Friday, September 30, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Nuka-World - Part Three

In this double-size episode, we get our first view of Nuka-World proper, tour the marketplace, run into an old familiar face and learn of the responsibilities we now have as the raider overboss. Then we just say "screw it" and kill them all, because they are filthy slave-trading raider scum and we are a big damn hero.

Oh, if only it were that simple...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Nuka-World - Part Two

In which we run "The Gauntlet" (Blue Vault-Dweller Needs Food Badly!) and find ourselves pitted in single-combat against the Overboss of Nuka-World. He's a cheating bastard but luckily so am I.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #9 - An Advanced Review/Preview

The Doctor and his latest companion - 41st century punk rocker Hattie - were enjoying a jam session when The TARDIS detected something strange. It led them to a spooky old house that was leaking temporal radiation. It smelled dangerous and looked like a trap, but The Doctor loves a good mystery and dove into the house in search of  adventure.

While readers are likely to solve the mystery long before The Doctor manages it, George Mann still crafts an entertaining romp in Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #9. Despite the Gothic under-trappings, the tale told here is a light, amusing one well-suited to Rachael Stott's art style and the vivid colors of Alexandre Siqueira. This book will be a welcome treat for all Whovians as we anxiously await the beginning of Series Ten.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #9 releases on September 28, 2016. 
Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #6 - An Advance Review

The rescue mission that saw the only survivors of a disaster that turned the world's greatest heroes into madmen and the people of their once proud city into savages has gone south. Now the survivors' only chance lies with the most unlikely of allies - Megalopolis' super-villains, kept safe these many months in a secret underground prison...

I think it says a lot about this series that I skipped reviewing the fifth issue because there was no way I could summarize it without spoilers and no imagery I could comfortably show as a preview. Such is the demented nature of the Leaving Megalopolis series. What Gail Simone, Jim Calafiore and Jason Wright have created here is easily the best story to ever combine superheroes and survival horror in any medium.

My only objection to this story - and it is a minor one - is that the ending is not quite so satisfying as the original and, by design, you have to have read the original mini-series to fully appreciate this one. That being said, the door is left open for future installments and I for one hope we shall see them,.

Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #6 releases on September 28, 2016. 
Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #5 - An Advance Review/Preview

With Sarah Jane Smith petrified and the alien creature that inspired the myth of Medusa poised to escape its prison into Victorian London, it will take all of The Doctor's cunning to save the day. But can even he contend with a vengeful holographic guard (who resembles the god Zeus) that stands poised to kill everyone in the vicinity in an effort to contain its prisoner?

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #5 provides a satisfying conclusion to a mini-series that perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who.The script by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby presented a classic gothic horror tale worthy of Robert Holmes at the height of his powers. This was well-matched by the spooky, sinister artwork by Brian Williamson and Hi-Fi. This is the perfect comic book for classic Whovians or fans of the new series looking for a suitable introduction to the Fourth Doctor era.

Doctor Who: The Fourth #5 releases on September 28, 2016. 
Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Conan The Slayer #3 - An Advanced Review/Preview

Ambushed by Turan soldiers, Conan and his new Kozak allies found themselves betrayed by their own Prince! Yet that concern pales to their current plight, as both groups were assaulted and captured by a band of monsters whose magic beguiles the senses and masks their true form. Now, as Conan's allies consider their traitorous brethren and an unlikely alliance with the Turan soldiers who wish them dead, Conan must contend with an amorous troll witch who has mating on her mind.

This latest Conan series from Dark Horse Comics continues to impress me. Cullen Bunn's stories are worthy of Robert E. Howard himself. Sergio Fernandez Davila's artwork perfectly captures the weird horror and vivid detail necessary to visually portray Hyboria. The color art by Michael Atiyeh proves perfect throughout the book. By Mitra, Conan hasn't been this good in years!

Conan The Slayer #3 releases on September 28, 2016. 
Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Nuka-World - Part One

In which we make our way to the Nuka-World Transit Center and - following a shootout with The Gunners made MUCH easier by having the high-ground - we manage to inspire truthfulness through heroism and walk into an obvious trap in the name of freedom.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Aquaman #7 - A Review

Safely returned to Atlantis, Arthur and Mera hunt the forces that faked an Atlantean attack on the United States Navy. All signs point to The Deluge - an group of terrorists devoted toward renewing hostilities with the surface world. Yet the true culprits are NEMO - a secretive group who had their own reasons for targeting Atlantis, even before the crowning of their new Fisher King, Black Manta!

After several action-filled issues, Aquaman tells a tale of espionage under the seas. The script by Dan Abnett invites comparison to The West Wing in its depictions of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering needed to run a nation. The theme of terrorism and the examination of what brings it about proves quite timely and one cannot help but draw parallels between the current state of affairs in the United States, with a minority executive struggling to pacify conservative elements of his own government while contending with outside threats.

The artwork is a good match for the story - seemingly simple but with surprising complexity. Scot Eaton instills a sense of motion to everything, even those scenes depicting characters merely having a conversation. Wayne Faucher's inks are kept relatively light, save for the close-ups where deeper shadows add increased depth to Eaton's fine line-work. And the colors by Gabe Eltaeb are well-chosen throughout.

All-New Wolverine #12 - A Review

The Inhuman Ulysses foresaw Old Man Logan killing his young clone, Gabby Linney. Somehow, he did not foresee it going badly when SHIELD and Captain America went to take Logan into custody regarding something he hadn't done yet. Now, with Gabby seemingly dead and a berserk Old Man Logan rampaging through New York City, it falls to The All-New Wolverine, Laura Kinney, to clean-up SHIELD's mess.

Alas, not even Tom Taylor's brilliant writing can make the stupidity of Civil War II entertaining. Captain America is horribly out of character here - apparently a major complaint about the crossover. (I, wisely it seems, have been avoiding the special apart from the tie-in issues in the Marvel books I regularly read.) Still, Taylor's script makes the most of a bad situation and Laura's speeches to both Cap and Old Man Logan are pretty damn awesome.

The artwork issues from the past few months continue to be a problem. Ig Guara draws a good fight scene, but his takes on Laura and Gabby appear to be the same age! However, the inking by Walden Wong is consistent and colorist Michael Garland manages a few neat touches, such as using single colors to punctuate key close-ups.

Lucifer #10 - A Review

The battle for control of Hell has been postponed by the arrival of a new God. Yes, God is back. And he is pissed, to put it mildly. And the first thing up on the chopping block for the universe is any sense of choice or self.

It's hard for me to discuss this issue in any detail. Indeed, that seems to be the case with most of the new Lucifer series. There is just so much backstory and history involved that it defies easy summation. It also doesn't help that the cover gives away what I believe was meant to be a surprise at the end of the issue.

I can say this much. Holly Black, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela and Veronica Gandini have crafted a worthy successor to the legacy of The Sandman and the first Lucifer series. This is a great book and it is one you should be reading.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Nine (NSFW)

In which we finally learn the purpose of these strange artifacts we've been retrieving and thwart the wedding of Lorealle to The Beast. But before that, we do a number of perverse and nonsensical things in order to score a few more cheap laughs as Eric's expense.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Eight (NSFW)

In which we must trek through the Swamp of Perdition and risk the Wrath of Khan (yes - THAT Khan) in order to retrieve the Bolt Cutters of Doom. We also have to attend college to become a professional pirate and contend with a four-headed monkey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #40 - A Review

The wolf is at the door for Batman and what remains of his Insurgency. The Regime has discovered the location of his last refuge and Bruce Wayne is cornered by Superman, Wonder Woman and the Yellow Lantern Hal Jordan. Now the only hope for the world rests on Batman's ability to stall for time as Barbara Gordon tries to activate the portal that will summon reinforcements from another Earth...

The final chapter of Injustice: Year Five is somewhat muted. Brian Buccellato does the best he can to push the suspense but there's only so much you can do when the reader already knows how the story must end. Mike S. Miller's art is unusually off-kilter, with a variety of forced poses and one laughable sequence in which Superman is somehow able to slap the mask off of Batman!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Seven (NSFW)

In which we reach the top of Mount Spa - Home of the Gods! We then play messenger (because apparently Hermes doesn't exist in this dimension), meet Morty - God of Agents and Agent of The Gods and contend with far more references to old Saturday Night Live skits than you'd expect.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Six (NSFW)

In which, in order to reach the top of Mount Spa, we must infiltrate a temple full of virgin maidens. This goes about as well as you might expect, if you're familiar with the Castle Anthrax scenes from Monty Python & The Holy Grail. There will be many hilarious deaths and sexiness will ensue.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #2 - A Review

The Birds of Prey have a lead on the new "Oracle", who is aiding and abetting the Mafia families of Gotham. Batgirl is fighting mad and in little mood to talk when both Commissioner Gordon and Batman raise concerns about her working with the new vigilante called Huntress. Huntress herself continues to have trouble fitting in with the team, being the sort of person who picks fights to test her teammates - a spectacularly bad idea when one of your teammates is Black Canary!
Writers Julie Benson and Shawna Benson truly grasp these characters and write them in a way no author has managed in several years. The interaction between the various Birds is the high-point of the book. While they are far from a functioning team, the interplay between them as the camaraderie builds and Huntress slowly gains the trust of her new allies proves quite amusing.

The issue features two art teams, but this does not distract from the flow of the story at all. There are a number of striking visuals throughout but  my personal favorite is the shadow of Batman falling across the clock-face of Batgirl's clock-tower just after Barbara asserts her independence. It looks good but is also a powerful symbol of Batgirl trying to get out of Batman's metaphorical shadow. The color art is also notable, particularly the gradient effects used in the twilight duel of Huntress and Black Canary.

The Flash #6 - A Review

A new villainous speedster dubbed Godspeed has been killing the people affected by The Speed Force Storm that gave dozens of normal people the gift of super-speed.  Of course Barry Allen was ready to run himself ragged over this development, even before his new girlfriend apparently became Godspeed's latest victim. Could The Fastest Man Alive have finally met his equal - or even his superior - in Godspeed?

While starting strongly and swiftly, this opening arc on The Flash seems to have lost all momentum. I realize the irony in saying this but it seems like this story has been moving too quickly in recent issues. Only two issues have passed since Barry Allen revealed his true identity to his new love interest and only one issue has passed since her disappearance and apparent death!  Still, I must commend Williamson for ensuring that this issue follows the Stan Lee axiom about treating every comic you write as if it was somebody's first, with the opening pages effectively recapping the series to date for those new readers playing catch-up.

The artwork feels similarly rushed this time around.  Carmine Di Giandomenico is usually a fine artist but the work here feels rushed and sloppy, with the inks being particularly uneven at times. The coloring effects used by Ivan Plascencia seem similarly thin and washed out.

Detective Comics #940 - A Review

The plans of the paramilitary group known as The Colony have been thwarted!  The state-of-the-art drones intended kill hundreds of innocent Gothamites have been hacked and redirected towards a single target. Unfortunately, that single target is Tim Drake!

I wish I could show you more of the wonderful artwork in this issue beyond this single page. Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas are delivering the greatest work in their careers. There is one splash page in particular that astonished me.

Unfortunately, such is the nature of this James Tynion IV's story here that I can say little and show less without giving away the game completely. In fact, there's only one thing I can say regarding this issue. Detective Comics is the best Batman book on the stands right now and you'd be a fool not to be reading it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Five (NSFW)

In which our quest for The Raw Steak Of Eternity leads us to a fair! It's a pretty fair fair with some decidedly unfair carnival games. To win the day and slay a dragon we'll need to prove how truly foolish we can be and womance a wavishing wedhead.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #14 - A Review

Some time ago The Doctor agreed to help Anubis - the last of the Osirans and the son of his old enemy Sutekh - in finding a way to ascend beyond this universe without destroying it in the process. That promise has taken The Doctor and his companion CindyWu to the edge of the universe and beyond. Now trapped "off the map", The Doctor finds himself in a place with a sky full of darkness that glows, that is totally alien yet horribly familiar,..

With this issue Nick Abadzis' has crafted a mystery that could only be told through the lens of Doctor Who. Comparisons to Blink and Midnight are both apt and inevitable, given the weird nature of this tale. That's weird in the classical definition, incidentally! Call it what you will, but Abadzis has proven himself the equal of Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat in terms of his dialogue and plotting.

The artwork proves equally excellent. Giorgia Sposito does a fine job depicting such impossible ideas as a dark sky that glows. She also possess a fine gift for visual storytelling, as seen in the pages where The Doctor explores the strange world on his own. The colors by Arianna Florean are well-chosen for their respective scenes and complete the artwork perfectly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #39 - A Review

The war between Superman's Regime and Batman's Insurgency has cost both sides many lives. In a desperate bid to end the fighting and save the man she loves, Catwoman offers to reveal the location of Batman's final hideout to Superman in exchange for his life. Little do they all realize that Batman and Lex Luthor are moments away from their own master-stroke to end the war...

This is a powerful penultimate issue for what has always been an enjoyable series. While there is little sense of suspense at this point, Brian Buccellato still wrings every bit of emotion he can from the proceedings. And Mike S. Miller and J. Nanjan bring that emotion forth in every panel of this book - from the tears in Catwoman's eyes as she betrays the only man she ever loved in a bid to save him to the determination in Batman's face as he faces his former friend in battle one more time.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Four (NSFW)

In which we seek the Crescent Wrench of Armageddon in Blicester Castle. This requires us to dance upon the line between tribute and outright rip-off, as we are taunted by French knights, solve a puzzle with a 90s beer commercial reference and enter into a medieval game show.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Three (NSFW)

In which we enter into the Enchanted Forest in search of The Pitchfork of Damocles. This leads us deep into the Not So Great Underground Empire, where we confront a number of in-jokes for the oldest of old-school gamers, a Dwarven theme-park and find ourselves in danger of being eaten by a gnu.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Aquaman #6 - A Review

Aquaman and Mera continue to flee towards freedom, as The United States and Atlantis spiral ever downward toward all-out war. Superman steps in to try and talk his friend into surrendering peacefully. It may be too late for that, however, as all Arthur Curry wants now is to return home and investigate who has betrayed his wishes for peace with the surface world.

Aquaman #6 proves a suitable conclusion for this series' opening story-arc. The centerpiece of the issue - the brawl between Superman, Mera and Aquaman - is a thrilling one, not the least of which because it establishes the strength of both our heroes and their ability to trade blows with Superman. The subplot involving Black Manta was resolved a little too quickly for my liking but the resolution was logical and well-handled.

My only real complaint about the story is how over-the-top the Chief of Staff is regarding wanting to see Aquaman killed. Or the fact that The White House Chief of Staff is afforded any control over the military at all! Perhaps this is one of those ways in which the DC Universe differs from our own?

Regardless, the artwork continues to impress. The story flows like the ocean waters under Brad Walker's guiding hand. Andrew Hennessy's inks are like Baby Bear's porridge - just right. And Gabe Eltaeb's colors are appropriately bright and exciting as befits a high-energy story like this one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Green Arrow #6 - A Review

I was not looking forward to Green Arrow #6. Indeed, I was prepared to outright loathe this issue. And the reason for that can be summed up in two words: Emiko Queen. I've made no secret of my antipathy for Emiko Queen since her first appearance during Jeff Lemire's run on Green Arrow. I don't like her for who she is as a character, being a cliche brat sidekick. More, I don't appreciate what she represents.

Emiko Queen is a living "Exhibit A" to everyone who has ever argued that Green Arrow is nothing more than a half-hearted Batman rip-off without an ounce of originality. For as Batman suddenly acquired a sidekick who was raised by a secretive order of assassins and trained from birth to destroy him, so too did Oliver Queen suddenly acquire a sidekick who was raised by a secretive order of assassins and trained from birth to destroy him. The only effective difference between Damian Wayne and Emiko Queen is their genders and the exact blood relationship between themselves and their mentors.

As such, after the cliffhanger ending of last month's issue of Green Arrow, I was ill-pleased that the fate of Green Arrow and Black Canary was going to be ignored in favor of a story focusing om Emiko. I couldn't think of anything I'd rather read less than a comic focused on Emiko Queen, with the possible exception of a sequel to Red Sonja: The Dark Tower. Imagine my surprise then, to find that Green Arrow #6 is not that bad.

In fact, it's pretty good.

In fact, it's almost as if Benjamin Percy had been reading my complaints about the character and said, "The dude has a point. I should do something to fix that." Because not only does Green Arrow #6 take steps to give Emiko an actual personality beyond "bratty assassin princess" - it also rectifies the various missteps Jeff Lemire made in handling both Shado and The Clock King!

I won't spoil the steps Percy takes with Shado and The Clock King in this issue beyond saying this. Those Mike Grell fans who complained about Shado's seemingly out-of-character behavior in the series so far will be gratified at some of the revelations contained in this issue. And Percy transforms Lemire's new take on The Clock King into a truly menacing criminal mastermind.

This is accomplished through two separate flashback tales, as Emiko tells her own story and of her desire to become her own person and quit being a tool of the various forces that have manipulated her since birth. The first tale shows Emiko's actions following the end of the events of last issue.  The second tale, set one year in the past, focuses on Emiko's attempt to investigate a series of strange robberies on her own, shortly after moving in with Oliver and officially becoming his sidekick. It's a credit to Percy's skills as a writer that both these stories are suspenseful, despite our logically knowing that Emiko must emerge from these stories unharmed.

The artwork by Steven Byrne is astonishing. Byrne has a tremendous sense of visual storytelling and the action of the issue flows easily from panel to panel. There are a variety of colors at play in the various palettes Byrne utilizes and the variety keeps the reader guessing as well as focused on the interplay and contrast between pages. My only quibble with the art is a minor continuity point - that the Oliver Queen of One Year Ago is depicted with his famous goatee, when he was shown to have only recently started styling his beard in that fashion.

That minor wrong, however, I am willing to forgive given how much has been done right. If you haven't given Green Arrow a chance yet, this is a fine time to start. I don't think you'll regret it.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #5 - A Review

Once upon a time, Mickey Smith was an idiot. Time and travels with The Doctor changed that. Ten years later, "Mickey The Idiot" has a wife (another former companion of The Doctor) and together they are two of the few people on Earth capable of dealing with alien menaces independent of UNIT and Torchwood.

When strange energy emissions in San Francisco transform several people - including his wife - into gargoyles after briefly giving them super-powers, Mickey knows he needs to call The Doctor for help. There's just one problem - The Doctor who answers the call is the one from 10 years in his past, who still only knows him as Mickey The Idiot! So now Mickey has to help The Doctor save the day while keeping The Doctor ignorant of his wife's identity and staying out of the sight of The Doctor's companions. No pressure.

Unfortunately, this second half of The Transformed doesn't live up to the concept presented in Part One. Cavan Scott abandons the farcical humor of bouncing the 2016 Mickey Smith off The Ninth Doctor in favor of straight up action. This might work if the plot didn't require Rose and Jack to act uncharacteristically stupid, beyond the point of mere recklessness.

A large problem is the artwork, which seems uncharacteristically rushed.  While Adriana Melo's close-ups look fair enough, most of the action sequences are little more than sketches. Indeed, were it not for the color art of Matheus Lopes, I'd think I was looking at the rough sketches made before the final artwork!

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part Two (NSFW)

In which we are charged with a sacred quest to save the Princess Lorealle. Then, after doing battle with the copy protection, we are charged by The Wizard Bud with a second sacred quest - to get him a root beer float!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #38 - A Review

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five #38 continues into the story of the game's opening sequence. This time,we see The Joker and Harley preparing to set-up a nuclear bomb in the middle of Metropolis. The twist is that the story is told primarily from Harley's perspective.

With little room for action in this issue, Brian Buccellato delivers the funny instead. Thankfully, his takes on The Joker and Harley are quite amusing. Marco Santucci manages a splendid sense of motion throughout as well as a few fantastic splash-pages as we see the action from afar. And Rex Lokus' colors are as wonderful as usual.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Starman Plays Eric The Unready - Part One (NSFW)

Join us for a tale most ribald, as an unlikely hero named Eric goes forth to break a foul enchantment that turned an innocent farmer's daughter (which is an oxymoron if ever there was one, if the jokes can be believed) into a pig.

All-New Wolverine Annual #1 - A Review

Being a superhero makes one accustom to all kinds of weirdness. Yet nothing can prepare you for waking up in a body that isn't your own in a parallel dimension! Such is the fate that has befallen the Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 (aka Spider-Woman) and Laura Kinney of Earth 616 (aka Wolverine). And unless they can figure out the cause of the switch quickly, they'll be sent back to their respective realities without any kind of body at all!

Body-swapping comedies tend towards the cliche, yet Tom Taylor manages to twist the classic trope enough to make it amusingly fresh. The artwork by Marcio Takara is lively, flowing smoothly with the action of Taylor's story. And Mat Lopes' colors are vibrant and well-chosen. This is a fine-one shot story, sure to please fans of both the former X-23 and Spider-Gwen.

Future Quest #4 - A Review

The reality-shattering vortexes are growing stronger, with Dr. Quest, his family and their new allies encountering a new one en route to meet with his colleague, Dr. Dale Messick. The latest vortex leads from a strange world where man and dinosaur lived together, endangering Dr. Messick's son, Todd! As our heroes investigate this latest curiosity, the sinister Dr. Zin makes a discovery that makes him reconsider his latest alliance.

It is a credit to Jeff Parker's talent as a writer and researcher that he has crafted such a rich shared universe using a wide variety of sources. It says a lot that he managed to conceive a reasonable explanation for the existence of Frankenstein Jr. - a giant robot superhero that looks like it was designed by a kid (because it was) and sneak in a tribute to voice actor Don Messick.

Doc Shaner, Ron Randall and Parker himself round-robin the art duties this month and it's as wonderful as the writing. From the introduction in which we see the final battle of cave-man hero Mightor to the oddly heart-warming story behind Frankenstein Jr's creation, this book is a great read. After four issues, Future Quest shows no signs of becoming stale. This is one of the best comics being published today!

Howard The Duck #10 - A Review

Howard The Duck just learned that his life is The Mojoverse's most popular reality show!  The problem is that this discovery was orchestrated by two alien "content creators"- Chipp and Joe - whom Mojo was paying to introduce random craziness into Howard's life to make things more interesting. Now, Howard is - as usual - caught in the middle of it as everyone is trying to cover up their various misdeeds with as much ratings-rising violence as possible.

With this gloriously metatextual issue, Chip Zdarsky has proven himself the premiere satirist of modern Marvel Comics and  a worthy heir to Steve Gerber's throne. The artwork is equally strong across the board. Still, all good things must come to an end and as much as I want to see how they end it all, I am not looking forward to the series finale.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Starman Plays Martian Memorandum - Part Five

The anti-climatic conclusion! In which we find missing heiress Alexis Alexander and only the fact that she wears proper support garments allows us to save the universe in the sleaziest fashion possible.