Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comedy. Show all posts

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Skyrim War Journal: Table of Contents

The Adventures of Matthias The Bather In The Realm Of Skyrim



Prologue: The Eternal Bastard

One: Another Fine Myth You've Gotten Me Into

Two:  A Cunning Forger-ry

Three: There And Back Again.  And Again.  And Again

Four: That Was Sven, This Is Now


Five: Unfinished Business

Interlude: Paid For By The Skyrim Board of Tourism

Six: Take The Money And Whiterun


Seven: Dragonborn To Run

Eight: Holding Out On A Hero

Nine: The Quickest Way To A Man's Heart (Through His Chest, With A Dagger)

Ten: Skyrim Follies (with Paul Cornell)

Eleven: The People In Your Neighborhood

Twelve: Top Of The World

Thirteen: Kick My Heels Up And SHOUT!

Fourteen: When Is A Theft Not A Theft?

Fifteen: Tripping The Riften

Sixteen: The Kid's AREN'T Alright

Seventeen: Nice Day To Start Again...

Eighteen: Back To School

Nineteen: Cleaning House.  Literally and Metaphorically

Twenty: A Change In Wardrobe

Twenty-One: One Hundred Hours In Solitude

Twenty-Two: A Bird In Flight

Twenty-Three: Birds Of A Feather

Twenty-Four: Pay Back and Paying It Back

Twenty-Five: Only The Petulant Man Will Pass

Twenty-Six: A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Twenty-Seven: While You Were Out...

Twenty-Eight: Diplomatic Insanity

Twenty-Nine: So Sewer Me

Thirty: The Best Blade Plans

Thirty-One: Paarthurnax Course

Thirty-Two: A Book Long Overdue

Thirty-Three: Starting A War For Peace

Thirty-Four: The Bitter End

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes - A Review



Collecting some of the best articles from Corey O'Brien's website Better Myths, this book does for classical mythology what Drunk History did for... history.  I stumbled across this book at my local library and picked it up expecting a quick read.  It proved to be that but it also proved to be far funnier than I expected.  It also taught me an Anansi myth I'd never heard before, which is always a plus for those who enjoy a good trickster tale as much as I do.

There's not much in the book I can review. It's a collection of short stories retold by an author whose style is that of an excitable stoner trying to tell you about something cool his friend did once at three-in-the-morning at IHOP while you're waiting for your thrice-damned hash-browns.  So rather than do that, I'm just going to link to three of my favorite stories from the book. If you like it, go read the book.  If not, you've lost nothing.  Simple, yes?

Orpheus

Local Father Discovers Immortality With This One Weird Tip

 There Are Not a Lot of Things Freya Won’t Do For Jewelry

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Blackbeard Legacy - Part Four

Aye, me lads and lasses.  Seeing as how it be Talk Like A Pirate Day, yer captain be thinking it be high time we scuttle this bitch of a story and sail on to more pleasant tales.

When last we left, the story had shifted gears.  No more, it seemed, were we to muddle through the exploits of Hanna Teach - bastard daughter of Blackbeard - as she searched for her father to seek vengeance for her cursed mother.  The third chapter of this series focused instead on Morgan Sheppard - a bounty hunter of greater scruples and greater interest than Miss Teach.  The last chapter ended with Morgan accepting a job to deliver Hanna Teach's head to an interested buyer and with Morgan pointing a pistol at said head.

It was a stirring conclusion.  But if ye know anything about The Blackbeard Legacy thus far, ye know the conclusions are often misleading.  And to quote me idol Captain Joel Hodgson, "anything can happen during the cutaway".  So go ahead and read the summaries of PARTS ONE, TWO AND THREE.  They will help ye not in finding your way through the sargassum that follows!
 

Our story opens on a lifeboat, with Madison - the blind bounty hunter Hanna convinced to work for her instead of killing her back in Part One - seemingly stranded.  Her dialogue seems to imply she just got out of a fight with a bunch of zombies or just fled from a bunch of zombies.  Which may or may not answer the question of what happened at the end of Part Two when it looked like a voodoo priestess bounty hunter was about to attack Hanna and her crew.  My gut is leaning toward 'not'.

Fished out of the briny, Madison quickly finds herself on the Queen Anne's Revenge - the personal ship of Blackbeard himself!  More, it is revealed that Madison was in the employ of Blackbeard this whole time!  She was meant to keep Hanna Teach wandering and searching for Blackbeard.  Why?  Well, we're going to find out later, but I'll warn ye right now - you're really not going to like the answer.


So here's where we stand so far.  Madison - who we last saw in Part Two - was apparently either stranded at sea or fled a fight when the zombies showed up to kill Hanna.  Either way, this happened off panel, because the last we saw Madison she was still a crew member in good standing before the hypothetical zombie attack.  That would explain away one dropped cliffhanger.  But what of Part Three's ending, with Morgan Shephard getting ready to splatter Hanna's brains across the docks of St. Mary's?

Well... we may have an answer for that, as we cut to Hanna's current whereabouts, where the zombie-raising bounty hunter Obeahmama has shown up again.  Again?  Maybe?  Or is this the same fight that Madison fled earlier?  

It's really unclear.  Just as it's unclear if the pony-tailed woman on the left-side of this first panel is Morgan Sheppard.  Not that it matters.  Whether it's Morgan or not, she disappears from the book immediately afterward and is never spoken of again.     
Thankfully, before Hanna can be cursed or zombified or whatever Obeahmama's magic blast is meant to do, she is saved by Schepsel!  Yes, Schespel!  Loyal and faithful Schespel, who sacrifices himself so that his friend Eddie might escape.  It is a noble sacrifice and one I'm sure would mean something had Schespel and Eddie EVER SHOWN UP AT ANY BLOODY POINT IN THE COMIC BEFORE NOW!!!

*sighs*


You're probably wondering who Eddie is too.  Eddie is the genius who designed a peddle-powered submarine that is shaped like an octopus.  Apparently he and Hanna are friends, since he raises no objections to her jumping on board his ship.  Then again, he may just want someone else to do the peddling as they flee for their lives.  
Two days later, Eddie and Hanna emerge somewhere off the coast of the Carolinas.  If you're thinking that's remarkable good time for a foot-powered submarine to travel from Madagascar (I'm presuming the port they just left was St. Mary's), you'd better brace yourself.  Because now comes the point in this story - which I'll remind you features zombies, pirates, magic, numerous anachronisms and steampunk submarines - when things get WEIRD!
The more well-read among you are probably face-palming at this point. 

For the rest of you, allow me to explain.  This Coleridge fellow is The Ancient Mariner.  As in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - a poem about a sailor who was cursed to walk the Earth for all eternity after murdering an albatross that his crew believed brought them good fortune.  The Ancient Mariner learned from his mistake and now preaches a message of love and respect for all God's creatures.

He tells his story to Hanna and Eddie, who are bored senseless by the whole thing.  The Ancient Mariner recognizes Hanna's map - somehow - and tells her that seeking revenge will bring no good to anyone, for Blackbeard, loathsome though he is, is still one of God's creatures and must be given a chance to atone his wickedness.  Naturally, Hanna is having none of this but she does have wits enough to realize that arguing with a cursed undead sailor is never a good idea.


Suddenly, Eddie and Hanna find themselves standing on Blackbeard's island hideout.  And just as suddenly, the two stumble into a pit-trap and are captured by Blackbeard's crew.  The two are dragged before Blackbeard, who sits on his throne attended by a number of scantily clad wenches.  Because what's the point of being a pirate king if you aren't attended by a number of scantily clad wenches?!

Dead Old Dad is less than impressed with his bastard daughter and I can't say that I blame him at all.  The only reason Hanna has made it this far is through dumb luck and supernatural intervention.  And yet, I can't help but wonder why - if Blackbeard was so concerned about this bastard daughter seeking him out - did he not either deal with her personally or make it a damned bit easier for her to stumble into a trap?

Blackbeard orders Madison to be brought out.  Ready yourself for another pointless plot-twist.  It turns out Madison wasn't really blind!  And why is this pointless, you may ask?  Well...
At this point, I feel it worth noting a flaw in this comic series I've not spoken of much before.  It is very hard to read.  And I don't mean because the artwork makes my eyes bleed or the story is utter crap.  I mean it is hard to understand which dialogue balloons are meant to be read first and how the panels are meant to flow together through a good portion of the book.  There are many places where the reader is meant to start on the right then move left, such as in the page two images ago where we're meant to start with Hanna's thoughts then move to the dialogue on the left.


Another common problem is that this series tells us things without showing them.  Perhaps the writers did not trust their artist to be able to depict a woman turning her head?  Who can say?  Given the quality of artist Bluewater Productions tends to hire, that's not an unreasonable guess.  All I know is that there is no excuse for this story requiring a thought balloon and a dialogue balloon to tell us what it could more easily show us in the art.

Anyway, Blackbeard makes good on his threat and does shoot Hanna.  It's at this point that an albatross flies in the window and begins making enough noise to wake the dead.  Not literally, understand, but the noise is apparently so distracting to Blackbeard and his crew that nobody raises any objection as Eddie picks up Hanna and makes a run for it.

So where did the albatross come from?  From The Ancient Mariner.  Who has apparently gone from being a messenger of God's love and mercy to being this world's equivalent of The Spectre.  He apparently sealed the doors of Blackbeard's tower after Eddie and Hanna were safely away.
Faster than you can say "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!", the Ancient Mariner... eh... releases the Kraken.  At least, that's what it looks like in the artwork.  According to Hanna's thought balloon a green fog ate away at the tower, the crew and everything else.  Maybe she's hallucinating from the blood loss, although she doesn't seem to be at all hurt and is standing unaided in the next panel.   
And so, with her father having tried to kill her and the apparent blessing of the albatross (who scoops up Blackbeard's hat and drops it on her head), Hanna decides that she must continue the legacy of her father.  The father who cursed her mother, hired mercenaries to kill her and then tried to finish the job himself.

Hanna is a complete moron, in case you hadn't noticed.
Then Hanna's eyes rolled into the back of her head as the internal bleeding took its' toll. The End.
 

This series is one of the worst collection of comics I've ever had the misfortune to read.  If I owned the print edition, I would not use it to pick up the droppings of my worst enemy's dog.  The artwork is terrible.  The plot is incomprehensible, with things happening just because.  The heroine is an idiot who is the least interesting character in the whole thing and her character arc is completely pointless since her one goal is accomplished without her doing a damn thing and then she decides to continue the legacy of the jerkass father she was trying to kill because he was a jerkass!

Stay away from this book, me hardies.  Stay far away from it.
 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Blackbeard Legacy - Part Three

When last we left The Blackbeard Legacy, we knew precious little more than when we'd started.  Halfway into this series and all we've learned about our heroine Hanna Teach is that she claims to be Blackbeard's daughter and that she wants revenge for what Blackbeard did to her mother.  It took us two issues to learn that much of who she is and what her motivations are!

There was also some nonsense about a zombie-raising bounty hunter and a key that has something to do with finding Blackbeard, but none of that really seems to have anything at all to do with the plot, such as it is.  You can read my commentary on Parts One and Parts Two if you really must know more.

Now read on...

How much do you want to bet they didn't have time to finish coloring this page?


Astute readers will note that the art style for this issue seems to be different.  Not better, mind you - just different.  The characters are still misshapen and oddly colored but now their eyes are smaller and their hands are freakishly big.  And yet, I consider this artist - who is uncredited in all the information I can find on this issue - to be an improvement on Mike Maydak, because while the character designs are outlandish they are also consistent.

Unlike the first two issues of this series, we do not start with a rambling narration from Hanna Teach.  Instead, we open somewhere off the coast of Africa, in a tower.  Here we find Drake Santiago, Fearless Pirate (TM) bragging about his latest adventures to a pair of conquests.  Whether they're bought slaves in matching costumes or ladies of negotiable affection who just happen to wear the same outfit is unclear.  It is also unclear if the dark-skinned woman is Hanna Teach, once again working undercover to retrieve something she needs.

The only thing that is clear is that Santiago is ready to celebrate his victory in style with some good old-fashioned booty plundering.  The Asian woman offers Santiago a drink to help him relax.  The drink soon has Santiago feeling more than relaxed - he's downright helpless!  It turns out the Asian one of his nubile lady friends in an assassin out for the bounty on his head! 
Luckily for Santiago, the other lady friend is also an assassin - one out for the bounty on the other assassin's head.  She retrieves a pair of pistols from... somewhere (Seriously!  Where does she get those guns from?) and blows the first assassin away.  It is here we find out that - despite looking very much like Hanna Teach - the other lady friend is not Hanna Teach, but is a bounty hunter named Morgan "Hack" Sheppard.
In a final bit if irony, Morgan reveals that nobody in the tower was who they claimed to be.  She knows that "Santiago" is not actually Santiago on account of her partner killed the real Drake Santiago a while earlier.  She's kind enough to advise Santiago about being more careful who he pretends to be in the future, noting that not all bounty hunters are as scrupulous as she and her partner are about confirming their targets before killing them.  Not too long that, after we meet Morgan's partner - a pirate named Patrick - and they're on their way to claim the bounty on the Asian assassin. 
At this point, some of you may be wondering what happened to Hanna Teach and why this story has suddenly switched focus onto this other pirate woman, particularly when the last chapter ended on a cliffhanger suggesting that Hanna was about to get attacked by zombie assassins.  That's a good question. 

Another good question is why do we now know more about Morgan and her motivations and backstory after half an issue than we do about Hanna after two issues?  And a really good question is why I'm so much more interested in Morgan's adventures after this short glimpse of who she is and what she does compared to Hanna.

Well, I do have an answer for that last one.  It's because Morgan is an interesting, morally complex character who does exciting things!  Compare that to the casually exploitative Hanna, who freely uses people without thinking and spent most of last issue walking around asking random townsfolk for information.

*sighs*

Cut to a tavern in Gibraltar, where Patrick and Morgan meet with their contact, collect their pay and find out about the next job their fixer had for them.  This is where the plot (such as it is) finally gets back on track as we find the bounty hunters' next target is - big surprise - Hanna Teach!
As Morgan goes to get her contact another drink, she's confronted at the bar by Phahed and Sharah - a rival team of bounty hunters.  They trade some sharp words about how Morgan should be working at the whorehouse down the street and how Phahed and Sharah are unskilled grunts who get by doing the dirty jobs Morgan and Patrick refuse on reasons of principal.  The kind of jobs that involve killing orphans and feature eating their corpses as a side-benefit.  
The duo inform Morgan that they came as a professional courtesy.  Someone else has put a price on Morgan's head with a bonus for Patrick.  Naturally, the cannibals mean to collect that bounty themselves.  But being the sort of idiots who inform someone that they're going to try and kill them instead of just killing them, they are easily startled when Morgan puts up a fight and a bar brawl ensues as a result.
As Patrick and Morgan make good their escape, we cut to the pirate haven of St. Mary's, just off the coast of Madagascar.  Here we find Hanna Teach and some of her crew, shopping for supplies (i.e. rum and limes).  Teach claims she's also there to rob some of the dead king's tombs that lie under the island but is quickly distracted from both thoughts of treasure and fighting scurvy when one of her crew spots her wanted poster.  And so our comic ends with Morgan showing up and placing a gun against Hanna Teach's head.


This issue is the chapter of The Blackbeard Legacy that really made me hate this series with an intensity I usually reserve for child molesters, book-burners and Mark Millar comics.  Not because it was bad but because it was so much better than the rest of the series.  The fact of the matter is that Morgan Sheppard is a much more interesting and competent heroine than Hanna Teach.  To have nearly an entire issue devoted to such a character after two issues of banality is painful because it gives you hope that things are actually improving.

Alas, it is a false hope.  As you will see next time when we conclude The Blackbeard Legacy...

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Blackbeard Legacy - Part Two

I'll be honest, me hearties.  Your Captain did think better of continuing with this series.  Not out of any compassion for you, of course, but because there is precious little in this second chapter of The Blackbeard Legacy worth making fun of.

It would be fair to say that nothing that advances the plot happens in this issue.  In point of fact, nothing happens in this issue at all!  Now, a bad comic I can make fun of easily.  But a boring comic?  Aye, that's a challenge that makes even my stout heart tremble a bit.

And yet I shall persevere and try to weather this challenge!  Because even if I can't deliver my best, you still deserve for me to try!  Besides, I  haven't gotten any new comics this week and I've got nothing else to blog about right now.  So if ye haven't already been exposed to Part One of The BlackBeard Legacy, click this link before continuing.on past the next image.


Our story begins with a wizened woman wearing tattered clothes and a skirt made of bones, standing on a beach.  This is the same woman we see on the Chapter Title page, though - unlike on the title page above - her skin is not green.  This, apparently, is Obehmana.  Our narrator, Hannah Teach, tells us that Obehmana is a witch/bounty hunter who - although Hannah didn't know it at the time - had been hired to track her down. 


We see Obehmana raise some zombies and it's quite spooky and terrifying.  Shame that's the last we'll see of them until the end of the issue.  Suddenly, we cut to Hannah waking up in bed, screaming.  Apparently she's been having reoccurring dreams of zombies coming for her.  Or some other reoccurring nightmare.  The narration is less than clear about this.


What is clear is that the log-book Hannah stole mentions a key of some kind.  The key is apparently some kind of "Beautiful Circle" and is located in Cuba.  Hannah admits to herself this seems unlikely but the man who compiled the log isn't given to tall tales, so it must be the truth.    


After a brief scene in which Madison (the blind bounty hunter from last issue) voices her objections to going to Cuba and Hannah blows her off, we arrive in Cuba.  At this point we discover just how low the writers of this series will go in a cheap attempt to maintain reader interest as they indulge in the lowest form of humor possible - blatant parroting.

That joke's not dead yet! It's getting better!

I don't know what's worse - the fact that they've been reduced to copying Monty Python skits wholesale for a cheap laugh or the fact that they misquoted the very thing they're ripping off!  As any teenage boy of a certain intellectual bend could tell you, the Norwegian Blue has "beautiful plumage" - not "lovely plumage".

The next four pages see Hannah and her crew questioning every damned person in the town about a mysterious key.  Apparently nobody in the crew bothered to put ranks in Gather Information because all they get is confusion, propositions and lines that I'm sure are references to the random townsfolk dialogue from various classic NES role-playing games or old TV shows.


Eventually, Hanna makes her way to a tinker's shack that most of the locals seem to avoid.  Even Hannah, who is no shrinking violet, seems a little disturbed by the contraption that the tinker seems to be working on.  She asks about the key, claiming her book says they have it.  The tinker denies this and sends Hannah packing.


So... wait a minute.  If Hannah's log book told her exactly who she had to talk to about the key, why did she send her crew off asking random people in the street if they knew about a key?  Was Hannah just trying to keep her crew busy and distracted from the fact that there's no treasure waiting at the end of their journey?

That seems likely and Hannah does admit to lying to them in the narration, when she says she's sure the tinker does have the key and that they should come back later and make a show of force to get it.  The irony being that the tinker DOES have the key and he's half-ready to give it to Hannah rather than worry about it since it's never done him any good.


Our issue ends with some random drunk woman running into Obehmana and her zombies.  Remember them?  The bad guys who were set up as a big menace at the start of this comic?  Yeah, well the story ends before we get to see the poor unfortunate become zombie chow.  Or be turned into a zombie herself.  Or indeed anything interesting or exciting happen.

This comic sucks!  There's no action at all.  Nothing really happens except our hero fails to find a key.  It's never explained why she needs the key in the first place.  A villain is introduced but doesn't do anything.  And the only real continuation of the plot  from the first issue is the revelation on the penultimate page that Hannah's whole reason for wanting to track down Blackbeard is because of his part in her mother's death.  We're half way through this series and we're just now finding out our hero's motivation!

Next time won't be as dull but it will make you angry for entirely different reasons.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Blackbeard Legacy - Part One

Avast, ye swabs!  'Tis clear to your Captain that ye be too stout of heart to be properly traumatized by the likes of Power Of The Valkyrie. 'Twas a bad comic, to be sure!  Yet for all the problems that book had, at least it's characters looked broadly human - save for the ones that were demons, of course.

This next bit of swill has no such blessing.  The Blackbeard Legacy be another cursed book from the dirty seas ironically named Bluewater Productions. The art be by a scurvy lubber by the name of  Mike Maydak, whose artwork looks to have been hurriedly painted by a blind man. This might be crime enough, save Maydak also has a fondness for drawing womenfolk in scanty dress, yet seems to have never seen a woman before in his life.

And lest ye had any hopes that the story might be amusing though the art be bad, it be co-written by Captain Darren G. Davis.  Captain Davis be the CEO and Publisher of Bluewater Productions and was half the creative team behind Power Of The Valkyrie.  This time his First Mate on the writing duties be Scott Davis, who serves as Captain Davis' Media Manager.   Two writers and no editor - a sign of doom as sure as red skies in morning!

Let's be to it, then!  Spy yon the cover of the cursed book!


Not a bad sort of cover, in truth.  Trying for a Luis Royo look, methinks.  I'm a bit perplexed as to where this pirate wench's nipples have wandered off to, given the size of her chest and where her shirt be opened up.  At least she looks human if a bit underfed.  And lest ye think Captain be going soft in his old age, known I mean it looks decent only compared to the rest of this book.  This cover be the best bit of artwork in the whole cursed thing.

Don't believe me?  Behold the chapter page!  

Insert your own joke about "booty" and "treasured chests" here.


Worry not about the tentacles in that first page, mateys!  There be no Hentai in this work, though it may be as unpleasant as octopus rape by the time we reach the end of our journey.

Our first page opens by telling us what kind of tale this isn't going to be and also establishes our setting as Free Port Township of Grand Bahama in May 1718.  That groaning noise you just heard came from a thousand pirate history scholars, who know that Free Port Township of Grand Bahama wasn't founded until 1955. Those who were hoping for a pirate story with some broad historical accuracy best turn back now.  The seas only get rougher from here. 

What does it say about Bluewater Productions that I'm not altogether sure if  the sentence "Well, this ain't of them stories." is an honest grammar mistake (Methinks there should be a "one' in there somewhere) or if it's just the writer half-assing his pirate dialect  Both possibilities are equally likely.  I'll just assume it was a mistake - that's always the safest bet when Bluewater be involved.

With the turn of a page, we see our heroine for the first time... having freshly serviced some jaundiced specimen of what I can only assume to be humanity.  His general shape and skin-tone suggests there may be a bit of Deep One in his ancestry.  Or it would if we were in Innsmouth and not Free Port.. 


All appearances to the contrary, Hannah is no whore.  Her only reason for making all cozy-like with this scum was to steal his logbook.  Unfortunately for him, he wakes up in the midst of Hannah plundering his charts and he gets an amazing view before getting a headache, as Hanna brains him with a candlestick.

Hurriedly dressing and giving us a view of her ample ass-cleavage as she does so, Hannah thinks of her mother - who saw her get a proper schooling - and her father, who she says is an adventurer and pirate like herself.  More of the pirate from what we've seen so far but she does show her adventurer roots as she goes downstairs to where all adventures begin - a seedy tavern.

And suddenly we find ourselves in a Conan The Barbarian comic...  

Actually, this DOES look familiar... but it isn't Conan.  Something pirate themed with a bunch of bizarrely misshapen characters with odd skin and eye colors?  What does it look like?


... no.  That looks more realistic.  Even with the monkeybird.

Hannah is spotted - somehow - by a blind bounty hunter - an equally busty pirate wench sporting two cutlasses and a blindfold.  Hannah convinces her that it would be more profitable to work for her since the log book she just stole leads to a fortune beyond imagining.  Unfortunately it's at this point that the captain's minions notice what's happened and sound the alarm.   

Now, I know I already warned ye about the artwork on this cursed book.  And yet, even steeling himself, your Captain can't help be be astonished by this last page.  Hannah's suddenly turned into a cyclops and it took your Captain about a minute of squinting to realize the odd panels were meant to be saying "KILL HER!"

The blind bounty hunter proves good at her craft, killing all the underlings.  She and Hanna scamper for the docks as Hannah considers how the log book doesn't really lead to a treasure.  It DOES recall everyplace the captain she stole it from had been and who he had met, which could be more valuable - at least to Hannah.  This be all the explanation we get for the moment as Hannah busies herself with planning on how to overcome their next difficulty - stealing a ship with only two people to do the stealing.

Hannah sketches out the plan in the dirt, despite her new bodyguard pointing out she's blind and can't see it..  She also draws herself and the bounty hunter as stick figures with cartoonishly huge boobs, for no readily apparent reason other than so we know who they are.


Thankfully, Hannah's intricate and silly-looking plan proves unnecessary, as she comes to depend upon that noblest of all pirate traditions - greed winning out over good sense and loyalty always going to the highest bidder.  Particularly since the ship she's taken a shine to - The Vengeance - belongs to the same captain she waylaid earlier in the evening and the crew on-board are anxious to find new employment.

Unfortunately, the current captain has recovered and somehow taken command of a fortress overlooking the bay.  Fortunately for Hannah, his cannons are set up directly in front of a large collection of powder kegs.  All it takes is one good shot with the canons to blow the fortress up in a display to make Michael Bay green with envy. 


And so, with the loyalty of her new crew assured and their rivals blown to the four winds, this chapter of our tale ends as Hannah tells us more of her father.... and why she's questing in the first place. 


Don't think this is so bad, me hearties?  It gets worse.  Much worse. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Power of The Valkyrie, Part Four

PREVIOUSLY, ON POWER OF THE VALKYRIE...

Our heroine Suzanne is confronted by the warrior woman Emu, who was meant to inherit the Power of the Valkyrie that Odin accidentally gave Suzanne back in the first issue, though he now claims it was all part of his plan to bring the world of man into the eternal battle between Odin and Loki.  This is all according to Thor, who somehow knows all this despite knowing nothing of Odin's plans in Issue Two.  Thor also explains to Suzanne the TRUE power of the Valkyrie is raising the dead - a fact that enables Suzanne to kill Emu after she summons a horde of ghostly vikings.

Pissed off about the whole affair, Suzanne says she doesn't want anything to do with any of this and tells Odin that she wants to go home.  He agrees to open the way to Earth if she'll agree to hide the magical sword that may or may not contain the true Power of the Valkyrie somewhere Loki can't find it.  She tosses it into a lake and thinks that's that.  Unfortunately, Loki's spies (who were disguised as Agents Scully and Mulder from The X-Files) figure out that Suzanne has returned to Earth and notify Loki of this fact.  And so the comic ends with Loki planning to bring his entire army to Earth to search for the sword.

Read Parts One and Part Two and Part ThreeIt won't make any of this clearer but I need the hits.


Our story opens with another flashback to Suzanne's childhood.  We see her in the hospital as doctors work to save her sister, who was hit by a car while chasing a ball Suzanne threw out into the road.  This really has nothing to do with the story except for giving Suzanne another weird speech about blood and its' importance in healing people, so I'm not going to bother showing it.

Our story actually begins several pages later as Pegasus appears on Suzanne's front lawn as she contemplates why she can't get Asgard out of her head after three days.  She quickly figures out, in grand Lassie/Flipper tradition, that Pegasus has come to warn her that Loki is close to the sword.  If you're wondering why the sword is so important since they clearly showed the power was inside Suzanne in the first issue or how Pegasus was able to travel between worlds when it took powerful magic or the power of a god to do that before, congratulations - you've paid closer attention to the story than the people who wrote it!



Suzanne arrives at the lake and summons the sword to her hand.  She is then greeted by The Valkyrie Spirit.  Yes, there's a Valkyrie Spirit now.  The Valkyrie Spirit tells Suzanne of how the first valkyries acted as healers to dying male warriors and bodyguards as they went into the afterlife, because even if you're a badass warrior woman you're still expected to be subservient to men.

...

Have I mentioned before how much I really hate this book as a feminist and as a Norse mythology buff?   


Before we can find out how there are multiple Valkyries when the comic treats the power of the Valkyrie as something that can only be wielded by one woman at a time, Gideon shows up.  You know?  Gideon?  The shape-shifting demon who was disguised as Agent Mulder?  It turns out that he was Emu's love and he's out for revenge on Suzanne. 


Wait... he was Emu's love?  But I thought she was dating Thor!  And Loki called her 'my love' as he cremated her body last issue!   Damn.  I guess Emu got around.  So much for that myth about valkyries being chaste.


Um... the Valkyrie didn't chose you!  Odin stumbled across you by accident!  Or he chose you!  Hell, I don't know anymore!  I don't care anymore, either...

Anyway, the battle goes about as well as you'd expect, given Suzanne's track record fighting demons so far.  Gideon dies but Suzanne is shot with arrows in the back while she's running Gideon through.  The sword flies out of her hand and is levitated into the hand of Loki.


Huh.  That's weird.  The artwork doesn't  match the captions at all.  Suzanne doesn't fall into the water.  And the rest of the dialogue seems like an odd non-sequitur, even for this comic.


Did anyone else hear an echo just now?  The hypothermia must be getting to Suzanne.  She's repeating herself.  Either that or she's developing Torgo-ism. I mean, the only other explanation is ...

...

Oh my gods.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am flabbergasted!

We've seen some bad continuity in this comic. This writers can't decide if the Power of The Valkyrie is in Suzanne or her sword.  The artist can't decide if Pegasus has wings or not.  Hell, for the first two issues, we didn't even know for certain what our heroine's name was or how it was spelled!  But this... this is an achievement in incompetence.  Not only did this comic go to press as a monthly title with the dialogue balloons for one page printed twice across different artwork, but Bluewater Productions couldn't be bothered to fix the mistake in the trade paperback collection of this series!

To quote Joel Hodgson, "They just didn't care!"


Suzanne jumps out of the ice and starts to struggle with Loki over the sword.  Suddenly, Odin, Thor and a bunch of burly vikings show up and begin fighting the demons.  Odin commands her to join him in battle.  Suzanne, not surprisingly, gets pissed off.  And she summon a bunch of viking ghosts who break the frozen lake everyone is standing on, sending them tumbling into the water like so many preppies in an 1980s frat comedy.


To make a long story short (too late), Suzanne orders Loki and Odin to play nice or she'll use her power to destroy them both.  Thor warns her that the peace she's created is temporary and that sooner or later the power will have to pass to another and that he and Odin will be waiting for that day. 

The comic ends with Suzanne visiting her sister's grave, where we finally learn our heroine's last name.  She says something about her memories of her sister keeping her sane through this ordeal which doesn't make a lick of sense since all they seemed to do was make her angry, but whatever.  The story ends with Suzanne having a power she doesn't really understand, no direction as to what to do with it and no particular purpose or inclination to use it to help people - not surprising since Suzanne's only consistent desire in this whole story is to be left alone and not have people telling her what to do.


Power Of The Valkyrie is a waste of time.  Poorly written, badly drawn, completely unoriginal and totally inaccurate to the mythology it is "based" upon.  It lacks continuity.  It lacks coherence.  It lacks any reason to exist, save serving as fodder for smart-ass Internet comic book critics.

You want to know the sad thing?  This isn't even the worst comic I've read that Bluewater Productions has published.  We'll get to that book another day...