ending and I felt a bit miffed like I did after reading IT (the novel). In the end, Phantoms is a good read. Not great, but I enjoyed it for a few long nights at work. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Batman: Earth One (vol.2)

Picking up where Batman: Earth OneĀ (V1) left off and the fall of sadistic mayor Cobblepot, the scum of Gotham grows weary of the legend of the Batman. With a new sense of hope, Jim Gordan begins anew, despite the trauma to his patner Bullock. The Dents, DA Harvey Dent and his sister, newly appointed Mayor Jessica Dent are bringing hell to the corruption of the city. But there’s a new threat, a heartless serial killer calling himself the Riddler that will test Batman’s resolve and his mind as he struffles to become the Knight we know…

I honestly enjoyed this story a bit more than the first and I can see a bit of this story going into the Batman film. Riddler was done really well; I have to admit I really like how Killer Croc was used in the story as a partial red herring and in this universe becomes a ally to Batman. Once Again, I loved Alfred and how he almost seems more badass than Batman. I liked seeing Batman evolve more as a detective and I like the debut of a better bat suit and Batmobile towards the end. The only thing that bugs me is how much of a straight up dick Harvey Dent is in this story; I never got the feeling he was a good man with issues, I feel he comes off as a overbearing dick that has some royal jealousy issues when it comes to Bruce. The third book is pretty interesting when it comes to the fate of the Dents but that’s for another post. In the end, I really liked this book and if you want a good Batman/ Riddler story, this one is worth your time. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Jurrasic Park (novel)

After being surprised by Jaws (novel) I was really curious how much Spielberg changed for the movie. While I have reviewed the Jurassic Park series and while the movie is pretty much a cultural phenomenon, I’m not going to regurgitate the plot because the general plot is the same. What I’m going to do is basically talk about the differences and while I actually really enjoyed the book for some pretty damn different reasons.

So the book for Jurassic Park, while having a lot of the splendor and wonder of the movie, there is actually a lot of smart ethical questions and corporate evil in the book. In fact, Hammond is actually an eerily evil sociopath that is hell-bent on basically being his own god, no matter who dies in the process. The book never feels preachy about the ethical issues and the science but expertly feels like a grim kind of foreshadowing of how everything goes belly up. Another huge difference is the body count and gore in the book which is definitely past the pg-13 boundary and a lot of characters die in the book that don’t in the movies. The climax is more intense and well, a bit more brutal but also more realistic and fitting. Pretty much the only part of the book I couldn’t stand was Alex, Tim’s now younger sister (in the movie she was the older); she’s annoying and I swear she almost gets her, Timmy, and Grant killed at least half a dozen times in some pretty idiotic ways. Hammond maybe my favorite part of the book, starting as the kindly if not delusional grandpa figure he was in the book to becoming a heartless bastard as the story unfolds. The book is reasonably paced and Crichton had a great way of not talking down to his readers but not dumbing his themes down. In the end, I highly recommend the novel for Jurrasic Park, especially on Audible like I enjoyed it. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Godzilla: Cataclysm

Godzilla: Cataclysm: Bunn, Cullen, Wachter, Dave: 9781631402425:  Amazon.com: Books

Where does the line between god and monster lie? For those that still survive in ruin, the line has blurred. The kaiju, the monsters of the world have turned their fury towards humanity, especially that of the legendary Godzilla. There is no reason, only death and despair in the titan’s wakes. Have the massive beasts finally decided to retake the world for themselves or has mankind pushed the boundaries of science and greed too far? When a small family comes upon something that can potentially begin regrowing life, their village is in desperate peril as Godzilla reemerged, angry, and with a vengeance.

So to begin, this review goes out to a longtime friend of the blog, Autobot who requested I cover this comic. Cataclysm is a really cool book I think Godzilla fans will really enjoy. I love the gritty, war-torn look of this little village inside of one of Godzilla’s footprints. The monsters look great and there is a good variety between well-knowns like Mothra and Destroyah but also a few lesser-known ones that look pretty kick-ass. It’s a really quick read that feels pretty self-contained which is nice. In the end, I had a lot of fun with this book and it’s well worth a read for Godzilla fans new and old. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Batman: Earth One (V1)

AARDVARK COMICS #1 (OF 1) (AARDVARK VANAHEIM 2017)

With The Batman finally hitting theaters soon, I thought I’d visit a series that seems to have been a big inspiration for the movie. While I was against this rendition at first, even damn near hating it at first, I cooled off and gave it a fresh chance. Was I wrong or simply proved right?

A new figure has emerged in the dismal city of Gotham, overrun with mob violence and crime on every street. This figure we know as the Batman, Bruce Wayne but far from the legendary detective and badass. Batman is a brawler in a costume with a lot of anger and not much else. His longtime guardian, butler, and trainer Alfred warn him he’s on the path to suicide as a nonlethal soldier in an impractical costume that relies on brute force instead of guns or weapons. Looking for revenge for his parents’s murders, the rising bat follows a train of clues, running parallel to broken detective Jim Gordan and superstar Harvey Bullock that bring him to the corrupt and sadistic mayor of Gotham: Oswald Cobblepot.

So I was pretty wrong in this case. After years and years of perfect Batman, this was a pretty refreshing if not really flawed look at Batman. I mean REALLY flawed. Alfred was a huge standout in this book; I love how he harbors resentment for Bruce and he’s bitter being strung along by duty and his own morality but he’s tired and he’s watching someone he ultimately cares about toss his life away fighting a war he isn’t even trying to win. I do love Penquin in this book and Colin Farrel is a spot on in The Batman so far as the Earth One version. I will saythe story itself is pretty standard and runs awfully close to Batman: Year One and Batman Begins so there is nothing really special there. While I love the reversing arcs of Gordan and Bullock, Gordan does come off as a sap in this book who just gave up which bugs me but at the end he sees the light a bit. The book ends with a nice cliff hanger that teases Riddler as the next big foe. In the end, it’s definitely a good Bat story that delivers on the characters and meh on the story but well worth looking into. May the gaming gods bring you glory.