Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope

Hope Summers, the Mutant Messiah, leads a team of the first generation of new mutants since M-Day.

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!

marvelWriters: Kieron Gillen, James Asmus

Artists: Salvador Espin, Ibraim Roberson

Issues: Generation Hope #1-17

 

Hope Summers, AKA the Mutant Messiah, had been the focal point of the X-Men saga for years. The first new mutant born since M-Day was first shown in X-Men: Messiah Complex. She was then raised by Cable by jumping through time in Cable (2008), and finally returned to our world in X-Men: Second Coming.

You don’t necessarily need to read all that to understand Generation Hope, but it certainly helps. After Second Coming, Hope officially joins the X-Men. Well, sort of. She’s a badass future-soldier in her own right, and her fellow mutants both love and fear her. She’s also a young woman who had just lost her the only person she cared about.

So Cyclops lets her build her own team after they discover her purpose – saving and recruiting newly awakened mutants. These new teenage mutants, the first five of which are dubbed “the Five Lights,” manifest their mutations in violent, dangerous ways.

Hope’s touch works as a magical cure that calms them. She is both the spark for mutation and its salve.

Hope is sent to save and recruit them during Uncanny X-Men #526-529, which should definitely be required reading for Generation Hope (for that matter, the following story in Uncanny X-Men with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw is also referenced heavily in a later story in Generation Hope).

So Generation Hope is all about this new team of teenage mutants, which has really been done to death by now. While most superhero teams are delightfully dysfunctional, Hope’s is downright violent and unstable. Their actions sow the seeds for the X-Men’s eventual schism in 2011, and in 2012’s epic Marvel event Avengers vs X-Men. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 33 Recap

We follow the trail of blood-draining reeds to a mysterious house in the swamp. Just outside we fight off an ambush of eel hounds.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We’ve finally reached the point in our lengthy campaign where I decided to add material from outside sources. “Princes of the Apoclaypse” certainly has plenty of content to keep us going for another six months – but I just couldn’t help myself.

Plus, I received the Tomb of Beasts and Book of Lairs from Kobold Press’ Kickstarter and just had to try at least one of their spiffy dungeons. With the extra side treks I can also tie them into what’s going on in the Dessarin Valley, the elemental cults, and my PC’s themselves.

In the case of the “House of Reeds and Whispers,” I knew Talus wouldn’t be able to pass up a mysterious, magical investigation growing from the Black Maw Bog. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 33 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap

The party gains several new side quests in Red Larch. They journey to Westbridge and discover the ruined town being bullied by the Cult of the Black Earth.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

It’s entirely possible to over prepare for a D&D session. This produces the opposite effect of the phrase, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” Instead you’re so consumed by the entire forest, you skip over trying to plant and nurture individual trees.

This past week I think I spent more time on D&D than anything else. My party had recently returned to Red Larch after a very lengthy stay within the temples of elemental evil. The sojourn encompassed three dungeons, at least two Long Rests, and over two months of real time.

So I had a bit of a backlog with side treks and extra events that were happening around the Dessarin Valley.

d&dI also wanted to include even more extra content. I recently received the Book of Lairs book from Kobold Press’ Tomb of Beasts Kickstarter (the ToB is also fantastic) and found a dungeon that I could easily include in our current campaign as a Side Trek.

On top of that I found another mini-dungeon that would work wonderful for my campaign with a few tweaks, from Nerzugal’s DM Toolkit. That’s on top of a Side Trek included in the campaign that I was adding.

So that’s three Side Treks I built this week. Then I noticed my party would be traveling to Westbridge, and realized that “Princes of the Apocalypse” includes a neat little mini-scenario that occurs when they travel there in the latter half of the adventure. Four – four new things!

It was overwhelming but I got it all done. I could’ve easily just picked one and dove deeper into it. But I enjoyed giving my players the option of picking where to go and what to do. I wish I hadn’t done the Westbridge event at the last second on Sunday – as that’s what we ended up tackling this week. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Schism

Enter X-Men: Schism, the much touted Cyclops vs Wolverine fight that splits up the extended X-Men family.

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!

marvelWriters: Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen

Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuña, Alan Davis, Adam Kubert, Billy Tan

Issues: X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1-4, X-Men: Schism #1-5, X-Men: Regenesis

 

The X-Men have been united for quite awhile following the big events of X-Men: Messiah Complex and Second Coming. Cyclops had successfully united the 200 or so remaining mutants, providing a (relatively) safe mutant haven in an island off the coast of San Francisco. An island that used to be Magneto’s Asteroid M, who now serves as an old war general and confidant. The times they are a-changin’.

So in 2011 Marvel decided they needed to break up the X-Men.

I can definitely see the reasoning. There’s always been a ton of mutants, and teams are usually split up based on where they are and what they’re doing. But with everyone in Utopia it gets super weird having multiple X-Men comics with different teams, for no real reason other than sales.

Enter X-Men: Schism, the much touted Cyclops vs Wolverine fight that splits up the extended X-Men family. The idea is neat, the dialogue suitable, and the actual fight between our veterans pretty darn violent and satisfying. But the overarching plot and kid-villains are incredibly dumb and frustrating, draining much of Schism’s power. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Schism”

The Dangerous Seduction of Video Game Hype [Pixelkin]

The 2013 VGX trailer created years-long excitement for No Man’s Sky that proved too good to be true.

Read the full article at Pixelkin.org

It’s okay to get excited about exciting things. And video games can be pretty darn exciting. Take No Man’s Sky. An incredible open world space adventure with a near infinite amount of planets and alien wildlife waiting to be discovered. It sounded too good to be true.

Turned out, it was.

We all first learned of No Man’s Sky’s existence from the jaw-dropping trailer shown at the 2013 VGX awards show. The trailer did a fantastic job creating excitement and anticipation for this adventure about exploring uncharted worlds. No one was certain how the game would actually play, or how a small indie studio would pull it off. So began several years of feverish speculation and wishful thinking.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT PIXELKIN.ORG

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap

We sneak past trolls and ogres with stealth and deception before battling reavers and bugbears. Curious water weird tanks are found while we escape the elemental temples.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

When exploring a large dungeon, I prefer not to leave it as a series of static rooms filled with monsters and traps. Depending on how much prep time I have, I try to include unique scenarios, dialogue, and role-playing situations whenever I can to break up the blood bath. Particularly after the super long combat encounter that lasted all last session.

This week our heroes squeezed in a Short Rest before having to think on their feet and employ some stealth and deception to make it through a series of trolls, ogres, and an opportunity-seizing sea hag named Thuluna. They discovered magical experiments involving mobile Water Weird battle tanks, and a whole host of baddies to take down as they made their way out of Crushing Wave territory. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap

An explosive trap sets off an epic battle in the heart of the water temple with cultists, lizardfolk, and a dragon turtle.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Some sessions are filled with intrigue, role-playing, puzzles, and exploration. Others are just one big battle royale. Our thirtieth session was the latter, as our heroes charge forth into the waiting arms of the water cultists.

My players’ progress within the water temple has been haphazard at best. They narrowly avoided being slaughtered by the dragon turtle, and at one point looked to be separating to different corners via the underground river.

But they regrouped and headed North and East, which lead them straight to the boss. They defeated Gar quite handily (being at nearly full strength).

But now most of the temple lay before them – and its denizens were aware of intruders lurking about. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap”