Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Native Star

This was an interesting fantasy novel set in a 19th Century America in which magic vies with technology to fuel the Industrial Revolution. A rural hedge-Witch finds that a mysterious blue gem has embedded itself in her hand after a mine explosion. The gem disrupts any magic it encounters, leading the witch to set out on a quest to have it removed. The book has a unique conception of magic, dividing it into three types: Sangrimancy (evil blood magic), Animancy (nature magic), and Credomancy (magic powered by the faith of others). There's an interesting plot and cast of characters, even if a romantic subplot gets a bit sappy at the end. Overall, not amazing but worth reading.

Batman's TRUE Identity: Spider-Man!

[Image swiped from HeroPress]

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Boomer Month

[For some reason, half of this post is underlined, and I can't figure out how to make it go away . . .]

Boomer's one-month birthday is today, and he's doing great. He can roll over from his tummy to his back, is eating like a champ and (apart from a couple notable exceptions) sleeps through the night. He's had his first stroller ride, his first favorite toy (a little stuffed bear that, for some reason, has a dinosaur on its chest), and got taken out to see his first movie (X-Men: First Class). He still only sleeps when being held, so I'm still on night duty. In a couple of months, he'll be old enough to "Ferberize" (a sleep-training method) and that should result in a more normal schedule for me (paramount, since I need to find gainful employment in September). The Wife has been holding up like a trooper and it's been much easier with the in-laws here to help out.

When he sleeps well, my nights go by pretty fast: I read, watch TV, or blog like this on my IPhone. I mentioned in an earlier post how I read comics to him (even when he's asleep, which people think is funny), and I just finished an old digest of Metal Men adventures. I had never read non-team-up adventures of them before, and their first two adventures were quite the time capsule. Their scientist-creator's tortured love affair with the ostensibly female Platinum was my favorite part (sample dialogue: "But I can't love you, Platinum--you're a machine!"). I've also rediscovered my earliest pop culture obsession, GI JOE, through daily cartoons (and now comics...). Old episodes of shows like Batman:TAS and The Real Ghostbusters along with solid new shows like Haven, Lost Girls, and Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (my favorite) help me keep trekking until dawn.

It's Boomer/Daddy time that won't last forever, so I'm really enjoying it while I can!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clone Wars Campaign: Session # 46 Recap

I was really proud of this story arc, as its genesis was in a conscious choice to construct one that could not be solved through combat. I had heard about entire campaigns in other RPGs centered around political intrigue and social maneuvering, so I challenged myself to see if I could make it work in the Clone Wars campaign and still be fun for the players. Part of my incentive as well was a growing dissatisfaction with high-level Saga Edition combat, as it was getting harder and harder to seriously challenge the PCs within the logic of the established universe. So in other words, this whole story arc was an experiment, one I had no idea whether would work--I was quite nervous to go into a session without the crutch of combat to provide excitement!

The idea with Haven and the five Steadfasts was that, to get what they wanted (Tarn, kidnapped by the mysterious Accelerated), the PCs would have to bribe, manipulate, or persuade enough members of the Haven Council to vote in a leader who would be more cooperative than Leisha Camdeni (a character based loosely on the protagonist of the amazing novel, Beggars in Spain). When the arc began, I made a record of how each Steadfast leader felt about Camdeni (e.g., -2 for dislike or +4 for strong approval) and then tried to keep track as to how much the PCs actions influenced these attitudes. Success would require the PCs to develop some understanding of how to play the various Steadfasts off against each other. In order to make this feasible, I gave each First and their Seconds a list of goals, secrets, etc. so the PCs could investigate and formulate a plan.

All in all, I think it worked out pretty well and was a good way to stretch a little creatively.


After a dangerous series of jumps into the heart of the Arkanian Nebula, The Flaming Halo has reached the atmosphere of a veritable lost world. Originally a colony devoted to altering the essential features of humanity, the planet of the Altered has been cordoned off for centuries and intentionally erased from historical knowledge. But reaching the planet may prove a trifle compared to the difficulties that lie ahead . . .

The Flaming Halo plunges into the atmosphere of the lost Arkanian colony, fleeing several sets of strange orbs. Through pure speed and clever manoeuvring, Lucif manages to avoid coming into contact with most of the orbs—but the one that does hit seems to attach itself to the hull of the ship and drain power. Next to Lucif in the cockpit, A’tel and Arresta examine sensor readings and try to find a safe location to put the ship down. During an intense barrel roll, Daal collapses to the ground, barely managing to advise his companions to scan for an IMF energy signature before he passes out. Arresta scans for IMF energy and finds massive readings several kilometres distant. As the orbs approach for another attack run, Lucif orders his passengers to grab their gear and head to the escape pod.
A’tel secures Daal in the escape pod while Arresta races to her quarters to seize her equipment, including the field kits for her companions. Reaching into her trunk, she finds a damaged flimsy containing a letter from her husband, in which Stefan declares his love for his wife, but reveals that his headaches (which he does not know were caused by Creen) have worsened and he intends to undergo exploratory surgery on Rhinnal while Arresta is away ‘visiting her uncle’. He asks for his wife’s forgiveness for the lie, but pledges his devotion to her and their daughter. Arresta is devastated and, sharing the letter with A’tel, asks him to help her hunt down Creen at some point in the future. The former Jedi agrees without hesitation.
As Lucif prepares to set the ship down, he has Arresta retrieve a bag of gear from his quarters and, while he uses expert flying techniques to keep the orbs off of their backs, has her release the second empty escape pod on his signal, distracting one set of pursuers. Flying over desert terrain, the crew spots two ships: the Sun Runner II and a Jedi starfighter, presumably belonging to Tarn Tamarand. Noticing that both ships are covered in the strange orbs, Lucif theorizes that the orbs are attracted to energy and tries a risky manoeuvre: he cuts the ship’s power and brings the ship in manually, skimming it across the desert floor like a stone. It’s an excellent controlled crash, and the ship takes little damage in the process.
After the landing and a tense few moments of waiting, they realize that the orbs are hovering just a few meters above The Flaming Halo. They decide to leave Daal behind in the escape pod to examine the other ships. The atmosphere outside is breathable and normal gravity, but blistering hot, with hard, cracked terrain making for an unforgiving landscape. During the walk, Arresta informs Lucif that when they finish their business on this planet, they will be making their way to Rhinnal with all possible speed – she even offers to discuss covering the expense of his lost escape pod to secure his compliance. He agrees.
A quick glance shows that the Jedi starfighter is empty. Lucif manages to force open the personnel hatch of the Sun Runner II, but they find all of its systems are shut down and it’s occupied only by a medical droid nicknamed Scraper. Upon questioning, it displays two holovids recorded by its photoreceptors: the first depicts a battle taking place just outside the ship, but the image is so blurry that they cannot make out any details. The second shows Jocasta escorting a repulsortube which houses the body of her deceased Arkanian advisor Kronos. Back outside, a few tentative attempts are made to remove the orbs and their tendrils from the ships, but neither ordinary blades nor A’tel’s new lightsaber have any effect.
As darkness falls, the blistering heat turns into freezing cold and the adventurers return to The Flaming Halo after having convinced Scraper to come with them to tend to Daal. The droid is very keen on doctor-patient confidentiality, but it does imply that Daal has long been suffering from a serious condition. Later, A’tel talks to Arresta about his plans now that he has left the Order. He indicates that he is not yet certain what path his future will take, but that he can no longer support the direction that the Jedi council has taken.

[A.G. 1048]

The next morning, the trio begins a systematic search of the area. They realize that their communications devices will not function within a particular area. Once they have that sketched out the circumference of the interference field, they begin a methodical grid-like search. After several hours of searching in the heat, Arresta notices something odd – Lucif taking an odd detour away from an area he was searching. When he fails to recall this, she investigates. To the eyes of her companions she begins to sink into the sand, but she seems unconcerned. They toss her a rope and see her slowly disappear from sight. It takes Lucif and A’tel several tries to overcome the neural dissuasion field before they are able to follow in Arresta’s path.
To Arresta’s eyes, it seems like she is travelling down through solid rock, before entering a long period of darkness and then slowly realizing that a bright light is below her. After her eyes adjust, she finds herself in the central square of a massive underground city, made up of ice-white flowing architecture, complete with fountains, long pedestrian thoroughfares, and a cavernous ceiling that is holo-manipulated to appear to be sky. Hearing voices nearby, but seeing no one, she walks to the entrance of a large, circular auditorium that overlooks the square. She hides there and waits for Lucif and A’tel join her.
None of the three are able to make out the language spoken, so they decide to investigate further. A’tel hangs back while Lucif and Arresta move into the auditorium, where they find themselves in the middle of a public forum – with five central figures having a debate in front of a large number of observers. With Lucif at her side, Arresta calmly walks to the center of conclave and asks for aid in finding her missing “friends,” Tarn and the Sun Runners. Those assembled react strongly to the presence of newcomers, and the crowd rumbles with surprise. The five central figures engage in some sort of debate, and even though Arresta and Lucif cannot understand it, they can discern definite alliances and factions.
One of the figures, a woman who appears to be in her thirties with short black hair, presses a strange pattern on the sleeve of her shirt and begins to speak Basic. She names herself Leisha Camdeni, Speaker of Haven and First of the First Steadfast. She flatly informs Arresta and Lucif that Haven cannot help them and that they are forbidden from leaving the city. The conclave comes to an end and those present file out, with the First of the Fourth Steadfast (a tall, striking woman wearing a clinging gown) sending an aide to speak with Lucif. The aide names himself Sangla’Annex and says that his First would like to speak to Lucif in “more intimate surroundings.” Meanwhile, Arresta notices that the First of the Fifth Steadfast (a grey-haired, hard-faced man) gave her a significant look as he left. Outside, A’tel befriends an adolescent named Triv, who belongs to the First Steadfast.
After spending most of the day canvassing the city and gathering information, A’tel, Arresta, and Lucif reunite in the square to trade information and come up with several intriguing facts about Haven:

  • The city is currently divided into Five Steadfasts – down from an original number of 60. Each Steadfast appears to embrace a particular set of values and is lead by a “First,” who functions as their representative in the Haven Conclave. Leadership of that council, the position of Speaker, is determined by the support of three of the five steadfasts.

  • A sixth thoroughfare leading away from the square leads to a steadfast abandoned in recent memory. At the far end of the steadfast lies a massive metallic door, barred by strange energy barriers. Odd feelings of a pulsating darkness on the far side arise in those who go near the door. Inhabitants of Haven, who call themselves Altered, refer to it in the vaguest terms, and call it “The Excess.”

  • Altered in the city refuse to speak of other inhabitants on the planet, although references are made to “The
    Accelerated”. It appears that many former inhabitants of Haven have gone to join this other group.

  • The Altered do not appear to need sleep and they consider themselves to be more highly evolved than other races.

  • No one will acknowledge any awareness of Tarn or the crew of the SunRunner II – although they do reference a Captain Jorus, whose ship is the only officially authorized outsider vessel and which lands on this planet approximately once every solar year. It is scheduled to do so again in 37 days, and its previous visit brought the stowaway Triv.

The three adventurers also compile the information they’ve managed to gather on the five steadfasts and their leaders:

  • The First Steadfast: Led by the current speaker, Leisha, the first steadfast appears to embrace order. She is against allowing the newcomers to leave, but she betrayed recognition the first time the name “Jocasta” was spoken in her presence. She appears concerned at losing more of her population, which she refers to as “The Dwindling.” She has adopted the orphan Trev. The First Steadfast currently has no Second, but Triv hopes to someday take that position.

  • The Second Steadfast: Led by a woman named Praxeus Domanidrus, this group appears most interested in scientific and scholarly endeavours. Arresta consents to an examination – one that excludes any tests that cause pain – and notices that the woman appears highly interested in understanding other species and technology like that brought by Captain Jorus. Praxeus’ Second, a man named Iagos Aurellius, acts as her liaison, setting up tests, etc. The adventurers discover that Iagos is secretly the occasional lover of the leader of the Fourth Steadfast. Arresta and Lucif later theorize that a potential way to motivate Praxeus to aid them is to allow her to run tests on A’tel, as she seems unfamiliar with the concept of the Force.

  • The Third Steadfast: Led by a man named Eron 14 and his second, Eron 15, this group is obsessed with “the Dream” – a state in which they are hooked up to machines that allow them to experience intense sensations. Eron 14 seems to spend little or no time outside of the Dream, and supports Leisha Camdeni reflexively. When A’tel uses the Force to better understand this state, he finds it a horrifying conglomeration of primal sensations. By allowing the experience, Eron 15 states that A’tel is now indebted to him. Further conversation leads A’tel to believe that Eron 15 may be interesting in leaving the planet aboard a starship.

  • The Fourth Steadfast: In this female-lead section of the city, indulgence and pleasure are at the forefront, as Lucif discovers by bedding Sangla’, the First of the Fourth Steadfast. Sangla’ indicates that she would be open to helping Lucif and his friends in the Conclave, if they can convince one of Leisha’s supporters to switch allegiance. Other members of the fourth steadfast get Lucif to demonstrate his skill at martial arts and he is revealed to be far more skilled than they--easily breaking the nose of his opponent. He learns that violence is almost unknown in Haven, but that an underground ring exists in the Fourth Steadfast because it offers a visceral thrill. However, the city inhabitants are neophytes when it comes to combat because interpersonal harm is nearly impossible as everyone wears what they call “N-Fields”, personal energy shields. The Second of the Fourth Steadfast is a young, attractive man named Sangla’Annex. His role seems to be to scout new prospects for Sangla’s lascivious tastes.
  • The Fifth Steadfast: In this steadfast, the leader, Mazrim, talks frequently of courage and honour and it is revealed that his goal is to become Speaker. He would not consider violence, but would be more than willing to take his chance to advance if he can secure the needed votes. He has the support of the Fourth Steadfast and believes the Third Steadfast might be persuaded to switch sides. He is intrigued when Arresta mentions Kronos to him – and indicates that it would be very embarrassing for Leisha if evidence could be produced that Kronos had returned. Mazrim does not appear to have a Second.

[A.G. 1049]

After a night’s rest from their investigations, Arresta, Lucif, and A’tel awake to face a new day and the continuation of a novel task: finding the levers of power in an alien world, where intrigue counts for more than blasters.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Buffy Comic Project: "The Blood of Carthage" (Part 4)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 24

Dark Horse (Volume 1, 1998-2003)

Creators: Christopher Golden (writer), Cliff Richards (penciller), Joe Pimental (inker)

Setting: Season Four

T.V Character Appearances: Buffy, Giles, Spike, Xander, Willow, Anya, Drusilla (flashback only)

Major Original Characters: Hiram (demon henchmen), Xerxes the Blind (demon), Xiu (vampire twin; flashback only), Vraka (demon lord), Allan & Kristine (Watchers), Tergazzi (demon informant)

Summary: The Scoobies persuade Buffy that they should form a truce with Vraka against a common enemy, Ky-Laag. Spike explains how he once promised Vraka a magical tome a century ago in order to gain his aid in rescuing Drusilla, but that Spike then failed to keep his end of the bargain. Buffy and Spike find Vraka and try to deal, but a fight breaks out. Eventually, they come to an agreement and everyone splits up into teams in order to gather the material needed to perform a ritual to stop Ky-Laag. Buffy and Vraka set off to gather two demon hearts. Giles, Willow, and Hiram fly to New York, where they rob the Watcher's Council to obtain an amulet. Spike, Xander, and Xerxes head to the sewer for some feces. Everyone assembles at the quarry to perform the ritual, but there's a snag: Ky-Laag has already escaped, inhabiting the body of Tergazzi, who collapses in downtown Sunnydale.

Review: Decent. We need more info on Ky-Laag and why he's such a threat, as well as on why Vraka is his enemy. It was fun seeing Giles and Willow in New York, as the characters rarely leave Sunnydale at this point in the the show. There's also a really nice moment where Xander laments to Spike that Willow has suddenly become so useful and determined, and that Xander feels like her sidekick--a good reversal of the flashback scenes we saw earlier in this story arc. The story does seem to be picking up momentum, as we'll presumably see Ky-Laag for real next issue.


* Giles goes all Ripper in N.Y., punching out fellow Watchers, holding them at gunpoint, and swiping an amulet. A footnote promises that the implications of this will be followed up on in the then-forthcoming Giles one-shot.

* Anya has another hilarious scene, as she explains to one of Vraka's henchmen the reason why she and Xander couldn't complete the Kama Sutra.

* A handy sidebar on the letters' page explains what's in each of the Buffy TPBs that Dark Horse had released at that point.

* Editor Scott Allie devotes an editorial to praising artist Ryan Sook. A blurb at the end announced Autumnal, "a three month Buffy event ... in which we take the title in a darker, more classic-horror direction."

Next Issue

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crash Ryan [Comics]

Crash Ryan was a labor of love for writer/artist Ron Harris, and the quality shows. Released as a four issue, no ads limited series by Marvel's Epic imprint in 1985, the comic features great artwork and a story very evocative of 1930s serials and period visions of what the future of aviation would look like. Issue # 1 introduces the eponymous Crash Ryan, freelance pilot, and the threat of an evil warlord of the skies named Doom and his fleet of advanced combat aircraft. # 2 sees Crash join the United Airmen, a private air force that is the only chance the world has to stop Doom. In # 3, Doom launches a surprise attack and captures Japan, setting its factories to produce even more machines of war. # 4 reveals Doom's real identity and motives, and the final battle between him and Crash Ryan. It's a solid adventure story with some great aerial combats, very reminescent in style (though of course predating) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The story is complete in this series, but Crash Ryan apparently appeared later in a few issues of Dark Horse Presents.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Troublemaker Books 1 & 2 [Comics]

The local library got in a few graphic novels on its new arrivals shelves, so I quickly snagged Troublemaker Books 1 & 2. It was mostly the artwork that caught my eye--slightly cartoonish but realistic, uncluttered, colorful, and just plain fun. The story itself (each volume is one half) is a mystery starring characters who first appeared in traditional novels. The leads are a racecar driver and his assistant, but the story takes place completely off the track. There's some great flirty banter between the leads and good supporting characters. The mystery, concerning voodoo and a missing statue of Baron Samedi, is servicable but not great. I don't think these two volumes are worth $ 18 each, but definitely worth reading for free or cheap. I enjoyed the light tone so much I'm planning on checking out the actual novels next.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

A fun, fast read here. Kitty is a werewolf and late-night DJ for a Denver radio station. As she mentions a little bit about the supernatural from time to time, her show explodes in popularity, and before long she has a nationally-syndicated talk show. Other members of the supernatural community aren't best pleased, of course, especially her Pack and the local vampire family. Werewolves and vampires are portrayed in naturalistic, "low magic" terms, and, while not exactly original, it works well for the story. One original aspect I appreciated was that the "good guys" don't always win, nor do the bad guys receive their comeuppance. There's also enough story threads left unresolved to make it worth seeking out future books in the series.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Torchwood: "Department X"

Department X is a two-and-a-half hour Torchwood audio book narrated by Kai Owen. The story involves the organization going undercover to infiltrate a Cardiff department store where a spate of disappearances have recently taken place. Although the story itself is fairly routine action- and plot-wise, there are a couple of interesting concepts introduced: one is Firestone Bank, a long-time (secret) rival to Torchwood which collects alien artifacts and sells them abroad for a profit (I would like to see some recurring villains); the second is the Department of Curiosities, Torchwood's "longest unsolved case" which comes to a resolution in Department X. Otherwise, there's nothing particularly notable about this story, which could easily have been adapted to be a Doctor Who or Sarah Jane Adventures story--in other words, the writer didn't take advantage of the idea that Torchwood is supposed to be the "dark and edgy" corner of the Whoniverse.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Omnitopia Dawn [Book Review]

I'm a big fan of Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, which presents a more original, idea and complex concept of magic than the Harry Potter series. In Omnitopia Dawn, Duane launches an unrelated new series (trilogy?) for adults, centered around a truly massive multiplayer online role-playing game called Omnitopia. Omnitopia is a little like World of Warcraft, but with over a 100 different "universes" to accommodate far more than standard fantasy--science fiction, Second Life-style quasi-realism, player-created worlds, etc., can all be found within its ranks. The story concerns an attempt by outside rivals to destroy Omnitopia by hacking into it and bringing the entire system down. It's an entertaining, interesting story, though the main characters are a little too obviously "good guys" and "bad guys" with little moral complexity.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Buffy Comic Project: "The Blood of Carthage" (Part 3)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 23

Dark Horse (Volume 1, 1998-2003)

Creators: Christopher Golden (writer), Cliff Richards (penciller), Joe Pimental (inker)

Setting: Season Four

T.V. Character Appearances: Buffy, Giles, Xander, Anya, Willow, Spike, Drusilla (flashback only)

Major Original Characters: Lucy Hanover (Slayer; as ghost only); Tergazzi (demon informant); Hiram (demon henchman); Xerxes the Blind (demon); Vraka (demon lord); Xiu (vampire twin)

Summary: Buffy goes into a funk after hearing that she slew the guardian who kept Ky-Laag from stirring. She decides to stand guard at the quarry, and intercepts vampire twins working for the demon lord Vraka (slaying one of the pair). Meanwhile, Spike tells Giles and the rest of the Scoobies that he has encountered Vraka before, in Venice hundreds of years ago. Before he can finish the story, Spike is attacked by Vraka's henchmen, Hiram, while, at the quarry, Buffy is attacked by Xerxes the Blind. Hiram is defeated and reveals Vraka's lair, while Xerxes escapes Buffy when Vraka himself rescues him. And in the midst of all this combat, the demon informant Tergazzi is hypnotically lured to the quarry and jumps in to awaken Ky-Laag.

Review: A combat-heavy issue here, as Buffy fights vampire twins, Xerxes, and Vraka in succession, and the Scoobies fight Hiram. The twist at the end involving Tergazzi was nice, as was the brief flashback to Spike rescuing Drusilla from Vraka in Venice a century earlier. Still, for the most part, this issue seemed to be mostly filler and didn't advance the story very much--we still don't really know why Vraka is here or what this Ky-Laag creature is all about.


* Cliff Richards, the penciller, does a good job drawing character likenesses, but sometimes his clothing choices and hairstyles are a little odd--Anya, for example, looks like a conservative suburban housewife.

* I'm not sure if its the writer's or the artist's fault, but the demons Vraka and Hiram have very cliched, generic fantasy-novel appearances.

Next Issue

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cloak and Dagger (1985) [COMICS]

Following on the heels of their successful limited series, Cloak and Dagger started their own bi-monthly regular title in the summer of 1985. The book only lasted 11 issues (with a double-sized finale), but at least writer Bill Mantlo was able to tell the entire first year of stories he had planned out. Each issue is part of one big story, which sees Cloak and Dagger trying to track down the source of a drug shipment from its arrival in New York, back across the Atlantic, across Europe, and ending up eventually in the "Golden Triangle" of Southeast Asia. The artwork fits the series quite well, as it gives a fairly dark and moody feel for a superhero comic. Mantlo keeps the focus primarily on urban life and challenges facing big cities: drugs, runaways, gang violence, etc. In other words, this isn't a standard title with a super-villain slugfest every issue--but this is a 1980s Marvel comic, and that means certain things: drugs and porn are bad, Spider-Man makes a guest appearance in issue # 3, a major cross-over event ties in (Secret Wars II lands the Beyonder in issue # 4), and Doctor Doom appears in issue # 10 (my favorite portrayal of the character ever, actually).

A major theme is Cloak and Dagger's sometimes strained friendship, and their difficulty in deciding what their roles as heroes should be--protecting the innocent or dealing out retribution to wrongdoers? The two supporting characters introduced in the limited series--Father Delgado and police detective Bridget O'Reilley--receive a couple of pages in each issue, though each is developed in a dark and somewhat surprising direction from their initial portrayal in the limited series: Father Delgado turns from a devoted priest trying to help Cloak and Dagger and save their souls to becoming somewhat of a pervy old man with a thing for Dagger. Meanwhile, O'Reilley goes from a "by the book" cop trying to crack down on police corruption to a cop who tortures crooks for info before being turned into a (literal) monster in the form of a super-powered vigilante named Mayhem. Mantlo is able to expand on Cloak and Dagger's backstory by introducing Dagger's mom (an oblivious, drunken bitch) and her step-father, who wants to be a good dad but Dagger keeps him at a distance.

I'm not sure why the decision was made to launch the book as a bi-monthly, as to my recollection bi-monthly books seemed to inevitably become cancelled as it was hard for fans to want to wait a couple of months to see the next chapter of a story. In any event, Cloak and Dagger would continue to receive a solo feature as one half of the (also short lived) book Strange Tales.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

John Constantine: Dark Entries [COMICS]

The house where we live in Kingston in on the outskirts, so it's a bit of a hike to make it downtown. The good news is that there's a branch of the public library just ten minutes away, so I've had fun scouring their book and DVD racks for new stuff to help fill up my "night shift" of baby-watching. Unfortunately, there's pretty slim pickings at the library when it comes to graphic novels: a Sandman TPB (which I already own), a Hellboy TPB (ditto), a collection of comic strips from the 70s (doesn't look particularly interesting), and Dark Entries, a John Constantine book from 2009.

I've always wanted to read some Constantine stories and never got around to it, so this was a good opportunity. The book has a solid hook. Constantine is approached by the producers of a reality t.v. show where the premise is that contestants are locked inside a "haunted" house and whoever finds the hidden exit first wins. The problem, according to the producers, is that strange phenomena are occurring in the house that is not the product of special effects and trickery. When Constantine gets inside the house, he discovers that many of the contestants feel as if they know each other though they can't remember why, that they're having strange, terrifying dreams, etc. I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll just say it has a clever twist and was a solid read.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Starz Announces Torchwood Web Comic

Starz has announced that the network will produce a ten-part motion comic available free online to coincide with the launch of the Miracle Day episodes premiering in July. Each part of the comic will be three minutes long and include the voices of Eliza Dushku, John Barrowman, and Eve Myles.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Boomer's First Week

Tomorrow is Boomer's one-week birthday, and he's thriving. The first couple of days we were a little worried that he was sleeping too much and not eating enough, and the last couple of days he's had us scrambling because he's been eating a ton and sleeping more erratically. Since The Wife takes care of him every morning while I sleep, I watch him on the "night shift" from about 11 p.m. to 5 or 6 a.m. It's my favorite part of the day, as Boomer snoozes on my lap and we watch classic cartoons on a channel called TeleToon Retro--everything from G.I. Joe to The Real Ghostbusters to Batman: The Animated Series. I also read to him from his first ever comic book (I picked it up on the way to bring him home from the hospital), Archie Double Digest # 217 and another comic (officially part of Daddy's collection), DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest # 23 featuring Green Arrow. This last comic has been a hoot, as it's a collection of reprints from Green Arrow throughout the character's existence. My favorite so far is when Green Arrow and his sidekick Speedy crossed over to "Dimension Zero" by hanging on to a skyscraper-sized "cable arrow" shot by a child from that dimension to our own. While there, they encounter the hero Xeen Arrow. It's kooky, goofy fun. Man, Boomer's a lucky kid!