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Darth Maul #1

It is always great to see a character like Darth Maul return to the Star Wars universe. I’ve always felt that he was built up to be something huge and scary, only to die in his first dual with Jedi. He should have been the Darth Vader of the prequels. His design is so scary and could have been timeless.

fortunately with Clone Wars, Rebels, SW Novels and now his own comic, we get to see more of his badassdom we should have seen in the movies.

(Spoilers Ahead)

The story starts out with Maul hunting rathtars. If you remember from The Force Awakens, Han Solo was transporting a few of these squid like killing machines. After Maul is able to kill a rathtar, we get a scene reminiscent off the “Clever Girl” scene from Jurassic Park where Muldoon is hunting raptors. Rathtars apparently hunt in packs, which is pretty terrifying.  Unlike Muldoon, Maul is able to make quick work of this pack of needle teethed squid monsters.

We skip to Coruscant, where Maul is stalking a few Jedi. The Jedi sense something, and are distraught when they aren’t able to find the disturbance they felt. Palpatine knows what Maul has been up to, and is not happy with his apprentice. Maul has been becoming more and more impatient over the time it is taking Palpatine to get all of plans together. But Palpatine has a mission for Maul to at least appease his bloodlust for a bit. He sends him to Kellux where the Trade Federation needs assistance with some pirates.

While dispersing the space pirates, one gives him some information on a Jedi padawan that is to be auctioned off soon.  Maul kills everyone on the space station to keep this secret his secret. He gets in his ship and heads off to the padawan himself.

(End Spoilers)

I really enjoy Ross’ art in this issue. Maul always seems vicious. Everything seems very much like it is in the Star Wars universe. The story seems to take on the charactaristics of most Star Wars movies, where they like to take places in 3 different settings. We get the almost swampish planet of Twon Ketee at the beginning, Coruscant at the middle, then the space station at Kellux at the end. Overall it all seemed to work out pretty good. The story by Bunn is setting Maul up to be the vicious Sith we know him to be.

We get a second little droid story after this by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire. Set during the events of Phantom Menace when Darth Maul sends out the surveillance droids. A delightful, completely self contained, little droid story where two droids become friends. The art and writing are perfect for this, and it adds a little fun to a comic that could just be violent.

I can’t wait to see where this story goes. I always enjoy a little bit more Darth Maul. It does have the makings to be a re-hashing of the story line to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, but I hope that doesn’t happen.
If you are a Star Wars fan, and a Darth Maul fan, I’d recommend giving this one a shot.
7 out of 10 Jalapenos

We Stand On Guard #2

If you want to read the review of We Stand on Guard #1 you can Click Here for that review.

So we talked a little bit back in the review for issue #1 about how much I love Vaughan’s writing, so I feel like we should jump ahead into the actual review of We Stand On Guard #2

Spoilers Ahead

We open up issue #2 with a flashback from Amber’s past. We’re seeing a group of soldiers bust into an elderly families home in Dauphin, Manitoba Canada in 2013. I had to look up where Dauphin was. It’s a few hundred miles north of North Dakota, and north west of Winnipeg. This is a year after bombs have been dropped. It’s implied that there is some sort of American occupation. A hunting rifle is found in the couples home, so they are taken to “the camps.” The couple are loaded into military trucks and taken away. We see then that Amber and her brother were hiding in doghouses in the couples back yard.

The scene jumps back to the present, where the Chief is asking Amber if she will be coming with them or not. They have to get out of there pretty quick, before the Americans come looking for their mech. A huge vehicle, large enough to carry the mech with them, shows up with “Highway” driving.

Amber must be blindfolded if the Two-Four are going to take her back to base with them. When they take the blindfold off of her, they are in the Two-Four’s huge base.

When they get to the base they offer Amber some food or a shower. She decides to have a shower first. And we have a somewhat creepy scene where Dunn and his coywolf (half coyote half wolf) are watching her shower. He tells her that he is just looking for scars where the yanks could have implanted trackers. Dunn and his husband had found this coywolf on their property years ago.

The Chief and LePage, had stayed behind to cover the tracks of the giant transport the Two-Four have. They see a flight overhead and Chief tells LePage to get out of there. Afterwhich Chief is confronted by several American soldiers. They tell her to put her weapon down, but she decides to shoot instead. This causes them all to shoot her, but unfortunately, or fortunately, however you see it, she isn’t dead. So they are taking her back to the “Basement.”

This is where the issue ends.
We get a little bit of development into some of these Two-Four characters, and a little bit more on how much the Americans are jerks in this story.

The art is still great in this issue. I can see I’m going to be enjoying Skroce throughout this series.

I’m still very into the story, which is always good when you read the second of any series. The second can really make or break something. This one kept me on edge, and excited to turn the page to see what else is coming up.

Still feeling like this is at least a 8 out of 10 jalapeños.
Nothing too crazy yet. Just good storytelling, world building, and character development.

We Stand On Guard #1

If you have been living in a hole in the ground for the past 15 years you may not know who Brian K Vaughan is. To fill you in, Vaughan is one of my favorite writers. His creation Saga, an intergalactic space opera, is hailed as one of the best current ongoing series in comics. He was also the writer responsible for Y: The Last Man. If you have not read these books, go get them and read them immediately. They are both excellent reads. But for now, let’s move on to We Stand On Guard.

(Spoilers Ahead)

The Book opens up in Canada in 2112. The US is being bombed by an unknown source, as a Canadian family watch the news reports together. All of a sudden, we’re in the middle of a US retaliation bombing of Ontario. The bombings kill the mom and dad. Then we jump ahead a dozen or so years.
Amber (the little girl from the family) is out walking through the great white north, when she is attacked by this large American dog mech. Fortunately, Canada’s “Two-Four” are on the scene. They Save amber from the mech. Who are the Two-Four? The Two-Four are a force of Canadian civilian freedom fighters, and they seem to be pretty bad ass.

The Two-Four are helping Amber by patching her up and combing the area for more americans, when a giant 3 story tall gorilla mech shows up. Fortunately, the Two-Four have trained for this, so they are able to make quick work of the mech. What they have not trained for, is the american soldier piloting this mech.
Some members of the Two-Four are suspicious of Amber and think she may be a spy.  She should kill the soldier. While they are arguing over the morality of making someone kill who isn’t a killer, etc… Amber takes matters into her own hands and kills the solder.

This book is 40+ pages long, so we get a little more story than we would in a typical 20 page comic. We’re able to get a pretty good look into who Amber is.

Also, the art is really great in this issue. I love the design of the animalistic mechs. Steve Skroce does an excellent job with the covers and the interior of this book.

I want to learn more about this war torn Canadian future. So I will be visiting book two very soon.

So in conclusion, a new story by Vaughan is pretty exciting to me. There are just so many possibilities on where he could take us in this story, so in giving this one a rating, I may be rating on the possibilities of what the story could be as opposed to the first issue. I did enjoy issue #1 quite a bit though.

So, We Stand on Guard gets 8 out of 10 jalapeños.

 

Civil War II (1-8)

I’m maybe one of the few people who didn’t really love Marvel’s 2006 Civil War event.  The idea of the event is actually an excellent idea. Without reading it, the plot points and over idea sound excellent. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
So, when I heard that one of the new Marvel events was going to be Civil War II I had mixed emotions. For one, I wish we would get more original ideas, instead of rehashing old ones. I really enjoy Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. Her being the other major player opposite of Iron Man in this series.

(Spoilers ahead)

So, here is how everything basically sets up. A new Inhuman named Ulysses now has the power to see the future. Civil War II opens with the heroes beating back an alien invasion. An invasion that Ulysses warned them about. No big deal. They had it completely covered, because they had a heads up from Ulysses. Several of the heroes (Captain Marvel included) are really excited to have Ulysses on their side. They can stop world shattering events before they even begin. This is great!
But stick-in-the-mud Tony Stark thinks it’s a bad idea. The future isn’t written and all that.
Ulysses gets a new vision, and Captain Marvel decides to get a group together and take care of business. The only problem is the business is Thanos. During this operation She Hulk is put in the hospital and Rhodey (War Machine) ends up being killed.

Tony gives his “I told you so” speech, but that isn’t good enough for Carol.

It seems like almost every time the characters are talking with each other and about to maybe make some valid points and work it out, this Ulysses kid has another vision and 1/2 the heroes run off to prevent whatever is about to happen from happening.

Several heroes die, Carol tries to arrest Tony, Spider-Man (Miles not Peter) switches sides, Carol tries to arrest Spider-Man, Captain America steps forward to stop the conflict… blah blah blah

I didn’t hate the story, the first 4 issues of Civil War II were actually pretty good. The last 4 issues just seemed like there was no real reason for anyone to be fighting. There was no real urgency to it. It also felt like it was really leading up to… well… something, and it just never got there. In the end it makes Carol kind of look like a jerk, and Tony looks like he was faking that he cared at all. There was no real reason for any of the heroes to pick a side other than “because.”

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again… I don’t hate Bendis’ writing. I think he can be a pretty good writer. But I felt like Civil War II had no heart. It wanted to take us on a journey, but then decided to just get high and hang out on the couch eating cheesy poofs instead.

I can’t say that I don’t recommend reading it at all. I’m sure that some of the things that happened in the books will “change the Marvel Universe forever” for the next 6 months. I just don’t see any of it being much of a lasting effect, other than the characters that they killed off. Which felt like an empty attempt to make a not very good event have some weight.
I did actually like the first 4 issues. So I’m going to rate this series 4 jalapeños

Jessica Jones #1

I’m not one of those people who hates Michael Brian Bendis. I think he can be a bit hit or miss at times, but I don’t hate the guy or think his work stinks. I’m also not a person that worships his work. I do really enjoy some of it. Alias was one of the works that I really enjoyed.
Jessica Jones is obviously much more popular after her hit Netflix series (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now!) Which I would imagine is part of the reason we are getting this new series.

It is great to have the original creative team back on this book. Michael Gaydos’ art feels familiar like a good friend. Having David Mack back to do the covers is a wonderful treat as well. I loved the cover artwork from Alias, so when I saw this issue on the comic shop wall, I instantly gravitated towards it.

Like Alias, which was on Marvel’s Max imprint, this comic is a little more gritty and as the cover says this is “Not for Kids.”

(Spoilers ahead)

Since it is the original creative team, it almost feels like this story is just another chapter to Alias.
Jessica has just been released from prison, and she has no idea why she is being released, but she heads back home. She has a few messages on her phone, one asking from her friend Carol Danvers (you may know her as Captain Marvel) asking “where’s the baby.” This becomes a theme throughout the issue. Fortunately, for Jessica, there is a message for her about a case. She meets with a woman whose husband woke up 8 months ago, and did not recognize her as his wife. Jessica assumes that her husband is just crazy, but the woman insist that she take the case. Well, we all know what happened 8 months ago in Marvel Comics. It was the end of Secret Wars. Remember that?

If you want a beat-em-up comic book, that isn’t what this is. Jessica Jones and a lot of Bendis books are very dialogue heavy. You get a lot of the very characteristic Jessica Jones snark in this issue, which is something Bendis does very well, especially with characters he created.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what else we get from this series. It is one that will absolutely be added to my pull list!

With that being said, Jessica Jones #1 gets 8 out of 10 jalapeño

Inhumans Vs X-Men #1

Hot off the heels of Civil War II, we have the Inhumans Vs X-Men event. If you have been reading comics for any amount of time, you should know that this title and idea at least slightly hints back to the 2012 event Avengers Vs X-Men.
With Civil War II just ending, I have to admit that I was a bit wary of IVX. It almost seems like comic companies will come up with any reason for heroes to beat on each other.
What Civil War II seemed to lack in actual causality for heroes to be fighting, IVX seems to have in droves.

After Secret Wars, we are thrown into the Marvel Universe 8 Months in. The Terrigen mist is poisoning the mutant population, Cyclops is dead and the Inhumans and Mutants currently have a truce.
This event is literally a matter of life and death. The mutants will die if the Terrigen cloud is not destroyed, or the Inhuman children will not get to go through Terrigenesis. Basically destroying their birthright and having the inhumans slowly go extinct.

(Spoilers ahead)

There is a weight of brevity in this story and emotions are already high. Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire do a wonderful job bringing it all together. This is what we have been waiting for since the close of Secret War.
Issue #1 is very X-men heavy. Beast has been living in Attilan, working on a cure or solution to the Terrigen poisoning problem. He has come to let the X-Men know that he has failed. Mutants only have two weeks to live. His only suggestion is they leave the planet.
Emma Frost and Magneto have another plan. It involves destroying the second Terrigen cloud, which the Inhumans will not be happy about. The last 8 months they have been devising a plan in case Beast is unable to come up with a solution. They know that this will lead to a war between the mutants and the Inhumans, so they have to strike first and strike hard.

I know I’m a little bit later to the game on this issue since it came out in December. I’ll hopefully be catching up with episode 2 and 3 soon.
I highly recommend you pick up issue 1, and I hope that it continues to be as good as that issue was.

In conclusion, I would give this comic a solid 7 out of 10 jalapeños

So this is the beginning.

So, I sit here writing the first post of this brand new website, thinking about all the things I need to do to ensure the launch of this new podcast, and I have to be honest… It’s a bit overwhelming. Even though I’ve co-hosted, edited, and produced another podcast for over 3 years now.

The whole idea is overwhelming, but it is also intensely excited.

N is for Nerd has been something that I’ve been working on in my spare time over the last year. I’ve done tons of research, and have so many improvements that I’m wanting to make, before and after the launch. My main goal to bring you one of the best quality podcast that I am capable of. I’m trying to figure out what the upload schedule will be. I hope to start out as Bi-weekly and then possibly move to a weekly podcast once I get into the groove.

With that being said, it takes a lot of time to produce these podcast. NWGLS takes between 8-10 hrs per episode, N is for Nerd will require even more prep time. I’m going to be pouring a ton of time and work into this project. So I would ask you to check out my Patreon page and think about supporting me and the podcast. I have tons of ideas that I hope we’ll be able to explore in the future together!

Thanks so much, I’m glad you are on this great adventure with me!

Ray