Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Force: The Complete Collection Vol. 2 (X-Necrosha)

The dead return in the somewhat disappointing X-Necrosha event, though the rest of the Volume is solid.

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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!

X-Force complete collectiong vol 2Writers: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost

Artists: Clayton Crain, Mike Choi, Sonia Oback, Gabriele Dell’Otto

Issues: X-Force (2008) #17-25, X-Necrosha, X-Necrosha: The Gathering, X-Force: Sex & Violence #1-3*

*I also included X-Necrosha tie-ins New Mutants #6-8 and X-Men: Legacy #231-234

 

Remember when I was just discussing Uncanny X-Men and bemoaning the emphasis on big crossover events? Well pretty much right after the events of Utopia we swing right into X-Necrosha, an X-Force event involving the vampire Selene and an army of resurrected mutants.

Thankfully the story-telling is much more structured, taking place entirely within X-Force while X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants take over some tangentially related story arcs with different teams. X-Necrosha is an interesting idea but ultimately the weakest arc out of an otherwise continued great run of X-Force. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Force: The Complete Collection Vol. 2 (X-Necrosha)”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – War Machine, Vol. 1-2

A satisfying and exciting arc unfolds in James Rhodes’ first real solo series as a badass cyborg soldier of justice.

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!

War Machine 2008Writer: Greg Pak

Artists: Leonardo Manco, Carlos Magno

Issues: War Machine (2008) #1-12

 

On again, off again Iron Man sidekick War Machine literally took over Tony Stark’s solo series during the Secret Invasion. Stark’s whole world fell apart during the event, and his story was told in the main Secret Invasion trade.

Meanwhile War Machine actually received his first ever solo series following those events, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t amazing. James Rhodes had barely been used at all in the least few years of comics.

This relatively short, 12-issue series does a fantastic job explaining his character, developing a satisfying arc, and using the events of Dark Reign to weave together a compelling narrative. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – War Machine, Vol. 1-2”

Yo-Kai Watch Review [Pixelkin]

Yo-Kai Watch is a solid contender to Pokémon’s dominance of the monster-collecting genre.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

yo-kai watch

A worthy contender has finally entered Pokémon’s monster-collecting genre. Yo-Kai Watch has exploded in Japan in the last few years, and American audiences finally get a taste of the action with the first game for Nintendo 3DS.

A likable, relatable story and modern setting combine well with the ghost-hunting and monster-battling formula to create not only one of the most impressive 3DS games I’ve played, but also one of my favorite games of the year.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 11 Recap

In exploring Old Owl Well the party runs afoul of a giant horde of zombies, and a necromancer from Talus’ past.

d&d

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

 

A horde of zombie approaches – roll for initiative!

My players are nothing if not methodical. After dealing with Agatha at Conyberry at the end of last week’s session, they traveled South toward Old Owl Well to clean up their quest log. They had learned that the area has been seen crawling with undead, and were tasked with discovering what was going on.

Old Owl Well, like several of the mini-locations in “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” doesn’t have an official printed battlemap. Thankfully the campaign is popular enough that I was able to find one online and incorporate it into what turned into one of our longest, and more interesting combat encounters. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 11 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Secret Warriors: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

It’s Marvel’s version of GI Joe as Nick Fury fights back with his own super-powered team of spys and soldiers.

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!

Secret Warriors vol 1Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman

Artists: Stefano Casselli, Alessandro Vitti, Gianluca Gugliotta, Ed McGuiness

Issues: Secret Warriors (2008) #1-16, Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors #1

 

It’s GI Joe, Marvel style!

Nick Fury had been written out of comics for a number of years around the era I started reading (2004-05). He’d been operating in the shadows, occasionally popping up to help other people like Spider-Woman and Winter Soldier. He finally resurfaces in triumphant fashion with his own superteam in the middle of 2008’s Secret Invasion, immediately kicking skrull ass.

Following the Secret Invasion and the new regime change that puts Norman Osborn in charge, Nick Fury’s team received its own official series called Secret Warriors. The roster of mostly original characters benefits from Brian Michael Bendis’ grandiose serialized writing style and plot development, but the actual team remains frustratingly underdeveloped. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Secret Warriors: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 10 Recap

The party battles a dragon and survives, then travels across the Neverwinter Wood to speak with an Elvish banshee.

d&d

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Dragon fight!

Our adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” includes a rather powerful, and optional, foe – a young green dragon. Even a young dragon is a nearly insurmountable obstacle for a party of 3rd or 4th level heroes. I think that Wizards of the Coast felt compelled to include at least one dragon in their starter adventure, possibly as an example that some foes might just be too strong to tackle.

My players were not overly fond of having a super powerful enemy on the board, however. Since they’d left the cultists in Thundertree alive I devised a role-playing scene between the cultists, dragon, and players to try and make the encounter a bit more interesting (the adventure gives me nothing for the dragon other than a name).

To add some tense flavoring I had the cultists and dragon speak draconic, which only the party’s dragonborn could understand. I whispered the translations to him, and I grew worried that I was leaving everyone else out. They said they enjoyed the tension and were constantly “waiting for the bomb to drop.”

Kalinaar the paladin had his own speech alongside Favric, the cultist leader. The cultists had acted friendly and waved the PCs into the dragon’s tower, only to offer them as further reward to the dragon in exchange for his allegiance. I had both Favric and Kalinaar roll Persuasion checks, and Favric won. The cultists fled the building and the dragon attacked the PCs, starting with his devastating acid breath. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 10 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2

The X-Men go to war with Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, and the fate of mutantkind leads to a creation of yet another new home.

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!

uncanny x-men complete collction vol 2Writer: Matt Fraction

Artists: Yanick Paquette, Greg Land, Terry Dodson, Marc Silvestri, Luke Ross, Alan Davis

Issues: Uncanny X-Men (1963) #512-519, Dark Avengers (2009) #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men Utopia One-Shot, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men Exodus One-Shot*

*I also included relevant tie-ins X-Men Legacy #226-227 and X-Men: Nation X #1-4

 

“Hello again. My name is Scott Summers and I’ve been an X-Man since I was fifteen. And like everyone else here, I’ve been a mutant all my life.”

I was originally going to open with “It was a time of upheaval for our beloved mutants,” but honestly it’s always a damn time of upheaval. From House of M to Emperor Vulcan and the Shi’ar Empire to Messiah Complex, the X-Men have barely had a chance to tell more character-focused, one-off stories before being whisked away to the next major event.

If you can’t already tell from the cavalcade of artists and issues included in this collected volume, this is yet another major event. To Marvel’s credit, most of these events do change the status quo of X-Men and mutants quite a bit, from destroying Xavier’s school to moving the X-Men West to San Francisco.

The Complete Collection Volume 2 covers the Dark Reign era – circa 2009. The X-Men are involved in a growing escalation of anti-mutant hatred in the not-so-progressive city of San Francisco, eventually clashing with Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers. A new Dark X-Men team is temporarily created by Emma Frost, and Scott shows off his Wartime Consigliere skills when he creates yet another new home for mutantkind by dredging up a surprising location. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2”