Review

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Uncanny X-Men #14

A Review From Christopher Franey

“The faster the end comes, the more everything seems to slow down.  I am watching my life’s work slip away in slow motion.”  There is that opening narrative in red box with black background.  Now my money is on it being Scott Summer’s words, but it would be interesting if they did belong to someone else.  So here we are talking about issue 14 of Uncanny which is part 4 of This Is Forever.  This story arc has been very dark and dramatic, with action that has consequences.
The issue starts off with cops in pursuit of a mutant (who is later revealed to be Reaper) and while that is playing out we have cuts to Scott and Logan having drinks with Valerie Cooper at Harry’s Hideaway, new HQ to the X-Men.  Madrox winds up finding Reaper after he shakes off the cops, but then Reaper does manage to get away from Madrox who decides to let he “Spooky Kids” get him; those kids being Magik, Wolfsbane, and Mirage.  The meeting between Val, Scott, and Logan does go good as they all realized they can use each other for beneficial times later on, despite being Mutant or Human.  Reaper is captured and taken to the X-Men where they learn he has invited to join the Mutant Liberation Front by Hope herself, they figure they can use him to find out more about the group later.  

I do like the humor that is injected into the serious moment, gives that “Never say die” attitude back to the X-Men.  Yet that only last for so long as we come to find out the X-Men are using Dark Beast to work on a secret project.  Luckily Dark Beast does help the team by giving up the whereabouts of the Marauders.  The team does teleport over ready for battle to an empty warehouse.  Scrambler is in the warehouse and uses his powers to effect Wolfsbane and her TO Entity to go wild, which does get in the way and helps Scrambler escape.  Wolverine doesn’t care and tells Havok to make a hole, then jumps out from the fourth floor; and then we are treated with this:

Now we know Callisto and the Morlocks are on the scene as well.  Turns out that Scrambler and the other Marauders have been hunting Morlocks and killing them in the tunnels.  Turns out no one is safe, even from other Mutants.  Chamber (aka Jono) calls out Cyclops and the X-Men on how no one is safe even after Scott’s promise, but this time Scott does plan to make it right.

We are now taken to Chernayan’s Northern Border and we see the fruits of Scott, Logan, and Val’s conversation.  The area is willing to help but does have some issues with a coup since the bad guys have lots of tech from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Latveria.  The X-men take down some of the rebels and it looks like the X-Men are back at it, old school style:

After the battle Scott lets the Morlocks know they can find safe refuge there and should be able to live their new home.  Small Victory but at least more Mutants are safe.  The X-Men are finally celebrating when Captain America comes to talk with Scott…looks like the party is over…
Once again I can’t say enough great things about this arc.  I love the fact that the X-Men are back to being heroic and I also enjoy their shadowy style too.  This reminds me of the 90’s show first two episodes.  The X-Men are going to do the right thing, but sadly most of the time the villains in their story are Humanity or the Government, but that won’t stop them, they are fighting for their survival in this world.  I enjoy their tactics and I wonder how things will come out in the end; like what is Dark Beast working on and what will they do with him?  Next issue should be something…Scott vs Cap again…AVXII?  Probably not that big, but it’ll be interesting since Steve is having his own issues with the Government as well.  I rate this issue 5 out of 5 Morlocks and recommend you join the team asap!  As always read on and Excelsior!

Late Gamer Plays Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4

A Review From Hidai Moya

The omission of a campaign is a mixed blessing in the latest Black Op’s installment. Though a story would’ve been appreciated & added a necessary context to it’s various modes, in its stead we’re given by far what is one of the most polished & addictive Battle Royale modes to date in “Blackout”. As the World’s premier FPS franchise it was only fair that CoD got it’s say in the Battle Royale subgenre & it hit it out of the park. It’s truly a ton of fun & the bulk of my hours went into that. The other modes however feel very basic, as if they were created for the sake of being featured as a fictional video game in a movie & they just went ahead & made it for real anyway. Their kitschy visual style & lighting fast firefights make it feel a bit jarring. “Blackout” mode is the reason why this game warrants a purchase. Grade B

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Spider-Man Life Story #1

A Review From Christopher Franey

Get your Eisner ready…yea I’m calling it early, but this is a highly recommended series and this issue was…Amazing!  I’m a huge fan of Elseworlds, What Ifs, and Imaginary Stories…this just hits that spot perfectly.  I also love that in this issue we find out that it won’t just be Spider-Man going through time, but the rest of the Marvel Universe as well.  Now get ready for SPOILERS!!

So 1962 young Peter Parker gets bit…becomes Spider-Man and we know the history, here though we will see if unfold in real time, so Peter will be 15 years old in 1962.  The story starts off in 1966 and we are treated to a great one page origin/recap by the talented Mark Bagley and he is just as amazing as he was on Ultimate Spidey and the books back in the 90’s, his style is timeless and perfect.

That first page is perfect as it captures Pete’s thoughts and I like how he is still haunted by Uncle Ben’s death and his own un-sureness, very nice for a young Spidey.  We see Spidey realize that he needs to get back to being Pete as he is missing his college classes.  We see Harry and Norman Osborn running into Pete and this is the first time Norman and Pete are meeting in this history.  Sure enough Norman comes off as just the same sleeze as he was/is in the 616 universe as well.  The vibe is very stalker like of Norman but Pete is a scientific genius so why not if you scouting for your company…right?
Next up Pete finally gets to class and his partner Gwen, she even calls him out on his lateness and convenience of excuses.  I like that Professor Miles Warren is here to warn Gwen about being dragged down by Parker; as we know from the 616 Warren becomes the Jackal and is the creator of the clones, best one of all…Ben Reilly.  Parker shakes it off and is reminded that they have Flash Thompson’s going away party (heading to Vietnam for the war) later in the evening, so that means Pete will need cash, enter JJJ.  It’s nice to see the way Pete and JJJ used to interact and I live the dated dialogue as well.  What is interesting is the upcoming charges against JJJ with his involvement with the Scorpion and the Spider-Slayers, so expect more of that as the series progresses.  

As Pete is cashing his voucher with Betty Brant we catch the news and find out that Iron Man is already in the Vietnam War helping our soldiers fight the fight.  Which also brings up the question, should Super Heroes be automatically drafted?  This really hits Pete hard and he questions his actions towards the war.    

Next day Spidey is out on patrol and sees a fight with Cap and some thugs, he comes in to assist and it is an easy clean up for the two.  They get to talking about the war and Cap even admits that it is a lot to process.  Spidey admits he wonders as well, but Cap assures him that everyday Spidey fights the good fight for responsibility and is doing the right thing.  Which also gets Pete to realize that he needs to turn in Norman and put the Goblin away.  Pete makes an anonymous call, we see Norman locked up, but the scary part is when Norman is put in the back of a patrol car he sees Spidey swing away..stay tuned True Believer!
Pete realizes he is going to miss Flash leave by way of train.  He books it over and is still late again, to which Gwen lets him know that he is being a jerk and is wondering about what is wrong with Pete to which she sees: 

We now all arrive at the going away party and Pete and Flash have it out at first, Pete admits he has some pent up issues from their high school days and takes it out on Flash saying he is excited for the war with his bullying ways.  They do make peace because Gwen reminds Pete this could be the last time they see each other and you don’t want to leave it that way.  Norman buys Pete a soda and nudges him to leave the party so everyone will be safe.  Pete puts it together that Norman knows, so we get our classic Spidey vs Green Goblin fight with Spidey as the victor and Norman conveniently losing his memory.  The story is now that Norman was at a costume party and then mugged, which works for Pete as his secret is safe.  

So the next issue is called Fathers and Sons and set in the 70’s.  This issue was great and I highly recommend you pick this series up, don’t wait for the trade help support it now and enjoy it as well.  The art is amazing and Chip Zdarsky is killing it, he just gets his characters and does such a great job here.  His Spider-Man is very spot on, he just gets Parker and delivers.  This will be a fun world to explore in the next five issues, watching the Marvels grow in the real time line as well.  

Once again I can’t say enough great things about this issue and I look forward to the rest of the mini-series.  I give this six out of five Spideys and also a money back guarantee…you buy it and don’t like it, I’ll buy it off you.  So give it a risk all you can lose is the time and you won’t with this Life Story.  As always read on and Excelsior!

Whats also fun about this “What If” is that the time line, so far, fits into a potential DC/Marvel cross over with a story called Batman & Captain America by John Byrne which was a DC Elseworld that also tied into Superman & Batman Generations.  Those two stories take comics and place them in real time as well, so this is super exciting to see a Marvel version as well.  

Now its 1967 and do you know where your Captain America is?  Hmmm…maybe the Civil War will come earlier too.  

Late Gamer Plays Batman The Telltale Series

A Review From Hidai Moya

As a life long Batman fan I was thoroughly impressed with Tell Tale’s interpretation of the character in this game. At first I thought it was just a cliched story I’ve seen before. I’m so glad I was so wrong. There are some astonishing creative choices that went into this story that give a fresh & vivid new take on The Dark Knight. Though I didn’t think it quite stuck the landing in the finale the story is so good it easily bests any of the stories in any of the Arkham games I’ve played & may possibly be the best story of any Batman video game. Yes, the gameplay itself may be more of an interactive movie than a “true” video game but nevertheless, Tell Tale excels at making the player have a sense of agency with decision making. Anyone who considers themselves a Batman fan must absolutely experience this title. Grade B+

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Winter Soldier #4

A Review From Christopher Franey

Here we are at the big issue before the end, and I have to say I’m very happy with this miniseries so far.  Get yourself prepared because this issue will definitely tug at the heart strings, Kyle Higgins has managed to create a new character and bond that questions how you feel about the main character’s motivations.  
I like how Rod Reis and the colors come together to give that flash back feel while we read Richie Edward Boyle’s file, and Richie turns out to be RJ’s long lost dad.  Now in case this series is new to you the big question is, who is RJ?  RJ is basically Buck as a kid, but brainwashed early in life and working for Hydra, he wears a costume that is very similar to Bucky’s WWII outfit and is just a cold blooded killer, Buck is helping people find a better life by escaping from a mistake in their past.  Buck is kind of a mentor for RJ and the two have started working together, but now Richie is back in RJ’s life.
We pick up early that Richie is a schemer and a con artist which has ended him up in prison…just to conveniently have him see news footage of Buck and RJ in action.  Once Richie is out he makes his way to RJ to get back into his life.  Both Buck and Sharon feel it is too much of a coincidence, but Sharon has check out all the facts and can rule it out.  Buck is spying on RJ and Richie having dinner and we see elements of Richie being the con artist that he is, but there are some mixes of atonement that Richie wants to do right this time.  

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We see some mobsters come for Richie as he owes them money, so this causes RJ to fight for his dad to not be hurt; RJ does some serious hurting on these guys.  Buck steps in as well to scared the guys off and check in on RJ, which causes Richie to explode on Buck and be angry about being spied on.

Richie does finally reveal that he borrowed some big money from these guys at high interest rates.  This puts Richie in a bad light, but does help to sway RJ back to wanting to help his dad…worse part is that is strains the bond with Buck and also causes the motivations of Buck’s new life plan to be questioned on is’s sincerity and effectiveness.  

Richie and RJ meet up again, this time Richie has another scheme that can work and he wants to let RJ in on it, but RJ reminds his dad about starting over but again Richie reminds RJ that is hard to start over and he can’t pass on the opportunity.  We then see Buck and Sharon talking and she puts it out there for Buck to think about how involved he is with RJ’s case.

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Now the pieces start to come together, we see Richie meet with other guys so they can get the scheme to work, but the fourth guy is needed…Richie is sure that he will get RJ to be the fourth guy.  Evidence comes out to show that the TV clip Richie saw earlier of RJ and Buck in action was actually planted on that TV for Richie to see so he could worm his way back into RJ’s life.  Now all that feeling on atonement is gone, so Buck confronts Richie.  Buck wants Richie gone from RJ’s life totally.  Buck did pay back the mobsters from earlier, so this does give Richie a clean start, but unfortunately RJ just can’t quit running scams, now that both men know this the confrontation gets heated.  Richie feels Buck is overstepping in RJ’s life and Buck feels that Richie is bad for RJ.  This leads to a fight and a silly death (in my opinion)…we see Richie take a swing at Buck, who of course dodges, which causes him to trip and fall head first into a dumpster and snap his neck.  Now this scene doesn’t look good for Buck at all…last person to see Richie alive isn’t someone who likes him, RJ isn’t in the best of mindsets right now…so the conclusion is going to be painful, just like RJ’s life has been.
I’ve been enjoying this series and I like the idea of Buck going around and helping others to find their redemption.  Even since Buck became the Winter Soldier back in Brubaker’s run it has been great to see Buck work towards his redemption.  I like that Buck has taken it upon himself to help others who have walked down a path that is bad, I think this is great and could work as an ongoing book with arcs like this one.  I’m very excited for the conclusion as the set up is gut wrenching, which way with RJ go?  The only thing I didn’t care for was the way Richie died, but he isn’t a main character he is just a motivation…in my opinion it would’ve meant more if the death didn’t feel forced.  I give this issue 4 out of 5 bullets over all and highly recommend you catch up with this mini.  As always read on and Excelsior!  

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