JP On Gaming

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

[Kinda Book Review] Batman Knightfall Part 1

I don't have an image for this trade paperback that introduces Bane for the first time as a new menace to Gotham. And boy does he start with a bang.

This was an early 90s mega-crossover event that covered many of the Batman-related titles. The art is in the style I loved reading as a kid and the pacing is absolutely on-point. Things happen and the story moves along at a decent pace. With Batman trying to catch the villains Bane broke out of Akham. The Batman-Bane conflict is slow to unfold, but it adds to it, makes it more interesting and fun.

Now I'm not a fan of Bane per se. I think what he did there could be other villains who I think would be more interesting: the Riddler or the Penguin. However the story works and his introduction is slow but the pace of the stories is not.

We have a Killer Croc-Bane fight, a Joker-Scarecrow team up (gosh that's scary), Poison Ivy, and the Riddler. Robin shows his chops as a burgeoning superhero. The story ends with Bane breaking the bat. There are many good moments in this book.

My rating for this one is a 5/5. My biggest issues is that I did not have the full story and my dislike of Bane as a character, which did not detract from my enjoyment and really showcased Batman's detective skills.

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.