Thursday, June 30, 2016

Starman Plays Discworld II - Part Four

In which our petty thievery pays off and we move up to grand theft in our quest to perform The Rite Of Ashkente, as we steal a stench and condemn an innocent mouse to an eternity of torment as one of the walking (or scuttering) undead!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spectrum #1 - A Review

Hopefully you read the Spectrum #0 book that came out on Free Comic Book Day this year. Otherwise, you may find Spectrum #1 hopelessly confusing! The story continues directly from Issue #0, without any sort of summary page or explanation of what came before.

Thankfully, most of the issue focuses on a new character - pilot Cash Wayne - but the parts of the book relating to a mysterious girl called The Scion and her protector (an alien called a Neewalker) prove completely inaccessible without prior knowledge of the first issue. It's a vexing problem given that this is the first issue available for purchase and likely the first bit of exposure most readers will have to the world of Spectrum.

Thankfully, there's a great story here if you have read Spectrum #0. Cash Wayne is an instantly likeable protagonist  - a pilot of the Hal Jordan School of Heroism. The interaction between himself and Captain Raaker (the central protagonist of the series) is interesting, despite being born of a standard Leader/Lancer conflict.

The artwork is absorbing. The pencils by Jason Johnson do a fine job of establishing the futuristic setting and Johnson caricatures "stars" Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk well enough. The finishes by Sarah Stone truly make the art pop on the page, with hues of orange and lighting effects crafting a cinematic aura.

Starman Plays Discworld II - Part Three

In which we meet up with some old familiar faces. Only they look completely different than they did in the first game, due to the different animation style and they're both voiced by different actors. So they really aren't that familiar at all. Don't know why I mentioned them really.

Anyway, we continue exploring Ankh-Morpork and investigate the new Clickies theater, a traveling shop, the docks, what's left of The Fool's Guild and - because all video games must have a level there, by law - the sewers.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #28 - A Review

Barry Allen sought out Iris West seeking solace, only to find that she wanted nothing to do with him anymore. What is more, she's now part of the resistance fighting The Regime and she'd just been caught and cornered by King Shark and Girder - two brainwashed villains now in Superman's employ. But even if The Fastest Man Alive can save the woman he loves, is there still any hope of reconciliation?

I was hard-pressed to choose an image for this review because there's so much about this story I don't want to spoil. The creative team of Buccellato, Derenick and Lokus continue to fire on all cylinders as we approach Injustice's conclusion. It may be a bit late for me to encourage new readers to give this series a shot, but if you haven't been reading this series you are missing out on one of the best things to come out of DC Comics in the last decade.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Starman Plays Discworld II - Part Two

In which we get to know the various denizens of Unseen University, the city cemetery and The Shades (a little TOO well) whilst nicking every damn little object we can get our grubby little mitts on. Standard adventuring protocol, in other words. Now if only there were some pots to smash and chickens to rough up...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Starman Plays Discworld II - Part One

In which I pontificate on why this particular sequel isn't as good as the original and we watch the opening credits. Featuring a gratuitous Lethal Weapon 3 parody and Eric Idle singing.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #7 - Advance Review

A trip to a punk rock show on the 41st century space colony known as The Twist has led The Doctor to another adventure. Following a strange running man and dragging bass player Hattie along for the ride, The Doctor has uncovered a conspiracy - one beyond simply seeing an innocent man framed for murder - that may shake The Twist to its very core! And it involves the odd fox-like people who live in the tunnels underneath the streets of The Twist.

George Mann has done it again! The story for this series is classic Doctor Who goodness, filled to the brim with references to the classic series while still being easily accessible to new readers. And the artwork is the finest we've yet to see from Mariano Laclaustra, Carlos Cabrera and the rest of the art team.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #7 is due out on June 29th, 2016.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #3 - Advance Review

The good news is that an attempt by The Slitheen to disrupt a peace conference on the planet Clix has failed. The bad news is that - in an attempt to strengthen the bond between the worlds involved - the Slitheen agent involved has been sentenced to death by hunting... along with their hostage Rose Tyler, who was wrongly identified as an accomplice!

Naturally, The Doctor is ready to move the stars themselves to save his companion. But a bigger problem awaits him, as someone besides The Slitheen is also out to ruin the conference in a most fatal way! An unthinkable alliance may be the only thing that can save everyone...

Everything about the Ninth Doctor series astounds me. Cavan Scott has perfectly captured the voices of each of the individual characters from the series. And the artwork by Adriana Melo and Matheus Lopes looks amazing!

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #3 arrives in stores on June 29, 2016.

Red Sonja #6 - A Review

The battle for Hyrkania's soul rages on, with the rebellion attacking King Savas on his wedding day. And Red Sonja rides with the rebels astride a great phoenix! But when the war seems to claim one Sonja risked much to protect, will rage lead her to strike down another friend she falsely perceives as an enemy?

As much as I've enjoyed Marguerite Bennett's run on Red Sonja thus far, this final chapter of the opening arc seems a little weak. The battle in this issue feels incredibly rushed. And for all the ingenuity Bennett showed in the early chapters, she falls back all too readily into the standard fantasy tropes in the finale, with a wounded child spurring the hero into rash action and an ending that will surprise no one. The book is enjoyable despite this but it's still something of a disappointment given how unique this run had been.

That being said, Aneke's artwork continues to inspire admiration. Her work on this series has made Red Sonja into one of the most amazing-looking comics on the stands. The action sequences are all well-paced and the color art by Jorge Sutil is as vivid and visceral as the world of Hyboria itself.

Detective Comics #935 - A Review

The new team Batman has formed under Batwoman's command continues to train together but has yet to venture out in search of the vigilante hunters now patrolling Gotham's streets. All of them are anxious to fight but none more so than Tim Drake, who is more used to leading a team than following orders. Yet Tim has his reasons for wanting to get out in the field - a once-in-a-lifetime chance may soon take away his ability to serve as a superhero at all...

The focus of this issue is on Tim Drake and that is greatly to its benefit and the readers'. The relationship between Tim Drake and Bruce Wayne was one of the first casualties of The New 52 and it has never been clear just where the two stood with each other over the last five years. James Tynion IV explains everything here simply and quickly, catching-up new readers whilst satisfying those Bat-fans who fondly remember Tim Drake's days as Robin in the 1990s and 2000s.

While the focus is on Tim, the rest of the cast get their moments in the sun as well.  The complicated relationship between Kate Kane and her father from the Batwoman books continues to be explored and we get a few brief pages of Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake being a cute young couple that aren't worrying about their lives as heroes for a bit... even as Steph's sometimes roommate Cassandra accidentally butts in on their "us time".  Even Basil "Clayface" Karlo gets a nice moment as he asks Tim, somewhat sheepishly, if it would be okay for him to take the device Tim created that locked him into a human shape to go out to an audition... purely so he can feel like his old actor self again for a few hours.

The artwork for this series thus far perfectly matches the scripts in quality and tone. Eddy Barrows is one of the best pencilers to work on the Batman books in years and Eber Ferreira's inks complete his work wonderfully. There is a nice effect - I assume it is the work of colorist Adriano Lucas - in which several portraits of the characters have a somewhat muted look that contrasts with the more sharply defined panel work. This softer edge is quite striking, ironically standing out all the stronger amid the more focused artwork in the panels.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Flash #1 - A Review

Barry Allen is The Flash - The Fastest Man Alive. But now he's not alone.

Barry's learned the odd truth - that he once had a nephew named Wally West and once upon a time he too was The Flash and The Fastest Man Alive! More, someone has altered time itself, removing Wally from the world Barry knows and altering the very universe itself. Barry and Batman have begun exploring the mystery, as Wally makes contact with his former comrades in the Teen Titans.

Still, as much as Barry loves a big mystery, he can't stand still for too long and he still has his work as a CSI for the Central City Police Department to attend to, in addition to a lunch date with his friend Iris West (who he's starting to remember as something more than a friend) and an entirely different Wally West. Not even The Flash can be in two places at once, after all, though Barry will push himself as never before when one of his few friends on the police force is endangered by a new villain...

Despite being firmly tied into DC Universe Rebirth #1, this new Flash series doesn't continue the storyline we saw in The Flash: Rebirth #1. Instead, Joshua Williamson focuses upon Barry Allen as a character and establishes the life he has now rather than exploring what he had.

It's a fair choice and a helpful introduction for those new readers attracted from The Flash TV series as well as those giving the series a shot because of Rebirth. Willamson's script establishes Barry as an affable sort whose biggest sin is trying to take on too much at once. The rest of the supporting cast are also introduced and the issue ends on a gripping cliffhanger that promising big things for this opening arc.

The artwork by Carmine Di Giadnomenico upholds the same promise revealed in the Rebirth special. Di Giandomenico's style is reminiscent of Scott Kolins' work on The Flash years ago, but with a less gritty aesthetic. The colors of Ivan Plascencia contribute to this classic comic feeling, being as bright and eye-catching as those in any Silver Age story.

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Nine

In which we break THE CURSE OF MONKEY ISLAND (TM)!!!

We then jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, as we're imprisoned in THE DREAD PIRATE LECHUCK'S CARNIVAL OF THE DAMNED (TM)!!! And are forced to listen to a lot of EXPOSITION!!!

Will we escape?! Will Elane and Guybrush live happily ever after?!! Will I ever stop asking rhetorical questions and over using exclamation points?!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Eight

In which we add identify theft, grave-robbing, insurance fraud and cheating at cards to our lengthy list of crimes. Still, it's all in the name of true love, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Seven

In this chapter, Guybrush Threepwood Must Die!

But in between deaths, we get to know local bartender, playwright and all-around snob Griswold Goodsoup, buy life insurance from our old pal Stan the Salesman and go for a ride with The Flying Welshman on a harrowing trip to... SKULL ISLAND!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #27 - A Review

Five years ago, Barry Allen made a choice to join Superman's Regime in the hope that he could steer his friend's grief towards productive ends. It was a choice he'd come to regret, even before a psychotic Superman declared him a traitor and tried to kill him! Because that choice also cost Barry Allen the love of his life... and it may cost him more yet.

Despite a number of comics in the past which focused on The Flash and his moral conflicts while acting as the angel on Superman's shoulder, we haven't had any stories discussing Barry Allen's life outside of being The Flash in the Injustice universe. Brian Buccellato's script for this issue corrects this oversight and while more is hinted at than stated outright, what we see is heartbreaking. There's also an excellent fight scene between Superman and The Flash for those more concerned with action than emotion.

This action is once again ably illustrated by Tom Derenick and Rex Lokus. If pressed to pick a favorite creative team among the many wonderful artists to work on Injustice, they would probably be my choice for the best. Lokus always finds the perfect palettes to enhance Derenick's pencils and inks and it's always a good issue when they're at work on the art.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Contraptions (Possibly NSFW)

In which we use the new Contraptions DLC to construct a machine for one purpose - punishing The Traitor Preston Garvey by firing high-speed projectiles at his backside.

(I note that this is possibly NSFW on the grounds that you probably don't want to explain to your boss why you're watching a video of a man in bondage being shot in the ass with various phallic objects fired from a high-speed canon.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Six

Having survived the most peaceful mutiny ever, we begin to explore Blood Island, find an Easter Egg involving the first Monkey Island game, annoy and terrify the local fortune teller, get a crash course in pirate mixology and aggravate a lactose intolerant volcano god.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #11 - A Review

It's the height of The Jazz Age in New Orleans. Visiting this era has been a wonderful two-week vacation for Gabby Gonzales and her best friend Cindy Wu, who has found romance with a young trumpet player named Roscoe Ruskin. But The Doctor is distracted by something and practically has to be dragged out of the TARDIS for dinner every night.

It is on one of these nights that something strange happens which robs Roscoe of his ability to play. When it is revealed that Roscoe is the latest musician to be struck down by this "plague", The Doctor springs into action,. Could this be another attack by the living songs known as The Nocturnes? Or is something similarly sinister at play?

If this issue of Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor has a weakness, it is that isn't easily accessible to new readers. This is the risk you run when a skilled writer is on a series long enough to develop their own complex mythology. I've loved Nick Abadzis' work on this book and the way he's utilized the long history of Doctor Who while adding his own unique elements to the series. That being said, this particular issue is a little too self-referential and the summary page at the start doesn't explain several aspects of the story so far that might confuse new readers.

I have no quibbles about the artwork, which remains as excellent as ever. Guest artist Giorgia Sposito proves a capable replacement for Elena Casagrande, easily capturing the look of the established cast and The Doctor in particular. The action sequences of the issue are well blocked. And the color art by Arianna Florean and Azzurra Florean captures the wild spirit of the time period, adopting a muted tone during the moments in which it seems the magic of the music is being drained away.

Descender #12 - A Review

TIM-21 was overjoyed to find another TIM unit like himself among the robot resistance fighters known as The Hardwire. That joy turned to horror after his new "brother" became monstrous and tried to kill him, fearful that he would be replaced by the new TIM! How did TIM-22 become so twisted? The answers lie in this flashback tale...

Three months since the last issue of this series and Descender #12 still feels like filler. It's very well written filler with fantastic artwork but there's still a sense that this story didn't need to be told. It doesn't help that the trials and tribulations that TIM-22 went through in his past seem even more derivative of the movie A.I. than the base concept of this series, with a lost robot boy trying to find his family. Lemire managed to keep things fresh and interesting until now and one hopes the book will pick-up again in future issues.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lucifer #7 - A Review

Lucifer is returned to his Los Angeles night club. Yet the events set in motion by his investigation into the murder of The Presence continue. And as the archangel Raphael enlists the aid of reformed drug addict Lorrin Hammon in an investigation of his own, a war for control of Hell is brewing between the current queen Mazikeen, who holds much of Lucifer's power, and Lucifer's bastard son by the Japanese death goddess Izanami-No-Mikoto, who would rule over two afterlives by proxy.

This new Lucifer series continues to impress with every passing issue. Holly Black has taken the complex mythologies crafted by Neil Gaiman and Mike Carey and expanded upon them masterfully. The artwork by Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela proves equally astounding.

Clean Room #9 - A Review

For most of her life, Astrid Meuller has been fighting a war against other-worldly entities that few people notice and even fewer can fight. Now, on death's door following an assassin's attack, she has asked that Chloe Pierce - an enemy of sorts who is one of the only other people she trusts to be competent enough to continue her work - be brought to the Clean Room, which the entities are unable to enter under normal circumstances.  Unfortunately, Chloe brought an univited guest with her - an entity called Spark, who she believes to be far more benevolent than the manipulative Meuller...

If you aren't reading this book by now, I don't know what I can say that will convince you of your folly. What Gail Simone, Jon Davis-Hunt and Quinton Winter have created is easily the most original and best crafted series to come out of Vertigo in some time. Clean Room is a must read for all lovers of the strange and unusual.

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Five

In which we engage in some rousing pirate singing, epic ship-to-ship combat and sword-dueling with rhyming insults!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #26 - A Review

Lured into the open by the death of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman still managed to overcome Superman in single combat. Will he finally end the conflict between them with an act of murder? How will Damian Wayne - now calling himself Nightwing - respond? And what of the rest of the Justice League, who are already en route to save their leader?

There is little I can say about this chapter of Injustice: Year Five that would not spoil the story completely. I can say that Brian Buccellato has crafted an amazing fight scene, which Mike S. Miller and J. Nanjan bring to life perfectly. Beyond that, you'll have to read this issue yourself, if only for the touching coda at the end.

Lucifer #5 - A Review

One of the problems with being an avid reader is that occasionally a title can pass you by on a busy week. This is how I missed out on getting Lucifer #5 two months ago - something I didn't notice until picking up Issue 7 this week, when I realized I seemed to have skipped a chapter of the story. It's an oversight I'll never make again.

Holly Black's tale continues Vertigo Comics' fine tradition of supernatural thrillers and it comes to a most pleasing conclusion in this issue. The artwork by Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela astounds throughout. Really, there's no excuse for you not to read this series apart from being an absent-minded critic with too much on his plate. ;)

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Four

In which we go searching for gold to win the loyalty of Cut-Throat Bill, bring the legend of El Pollo Diablo to life, create the most disgusting treasure map ever and strike a blow for quality theater with some greasy cannonballs.

Green Arrow #1 - A Review

Things seem to be improving for Oliver Queen. His half-sister Emiko finally seems to be settling down into the normal life he's tried to build for her. And his new partnership with Black Canary - both on the streets and in the sheets - seems to be moving along swimmingly.

Unfortunately, his tendency to rely on his wealth as a means of getting the job done as both a vigilante and an activist does little to endear himself to "The Pretty Bird". And, even more unfortunately, their latest encounter with the gang of human traffickers known as The Underground Men revealed they were using Queen Industries shipping containers to transport their victims.

Now Oliver Queen has been forced to ask some uncomfortable questions. And those questions will shortly lead to some uncomfortable answers... and an even more uncomfortable battle.

My greatest fear with this new Green Arrow series was that Dinah Lance would be reduced to a supporting figure, more plot-device than a fully rounded character in her own right. While the Rebirth #1 special (which I reviewed for did calm my fears somewhat, this issue brought those worries back.

Dinah serves little function in this issue beyond putting Ollie in his place and teaching him "What Really Matters". While I'm not quite comfortable throwing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl label at her just yet, I do find it worrying that this version of Dinah (who, it should be noted, is a former covert-ops agent who did a lot of questionable things in the most recent incarnation of The Birds of Prey) will raise objections to Green Arrow's bribing a corrupt cop into doing the right thing but then go ahead and sleep with him before shooting down his earnest attempts at friendship. And the idea that Oliver is somehow less of a hero because of his privileged upbringing just doesn't ring true.

The strange irony of this issue is that - as before - the best bits of this issue involving Green Arrow and Black Canary interacting together are the action sequences. Give them a common menace to fight together and the chemistry between the two characters as written by Benjamin Percy is perfect. Return to the narrative that Oliver "cannot fight The Man because he is The Man" and the whole thing becomes as forced and tedious as the most cliched romantic comedy.

At least the artwork by Otto Schmidt continues to impress. Schmidt's gritty style is perfectly suited to the dark world of Green Arrow's Seattle and the color art is largely wonderful. My only quibble is the occasional odd page where Oliver and Dinah are suddenly platinum blonde and look more like Travis and Jennifer Morgan from Warlord.

Despite my quibbles, I do intend to keep reading this series for the moment. If nothing else, the final page is enough to hold my interest for another issue. I think, if this plays out the way I think it will, I may well forgive Percy any temporary mismanagement of Black Canary if this ends with him removing one of the more problematic aspects of Green Arrow in the New 52 reality.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Three

In which we start recruiting the dapper and salty lads of The Barbery Coast as our new crew. This requires dueling with banjos and rigging a caber toss. We also have a close encounter with a constrictor and some quicksand and face the unsanitary horrors of Captain Blondebeard's Chicken!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part Two

In which we seek wisdom (and exposition) from our old friend The Voodoo Priestess before getting exploring the city of Puerto Pollo and watching the rehearsal of the worst pirate-themed, one-man production of The Best of Shakespeare since the last one.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Starman Plays The Curse of Monkey Island - Part One

In which we view the opening movie, outwit the fearsome pirate Bloodnose, have our first encounter with the malevolent Murray The Skull and propose to the pirate queen of our dreams... with disastrous results!

Game Run Through ScummVM: 
Game Recorded With Open Broadcaster Software Classic:

Detective Comics #934 - A Review

Gotham City has become full of costumed avengers since Batman began his war on crime. Now, someone with resources and an army is tracking them all, apparently intent on bring them down. In order to win the battle to come, Batman needs to transform them from rogue vigilantes into an organized group. To that end he recruits Batwoman as his partner and teacher to this rag-tag group of vigilantes he hopes to shape into a team.

I went into this title with high expectations, having enjoyed James Tynion IV's previous work on Batman and Constantine The Hellblazer. I was not disappointed. Not only has he perfectly captured the essence of several long-neglected characters but he has also improved upon them. For instance, the relationship between Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown - considered by many to be a highlight of Chuck Dixon's Robin series - seems all the stronger here for being a partnership of equals.

The artwork is equally excellent. Eddy Barrows' designs for all the characters are outstanding, from his streamlined Batman to the nightmarish Clayface. Eber Ferreira avoids drowning the page in ink - a problem many Bat-inkers seem unable to avoid. And Adriano Lucas' finds the perfect palettes to finish everything up.

Aquaman: Rebirth #1 - A Review

As the bastard son of the former queen of Atlantis, Arthur Curry is a king by birth. Yet he is seen by even the most moderate of his subjects as a dangerous outsider, more loyal to the surface world he was born to than the people he nominally rules. Meanwhile, the people of the surface both fear him as the leader of an enemy nation (Atlantis having invaded the United States once during the Throne of Atlantis storyline) and mock him for his ability to communicate with sea-life... as if that were all he were capable of!

Dan Abnett's script for this issue is reminiscent of Geoff John's first issue of The New 52 Aquaman, though much lighter on humor. Still, he does address the public perception of Aquaman while showing how inaccurate it is, as Aquaman and Mera fight a group of Atlantean terrorists. In this, Abnett perfectly sets the stage for the new Aquaman series.

The artwork proves equally serviceable. There's no notation as to which pages were handled by the respective pencillers (Scot Eaton and Oscar Jimenez) and inkers (Mark Morales and Oscar Jimenez) but the artwork looks good throughout. And Gabe Eltaeb does his usual high-quality job on the color art.

Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion #6 - A Review

The Universe is ending! The Green Lantern Corps is all the stands between two reality-devouring horrors and the last city in existence. And as Simon Baz desperately searches for a way out of this reality, Guy Gardner broadcasts a desperate last message, hoping that someone will hear it and know that whatever happened in the end that The Green Lantern Corps died fighting.

If this were going to be the last Green Lantern story ever, Tom Taylor would have crafted them a worthy final tale. Of course we know that the fate of The Corps will be determined in a future story and that Simon Baz survived whatever happened to him in this issue's climax but that doesn't spoil this story at all. Taken for what it is, this is a fine piece of space opera that features a lot of great character moments, from Guy Gardner's desperate pleas that he and his friends not be forgotten to drill-sergeant Killwog 's rallying of the troops.

Unfortunately, the artwork takes a serious dip in quality in this final issue. Jack Herbert is a competent artist but his work here - based on the layouts of Scott McDaniel - is incredibly cluttered. You can barely see the backgrounds on those pages where there are backgrounds!  The color art by Hi-Fi, however, remains top-notch.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Howard The Duck #8 - A Review

Since Howard The Duck returned to monthly comics, one question has been asked more than any other - who the hell thought it was a good idea to bring Howard The Duck back to monthly comics?! But this issue devotes itself toward answering that next most frequently asked question - whatever happened to Beverly Switzler?

You know?  The gorgeous redhead art model who was Howard's sidekick/best-friend/possible love interest depending on which stories you consider canon?  Lea Thompson played her in the movie? Ringing any bells yet?

*sighs* Well, anyway this issue is about them catching up. And then a Sentinel who wants to avenge his murdered family shows up to kill them.

Oh sure - THAT gets your interest!

While not as political a writer as Steve Gerber, Chip Zdarsky has captured the comedic spirit of Gerber's work and his acerbic wit perfectly when it comes to parodying the outrageous nature of The Marvel Universe. Yet he also manages some honest emotion in the discussion between Beverly and Howard. You really feel for them and Zdarsky does a fine job of capturing a relationship that has faltered despite the best efforts of both parties involved.

The art team proves equally excellent when it comes to depicting the absurd action Zdarky's scripts require. It's hard to pick out any one aspect of it, the whole package is so good. That being said, I do love Joe Quinones design for The Punisher Sentinel.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Twenty-One

In which we fight a Coarser, uncover the truth of Jule's past and see Kasumi safely homeward as we finish the main storyline of Far Harbor.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Constantine The Hellblazer #13 - A Review

Compelled not to work against the demon Neron's plan to gain ownership of every soul in New York City, John Constantine is almost out of options. With a little help from his friends he might yet find a way to win. But that doesn't mean he - or his friends - will come out unscathed...

James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle masterfully bring this series to a fitting conclusion that invites comparison to Garth Ennis' Dangerous Habits.Constantine is at his manipulative best here but it spoils little to say that there are unintended consequences to his actions. For John, there always are. And the final pages of this issue are suitably bittersweet.

The story is equaled by the excellent artwork. Eryk Donovan's pencils and inks are as grand as ever, providing us with demons and faeries that look just human enough to be unsettling. The colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick are unusually bright for a horror title of this nature but suit the story well.

I'm going to miss this series. I truly am.

Black Canary #12 - A Review

Black Canary #12 brings the series to an ending. It is not a satisfying ending but there is far more closure than I'd anticipated. I will give Brenden Fletcher that little credit.

Most of the issue is concerned with Dinah starting a career as a solo musician, ignoring the pleas of the superhero community in joining their battle against something called Ravedeath. She finds time in the middle of all this to meet and marry Oliver Queen (whom we are told died in space in the most forced reference to David Bowie's Space Oddity ever) and gave birth to a daughter who might be Ditto - the time-manipulating McGuffin child.

Oh, and it turns out Dinah's mother taught her some secret reality-breaking punch when she was a baby, but she doesn't remember it until she's on her deathbed, where her lifelong study of music and chords allow her to understand how to use said technique to undo what her mom did and beat-up an 1980s rock-and-roll vampire demon thingy.

Maybe I need to be on a higher quality of medication for any of this to make sense?

Personally, I'd much rather see the Justice League fighting some evil alien invaders than watching Dinah Lance sit around a studio and conducting interviews about her upcoming album. But whatever. At the end of the issue, Dinah abandons her singing career, trades her thigh boots for army boots and goes off into the world freed from the baggage of her previous life. Her husband is dead. Ditto has magically been erased from the memories of everyone but her. And Amanda Waller seems content to leave her be... for now.

Annie Wu returns to do some of the artwork for this issue but even she can't disguise what a convoluted train-wreck this book became as Sandy Jarrell continues to apply the minimum amount of effort in everything. Lee Loughridge, at least, continues to color everything expertly but even a prettily-painted turd is still a turd.

And so Black Canary ends - not with a bang but a whimper. It was a tale told by a idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.Thankfully, based on what we've seen of Green Arrow and Batgirl and The Birds of Prey, Dinah is in much more capable hands now.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Twenty

In which Dima is confronted , accounts are settled  and we would enter the finale of the main storyline if it weren't for everyone in Acadia deciding NOW is the time to ask me for help with their personal problems.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Nineteen

In which we continue exploring the Vim! Pop Factory, find a rather tacky (but powerful) suit of Power Armor for Nick and uncover a dark and disturbing secret.

No, not that Vim! Soda's secret ingredient is people! But you're close!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #25 - A Review

Batman has apprehended Victor Zsasz - the serial killer who murdered Bruce Wayne's butler and foster father, Alfred Pennyworth. But Damien Wayne - now Nightwing - wants revenge. Yet Bruce needs Zsasz alive to prove that Superman released the serial-killer and set him upon Alfred as a means of luring Batman out in the open.

Mike S. Miller is in fine form in this week's issue. Many of the pages in this issue's Superman vs. Batman fighting montage are poster-worthy in their scope and quality. And J. Nanjan's color art provides a suitably rich finish to Miller's pencils and inks.

Brian Buccellato offers up an action-packed script. The fight sequences in this issue are amazing and uncharacteristically without dialogue compared to most of Buccellato's stories. This silence only serves to drive home just how serious things have become, for there are no words that need to be said between these two friends turned foes.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #24 - A Review

Alfred Pennyworth is dead and serial-killer Victor Zsasz has been revealed as the culprit. The question of just how Zasaz escaped from Superman's super-prison has yet to be answered. More pressing is the concern that an enraged Batman may expose himself to a wrathful Superman... or maybe even go over the edge in dealing with Zsasz.

The artwork for this issue is astonishing. Marco Santucci's visuals are amazing and the Gothic architecture of Gotham City has rarely seemed so foreboding. Rex Lokus completes the art perfectly with a muted palette of purples and grays.

Brian Buccellato's script proves equally enjoyable. Buccellato is known for his witty dialogue but this issue - largely taken up by a silent sequence in which Batman pursues Zsasz - shows that Buccellato is equally capable of telling a story without words. The whole story is amazing well paced, leading up to a tense cliffhanger in its conclusion.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Eighteen

In which I spare you having to watch me do all the hacking mini-games and we learn all about what Dima has forgotten. This does not save me, however, from getting lost trying to sneak out of The Nucleus. Still, after that we're free to search for Dima's secret bio-lab.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Seventeen

In which we finally beat that one Assaultron... only to have to fight an even tougher Assaultron afterward! But it is totally worth it because afterward, we are finally able to retrieve Dima's memories... by playing the most annoying puzzle-based hacking mini-game ever!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Sixteen

In which we trip balls on radioactive spring water, enter into the presence of Atom and have a hell of a time trying to kill an Assaultron.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Fifteen

In which we go searching for a missing Snynth, discover three out of four cannibals can't tell the difference between fake human and the real thing and begin preparations to infiltrate the Children of Atom.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Fourteen

In which we spy on the leaders of Acadia before setting off in search of some stolen memories on a broken-down old dock.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Superman: Rebirth #1 - A Review

Superman is dead. Yet another Superman lives. And Lana Lang will meet him as she tries to fulfill the final wishes of the Clark Kent she knew and loved, stealing his body from underneath the Superman memorial in Metropolis so that he can be buried next to The Kents in Smallville.
Apart from a flashback to the classic Death of Superman storyline, there isn't any action in Superman: Rebirth #1. What there is, however, is a remarkable character study of two different Supermen and the subtle differences between them. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason tell a heart-felt tale that is about the heart of Superman and who he should be, no matter what universe he is from.
The artwork for this issue is equally amazing. Doug Mahnke's pencils are in fine form throughout. Jaime Mendoza's inks are perfectly applied, neither too thick nor thin. And Wil Quintana finds the perfect color for every moment.

All-New Wolverine #9 - A Review

Laura Kinney doesn't work for SHIELD but she is willing to lend a hand when Maria Hill asks nicely and pays for her take-out. It seems they lost an agent investigating some new bio-weapon, which turned out to be pheromones meant to attract Fin Fang Foom. And the missing agent turns out to be an alternate universe version of the original Wolverine, from the future. And those facts are the least strange thing about the day the all-new Wolverine is about to have.

The cover may say this is a Civil War II tie-in but Tom Taylor keeps the script mercifully free of any reference to that event, save for gratuitous (and hilarious) cameos by Iron Man and Captain Marvel. This issue is high on laughs and short on drama, which is as it should be.

Marcio Takara's artwork is most enjoyable. The lack of backgrounds and pixelated skies in some panels threw me off a little bit but his character designs are good and the action of the issue flows well. And Matheus Lopes continues to impress with his color work.

Batman: Rebirth #1 - A Review

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I always felt that a #1 issue should serve as an introduction to a series. Granting that it is rare even outside of comics fandom for a person not to know who Batman is at this point, it would not be unexpected for the first book in a new series to be somewhat accessible to new readers. Unfortunately, while Batman: Rebirth #1 is many things, "user-friendly" isn't one of them.

The plot for this issue continues on from the previous Batman series, as if nothing had changed. Given the success of the book under Scott Snyder, that's probably for the best. Yet I can easily see new readers attracted by a #1 issue being confused by who Duke Thomas is (apparently he was a character in We Are Robin) and what is going on with The Calendar Man in this issue. The script by Snyder and Tom King is well written but I felt like I was walking into a movie theater when the film was half-over.

For all the problems I have with the accessibility of the story, I have no complaints about the artwork. Mikel Janin is a great artist, whose previous work on Superman and Justice League Dark I enjoyed immensely. And colorist June Chung completes every panel perfectly.

Bottom Line: If you liked the previous Batman book, you'll love this one.  Nothing has changed. Everything is as it should be. But if you're just now getting into the New 52 Batman, you'll want to go read the last five year's worth of material first.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Thirteen

In which we enter into Acadia, learn the Secret Origins of Nick Valentine and begin to get to know the people of the secretive synth colony.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Twelve

In which we recruit Longfellow and go snipe-hunting.

Okay, we're actually hunting a monster called Ship-breaker, but due to a bug in the game, it amounts to a snipe hunt.