Monday, January 28, 2013

Obssession Time!

I know that I am late in delivering Thor #337, but I've allowed myself to be sidetracked by a couple of things.

I've been catching up on episodes Bleach and I've started watching Lie To Me. So yeah, I've been letting myself get distracted but it falls into what this site is all about.

The majority of my time has been going into this show you may have heard of called Adventure Time. My kids and I have have been watching it from day one and we are loving on the comic book as well.

The thing about Adventure Time that is eating into my writing is something that has hit a nice big chunk of the fan base, the theory crafting of the show. What happened to Earth? Who started the Mushroom War and what was it about? What are the origins of these characters and how are they connected? So many questions to ask and find answers to. A number of blogs and youtube channels have been popping up about this. It is becoming a fun side hobby with the kids and I would have just passed over it if not for my son coming up with some theories of his own during the second season. It went full swing for me at the end of season four and start of season five.

The three of us are now examining everything from the start with a fine tooth comb as we look for clues. I don't know if this what Pen Ward had in mind for the show from the begining or if it is something that happened organically as the show went on, either way it's brilliant and turning out be a ton of fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This Week's Reads

Comics released on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

I had a very light week this week. One book. One book to rule them all. Revival #6 published by Image, written by Tim Seeley, art by Mike Norton, colors by Mark Englert and another fabulous cover by Jenny Frison. Seriously, check out that cover!

© Tim Seeley & Mike Norton

I love this series. I get withdrawal symptoms between issues. I may need to join a support group very soon.

At the start we get a small glimpse of what happened as news broke on Revival Day. Dana investigates a new murder with some pretty messed up twists. May starts checking into the ring found in Mrs. Vang's basement. Coop is making a new friend. What's up with old man Anders and what kind of trouble is Clyde Birch going to bring to the small town of Wausau, Wisconsin?

Both Mike and Tim keep knocking the ball out the park with each issue. Have I mentioned how much I love this book? It has to be in the "best of 2012" discussion, right up there with Saga and Hawkeye.

If you're not reading this, you should be. I can't recommend it enough. In fact, you can get the first trade paperback here. To my non-comic reading friends and family that like to read horror books, just trust me. Read. This. Book.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Unboxed: What If...#33

What If...? Volume 2, #33, cover date January 1992, release date November 19, 1991

Writers: George Caragonne, Pencils: Rod Ramos, Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti

This what if story starts off where the previous tale left off. Phoenix had her powers removed by the Shi'ar Empire. Left for dead by the Shadow King through Mastermind, Phoenix regains her powers and with a stray thought murders the real Jean Grey. The Phoenix is alive and well, now we must ask, what if the Phoenix rose again.

After erasing Jean Grey from existence, Phoenix detects the Shadow King on Muir Island. While searching Moira's compound, Phoenix is ambushed by the Shadow King using her daughter Rachel's body as a host. Rachel's body is also now that of a full grown adult.

The two engage in a psychic battle on the astral plan. The Phoenix over takes the Shadow King destroying him. Phoenix is able to restore Rachel to her rightful infant state. Upon their return to the mansion, she finds the X-Men and New Mutants have returned.Phoenix tells them nothing of has happened.

Eight years go by, Phoenix does not use her powers the entire time, until the Mutant Registration Act starts to become a reality. Phoenix starts to ask herself how much longer she should go on living her the way she has, all that power and doing nothing to help her friends and family.

Logan (Wolevrine) is walking down the hall and hears Rachel crying. Checking in on her, Rachel tells Logan about dreams of a fiery bird killing her mother and hurting her. Rachel doesn't want to talk tell her mother or Charles about the dreams, so Logan promises that he'll keep her safe. That same night Phoenix decides to take matters into her own hands by using her powers on the President to reverse his stance on mutant registration.

Phoenix's actions do not turn out well. The President is quickly assassinated and the implementation of the sentinels begins. The sentinels take out the Avengers, Fantastic Four and any super powered being that registered themselves as such. Those that didn't, heroes and villains alike, band together and take shelter at the mansion.

Logan decides to finally talk to Phoenix. He figures out that Phoenix has regained her powers and that she used them to alter President Russel's brain. Telling Logan none of that is true, he starts slapping her across the face, demanding that she tell the truth. Having had enough, Phoenix reveals her power, and makes Logan forget everything about what he knows. To her surprise as she and Logan exit the room, Scott and Professor Xavier are standing there having heard everything that happened. Phoenix decides to leave the mansion and the X-Men.

Meanwhile the sentinels attack the mansion, the X-Men find themselves having to team up with Magneto and other foes for survival. Using the tunnels used by the Morlocks for shelter and traversing the city, the X-men are discovered by the sentinels who immediately take Magneto out the fight, but just as quickly destroyed by Phoenix who has returned and it is decided to take the fight to the sentinels and Master Mold.

Surrounded by the mechanic hunter-killers the X-Men hit the sentinels fast and hard but not without casualties of their own. Nightcrawler is the first to fall dying in Kitty's (Shadowcat) arms. Kitty grabs Piotr (Colossus) phasing the two of them and head to Master Mold's chamber. Piotr hurls Kitty towards Master Mold, she phases into the master sentinel's head, and sacrifices herself by solidifying inside and destroying Master Mold from the inside. Phoenix is aware of what has happened. Scott orders the X-Men to scramble and Phoenix lights up, destroying the remaining sentinels.

Sometime later, Phoenix approaches Scott and tells hims that she is not the real Jean Grey. Scott is unphased by this and states his love for her. Phoenix then speaks with Destiny, who tells Phoenix that every possible future ends with her losing control of her powers and destroying everything that she holds dear. The only way to avert this, if for Phoenix to leave and return space.

Phoenix leaves her her friends and family on Earth, shedding the human form she had adopted. As she soars into the cosmos Phoenix asks herself, what if? Would thing be better if I had died?

Next up, Thor #337. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Unboxed: What If...#32

Property of Marvel Comics
What If...? Volume 2 #32, cover date December 1991, release date October 15, 1990.

Writers: Chris Claremont and George Caragonne, Pencils: Rod Ramos

The various What If series were always a fun read. Tales told by the Watcher asking the question, what if things happened this way instead of the way it did. What if style discussions go hand in hand with being a comic book fan and have been known to bring on epic debates of monumental proportion.

In this issue the question asked is, what if Phoenix had not died?

In typical fashion for this series, we get a rundown from the Watcher of what really happened as we know it and he then sets the stage for the story. In this particular what if, the Phoenix was captured by the Imperial Guard of the Shi'ar Empire before she was able to kill herself. What we are told is that while in custody of the Shi’ar, Phoenix is given a psychic lobotomy which removes her abilities but leaving her with the memories of the crimes she committed.

In the aftermath, Scott (Cyclops) and Phoenix leave the X-men to live their own lives. Phoenix has difficulty adjusting to life without her powers and the billions of lives she’s extinguished. Scott wakes up finds Phoenix gone. Sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette is Phoenix, who tells Scott that she doesn’t want to go bed. During their conversation however, Scott finds a bottle sleeping pills and has asks to himself why she would have them.

As the couple talk they head to the balcony and are soon interrupted by Magneto who is there for Phoenix. Scott and Magneto go at it when Phoenix decides to give herself up in exchange for Scott not getting pummeled to death.

Phoenix is taken to Magneto’s base, Asteroid M orbiting Earth. Magneto tries to play it nice but Phoenix is not in the mood for it demanding that Magneto get to the point of why he abducted her. Magneto has the means to restore her abilities by means of a device that he created trying to convince her that Scott and the X-Men betrayed her, claiming that the two of them should be working together.

Scott meanwhile rounds up the X-Men and head into orbit to rescue Phoenix from Magneto. They put the blackbird on autopilot to distract Magneto while they use a smaller asteroid to crash into the base and get inside.

The heroes track down Magneto and the fight begins. As the battle is happening Phoenix questions if she should use Magento’s device to restore her powers. She see’s her friends taking on Magneto and chooses to turn down the power and begins to smash the machine, catching Magneto’s attention. Angered that Phoenix has turned down his offer, he allows the X-Men to leave in peace.

After returning to Earth, Phoenix and Scott move back into the mansion. Scott rejoins the X-men and Phoenix goes off to college, not long afterward, their daughter Rachel is born and Phoenix becomes the mentor for the New Mutants.

During the time that the heroes and villains of the world were missing (Secret Wars), Phoenix is assaulted by Mastermind who is being controlled by the Shadow King, who wants to use Rachel as his host body. Phoenix tries to fight back but is shot several times by Mastermind who takes off with the baby.

Lying on the floor dying, the full extent of the phoenix force re-emerges and Phoenix realizes that her entire life has been a lie ever since she adopted the human form of Jean Grey. Phoenix flies off to where she placed Jean in a protective cocoon, She contemplates what her life would be like if she told the truth and with a stray thought, Phoenix kills Jean Grey, not even realizing what is happening until it is already over.

The issue ends there an leads into the next issue, What if the Phoenix Rose Again.

The Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix Saga are two of my favorite X-Men stories, I was more than happy to read a “what if” approach to the story. Rod Ramos is no John Byrne put he did an excellent job of capturing the X-Men of 1980. This one should be easily found in bargain bins, it is a fun read especially if you have the following issue to go with it.

Up next, What If...? #33 What If The Phoenix Rose Again?

Privateer Press Goes Digital

Over the last few weeks Privateer Press has released some news that's got me a little excited. Not only did Privateer announce their digital reader app, but they also announced Skull Island Expeditions. Now, it's time to save up for an ipad or other e-reader. I would hope to see the print books come with free or heavily discounted digital downloads eventually. I'm really looking forward to the novels more than anything else.

Property of Privateer Press

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This Week's Reads

Comics released on Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Batman #16 Castle of Cards

Property of DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo, Inks: Jon Glapion

The Death of the Family story arc continues. The Joker has abducted Alfred, poisoned Commissioner Gordon and knows the secret identities of the Bat Family.
Batman makes his way through Arkham in search of the Clown Prince of Crime in hopes of rescuing Alfred. Along the way Batman encounters roadblocks set up by Joker, a mob of the inmates dressed as medieval knights, Clayface, Mr. Freeze and Scarecrow before finding the Joker, but where is Alfred? Wait a minute, what's under that lid?!

What can I say about this creative team that hasn't been said already? They have earned the praises and I hope to see them on this book for good long run. I'd love to see them collaborate together on a project all their own.

Captain Marvel #9
Property of Marvel Comics

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Art: Filipe Andrade, Colors: Jordie Bellaire

First off, let me gush over the art in this book. I absolutely love it. Filipe is more than welcome to grace the pages of Captain Marvel anytime and as many times as he wants.

After getting her to do list hacked by Tony Stark, Carol and her day of running errands doesn't go quite the way she intended, even with her new lucky hat. Not only do we get see Captain Marvel in action against rampaging dinosaurs and gangsters, we get see Carol in some feel good moments as well.

DeConnick's story and Andrade's art mesh incredibly well here and makes the entire issue overly enjoyable. I spent a couple hours examining Filipe's art and have read the story three times.

Pathfinder #4 Dark Waters Rising chapter 4

Writer: Jim Zubkavich, Art: Andrew Huera, Colors: Ross Campbell

The goblins in the area becoming more of threat; attacking during the day and on open roads, encroching closer to villages and towns. Harsk, Ezren, Merisiel, Kyra, Valeros and Seoni want to know why and put a stop to them. Goblins, a gnome and giant spiders galore.

Four issues in and this title is proving to be a must read for fantasy fans. No knowledge of the Pathfinder role playing game is needed, just dig in and enjoy. With so many characters, Jim Zub does a great job of each one getting face time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Birds of Prey Now Zubless

I was really looking forward to seeing Jim Zub on Birds of Prey. DC has decided otherwise though.

Two months before his first issue was to hit the racks, DC moved Jim off of the book and now has Sword & Sorcery's Christy Marx on writing duties. What's odd is that DC has done the same to Robert Venditti on the new Constantine book.

Jim is great writer and big loss on DC's part. I'm sure Jim will get a run with one of the Big 2. Until then, you can check out Jim's work on Skullkickers, Pathfinder and Makeshift Miracle.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Under Construction

Pay no attention to the lack of content. It will be here soon enough. Until then, here's an introduction and a small rundown on what you'll be able to find here.

My name is Greg and I'm geek. I don't try to hide it, I wear that badge proudly.

My geekdom started around 1977/78 when I first saw reruns of the 1960's Spider-Man cartoon and that began my love affair with superheroes and comic books. The inner geek exploded as the late '70's and 80's went on thanks to properties like Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, G.I. Joe, Transformers and others.

The '80's however introduced me to something entirely new, Dungeons & Dragons. Space operas and superheroes were great, but playing the role of an adventurer fighting off beasties of all sorts seemed absolutely incredible. I was hooked without even having played a game. The art alone was enough to claim me. Superhero roleplaying games weren't far behind.

As the years went by I fell further into the grip of geekdom, collectible card games, miniature wargames, anime and video games became a big part of who and what I was.

This blog is a celebration to all of the things that contribute to what makes me who I am.

What you'll find here is variety of articles, reviews or random thoughts on comic books both old and new, video, roleplaying and miniature wargames, my favorite superhero cartoon series and whatever else may come to mind.

This Week's Reads - A weekly post on new comics released on Wenesdays.

The Backlog - A monthly post on new comics that I haven't gotten to reading to in a timely manner.

Unboxed - A series of posts based on what is already in my collection. One shortbox at a time, issue by issue. I have decided to exclude comics from the last two years or so until I get through everything else with the exception of some very specific titles that will be covered in other posts. I'm shooting for this to be up daily. One of the first things covered will be Walt Simonson's run on Thor.

Zubscribed - Since I discovered Skullkickers back in late 2010, Jim Zubkavich has become one of my favorite writers. This is going to cover SkullkickersPathfinder , Jim's upcoming run on DC's Birds of Prey and his original graphic novel Makeshift Miracle.

Finding the Lost Light - A series on the Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye (MTMTE) ongoing comic from IDW. This is one of the big sleeper titles of 2012.

Way of the Windwalker - A World of Warcraft journal of my draenai monk Shianndrea. It will be told from the perspective of the character as she levels from 1 to 90 with no heirloom items granting experience bonuses and no power runs with guildies. This toon was named after the lead character from the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa comic book series by Martheus Wade and MAW Productions.

Other things that I want to write on at some point are the superhero cartoons of the '70's and 80's, the A-Team, TJ Hooker, Greatest American Hero maybe even some Knight Rider. I want to get a new Iron Kingdoms campaign going so I'm sure that will show up here. A painting and modeling series, I want to do a very slow build on a Legion of Everblight or Protectorate of Menoth force and putting serious thought into the Dark Angels. Oh, and I have this thing for cooking, especially when it involves grilling and smoking, I'll be posting some pics that will make your mouth water.

Well, that's about it for now. It's going to be a work in progress, I hope to stay on task and have fun with it. I also want to thank everbody at FrogpantsComic Geek Speak and 11 O'clock Comics, iFanboyWord Balloon and Fanboy Radio for some much needed inspiration and motivation.
If you're reading this, thank you for staying with it this far and I hope to see you come back.