Monday, May 27, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic: All Work And No Play

Since my last Warcraft related post I haven't had a whole lot of time to be in game. We've been understaffed at work and with the end of the school year getting close the kids have kept me busy.

I did manage to get in three Warsong Gulch matches after patch 5.3 dropped, two losses, one win and Mesiriel reached level 21  In both losses we found ourselves against what looked like premade teams, at least half of each team was from a single guild. I had teammates dropping in one shot, which I haven't seen in a long time. This was even happening to people in full heirlooms and with as much resilience as could be had in the level 20 brackets. The second match had the enemy team comprised of two paladin tanks, two druid healers and the dps was four rouges and two warlocks, I spent more time being crowd controlled than anything else. The cool thing to see was the team trying their best, there was no name calling, no trolling, it was nice see everybody trying to salvage something good against clearly better teams.

Outside of that, I've unlocked the weekly quest for the Darkspear Rebellion, but haven't worked much on it. I did join up with a group taking on one of the Kor'Kron commanders and escorted a single caravan and it's a nice change of pace from grinding daily quests each day.

Until things get shored up at work and the rugrats are out of school, these posts may be far and inbetween until my time gets freed up for more game time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nova, Guardians and More Inifinity

I picked up the first three issues of Marvel's Nova series. Out is Rich Rider and in is the young teenage Sam Alexander and if you watch the Ultimate Spider-Men animated series, you've heard the name.

Sam's dad tells stories of his adventures with the Nova Corps and Sam takes them as exactly that, stories. That all changes when Sam's father goes missing. Enter Rocket Raccoon and Gamora who have taken it upon themselves to train Sam now that he has inherited his father's Nova Corps helmet.

Three issues in and I will be picking up the fourth today. Sam comes face to face with a Chitauri armada on a direct course for Earth. It's been an enjoyable read so far, hoping Loeb and McGuinness stay on for awhile.

Angela's new look

Guardians of the Galaxy is only up to the second (technically third) issue so far. With the recent release from Marvel of Angela's new look I am looking forward to seeing Age of Ultron #10 and Guardians #5. I've been slowly reorganizing and cataloging my books and gave my Angela stuff from Image a re-read. Yeah, the character and the stories may not have been groundbreaking, but there isn't anything wrong with Angela as a character. She'll bring a new layer to Marvel Cosmic and I'm eager to see how they spin the "angel' aspect of the character. It's going to be fun to have Neil Gaiman co-writing Guardians for awhile.

There is no shortage of teasers for Jonathan Hickman's Infinity event starting in August. Comic Book Resources is my go to website for comic news and they have a lot of material you can read up on. On top of that, everything going on in the pages of Avengers and New Avengers is a lead up to Infinity. I can't remember the last time  I've been this hyped for a comic series.  

We have two covers so far for the first issue of Infinity, one by Adam Kubert and a variant by Marko Djurdjevic both of which are adding more fuel to the fire. August can't get here fast enough.

Marko Djurdjevic
Adam Kubert

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Road To Infinity

In August, Jonathan Hickman gets his shot in the big spotlight at Marvel with a six issue limited series titled Infinity. Joining him for this cosmic tale is artist Jim Cheung. Any person even remotely familiar with Marvel understands what the title implies....

Thanos, The Mad-Titan, The Avatar of Death
I've never been into cosmic based comics a great deal. The Fantastic Four is the closest thing I can think of to a cosmic book that I read regularly. Sure other comics might have a cosmic adventure here and there, but I wasn't into any pure monthly cosmic stories. I've checked out the Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Super-Heroes, but couldn't get into any of them for any great length of time. Even when the Infinity Gauntlet came about in 1991, I didn't care one bit.

Twenty-two years later and spending ten years out the hobby brings about changes. One change being that I'm much more open to reading comics that I never would have in the past, and the emergence of one of the most talented writers in this solar system, Jonathan Hickman.

I was completely unfamiliar with many of the writers and artists that came into the comic industry while I was away. I had never heard of Jonathan Hickman before, all I knew was that he was writing the Fantastic Four and I heard nothing but positive reviews of his work on the title. His run on the Fantastic Four and FF would come to rival that of John Byrne and Kirby/Lee.

When news came of Marvel Now! and that Hickman was taking over writing duties on the Avengers, I was happy, actually I was quite excited. Jonathan writes for the big story, and you may not even notice all of the pieces coming together until it happens. So of course when I had heard that Hickman was doing an event called Infinity, I was down right giddy.

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. One of the books available was a prelude to Infinity and now August cannot get here fast enough. At first, with the announcement of Infinity I was just patiently looking forward to it. Then the excitement began to grip me after I read the prelude. Then after reading this interview with Marvel Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort at Comic Book Resources, all of my patience has been exhausted. Jim Cheung is a beast, that's all I'm going to say, go look up some of his other works.

Right now I am really enjoying what Marvel has been cranking out. Not only am I digging the Avengers family of books and the Fantastic Four but I am also getting into Marvel cosmic with Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. I know the Avengers will be front and center when Thanos comes knocking, I 'm very hopeful to see the Guardians and Nova right along side the Earth's mightiest heroes.

So come August, hit up your local comic shop and dive into some sweet cosmic goodness and get a taste of what that purple guy at the end of the Avengers movie is all about.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Unboxed: Thor #337

The Mighty Thor volume 1, #337, cover date November 1983, release date August 2nd, 1983

Written and drawn by Walt Simonson, coloring by George Roussos and lettering by John Workman Jr..

My first impression when I first saw this book was of confused wonder. Who was this person in Thor's armor and how is he able to wield Mjölnir? Why is he smashing up the logo?

The story opens somewhere in the vastness of space. The core of an ancient galaxy explodes and a piece of it is left in the form of an ingot of molten starstuff. Gathered by an unknown cosmic entity, we see the ingot slammed onto an anvil for molding.

Shifting to Earth we find Dr. Donald Blake on a walk through Grant Park. After being accidentally hit by a Frisbee, Blake is pushed into a waiting car by some unknown thugs. The car speeds off and Blake discovers the driver to be Colonel Nick Fury  of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Fury and Thor sit in an a briefing about an advanced space probe that had picked up a spacecraft and recorded the ship as it sucked in an entire star as a form of energy, the probe was then destroyed and the spacecraft is now headed towards Earth.

Thor makes his way into space and the story cuts to Asgard where Lady Sif is not in the best of moods after being forsaken by Thor for Earth. Volstagg is is chowing down, Sif turns to Balder who has also fallen into some form of self loathing. Sif then turns to Heimdall in hopes of finding a battle in which she can join, but Heimdall cannot help her.

Thor intercepts the ship shown in the briefing. Inside we see the ship identifying Thor as similar to the "demon breed" and targets and opens fire on him. Hurling  Mjölnir, Thor breaches the ship's hull and enters the ship. Thor notices that the ship begins to self repair and believes it to be a living machine. Thor spots a large crystal beset in some machinery not far from where he entered the ship. Believing that the crystal is the ship's heart, Thor approaches the crystal, the ship sounds an alarm as a giant hand punches through grabbing Thor by his head.

We again cut to Asgard where Loki is seething in horrific boredom. Loki begins one of his trademark monologues when he discovers a group of warriors hunting down a troll. The hunt comes to a sudden end when the troll is tricked into being captured by Lorelei. Loki is intrigued by Lorelei and offers her to join him at his dwelling. The warriors urge Lorelei not to trust Loki but she agrees and Loki bids the warriors away.

Beta Ray Bill
Back on the space vessel, Thor is slammed into a wall and his opponent is revealed as Beta Ray Bill.

Bill and Thor engage in a fight worthy of song in the halls of Valhalla. Throughout the fight Bill refers to Thor as a demon and no progress is made by either combatant in figuring out who the other is and their intentions. Thor is committed to preventing the ship from reaching Earth and Bill believes Thor to be an evil demon related to others he has fought before.

During the fight, Thor loses his grip on Mjölnir and reverts back into the form of Donald Blake. Blake gets himself knocked out by Bill as the ship crash lands on Earth. Bill emerges from the wreckage and is looking for Thor's hammer but finds only a stick. As Bill slams the stick against the ship's hull, he becomes adorned in Thor's armor and the stick is now in the form of Mjölnir.

Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are approaching the crash site when one of the flying cars is smashed by Bill hurling Mjölnir. Fury recognizes the hammer but recognizes that the wielder is not Thor.

Odin call Thor, er Bill to Asgard

An image of of Odin appears in the sky above and calls his son home on urgent business. Not knowing what had happened between Bill and Thor, Odin transports Bill to Asgard.

Fury and his agents begin to search the wreckage and Thor in the form of Donald Blake is seen climbing the wreckage, in wind and rain, crying out to his father Odin not to forsake him.

I've already stated how I feel about Walt Simson and Thor. I don't think there is much more that I could say. The run that starts with this issue is what turned me from being a Thor fan into a fanatic. I'm not sure how soon I will have the next issue up, I want to take my time with these, I'm not satisfied with doing just a recap review. As I go through each issue I'm hoping to find something more relevant, something that breaks my inability to express what I have going on in my mind. Thor #338 is the works, until then, fair thee well mortals.