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BradHB
January 21, 2022
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Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Game

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DavidNorris
January 20, 2022
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thegiantbrain
January 19, 2022
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thegiantbrain
January 17, 2022
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We-reNotWizards
January 12, 2022
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Ten: The Card Game - Review

Board Game Reviews
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thegiantbrain
January 11, 2022
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oliverkinne
January 11, 2022
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Matt Thrower
January 10, 2022
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Jackwraith
January 10, 2022
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Michael Barnes
January 07, 2022
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BradHB
January 07, 2022
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We-reNotWizards
January 05, 2022
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Jackwraith
December 30, 2021
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Michael Barnes
December 30, 2021
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oliverkinne
December 28, 2021
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18 Oct 2019 15:18 #302571 by Shellhead
Steve Gerber run of Defenders. I like the Defenders back in the '70s, up until around issue #62 or so. They were a weird team from day one, initially featuring a small but powerful group of loners: Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namor, and the Silver Surfer. Both Namor and Surfer left before Gerber took over, and were replaced by a valkyrie of Asgard and a rich guy with a jet pack.

Normally, I'm not a fan of Gerber. As a moderate liberal, I find his political venting to be shrill and annoying. His attempts at humor are often crude and heavy-handed, especially anything involving Howard the Duck. But he did his finest work with the Defenders.

There were a few overlapping storylines during these Defenders issues. There is a bizarre group of villains known as the Headmen, and each member had a deformity or super power involving their heads. A fictional equivalent of the KKK tries to incite a race war. A team of freedom fighters from the future gets stranded on Marvel Earth. The Defenders bring them back to the future and help them fight the alien race that conquered their Earth. Returning alien villain Zebulon is operating a satirical version of the Church of Scientology. Valkyrie ends up in a PG-rated storyline in women's prison, and her ex-husband hangs around the team as a mouthpiece for Gerber's rants. And then there is the mysterious Elf with a Gun.

Somehow, it all works. The ex-husband is a useful POV character and straight man to react to all the weirdness. The story takes wild twists and turns, but each story is brought to a decent conclusion, except for the Elf. Even the humor works, especially in this scene where the Defenders stand accused of being... Bozos.

pbs.twimg.com/media/B6HSE4-CUAAMJAP.jpg

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18 Oct 2019 16:32 #302572 by Jackwraith
I appreciated his strangeness, especially as a kid in the 70s. He kept a very "true crime" feel to a lot of his stuff. I remember Valkyrie's ex (Jack Norris) confronting her once at Dr. Strange's mansion, Nighthawk complaining about how he'd showed Norris with cash to piss off, and then Norris being pursued by shadowy figures down a highway for something he'd done. There was a lot of tension and story there if, yes, you could look past his hyper-Libertarianism that was often more fantastical than anything he did with aliens or the duck. I did like the Headmen, even though the whole premise was just a shade too goofy to accompany "real" superhero stuff. (It's funny how one can draw lines between things. (/comic humor))

It has to be noted that he did solid work in the early days of Man-Thing, too, which is where Howard first appeared.

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18 Dec 2019 22:30 #305258 by DarthJoJo
Greg Rucka's Whiteout and Ed Brubaker's Velvet. Both are well within their writers' respective wheelhouses, but that doesn't stop them from being solid pieces.

Whiteout is Rucka's first published comic. As you might expect, it's a murder mystery, but it's a murder mystery in Antarctica. It's a great setting, and Rucka pulls as much from it as he can.

A Cold War spy thriller where Moneypenny is the real hero, not Bond, Velvet is a more recent piece from Brubaker. He could do this in his sleep by now. The action moves, there are some good twists, I enjoyed it.

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19 Dec 2019 22:41 #305314 by BillyBobThwarton
I have never heard of Whiteout, though I really enjoy Rucka's Lazarus and Stumptown. Turns out the library has a copy - request made!
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20 Dec 2019 10:09 #305331 by DarthJoJo
Yeah, Whiteout should be a slam dunk if you like Stumptown. Solid female lead detective, strong setting, murder mystery, yeah. The second volume tells a different story, and I'm not quite sure which I prefer. Both are worth it, though.
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05 Jan 2020 21:28 #305817 by DarthJoJo
First two volumes of Dynamite's James Bond comics, both written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by James Masters.

Definitely leans more on the Daniel Craig "Bond as thug and assassin" interpretation. It leans hard on it. Each volume includes one brutal interrogation carried out by Bond, and you see him graphically finish every one of his enemies with a shot to the head or broken neck. I suspect they turned the blood black in the second volume to avoid some sort of censor.

If you can stomach that, it's a pretty great adventure comic. The villains and their henchmen and plans are appropriately grandiose, the writing is tight, the action is clean, and Bond escapes an assassination attempt by forcing a car crash and then taking his roller luggage out of the trunk and walking to the station after straightening his tie. Were either of these volumes competently executed films, they could easily make the top five Bonds of all time.
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06 Jan 2020 13:44 #305853 by Shellhead
Ellis did a Bond-like issue of Planetary, though it was more of a general nod to the flashy spy-shows of the '60s. However, that particular spy character was more closely based on Nick Fury.

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23 Mar 2020 00:22 #308464 by BillyBobThwarton
Read the 6th issue of Something is Killing the Children today. This is set in some smallish town where numerous kids have gone missing. The very strange Erica Slaughter shows up at the hardware store to gear up and take care of business. What has me hooked is a steady drip of weird ass events, such as stuffed animals that seem to be evil spirit guides, and hidden agendas of multiple behind-the-scenes forces battling for control. There are things that can only be seen by select characters, and one particular kid who might just be the worse friend one could have.

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17 May 2020 21:10 #310398 by DarthJoJo
Been on a bit of a Kieron Gillen kick lately: the first two volumes of Die and the first ten issues of The Wicked + The Divine. Die feels almost boilerplate as five adults return to the role playing fantasy world they were trapped in as teenagers, but there’s enough twists and full-speed storytelling that it makes its mark. And Gillen created his own RPG based on it, so that’s fun. Less fun is the underlying thesis that role playing is just an outlet for working out trauma, so it doesn’t feel as fun as it should.

Wicked is pretty well known, but twelve deities of diverse backgrounds take human form and reign as pop stars. I’ll keep reading it because there’s nothing like it, but it’s not really grabbing me. I don’t care much for any of the characters, and I just can’t get on Gillen’s wavelength. I know the man loves his pop music, but they may as well be the gods who incarnate as CrossFit and Peloton trainers for all it matters to me.

IDW’s ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run is entirely and unabashedly awesome though. I’ve read through volume nine, and it hasn’t yet failed failed to make me smile. It takes the same approach as Grant Morrison to Batman: it’s all true. Elements are drawn from every incarnation of the Turtles, and new storylines and characters still leave their mark. Just great.

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17 May 2020 23:02 #310400 by hotseatgames
I've been re-reading the Knightfall saga of Batman. It's awesome, and this is the first time I've been able to read the giant 3 volume omnibus edition. Previously I had the 2 volume edition that is much shorter.

I was surprised that apparently I still don't get to see the run up to it all, with Jean Paul Valley getting beaten up by Killer Croc or Bane.
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18 May 2020 09:45 #310412 by Shellhead
I am re-reading the Morrison run on JLA, in the trade paperback format. I sometimes wonder if they edited down those issues to neatly fit certain page count limitations of the trade format, because the stories sometimes lunge into new ideas that might have landed better with at least a couple of panels of buildup. The artwork by Howard Porter is initially extremely awful in a very '90s way, but becomes tolerable after a few issues. It's possible that Morrison's ambitious and radically imaginative scripts might be especially challenging for artists to interpret. At any rate, the stories transcend the poor artwork, so I would still recommend this JLA run.
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18 May 2020 13:21 #310423 by Sagrilarus
I'm reading Gillen's Doctor Aphra right now. Love the character and he's stretched her without breaking her core concept which has been refreshing.
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30 Jun 2020 21:39 #311544 by DarthJoJo
Finished The Wicked + The Divine. I can say I respect it, but I don't particularly like it. Jamie McKelvie's art is uniformly great, and Kieron Gillen's plotting works in that he never leaves the audience hanging for too long. Mysteries don't dangle, and status quo is shook several times over without ever feeling like a cheat. A few dips into past resurgences are pretty solid in interpreting the whole 'gods as pop stars' thing for the appropriate age.

But I never cared for any of the characters and even hated a good deal of them. Everything around them was strong enough to keep me reading through to the end, but it's not something I'm going to look back on terribly fondly or recommend to anyone.

Looking back now, it seems odd to me that three of the characters are clearly modeled on David Bowie, Prince and George Harrison on the Sgt. Pepper album cover. The first two, at least, make sense for the associated characters' personalities, but for a comic that strove so hard to be of the moment and based on something as ephemeral as pop music, why throw back to artists who peaked decades earlier and were all dead by the time the series was done?

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01 Jul 2020 02:11 #311551 by jeb
I read and enjoyed ALL THE ANSWERS, a very MAUS like effort by Michael Kupperman trying to get his Dad, Joel, who was once one of the most famous people in the world.

Joel wants to and has managed to forget everything about his time as a Quiz Kid, but Michael wants to know if his father’s obtuseness is caused by his bizarre childhood as strange parental relationships. It’s really cutting and quiet.

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01 Jul 2020 10:43 #311562 by Shellhead
DarthJoJo, you might get a kick out of Greatest Hits, a Vertigo limited series from a decade ago. The basic concept is: what if John, Paul, George, and Ringo were superheroes instead of musicians?
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