Friday, September 29, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 150

The Stormcloak Rebellion comes to an epic conclusion as we retake Solitude, drive The Imperial Army from Skyrim and completely fail in my plan to steal General Tulius' soul and make it into a pair of boots..

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 149

Outfitted in our new Stormcloak Officer's armor, we're ready to liberate the final fortress before marching on Solitude.

Batgirl #15 - A Review

When a cryptic text message lures Batgirl and Nightwing to the same crime-scene, it becomes apparent that some villain from their past is out for revenge. All signs point to The Mad Hatter... or so they think. A new villain called The Red Queen has taken the field and she's uncomfortably familiar with both Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon - a revelation that forces the two allies to think back to their first case together, shortly after Barbara Gordon first moved to Gotham City!

The most miraculous aspect of Batgirl #15 is how well Hope Larson tells two mysteries at two different points in time without the past story spoiling the present one. Apart from both mysteries involving a woman named Ainsley - Barbara Gordon's first real friend upon first moving to Gotham - there's seemingly no common link between the stories. Larson also captures the characters of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon perfectly as both teenagers and young adults and the complicated friendship/romance between them is well-handled.

The work delivered by the art team proves equally enjoyable. Chris Wildgoose's kinetic style is a good match for Larson's script. The inks of Jose Marzan Jr. are kept similarly light and airy, adding clarity to the finished artwork. Mat Lopes' applies his colors with zeal, crafting one of the best looking books in the business!

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. A must-read for all fans of good mysteries and YA superheroes.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 148

In which our efforts to slip fake battle plans to an Imperial Commander prove that "Imperial Intelligence Officer' is any oxymoron, our new horse tracks us down across the length of Skyrim and  we reclaim two forts for The Stormcloak Rebellion.

Crosswind #4 - A Review

Somehow, Chicago hitman Cason Bennett and Seattle housewife Juniper Blue have swapped souls. Both found themselves in unfamiliar surroundings with Cason having to throw together dinner for Juniper's abusive husband and his boss and Juniper putting her cleaning skills to the test covering up a crime scene. Unfortunately, things have become even more complicated, as one of Cason's associates - a rival assassin named Cruz - just learned that Cason was sleeping with his fiancee and is out for blood...

With every passing issue, Crosswind gets better and better. Cat Stagg's beautiful photo-realistic artwork gives the series the perfect neo-noir aesthetic. Gail Simone's script is full of the dark comedy and thrilling action her fans have come to love, while deftly avoiding the usual cliches that body-swapping stories engage in (i.e. a man having to learn how to use make-up). Indeed, the end of this issue features a fascinating interview between Simone and transgender writer/actor Charles Battersby regarding those cliches and how Crosswind aspired to move past them.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. A Must Read!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 147

The Skyrim Civil War continues, as we journey to the Stormcloak camp in Hjaalmarch and set about tracking down an Imperial Courier. Hilarity ensues before the most anti-climactic ending ever.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 145

In which - having delivered The Jagged Crown to Jarl Ulfric - we  deliver an ultimatum to the Jarl of Whiterun and then lay siege to the city. Looting and pillaging ensues, as the local Imperial army lack the sense to run from an enraged Dragonborn.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Aquaman #28 - A Review

As the deposed Arthur Curry and his new ally, Dolphin, evade the minions of the Atlantean crime-boss Krush, Mera recruits the former Aqualad (now called Tempest) to try and penetrate the magical barriers around Atlantis. At the same time, the former Chief Elder, Vulko, makes his own play to bring down the corrupt regime of the new King, leading a clandestine raid on the royal treasury.

The most miraculous thing about Aquaman #28 is how accessible it is to new readers. Despite having one of the more involved mythologies of the DC Rebirth tiles, this book passes the Stan Lee test for every comic being written as if it was going to be someone's first exposure to the characters and their world. Dan Abentt's script manages this exposition smoothly and naturally, fitting it in between some stunning action sequences.

The artwork by Stjepan Sejic proves equally astonishing. I'm not sure if Aquaman has been officially bumped to a monthly-release schedule or is running late due to Sejic requiring more time for his intricate, beautiful and unique style of art. In either case, Aquaman has never looked better and it is well worth the wait.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. Flawless. Absolutely flawless. 

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 144

We're in the army now, as I (and, by extension, Mjoll) enlist in the Stormcloak Rebellion, to save Skyrim from the corrupt and incompetent Imperial regime.

Of course the fall of Alduin won't stop the random dragon attacks or my new brothers and sisters in arms being decidedly unimpressed after they help me kill a dragon...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nightwing #29 - A Review

Lost within a ring of snow and ice - the second circle of the labyrinth formed out of Gotham City - our heroes find themselves contending with a twisted version of Mr. Freeze and an army of frost giants! Thankfully, Nightwing has arrived on the scene to join the search for Batman, but he faces his own inner-conflict regarding the menace they face. Meanwhile, The Teen Titans meet up with The Suicide Squad, forming a reluctant alliance to get into the maze themselves...

The unfortunate thing about comic-book crossovers is that new readers, attracted by the linking story line, may find themselves turned away from a single chapter due to unexplained references to the book's regular story. This problem plagues Nightwing #29 which makes repeated mention of a villain called Dr. Hurt and Dick Grayson's connection to The Court of Owls. While I am vaguely familiar with this plot-line from Scott Snyder's Batman, Tim Seely doesn't do a very good job of explaining it and it's largely incidental to the action of the issue in any case. Even that much might be confusing for those readers who haven't already read Batman: The Red Death #1, which is more efficient in explaining the basic idea of The Dark Multiverse.

Thankfully, this issue's script makes up for this shortcoming in other ways. Seely's grasp of the characters, for instance, is top-notch. I was particularly gratified to see Killer Croc as being written as something other than a complete idiot, though Damian Wayne is back to being a spoiled brat. Your mileage may vary on if this is an accurate assessment of his character, but it doesn't jibe with what we saw in Teen Titans last week. But whatever - I can forgive a lot simply for the revelation that Harley Quinn and Green Arrow are both pen-and-paper RPG players.

The artwork is a similarly mixed bag. Paul Pelleiter is a good artist but his detail-driven style suffers in the small panels that the story requires. This frequently causes the panels to be cluttered and only the fact that Andrew Hennessy applies his inks so sparingly saves the issue. Even then, the fine details are often lost in the more heavily-shaded panels with a higher saturation of darker colors.

The Final Analysis: 6 out of 10.  Decent enough but it could have been so much better.

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 143

In which we enter into Sovngarde to save the souls of the honored dead, fulfill our destiny and slay Alduin The World-Eater! But first we must best the doorman in honorable combat (yeah right) and resist the lure of stealing the booze of the gods!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 142

In which we raid the temple of Skuldafn, seeking a way to the afterlife that doesn't involving being killed by dragons or death-lords.

Injustice 2 #24 (Digital Edition) - A Review

Batman and his new Justice League have rescued the hostages but lain waste to Ra's Al Ghul's secret animal sanctuary in the process. The Demon's Head is not known for his sense of mercy nor being slow in retaliation for a slight. How shall Ra's Al Ghul take his revenge upon The Detective?

I can't show any image scans of this issue of Injustice 2 it is so stunning but also so spoilery. Suffice it to say the battle with Ra's Al Ghul has only begun and Tom Taylor has raised the stakes of an already high game. He also manages another surprise as we learn of a shocking ally to Ra's plans to save the world. Artistically, Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus continue to knock it out of the park with every endeavor. This remains one of my favorite books and the high-point of my Tuesday mornings.

Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. Solid stuff, but still mostly set-up for the next act.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 141

In which we set a trap to catch a dragon and start to storm the fortress of Alduin, The World Eater! Yes, we're finally doing the end-game quest!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #7 - An Advanced Review/Preview

Following an unexpected detour to a barren Atlantic island in the 9th century, The Doctor and his companion Bill Potts found themselves caught in the middle of a stand-off between a group of Viking settlers and a team of Martian Ice Warriors. Thankfully, The Doctor was able to convince both sides to work together against a common menace - the sentient virus known as The Flood!

It beggars coincidence that two of The Doctor's old enemies should encounter each other in this place at this time. When another monster from The Doctor's past emerges, he can hazard a guess as to who is responsible. However, that knowledge may not be enough to save The Doctor and his allies even if he is correct!

The artwork fails this final chapter of The Wolves of Winter. Three artists working on a single issue rarely produces a quality work and the old adage about too many cooks proves accurate here. Even if the visual continuity weren't shattered by the wildly varied styles at play, there's no comparison between the levels of quality presented by the artists involved.

It's a damn shame because Richard Dinnick's story is a brilliant one and it deserved a better presentation. Weaving together the strands of older Doctor Who tales as the base for his own epic, Dinnick has managed the near-impossible. The Wolves of Winter is that rare continuity-driven story that is easily accessible to new readers. Fans of Classic Who and New Who alike will enjoy this Twelfth Doctor tale... if they can just get past the artwork.

The Final Analysis: 6 out of 10. Richard Dinnick wrote a great story but they should have let Brian Williamson draw the whole thing.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Three #7 releases September 20, 2017. 
Ask for it at your local comic shop or purchase it on

Friday, September 15, 2017

Detective Comics #964 - A Review

With the help of some surprising allies, Anarky has built his own utopia under Gotham City. He hopes to bring Stephanie "The Spoiler" Brown into his world but she demands the whole truth of how it came into being. So does Batman, who has finally tracked them both down...

Meanwhile, Basil "Clayface" Karlo hopes to make amends for his past crimes. Working with Batman to protect Gotham City was a first step but now he's working on a cure for his condition - not only for himself but for the former friend he tried to transform into something like himself. But is redemption possible? Or is Clayface doomed to remain a monster even if he can hold a human form?

The only flaw to Detective Comics #964 is its brevity. Both subplots here - Clayface's quest for redemption and Spoiler's search for purpose - are gripping, touching stories which mirror each other. Basil turns to Batman to escape what he's becoming as Stephanie escapes from Batman to become something else. One wishes that the overly long Azrael-focused story-line from a month ago had been cut-down a few issues and those comics given over to this story.

The story by James Tynion IV and Christopher Sebela is matched perfectly by the artwork of Carmen Carnero. I've greatly enjoyed Carnero's previous work on Adventures of Supergirl immensely and she's in fine form here. With the addition of Ulises Arreola's colors, this is one fine looking book!

The Final Analysis: 10/10. The only thing wrong is there's not nearly enough of it.

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 140

In which we clear out one last dungeon before upgrading our armor and preparing to finally trap a dragon alive.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Titans #15 - A Review

The traitor among The Titans stands revealed as Nightwing, who has been a double-agent for HIVE all this time! Can the team continue to be Titans Together in the face of their leader's treachery? Is there more than meets the eye here? What of Mal Duncan and Gnaark's mission to infiltrate a HIVE lair in search of Bumblebee's stolen memories? And what about Psimon's prophecy that Lilith Clay will destroy the world and only HIVE can save it?

The only real flaw to Titans #15 is its inaccessibility to new readers. There's too many subplots and too much going on for a new reader to comfortably jump in on this issue. Those who have been reading this book since the beginning, however, will find more of the same great characterization, high-octane action and amazing artwork that make it one of DC Comics' most underrated titles.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. A great issue marred only by being for established Titans fans only.

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 139

Another day, another dungeon and more gems than I can ever hope to selll off as we continue our efforts to avoid finishing the main storyline.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dark Knights Metal #2 - A Review

The Justice League hunts one of their own, as Batman goes on the run with an artifact of great power. Batman thinks he alone can save the world from an ancient menace tied to the fate of his city. But is Bruce Wayne a savior? Or a pawn of prophecy?
Dark Knights Metal #2 is like riding a roller-coaster blindfolded. I can't see where I'm going and all I can do is hold on, feel the sensation of motion and give myself over to the thrill.

Summation of the story beyond that is pointless. This is not a comic you can read and quantify, piece by piece. Like Batman, Messrs. Snyder, Capullo, Plascencia and Glapion have tapped into something primal. This book must be experienced to be understood and it is an amazing experience.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. This is an event book done right!

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 138

In which, after killing the stupidest bandits this side of The Rift as they attack an Imperial camp, we go off in search of dragons lairs and Words of Power. Because we still don't want to tackle the main storyline quests just yet...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 137

In which, in a desperate bid to avoid finishing the main storyline, we return to Windhelm in order to complete the quest to repair The White Phial.

Injustice 2 #23 (Digital Edition) - A Review

Once, Alfred Pennyworth brought The Man of Steel to his knees with a modicum of technology and a gentleman's knowledge of boxing. Newly resurrected by The Lazarus Pit, Alfred may have managed something even more impossible - bringing about multiple reconciliations between warring parties. Can it possibly last?

Again, I find myself stunned into silence by this book and again I have to admonish whoever wrote the Comixology blurb for this issue, which spoils the entire story! Indeed, the only reason I've made mention of the return of Alfred The Butler is that the preview images for this issue make it impossible to hide that revelation.

Still, I will hide the rest of the story beyond this first page and hope you trust me when I speak of how powerful it is. Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus have outdone themselves in bringing Tom Taylor's script to life, in all of its splendor and horror. There is plenty of both to be had here. Don't take my word for it - read it!

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. A Must Read! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 136

We now have the power of Dragonrend and have survived a battle with Alduin, but now we must manage something truly difficult - negotiating a temporary ceasefire between all the warring factions in Skyrim until we're done saving the world!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Conan The Slayer #12 - A Preview/Review

Conan has triumphed over the demon giant Khosatral Khel and slain the conniving nobleman who tried to lure Conan to his doom on the cursed isle of Xapur. With the enslaved princess Octavia in tow, Conan seeks the last of his enemies - the teacherous vizier Ghaznavi The Wise! But even with Khosatral Khel dead there are still dangers aplenty in the jungles of Xapur...

Conan The Slayer #12 proves an uneven ending to what started out as the strongest Conan series in years. Most of that is due to the artwork, with Michael Atiyeh's colors being far blander and duller than usual. The chief problem however, is Dheeraj Verma's pencils and inks, which alternate between being too deep or too thin depending on the panel. To give credit where credit is due, the design for Conan here is a good one, depicting him as a warrior of speed and strength, more like a wolf or panther than the bear he is usually depicted as.

Cullen Bunn's story seems strong enough, though it does fly in the face of the end of the last issue, where Conan was ready to quit Xapur. As this chapter opens, Conan has become stupidly focused upon revenge, needlessly endangering the woman he's taken under his protection - something truly out of character for the surprisingly chilvaric Conan. Also, despite his skill as a writer, even Bunn cannot find an angle to make Octavia - widely considered the weakest of Robert E. Howard's female protagonists - into a figure capable of anything but stating the obvious and screaming.

 It remains to be seen what will happen in the next Conan comic or indeed what it will be called. It is worth noting, however, that the next issue would be the 150th monthly Conan comic since Dark Horse took over the license. Hopefully they are planning something big for the occasion.

The Final Analysis: 6 out of 10. It's not bad, but it should have been better.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 135

In which we discover the vast underground cavern known as Blackreach. Then, in the grand tradition of all explorers, we start killing the natives and taking everything valuable.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 133

In which our search for an Elder Scroll leads us to an icy ruin, a mad mage and another icy ruin. Hopefully it won't lead to MY icy ruin...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Injustice 2 #22 (Digital Edition) - A Review

Deep within Ra's Al Ghul's secret sanctuary in the Amazon rain forest, a battle long in coming is about to begin - Bruce Wayne vs. Damian Wayne! Father vs. Son! Meanwhile, Harley Quinn delays her own escape from the stronghold to steal away a moment with Poison Ivy.

I suspect that some of you might be growing tired of reading my glowing reviews of Injustice 2. If that's the case, I suggest you read this book. There is no way to grow tired of it!

Tom Taylor's grasp of these characters and capacity for telling engaging, action-packed stories with them is matched only by Bruno Redondo's detailed pencils, Juan Albarran's exquisite inks and Rex Lokus' eye-catching colors. Together they are one of the World's Finest teams and every issue they release together is a treasure.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. 

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 132

In which we meet the head of the Greybeards and discover he's a bloody huge dragon! We also discover he's the most useful NPC we've encountered in a while. We then hunt down one of the most famous Easter Eggs in the game before going off in search of the titular Elder Scrolls.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 131

In which we help The Blades to reclaim their ancient temple. Help, in this case, meaning "do all the work while they boss me around." We then return to the Greybeards and climb to the top of the world to meet their mysterious leader...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Starman Plays Skyrim Special Edition - Part 130

In which we return to Riften in search of Esbern - ex-Blade, Master of Dragon Lore and another incredibly annoying NPC. Made less annoying, however, in that he is voiced by Max Von Sydow. We also fight a dragon with a horde of Foresworn... only to have them turn on me once I kill one of them. Priorities, people!  Keep shooting the dragon as I'm shooting at you!