JP On Gaming

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Action Comics Vol. 3

More Superman! This time, the 3rd volume of the Rebirth edition of Action Comics. After a lull in volume 2 where we set ourselves up for the next part, I was curious to see where this was going. Could really be a make or break issue for the series as far as my interest.

The main thread of this book is an interesting twist on the conundrum of "If you could travel back in time, would you go and kill baby Hitler?" It is an interesting dilemma because on the one hand, the baby is innocent and has yet to commit these crimes. On the other hand, you know the atrocities he will engage in.

Here, we have Lex Luthor accused of becoming a new Darkseid and taking over Apokolips. That's not a good thing.

Here the villains try put Superman in that position, and Superman intelligently has to deal with and react to the situation and the question. His resolution left me satisfied. It's not really surprising to guess what he does, but the reasoning he uses on the villains is not trivial and you can really go both ways.

Now there is no doubt that left unchecked, we'll have Darkseid Lex...

My final rating for this one is a solid 4/5. While enjoyable, the sidequests are less engaging than in Volume 1. The art is good and I could not wait to read more of it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Real Housewives of Ravenloft Reach Gold!

It has been a while since I post about this great title to have reached a new milestone - almost a year. After a meteoric rise, it has been selling consistently each month until it finally reach gold best-seller level! This makes it the most sold FOE product of all times (a few free/pay-what-you-want are beyond that).

This product led to a long list of products/ campaigns, like Curse of Strahd II and the upcoming Witches of Pikemaster (a full campaign that touches a LOT of classic D&D lore).

I can safely say this is the product with the most drama in all the Domains of Dread/Ravenloft. That level really scares me.

Big thank you to everyone who got a copy of it and to my playtesters!

Monday, June 28, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Action Comics vol.2

Continuing the reading of Superman comic, picking up where Vol 1 left off. After a major bang to kick off the title, we now find ourselves in a more regular, slower pace as the questions asked but left unanswered by the more immediate threat of Doomsday.

This volume is not overly exciting but it advances the story as we get more background about Lex Luthor, and Lois gets a big storyline. Interesting but not overly exciting.

It sets up volume 3 but if you are looking for action, this will leave you wanting, especially after volume 1.

I will rate this a 3/5. This one was forgettable but makes sense in-between the two other volumes (yes, I will be reviewing volume 3 next).

Saturday, June 19, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Superman Vol 1: Son of Superman

The Rebirth era brought some interesting new concept, in this one, we find Superman and Lois Lane married with a son, Jon. After the Crisis, they came from another universe where Superman died publicly. The story deals a lot with Jon's half-Kryptonian/ half-human heritage and that his powers come in as he grows up. Okay, classic stuff.

To complicate the plot, his DNA is identified by the Eradicator (a Kryptonian robot gone rogue). The story is interesting but drags on. The action is engaging, fast, and most of the story is interesting. The final reveal takes a long time to get there but is satisfying, if not surprising.

I will give it a solid 3/5. Overall, I would say this is a pretty classic Superman story with some twists caused by the Rebirth arc.

Friday, June 18, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Action Comics Vol 1: Path of Doom

Continuing the list of comic I got at FLGS, I took on another Superman title. For the first time, Action comics! I do not remember ever reading that title before.

Well, right off the bat, we get Lex Luthor in a Superman suit, complete with the S-shield. Strong start!

Like in the other Rebirth Superman I read, we start with Superman and Lois living in the country with their son. Because this world's Superman is dead. It is not long before Superman confronts Lex Luthor and the two battle as Lex doubts Superman's identity and Superman doubts Lex's motivation. The confrontation is interesting as both characters have strong reason for their actions. It is a fight between two men whose experience of the other prevents compromise.

Then add to that story, Doomsday. The forced team-up dynamic is really well done as they do not let go of their prejudices or doubts about the other.

Jon and Lois watch on TV and there, the mother-child dynamic plays out as Lois tries to shield Jon from the revelation that Doomsday once killed Superman. A good counterpoint to the massive brawl.

The cameo by Wonder Woman is good and her presence facilitates the plot while not overshadowing Superman's actions. I liked her a lot.

Doomsday is a boring villain: he is like a dumber Hulk. However, I like how he is used here. Where the fight isn't the most interesting thing: the Superman-Lex and Lois-Join dynamics shine.

I devoured this book. On the back of the terrible Deathstroke crap, this was a great experience. 5/5!

[Kinda Book Review] Deathstroke Vol 1-3

Wow... a triple review all at once! It's been quite a while since (way back in September of 2020). I bought those three at my local comic shop. I was very excited about this one because I remember when I first read the New Teen Titans #1 back in the 80s.

And more recently, I really enjoyed his portrayal in Teen Titans Go To the Movies. Slaaaaaaaaaade. Hehehe It was funny.

It wasn't long before this enthusiasm ended.

The worse part is the storytelling. The pacing is ridiculously slow. With MANY page show the same panel copied two or three times as the characters talk. Vignettes of characters standing there in the oddest positions. The fight scenes just suck, I don't understand what they are doing, where the characters are. Having just read Batman: Knightfall with great spacial awareness. Here we have characters jumping around in odd positions in unclear locations. And the fighting is a very tiny part between pages of characters that just talk about stuff that inevitably turn out to be a scheme Deathstroke planned from the start and everyone else is an idiot.

Not here.

The story reads like one of these old 60s DC comics where the character surprises the reader with a last-minute reveal. It's fun once but over and over, it gets tiresome. It is tiresome. Again contrasting with Knightfall, this should be a detective story. Whereas the former does it right, allowing the reader to get the same pieces as Batman, so as the story progresses, you can look back and go "Oh yeah! That detail makes sense now." Deathstroke is so good because he does not need any character development, only revelation of his level of awesome.

Ravager (girl-Deathstroke) is super eye candy, I think her costume is a tight panty. The highlight of the story. Only bright spot in a drab, predictable, heartless, soulless, and ultimately pointless comic book.

I rate this an easy 1/5. Quite frankly, other than eye candy, there was nothing fun, interesting, or intriguing here. Pass.

Save your money.

Save your time.

Monday, June 7, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Justice League Vol 5: Legacy

I bought a number of these trade paperbacks in the bargain bin of my local comic shop. I bought tomes 5-7 so getting a big chunk of the story. I was both curious and intrigued at the idea of reading this.

The premise for this story hooked me from the start: imagine if the Justice League got defeated by some powerful force in the future and their children took up the mantle. We have Wonder Woman's son who also wear Superman's cloak, twins who can control the power rings off of all the power rings, and others. Aquaman and Mera's daughter. Aquaman becomes a half-cyborg and the evil force's #1 man.

Okay, I am in. The premise has a lot of potential.

These "Justice League Kids" travel through a portal back to "today" where they clash with the Justice League as some black force expands.

I won't spoil it all but the story is interesting. The final reveal surprised me in a positive way and the resolution was non-trivial, if a little quick and simple, which I appreciated very much.

My biggest problem with most of these new character is how one-dimensional they are. Only WW's son has some depth and is torn with a relatable dilemma. The others have trivial issues and they don't come into play at all. I have a feeling these characters are little more than throwaway characters owing to this blandness.

I left this issue with a positive vibe about it and will look forward to the the next trade paperback.

So a rating... If there were fewer characters, this would have ranked much higher. Everything done this was a decent 3/5. I want to read more, see where it goes.

Friday, June 4, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Daredevil: Dark Nights

I picked this book up from the bargain bin of my local comic shop (Z's Comic Lair in Murfreesboro). I really dig that they have 5$ trade books with a constantly evolving selection. I rarely leave the place without 10-20$ worth of goodies, sometimes more.

So this one... Daredevilwas one of the first comic books I read as a kid. It was a book that had 3 comics packed in one book (the company that published them in French did that a lot, mixing random comics in a single book). Back in 2012, I read the Daredevil Essential #1 (as noted in the classic REFLECTING BACK ON 2012) and it brought me to this character.

This book has two parts: one where DD is a massive snow storm going to save someone. Next we move to Miami and the mood changes. A LOT. The stories are fine, nothing made me jump. They are the type of stories I expect from Daredevil. The snow story in particular feels like a 2-3 issue filler plot where DD tries to bring a heart for a little girl. It's fine, but this one does not have too many surprises.

This modern comic suffers from what I hate: slow pacing, little action. If this were a movie, I would think it a good one evocative, atmospheric, and moody. However, this is not what I want to see in my comics. I want action, I want people, I want things to happen. I don't want to see two pages of a dude walking in the snow. With internal dialogue limited to one word per page.

Final rating: I will settle on a 2/5. The storytelling brings down the art. Enough to make me hesitate to pick another book.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan

Christmas 2019, Santa brought me "Fall of the Ottomans" by Eugene Rogan. I had been wanting to read more about the Great War. World War I (WWI) was the event that - even more than its sequel - defined the world we know today. But that is a rant for another day.

Fall of the Ottomans covers the war, from the events starting around 1900 with the two Balkan Wars that first gave the empire a bloody eye, then gave it some prestige to the aftermath of the war.

When I started this book, I thought I knew about the Ottoman Empire, but really, I did not. At the beginning of WWI, the empire spaned from Macedonia to Georgia, to Iran, to Saudi Arabia and the whole of the Peninsula. Massive! Then add to this the many ethnic groups: Slavs, Turks, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, and Palestinians. Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

You can find the details of the war elsewhere: Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Egypt/Palestine. The Ottomans had an army that mixed regular "European"-style troops and irregular tribal troops with German assistance and support.

After reading this book, I grew to have greater appreciation and revulsion for the Ottomans. Admiration as they ground the British down in many campaigns: Gallipoli, Mesopotamia. Revulsion for their actions against non-muslim populations: the Armenians. Very much a mixed bag overall.

One of the thing that got me into this book more is the prose. Yes, it is a history book, but the writing is dynamic and ties together the narrative into something resembling a plot. I could not wait to move on to the next chapter, as if I was going to discover something (okay, many times I got surprised by what happened).

What is this book lacking or that I wanted more of... I would love to read more of the fallout of the war... what happened after? Now, there is a satisfying conclusion that describes what happens in broad lines. Short, too short.

So you ask me for a rating... I thought "4" but then got to think: why? What I wanted was not the focus of this book. The subtitle says what this book is: The Great War in the Middle East. So my wanting to know more about the early history of the nations created by the partition. Since those things are "out of scope" and "future reading," I must say that brings this book up to a 5/5.

Must Eugene Rogan books may find themselves on my future wish lists.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Doctor Who: The Tardis

Continuing Will's collection of Doctor Who characters and mini-scenery with the Tardis, inside and out. I decided to take "action pictures" where the Doctor and his companions are just about to head out on an adventure.

Starting inside, the Doctor and his companions discuss where they are: a strange new planet. This scene inside the Tardis features the control panel. Painting some random indicators, graphs and colorful buttons. Two things annoyed me as I painted this. First, I had no idea how to base the model. It was not outside, but INSIDE. And from my memory, the TARDIS floor is plain white. Maybe I could've used a smaller base... But now that it is done, I really like the larger and stabler base.

The Tardis posed an interesting challenge as a painter. It is monochromatic, all blue. So what I did was to start with a darker blue and then using wet overbrush, I made at least four layers. The result is a multi-layered blue that is impossible to capture on camera. Then I did the "Police" headers, then the light atop the Tardis, and finished with the glass panes.

I had a kick-ass Tardis in need of a base. I left it alone for a while as I thought about what I would do.

As I finished the rest of the minis, I decided how I wanted to paint the bases. My inspiration was "Skarro" during Genesis of the Daleks, my favorite serial of all time. (See a picture of the planet nearby) I used a base of dark grey, then very light grey for highlights with scattered tufts of flock to represent the low grass and brushes.

However, for the TARDIS, I decided to add odd-colored water, presenting the TARDIS as it landed in puddles. I started a real water color but used a series of different colors to make it look alien. I must say the final result is awesome and made me want to ask "where are we now?" and "What happened here?" Isn't that the prelude to a good Doctor Who episode?

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Two Doctor Who Companions: Leela and K-9

Continuing Will's Doctor Who miniatures with two iconic and beloved characters: K-9 the robot dog and Leela the prehistoric woman.

K-9 is a snarky robot dog (little to do with the short-lived Australian TV-show of the same name). K-9 was a multi-purpose dog that had a laser in its "nose" and could scan many things. Now K-9 was a fun character who alternated between a super-useful tool and another damsel-in-distress. K-9 later returned in the modern era where he was part of the cast of the Sarah Janes Chronicles.

Leela is a woman from the future descending from a space expedition. She was a tough woman always ready to stab people with her knife. She played the role of a savage/prehistoric woman. Her violent side contrasted sharply with the Doctor in a fun and interesting dichotomy.