Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – New Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2

A second Avenger series stars Luke Cage, Dr. Strange and others as they tackle invading demons and ex-HAMMER agents.

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With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

New Avengers 2010 Vol 1Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Stuart Immonen, Daniel Acuna, Mike Deodato, Howard Chaykin

Issues: New Avengers (2010) #1-13

 

During the Civil War era the Avengers teams were split up, leading to two ongoing Avengers series. The official team and the unofficial rebels. I guess fans liked having two Avengers series, and Marvel kept them going even when it made a lot less sense. Even when multiple popular characters are on both Avengers teams!

With the main Avengers series starring the heavy hitters of Iron Man, Bucky-Cap, and Thor, the rest of the “Occasional Avengers” decide to move into the old Avengers mansion as an official second team. For some reason.

The team is lead by Luke Cage, whom writer Brian Michael Bendis has done a fantastic job with. The series is grounded by Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ relationship as a superhero couple and new parents. Cage has grown into a wonderfully complex character and a great leader; he’s easily Bendis’ best legacy from his Avengers work (I would say the other is Spider-Woman, but she turned out to be the Skrull Queen sooo….). Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – New Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2”

The Awesome Indie Games of PAX South [Pixelkin]

A list of 12 of the most exciting indie games I saw and played at PAX South 2016.

Read the full list at Pixelkin.org

indie games pax south

We’re at a point now where each month has a gaming, comic, or tabletop convention to be excited about. PAX South is now in its second year and has a much bigger focus on indie gaming. Few big publishers have much to show in January. Hopeful indie devs were there to fill the gap. Below is a list of some of the most notable games I saw at PAX South 2016.

 

Color Thief
Developer: Trouble Impact
Release: Early 2017
In a world of black and white, one chameleon discovers a hidden temple full of color. Our hero can absorb color from any object in the world and apply it anywhere else. Painting water creates a solid surface, while matching colors on a door opens it. Puzzles are forgiving and the non-violent world is kid-friendly.

 

Dead Star
Developer: Armature Studios
Release: Early 2016
Armature Studios had a neat booth capable of 5v5 matches in their top-down space shooter. The developers described Dead Star as a League of Legends-style MOBA in space. Players can choose between multiple classes and ship designs. Teams will need to work together to secure outposts on the map. The arcade-like gameplay was immediately fast and intuitive. The full game will allow 10v10 matches, leading to some deliciously chaotic space battles.

Read the full list at Pixelkin.org

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 1 Recap

Part 1 of the party’s journey from Phandalin to Red Larch, where they meet Cragmaw riders, cursed skulls, and ominous weather.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

After the events of our previous campaign “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” the party receives a job to escort a wagon East to Red Larch. On the way they encounter a retaliatory strike by some Cragmaw Hobgoblins, experience strange weather patterns, and suffer fitful nightmares of elemental forces destroying the world.

If you want to learn about our cast of heroes, see this post from before our first adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver.”

The logical next step after “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” was to select another official published adventure for our new campaign. I really enjoy having everything already organized and planned out, and especially official maps of dungeons. Since Phandelver only brought our heroes to level 4, I wanted to continue their journey. Out of all the official campaigns released thus far, “Princes of the Apocalypse” made the most sense to adapt it as a sequel to the events around Phandalin. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 1 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2

Bendis continues his run of Avengers with the post-Dark Reign Heroic Age, including time-travelling villains and the Infinity Gems.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Avengers 2010 vol 1Writers: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: John Romita Jr.

Issues: Avengers (2010) #1-12, 12.1

 

Siege finally brought an end to Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign over the Marvelverse. Between the Civil War, the Secret Invasion and the Dark Reign, Marvel wanted to return to a simpler time of heroes versus villains, and so The Heroic Age was born.

The Heroic Age brought a reunion of many of our original Avengers like Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, a team that hadn’t been together in over five years. Annoyingly, Wolverine also joined the team, despite also joining the concurrent New Avengers series and still being a member of the Uncanny X-Men and the new Uncanny X-Force. Spider-Man is also on both Avengers teams, what the crap.

The newly restarted Avengers series also gave us the old-school stylings of John Romita Jr, which I will readily admit to not liking. The heavy lines and flat faces just look odd, and the action never feels particularly dynamic. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers (2010), Vol. 1-2”

The Flame in the Flood Preview [Pixelkin]

The Flame in the Flood is a survival-crafting game where you live off and survive against nature along a grand Southern river.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

the flame in the flood

Eleven days. That’s how long I could survive on my own. Well, I wasn’t completely alone. The dog had proven loyal and helpful. He was a walking backpack and alarm system. But he was no match for the pack of wolves I ran into when night fell just outside a ruined church. Eleven days.

The Flame in the Flood is an intriguingly named survival-crafting game. Several ex-BioShock developers formed an indie team and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 (which I backed). Now you can play the fruits of their labor right now via Steam Early Access, with the official release coming February 24.

The only mode available in Early Access is an Endless Campaign. It’s literally impossible to win – just try and survive as long as you can. Meanwhile the natural killers of hunger, thirst, and exposure are always just a step behind you.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin.org

Disneyland 2016

I recap our first big family vacation to Disneyland and California Adventure in February 2016.

Disneyland entrance

My family has a big thing for Disneyland. My mom spent her formative childhood years growing up in Southern California. Many of her favorite memories come from day trips to the park.

The cool thing about Disneyland (and what Disney purists tend to mention every chance they get) is that it’s been around since 1955, with many of its original rides still intact and operational. It’s an impressive feat, and really special for that generation that can return and share those experiences with their grandkids.

My wife and I also got engaged on our last trip to Disneyland in 2010. I proposed right in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

This trip was my four year old daughter’s first visit to Disneyland. It was also her first plane ride and first time leaving our home state of Texas. And all of this merely a week after I had an exhausting weekend trip with PAX South! Continue reading “Disneyland 2016”

PAX South 2016 Mega-Post

I recap all 3 days of PAX South 2016!

pax south 2016 cloud aerithI should start by apologizing for the lateness of this post. My original idea was to update my blog every night with all the crazy festivities of each day of PAX South. Instead we ended up spending all day and evening (minus dinner out) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. That’s about 9am to midnight. The hotel wi-fi was just not up to snuff for uploading pictures, so I resigned to the occasional twitter updates and pics throughout the weekend.

Then on the way home I caught a whiff of the con crud/PAX pox. Then yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. So yeah, excuses, I got ’em!

But no more! It’s time to break down PAX South 2016, and my personal experience with this unique gaming convention. Continue reading “PAX South 2016 Mega-Post”