War of Kings is a blog dedicated to my favourite comic books, books, games and movies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From the Front - Late for November

This is probably my last 'From the Front' post, because it looks like I'll only be buying trades from now on, and trades are reviewed in 'From the Trenches'. You may be asking yourself what I am doing writing reviews on Christmas Day. I shall explain. My great-grandparents were Danish, and the Danish tradition was that you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. I have no idea if that’s what they actually do in Denmark these days, but that’s how our family does it. So we had all the eating and carolling and opening presents last night, and this morning we went to church, so there isn't really much to do on Christmas day except read our presents (because most of the presents we get seem to be ones that you read). I've been reading the Fantastic Four pocketbook I got. It has the first appearance of the Black Panther and Claw, some weirdness with Prestor John, Johnny Storm and Crystal pining after each other, and a storyline in which Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers and rides around on his surfboard. Yes, that was in the movie. But the FF pocketbooks are hard to read all in one go, so I'm taking a break. Spoilers abound.

X-Men: Pixies and Demons - Director's Cut
Which is a fancy way of saying 'We're re-publishing the FCBD story, but we need a way to justify it, so it gets a cardstock cover and the script added onto the end'. How can a comic book be a director's cut you ask? Comics don't have directors! Well, the name is justified because the script has directions from the writer to the artist as to haw the page should look. The story itself was ok, and could have easily been put in one of the Divided We Stand anthologies. Like some of those stories, it shows us what happened to one of the kids that got stuck out in the cold when Cyclops closed Xavier's. The kid being, of course, Megan Gwyn or Pixie. She went back to her small hometown in Wales, a town which is, according to all the other children there, very boring. Megan starts to suspect that something is very wrong when people start disappearing, but no one believes her - they think the people have just got fed up an left town. But then Pixie starts seeing demons that no one else can, demons called the N'Gari. I'm sure it would make a whole lot more sense to me if I had read any other stories involving these beings, but I'm not sure where to look for them. As far as I can tell, these beings feed on death. A mining accident which left a whole lot of people dead, including Megan's father, was what allowed them to appear in the town. Now they are abducting people to feed their leader, who is partially manifested at the scene of the mining accident. Poor Pixie is attempting to fight them all by her lonesome, with no idea whether any of her messages have got through to the X-Men. It is a bit too much like the other DWS stories, in that it shows us important things happening to an important character, yet it doesn't do it very well. Yes, Megan is important now. She's a main character in Uncanny. And this is how she got to be there. But there is only one moment that really shines - in the middles of a heated underground battle with the N'Gari, Pixie collapses the mine and teleports all the X-Men out, leaving them all standing around in heroic battle poses with nothing to fight. Nightcrawler is astounded by Pixie's teleportation abilities, and says she makes him feel old, which I assume has something to do with him quitting the X-Men next year. The script at the back is interesting, but it doesn't add anything new to the story.
Verdict: Minor Loss.

X-Factor #37
Yay, the X-Factor I know and love is back! Lots of harsh lighting and shadows, verbal sparring, real sparring, detective work, and evil dupes of Jamie doing nasty things. I hate saying it, but Longshot is proving a pretty good replacement for Layla, with his luck powers giving the team the same sort of edge (or X-Factor if you will) that Layla's precog powers did. And he's a lot less creepy than her. Oh, and now we have a new artist, he actually looks like Longshot, and when M gets luvy duvy with him, it actually makes sense. Anyway, whilst Val Cooper tries to convince Siryn and Rictor that she's only there to protect the baby, Madrox, Guido, M and Longshot arrive at the base of Mr. Manu looking for Darwin. I don't have the last issue, so I'm not entirely sure how found out who Mr Manu was (I'm guessing Longshot's object-memory power) but they manage to find Darwin. A whole lot of him actually. Either Manu has cloned him, or he's managed to give a whole lot of his lackeys adaptation powers. That would have been a pretty good cliffhanger, but the actual cliffhanger is Siryn's water breaking. There isn't a huge amount of storyline taking place here, but sometimes slowing down is good, especially after that sudden timeskip a few issues back. I've felt a bit disconnected from the characters since the timeskip, but this issue seems to give a glimpse at what each of the characters are thinking, and thus I feel a lot more connected to where the characters are. And - is it just me, or does Mr Manu's chin look a bit bumpy?
Verdict: Major Victory!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

War Effort: Picking Up the Pieces

The e-mail I got a while back announcing the closing of Kick Ass Komix also said to pick up all call orders before Saturday the 20th of December. It was my little sister's 21st party on the 19th however, so I phoned up Rudi and asked if I could pick my comics up on the 21st (the date, not the birthday party). Which is today. Also, to confuse matters, it is my sister's actual birthday today. She loves the hardcover copy of Marevl Illustrated: Treasure Island I got for her.

So anyway I went to pick up what is in all likelihood my last lot of comics from KA Komix, getting X-Men: Pixies and Demons (a reprint of the FCBD comic, and incidentally my first comic with a cardstock cover), X-Factor #37 and Guardians #7. I'll try post up reviews of them tomorrow or Tuesday. I also picked up X-Men: Legacy #215 & #216 and the trade of Paul Jenkin's 2000 Sentry miniseries off the shelves. Greg said that this was their last shipment, so I'm missing:
X-Factor #34
X-Factor #36,
She-Hulk's X-Factor tie in (I think it was #35)
Guardians #6,
Uncanny X-Men #204

Now: what to do about next year? The website of the Johannesburg shop isn't very good. There are rumors of a South African website that sells comic books with free shipping. But as I have yet to find said website, it seems that my best option is to buy my comics in trade form from kalahari.net. Of course, that means waiting a bit longer, and as patience is not one of my strong suits, it means I'll probably already know the story's broad outline before I get it. But, hey, trades do go on the shelf nicely and are easy to pull out and re-read. So I'll probably continue with X-Factor, Guardians and Uncanny X-Men trades and forget about the remainder of Civil War: HoM, Manifest Destiny, Solomon Kane and the one shots I was going to get. I can order the trades of X-Infernus and War of Kings when they appear.

Monday, December 8, 2008

War Effort: The Battle Plan

They say things happen in threes. First, I got an e-mail form Kick-Ass Komix saying that they will be closing on the 31st of December. As in forever. This presents me with a large problem, as KAK was the only comic shop in Durban. Their closing means that the closest shop is now eight hours away from me in Jo'burg. I then went down to KAK to pick up my comics, only to find that their shipping orders had got messed up, and out of the whole of October and November, there was only one comic waiting for me. (This is on top of the missing ones from September.) And then my modem broke. Hence the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks, which I apologise for. I don’t even know how Secret Invasion ended. Though, it probably won't matter much seeing as how slim my chances of buying anything with 'Dark Reign' on the cover have suddenly become.

So I am cancelling all regular (hah) posts in order to focus on the Battle Plan:


Find a new way to get comics
A) Being killed by shipping rates or the petrol price
B) Ending up with comics that have been folded or have price tags stuck on their covers.

I'll let you know how I'm doing with posts entitled 'War Effort'. Cause even if I end up never getting War of Kings, I like my blog name.

And now I shall go find out what happened in Secret Invasion.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quartermaster - Febuary 2009

Green means I'm getting it. Red means I'm not. Blue means I'm still deciding. All cover images from Newsarama.

Dark Stuff
The dark section is a bit bigger this month. We have the usual suspects: Dark Avengers #2, New Avengers #50, Mighty Avengers #22, Avengers: The Initiative #21, Thunderbolts #129, Invincible Iron Man #10, War Machine #3, Ms. Marvel #36 and Deadpool #7. Added to this are Bendis & Hickman’s Secret Warriors #1, and Jeff Parker’s Agents of Atlas #1. These are as expected. We were also told Black Panther #1 had something to do with Dark Reign, so not much of a surprise. But Punisher #2 is here. Why is it classified when the spoliery #1 wasn’t? And then there’s Wolverine: Origins #33. Why on earth is this involved in Dark Reign? We’ll have to wait till December to find out. Agents of Atlas is tempting. I’ll probably get the first few issues at least. But I’ll wait for the declassified solicitations to come out before I decide on any of these.
Intelligence required.

Ultimate Stuff
So, Ultimate X-Men and Utimate FF are both being cancelled, while the beloved Ultimate Spidy carries on. I’m not really surprised. I’m pretty sure the remaining X-Men and FF members (if there are any) will end up in Ultimates or Ultimate Avengers. What’s interesting are the new printings of Ultimate Wolvrine vs Hulk #1 and #2. Does that mean they’re gonna finish it? Regardless, I’m still not gonna buy any Ultimate stuff. Its bad enough trying to keep up with stuff in the regular Marvel U.
Not in supply.

Astonishing Tales #1
The Marvel Universe is about to get even more astonishing with this anthology that delivers super-sized thrills every month! First up, fan-fave C.B. Cebulski and superstar Ken Roquefort (Madame Mirage) get gritty with a no-holds-barred Wolverine/Punisher tale you have to see to believe! You like Iron Man? GOOD! We’ve got a double dose of the Iron Avenger as Tony Stark and Arno Stark, Iron Man of the year 2020, headline two tales of corporate and high-tech intrigue. Finally, Cannonball and Sunspot of the New Mutants get sucked into the wildest adventure of their short lives when they spend their summer vacation in...MOJOWORLD!!
Hmm, this is interesting. Another anthology. We had Marvel Comics Presents for a year (it finished in August) and a couple of X-Men anthologies. Apparently they did well enough to merit a new Astonishing Tales series. The last time the name was used was in series that ran from 1970-1976. I’m not sure whether this new series is supposed to be in present day continuity or not. The appearance of Arno Stark and the refence to Cannonball and Sunspot being on summer vacation makes me think its not.
Not in supply.

Marvel: Your Universe #1
Get caught up on all the latest action going on in the Marvel Universe! First, it’s an action-packed Ms. Marvel story featuring Captain America and Jessica Jones. Then, he has near limitless power — now he must do all he can to bring punishment to the wicked, help to the oppressed, and justice for all! Exploding from the pages of ANNIHILATION, it’s Nova! Also, follow the adventures of Danny Rand in a history-spanning kung-fu epic that will shatter every perception of what it means to be the Immortal Iron Fist! Next, the final confrontation between Ghost Rider and Lucifer begins! Plus, the X-Men’s past becomes the present as Xavier fights the greatest battle of his life. With his mind hanging in the balance, one false move can cause irreversible damage. Collecting material from MS. MARVEL #1, NOVA #1, IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1, GHOST RIDER #14 & X-MEN: LEGACY #208.
I’m not entirely sure what this is supposed to be. We already have an anthology starting this mont. This seems to be a random collection of reprints that have nothing to do with each other. It’s not the latest action, and you would think stuff like Avengers and Iron Man are important for understanding the current Marvel U than these. Strange.
Not in supply.

Eternals #8
Guest-starring the X-Men! When colliding cousins Ikaris and Druig face-off at the feet of the Dreaming Celestial, do you think the astonishing mutants are going to let their new hometown be torn apart? Think again, Bub! They’ve united in the past to face a common foe, but can the X-Men and the Eternals stand together now?
I suspect that this purely an attempt to push up readership for eternals, and isn’t essential reading for X-Men fans. But the Celestial’s been in Uncanny twice now…
Not in supply…I think.

Fantastic Four #564
Dear Readers, you have our word that nothing this lame happens inside this very special Christmas issue. Yours sincerely, Mark and Bryan.
Christmas in February. This is what happens when comics are delayed
Not in supply.

Hulk #10
There was a time when the world's mightiest heroes got together to fight foes too great for them to handle all by themselves. No! Not the Avengers! The other guys: HULK! NAMOR! SILVER SURFER! DOC STRANGE! The original Defenders are back! But what terrible threat could bring them together again? How about THE OFFENDERS! RULK! TIGER SHARK! TERRAX! BARON MORDO! If you have to buy ONE comic this month -- be sure to by TWO copies of HULK!
One side of me says Loeb knows what he’s doing, the Defenders getting back together is the best thing ever, and I should buy this awesome book. My other side says that the Avengers can’t possibly get back together without ruining three plotlines, and this is a disaster in waiting which I should avoid at all costs.
Not in supply.

She-Hulk #38
She's been savage. She's been sensational. She's been an avenger. She's been a lawyer. She's been a bounty-hunter. But there's one thing She-Hulk has always been, in all of her many series... cancelled. But it hasn't stopped her yet! In this oversized final issue, Peter David brings his run on the Jade Giantess to a close... but can Jen use her last remaining pages to save her friends from a truly mammoth threat? Catch her now, before someone turns her red!
Well, I kept intending to try this, and in fact I’ve ordered the X-Factor tie-in (which I still haven’t got) and the Cosmic Collision one-shot. But seeing as its being cancelled, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to try it. Oh well.
Not in supply, series discontinued.

Incredible Hercules: Love and War HC
The Greek Goliath is looking for some R&R after the events of "Sacred Invasion," and hopes to find it in the arms of ex-Renegade NAMORA. But there's no rest for warriors when the AMAZONS declare war on Atlantis! And these ain't your mama's Amazons — is that why Amadeus Cho sides with them instead of Herc? Plus: ARES returns! Collecting INCREDIBLE HERCULES #121-125.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to get the hardcover, but if I don’t I’ll get the trade paperback.
In supply.

Incredible Hercules #126
A special DOUBLE-SIZED issue that is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers! Proudly presenting, for the first time in Marvel continuity ... the ORIGIN OF HERCULES! How did the young man who becomes the Lion of Olympus learn of his divine heritage? In what battle did he earn the title "Prince of Power?" And, most importantly, why does the goddess HERA hate him so, now that her DARK REIGN begins to fall across New Olympus? PLUS: In the aftermath of the Skrull invasion, AMADEUS CHO goes on "The Quest for Kirby!"
Ok, so its not really much of a spoiler for Dark Reign. Either Hera’s working with Doom, or Van Lente and Pak are doing a parallel story that has nothing to do with the rest of Dark Reign, like their Sacred Invasion story. And, BTW, Hera hates Herc cause Zeus cheated on Hera with Herc’s mother. It’s not complicated. Now, I’m getting Love and War, so I might decide to start getting this. It depends on what’s happening in Dark Reign, where this story is going, and whether or not I decide to buy all my Herc comics in tpb or not.
Intelligence required.

Models, Inc. #1 (of 4)
Fashion Week is always a hectic time for models, and this year is no exception. Between escaped wolves, robbery attempts, and overly friendly police officers, Mary Jane Watson, Patsy Walker, Jill Jerold, Chili Storm and Millicent (Millie the Model) Collins are testing the limits of their endurance. But when a brilliant young set designer is found murdered with three bullet holes in his back, and Millie proves to be the prime suspect, the models are forced to play detective in order to save one of their own!
When I first saw the cover I thought it said Hotels, that blonde was Emma, and that it was the cover of the next Uncanny. That would have been funny, but dude, this is hilarious. Mary Jane, Hellcat and Millie the Model. I laughed at every single headline on that cover. In fact, you know what? If it’s in continuity, I’m going to buy it. Because I can. If people at the comic store laugh at me, I can just say it’s for my sister.
Now in supply.

Nova #22
Join the Nova Corps...or suffer the consequences! Worldmind begins the mass transformation of human recruits to fill the ranks of his new Nova Corps--and brands anyone who stands against him a criminal! Richard Rider is powerless to stop the process...but he’s going to try anyway, even if it means fighting alone! New characters, razor-sharp plot twists, jaw-dropping cliffhangers...
I don’t think I’ll get Nova until War of Kings actually starts.
Not in supply.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #3 (of 4)
The fuse has been lit in the Shi'Ar Empire and an intergalactic powder keg is about to explode. After the shocking events of last issue, the rest of the universe just found out how dangerous Vulcan is... but right now Vulcan is more concerned with a now free HAVOK and POLARIS. And as the ruthless new Imperial Guard hunts down MARVEL GIRL, everything begins to converge. Will there be any X-Men left to fight the WAR OF KINGS?
Another awesome cover. I think I’ll make it into a new banner and turn the site green. Or perhaps green and red, and put some holly up too, for Christmas. Oh, right the comic. It sounds pretty good from the solicit, and I’m glad the entire series isn’t Vulcan torturing Havok and Polaris (I wouldn’t put it past Yost to do that) they actually escape and do things.
In supply.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10
The drums of battle thunder in the Negative Zone – building to WAR OF KINGS! Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians face down Blastaar’s barbarian horde as Star-Lord fights for his life in 42, the besieged Initiative prison! And if our cosmic misfits fall – Earth is next!
If this was any other book, bringing Blastaar back would be a bad idea. He is a completely ridiculous character. But this isn’t any book, its Guardians, and it is built on making ridiculous character awesome.
In supply.

War of Kings: Darkhawk #1 (of 2)
As WAR OF KINGS approaches, the ascension of Darkhawk begins! New Warrior...Avenger...Intergalactic destroyer?! Chris Powell has been many things over his young life, but now he’s stepping up with a new life on the East Coast and a serious job at Project: P.E.G.A.S.U.S. But when his past comes back to haunt him and new information about his amulet and its legacy are violently brought to light, Darkhawk realizes he may have to face a much darker destiny that he ever realized. All this, plus the return of the Loners...and a reprint of DARKHAWK #1! You know how ANNIHILATION made you look twice at Nova (now star of a critically acclaimed series)? This is where Darkhawk takes off!
Its no secret I’m a fan of C.B. Cebulski, so while I tend not to enjoy solo books, I’m going to try this. Especially as I’m not getting Nova, and it looks like PEGASUS might have something to do with the war. Its only two issues, and it ends at the same time as Kingbreaker, so the war starts in April?
Now in supply.

Uncanny X-Men #506
Emma's bad dreams continue, and, man, when the White Queen has a long night, we ALL have long nights. Peter finds horror in the Port of Oakland. The assembly of the fringe science team continues with a big -- BIG -- discovery that will probably kill them all before they have a chance to fix that whole no-more-mutants thing. And with the Humanity NOW! Coalition stoking fires of anti-mutant hate, Cyclops implores his X-Men to keep a low profile... HA. Dummy. Part 3 (of 4)

It seems like I have to justify why I’m getting this every time I do Quartermaster, so I’m not going to try and justify it this time.
In supply.

X-Men: Legacy #221
The desert ghost-town that was once the X-Men's HQ has been reborn as a city of the damned with only one inhabitant: Rogue. But as Professor X and Gambit struggle to reach her, they discover that sometimes one is a very large number... Part 2 (of 5)

Very good book. However, I don’t care about Rogue and I know nothing about the X-Men’s outback days..
Not in supply.

X-Infernus #3 (of 4)
The battle for Illyana Rasputin’s soul continues! Colossus leads the X-Men into Limbo, but does Illyana want them there?
They’ll find out that her soul isn’t the only one on the line. And who is the mysterious woman who is changing the landscape of reality?

Still know very little about this series, but it sounds like it will be good.
In supply.

Young X-Men #11
Dust is dying. Ever since she was turned to glass in YOUNG X-MEN #3, things haven’t been right, and they’re only getting worse. Why does she think that Donald Pierce may hold the answer?
I won’t get any YXM until after X-Infernus ends, then I’ll look at it again and decide.
Not in supply.

X-Factor #40
You remember John Maddox, right? He’s the one dupe that Jaime Madrox never reabsorbed. Family man. Pastor. All around decent guy. Well, he’s having a really really BAD day. And things are going to get worse when an armed Madrox comes knocking on his door. He’s looking for answers that only a man of the lord can provide and if Madrox doesn’t like what he hears, it may very well be the last sermon that John Maddox ever delivers…
Peter David likes doing this. Just when you’ve forgotten about that seemingly throwaway plot, it suddenly becomes important again. Meaning you can often go back an read old issues and notice things you didn’t see before. I think this solicit is a bit misleading though. Jamie wouldn’t even kill the Purifiers - he’s not gonna kill one of his dupes. However, last time Jamie visited Maddox, Jamie wanted to re-absorb him.
In supply.

X-Force #12
Cyclops and Wolverine struggle to deal the growing threats facing mutants while still keeping X-Force’s existence a secret from the X-Men. Warpath is out for vengeance, Wolfsbane is missing and X-23 keeps cutting off pieces of Vanisher. But worst of all? One mutant’s deadly actions will put mutantkind squarely back in the crosshairs of humanity. Things were bad before but they’re about to get a hell of lot worse.
I find myself wondering what pieces of Vanisher X-23 is cutting off. Anyway, I shall continue to ignore this book until the other X-Men find out about it.
Not in supply.

Cable #11
Deep in the future, Cable and the now seven-year-old mutant messiah find themselves in the middle of humanity’s last stand. And humanity loses! Cable is forced to timeslide into an uncertain future, hoping to find survivors, or food, or water... anything. But the longer Cable and the girl wander, the greater the devastation. As they fight to survive out in the barren wastelands, the girl starts to ask Cable the tough questions he’s been dreading—namely: who am I, and why do some people want me dead?
How to age a character without resorting to soapie-like age paradoxes. One begins to wonder how old Cable is and how much more devastation the earth can take, but at least they’re attempting to explain how all of this works.
Not in supply.

X-Men: The Times and Life of Lucas Bishop #1 (of 3)
By now you know that Lucas Bishop—former cop, renegade X-Man—refuses to rest until he's killed the so-called "mutant messiah." But do you know why? To answer that question you have to look into Bishop's past...which actually means jumping 50 years into the future, when his parents barely escaped a nuclear holocaust, only to land in the most brutal "mutant relocation" camp in the world. There, a young Bishop first heard the horror stories about the green-eyed monster that ushered in the the downfall of mutantkind, and swore vengeance -- embarking on a life-long, time-hopping mission that begins here, in this special three-part mini-series. You haven't heard the "Messiah Complex" story until you've heard Bishop's side of the story...
As I said, at least they’re trying to explain things now. I never much liked Bishop (perhaps this is likned to my lack of knowledge about the X-Men’s outback days), so I don’t really care why he wants to kill the baby. There’s an outside chance this will tie in to the Layla Miller one shot and the Summers Rebellion, so I’m not writing it off quite yet, but I highly doubt I’ll get it.
Not in supply.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Duel! - Thing's will never be the same again!

From today, things will never be the same again. Comic book fans have heard this phrase so many times it is meaningless. But we’re not talking about comic books here, we’re talking about Yu-Gi-Oh. And when you hear people saying Crossroads of Chaos is going to change the card game forever, they mean it.

Firstly the promo card – which is possibly the card that made me want to go to the sneak preview, held in Chatsworth a few weeks ago. It’s Rose, Warrior of Revenge, and it’s a level 4 tuner. The first level 4 tuner to be released. Why is it so awesome? Because now level 8 synchros (like Stardust Dragon and Red Dragon Archfiend) can be summoned with only two monsters. Previously you needed at least three monsters – either the tuner and two low level monsters, or the tuner, a high level monster, and a tribute.
Promo Card – Major Victory!

Along with this is the first level 7 synchro monster, Black Rose Dragon, and a variaity of level 6 synchros. Like increasing the tuner’s level, decreasing the syncro’s level makes synchro summoning a lot easier. Again, you only need two monsters – a level 3 tuner, and a level 3 or 4 monster. Black Rose Dragon may be geared towards plant decks (you need plant monsters to activate its second ability) but its still excellent in other decks, with its 2400 attack, and its field-clearing first ability. Its certainly in my deck. Did I mention I was one of only two players who got this card at the sneak preview? I was very happy, to say the least.
Cover Card – Major Victory!

The most obvious game-change that CSOC brings about is to plants. Previously plant decks were in the same boat as aqua, fish and sea serpent decks. They existed, but you couldn’t do anything with them. With one booster set plant decks are catapulted into the realm of warrior and dragon decks. They now have searchers, revivers beatsticks, tuners, synchros, control effects, lockdown effects, swarm effects…pretty much everything. And at the sneak preview, it showed – plant decks were the decks to beat, and they came away top.
Plants – Major Victory!

The other decks I came up against were, of cause, Morphatronic. They are machines with the gimmick of having a different effect depending on if they’re in attack or defense position. Visially they look like robuts that can change into gagets like radios, cellphones and flash drives. Think Soundwave from the Transformers movie. And while its an interesting idea, in practice they don’t really work – their attack and defense are too low.
Morphatronic – Minor Loss.

I played neither. Instead I built an Iron Chain deck, the only person who did. I kind of had to, seeing as how I got two Iron Chain Dragons and an Iron Chain Repairman, and it worked quite well with Black Rose. Somehow I netted a runner-up place and a Black Rose Dragon t-shirt. Granted, we were only playing 20-card decks, and it won’t be easy to make a 40-card Iron Chain deck work, but I still think IC has potential. A 2500 attack / level 6 synchro, and a 1600 def / level 3 tuner searchable with Giant Rat are not to be sniffed at. Now if only I had a deck with lots of level 3 special-summonable monsters in it. Oh, wait. I do.
Iron Chain – Minor Victory.

Despite the fact that only three types of deck were played at the sneak, there are some game-changing cards set to revitalise some other decks. First up – spellcaster. There were only two spellcaster monsters in the set, and both were highly sought after at the sneak. Night’s-End Sorcerer is a level 2 tuner. Tempest Magician is a level 6 synchro. That would be good just in itself, but both cards meld perfectly into general spellcaster strategy. Spellcasters have some of the best special summoning in the game – and if you special summon Night’s-End you can remove two card from your opponent’s graveyard. In this day and age, where people rely on having certain cards in their graveyard, this effect can be a game-winner. Secondly, spellcasters like putting spell counters on stuff. Temepest Magician likes putting even more spell counters on stuff, and it can remove all spell counters from the field to deal 500 damage for each one. There’s your win condition right there.
Spellcasters – Major Victory.

On the flip side, if your opponent has Hanewata, you won’t be throwing a spell tempest at them. Hanewata can be discarded to negate all effect damage for your turn. Bad for burn decks. But what if your opponent doesn’t have a burn deck? Then just summon it for a synchro – it’s a tuner. Although, it’s a level 1 tuner, so I’m not sure what you’re gonna summon with it. It might work in a Valhalla deck if you’re special summoning level 6 or 7 fairies a lot. Then there’s Plaguespreader Zombie. Everyone wanted it at the sneak. No one got it. Why is it so good? It’s a tuner you can bring back from the graveyard by adding a card from your hand to the top of your deck. There are so many ways to use this – but the most promising is in a Lightsworn deck. Lightsworn spends all its time sending cards to the graveyard, so it was hard for them to use tuners. Not anymore. Send that useless wulf in your hand to the top of your deck, special summon Plaguespreader. Then, in your end phase, Wulf goes to the graveyard, and is summoned by his effect. Sweet. Plaguespreader is, of course, Ultra Rare. And lastly there’s the White Stone of Legend. I myself have not heard of the legend about it, but it would seem it’s a pretty good legend. Its only a level 1 tuner again, but that’s hardly necessary. Cause when it is sent to the graveyard you can add Blue-Eyes White Dragon to your hand. It doesn’t specify how its sent to the graveyard, as long as its sent there. I’ll have to check up that it will actually work, but I’m thinking Foolish Burial…
Assorted Tuners – Major Victory!

There's a lot more card I haven't mentioned, but I think I've gone on long enough.

Best Card Name: Tytannial, Princess of Camellias
Best Card Artwork: Iron Chain Snake
Best Card: Black Rose Dragon

Monday, November 17, 2008

Salvo! - I (heart) Lara Croft

Everyone who knows me well knows how much I love the Tomb Raider games. No, not because of Lara's assets. Its because I love archeology, mythology and brain-twisting puzzle solving. Nothing could be better than combining all three. No, wait, that's not quite true. Nothing could be better than combining norse archeology, norse mythology and brain-twisting puzzle solving. Wait, that's still not quite true. Nothing could be better than combining all three in a search for Thor's hammer. Yes, Tomb Raider: Underworld could quite possibly the worlds first game made entirely just for me.

Unfortunately I will have to steal a friend's computer to play it. But that's ok, I did that for Legend.

Oh, and if you want to know more about the game go to CBR. The gameplay is apprently a marked improvment over Legend and Anniversary (both of which had awesome gameplay). I especially like the ability you are given to decide whether you want a more combat orientated game, or a more puzzle-orientated game. Cause while I'm good at puzzles, I'm useless at combat. I won't feeel guilty about adjusting the game so enemies have extremely low health, allowing Lara to mow through them with her dual pistols. It's Lara Croft. She can do anything.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Salvo! - The Future is Dragons!

Apologies about the lack of recent updates, things have been pretty hectic lately. I'm going to try to make it to the comic shop tomorrow, but I might not be able to. I've already put up this weeks Togs of War, and continuing the draconian theme, War Correspondence will look at some well known dragons from Yu-Gi-Oh. That'll be sometime later this month, when I've finished the article. But till then, here's some of the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh releases.

18 November - Crossroads of Chaos
With Black Rose Dragon as the cover card, this pack finally allows you to build plant decks that can actually win. Also features the Morphatronic (read Transformers, but they're not allowed to use the name) the Iron Chain monsters, and synchro/tuners for zombie and spellcaster decks. It offically comes out in a few weeks, but I got to go to the sneak preview last week, where I pulled a Black Rose Dragon and two Iron Chain Dragons. So I don't need any more of these.

November? - Collectible Tins 2008 Wave 2
These are the Black Rose Dragon and Turbo Warrior tins. I can't find out the exact date, but its probably around the 18th too. I already have my Black Rose, so not sure if I'll get a BR tin to mach my Stardust one.

November 21 - Dark Legends
A new reprint set. You buy two packs at once, with a promo card: Gorz, Emissary of Darkness. Everyone's falling over in excitement over Gorz for some reason I can't fathom. Maybe its because I dislike dark monsters, and they don't. Rest of the details are sketchy, but the pack artwork features Red-Eyes Black Dragon, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Blizzard Dragon, and Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest. Gellenduo and DH - Malicious will also be in it. I'd like a Gellenduo and a Green Baboon, but they're ultra rare, so I doubt I'll buy this.

8 December - Anniversary Pack
Another reprint…but this one has a twist. To celebrate the card game's 10th anniversary, a special pack is being released in Japan featuring new (and really cool-looking) artwork versions of famous cards like Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, Celtic Guardian, Dark Magician Girl, and Jinzo. This appears to be the English version of the pack, though its not entirely certain. Will I get it? Depends on how rare the new Blue-Eyes and Jinzo cards are...and how much money I have left after buying Christmas presents.

9 December - Crossroads of Chaos - Special Edition
One of the Promo Cards is the gemini zombie Il Blud, who I could care less about. The other one, however, is Harvest Angel of Wisdom, which I really would like to get to fill out my Ragnarok deck, which is a bit light on good level 4 monsters.

Togs of War - Time for some Dragon Slaying!

Artix Entertainment have declared this month the 'Month of Dragons' in all their games, and they certainly seem to mean it. The next quest in the Dragesvard chain has been released, and so I'm off to find out how Aisha is controlling the dragons, and whether I can convince them to switch sides. Galanoth, of course, is highly doubtful anything good will come of this, however, my success so far seems to have impressed him enough that he'll play along…until he needs to rescue me, of course. The quest starts off with waves of Dravir, which is nothing new. However, once that is over there's some very interesting developments, revealing the Dragon/Elf alliance is not quite what it initially appeared to be. I must admit, it’s a twist I didn't see coming. And then it ends with a fight against two large ice dragons. At once. Without DragonRider armour. And honestly, Galanoth is pretty weak for the worlds most powerful DragonSlayer, so don't count on him to bail you out.

Meanwhile, a group of five dragons (of fire, water, lightning, wind and darkness types) are setting up a restaurant in Falconreach. That doesn't seem like a bad idea, until one realises that he menu will consist of the residents of Falconreach. So, that's five more dragons to take down, without DragonRider armour.

Fortunately, the DragonSlayer class has been released on the DA server for testing. And I have a Dragon Amulet. And it’s a really good class. Or, rather, it’s a 'meh' class that becomes really good if you're fighting dragons or dragonkin. It has two DoT abilities. Now DoT abilities are not particularly good in DF, unless you're fighting something with more health than you. Like dragons. Then they are really good. It has an ability that give opponents -10 to their boost (which is linked to accuracy in hitting you). That’s a bit meh. But if you use it on a dragon, it gives them -50 to their boost, which is indispensable when you're trying to avoid nasty dragonfire. It's one of the few armours that has a triple attack - but you an only use it against dragons. Its higest level skill is an ability that allows you to heal and attack at the same time. The only other armour that can do this is necromancer. Its not as powerful as the necro's version of this, but it doesn't require any setup, and has a 4-turn cooldown. Which is awesome. Oh, you can only use it against dragons. I don't quite understand why this class includes the Guardian clas'ss ability to summon the guardian dragon though. Why would the GD help a non-guardian, a DragonSlayer to boot?

It takes down dragons like nobody's business, but if you want to use it against a boss dragon, you'll have to be prepared to fight with a 'meh' class whilst you're getting to the boss. I think the class will get nerfed for the actual release - AE tend to underestimate how powerful the abilities they come up with actually are, which is why they get the paid-up players to test new classes before they are released. But regardless, this is the first class geared towards killing a specific type of enemy (hopefully they'll release classes like VampireSlayer in the future) and its been made really well.

Oh, I nearly forgot item drops. Nothing good I'm afraid. The restaurateur dragons drop element resiting necklaces, but you can only wear one necklace at a time, and the Defender's Necklace will always be first choice.

Verdict: Major Victory!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Togs of War - Halloween Special - Mogloween!

When it comes to holiday events, DragonFable has done them a lot better than its predecessor (or successor if you manage to work out the internal timelines of the games) Adventure Quest. In AQ holiday events just happen. In DF, they mean something. Mogloween is a perfect example.

In Adventure Quest Mogloween consists of collecting candy from houses to unlock masks and other goodies. You need to wear the masks, otherwise whenever you meet a moglin (cute Pikachu-like creatures who function as healers in the game) it yells that you're not wearing a mask, turns into a giant moglinster and attacks you. Why does this happen? For not reason ther than that the game's anniversary coincides with Halloween in the real world.

Mogloween in DragonFable, on the other hand, starts with a moster we all love to kill - the yaga. The yaga is your typical hag-like witch - green skin, pinted nose, warts, large black hat. But last year, three young witches decided to go out and redeem the name of their class, which had been tarnished by the yaga. It helps that they are cute. They are the Cauldron Sisters - Bubble, Toil and Trouble, and together with their cat, also called Bubble, and their cauldron, named Myx, they decided to start a candy company and hand out candy to everyone. Because they are so nice. Unforunatly, it then emerged the Myx was in fact an evil doom cauldron, and together with some manipulation by the ebil necro-moglin Zorbak and the misuse of mog-nip, the candy was poisoned so that any moglin who ate it would turn into a ramapging moster on seeing a good person. Enter the hero, me (or you if you're playing the game). I saved DragonFable by donning a mask to make myself look evil, and set out to collect all the poisoned candy, every last piece of it. Along the way I unlocked some cool masks, became a level 14 Pumpkin Lord, and got some awesome nature-based pumpkin daggers. Yay.

But that is not the end. See, this year, the Cauldron Sister are back to ask for my help. Their latest candy shipment (now posion free) was stolen by the new ruler of the Necropolis, poisoned, and distributed to everyone. Including moglins. Yes, this year they have managed to integrate Mogloween even deeper into the DF mythology by making this years event a sequel not only to last years event, but also to the Necropolis section of the Orbs storyline, which is the game's main storyline. So its probably entirly my fault this has happened, considering that I defeated the old ruler of the Necropolis, paving the way for the new one. (Read: You can't play this years event until you have completed last years event and also completed the Necropolis quest chain.)

So now its off to find out who the new ruler is, collect up all the poisoned candy again, unlock new cooler masks, become a level 14 Evolved Pumpkin Lord, and get some awesome fire-based pumpkin daggers. Yay. But is it worth it?

Its not really worth unlocking all the masks - the bonus hey give to candy collection is offset by their huge cost. However, its entierly possible that you won't be able to play next years event until you unlock all of this years masks, so I did it anyway. (Plus, it was easy cause I cheated, but more on this later.)

The Evolved Pumpkin Armour looks pretty cool, and its stats are a little better than normal Pumpkin Armour. It has no effect on the skills of the Pumpkin Lord class, however. You need to unlock each skill again in this new armour, but their effects are exactly the same. Not that it matters - Pumpkin Lord always was a very good class, and is the only event-based class that I count as a real class. Especially now that you can use it outside of Mogloween if you have a Armour Closet. There's only two problems with this class - you need to pay real money for an Armour Closets, and its two healing skillsare basically disabled outside of Mogloween, as they require candy to use. Its not really worth unlocking unless you have a closet and think you'll be using this class - and again, you may want to just for next year. There is also the remote possibility they'll release an area with weakness against nature damage, in which case skills like vine whip, scythe, root and spikes will come in very handy.

The Reaper weapons? Well there's no doubt they're good. Their highest level is 45, which I haven't reached yet, so I can't quite tell whether they're better than the Amulet Weapons. Theinitial damage of the Reapers is certainly higher, but the Amulets do have a powerboost ability. Hmm.

Now, about the cheating thing. It was an accident - I discovered that if you lose the titan battle, and choose not to give it a second try when you are offered, your Dragon Rider armour does not uneqiup. This means you can go around collecting candy in Dragon Rider mode, oneshotting powerful monsters like werewolves and mummies with dragonfire. Your armour does get reset when you leave Mogloween though, and no, I haven't tried teleporting out to see if the armour stays. Using a bug to unlock Halloween masks is one thing, but using it to level up is not something I want to do.

Verdict: Major Victory!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quartermaster - January 2009 - War is Upon Us

Astonishing X-Men #27
Big action. Big Science. And a Big Mystery to solve! The superstar team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi take the X-Men on a mission that will take them into mind-bending and previously uncharted territory -- one that will test them -- and their leader Cyclops -- to their very core.
Quick, look! Before it disappears! Ok, so it’s only been delayed by one month, as it was replaced by Ghost Boxes for two issues. But this series just doesn’t appeal to me.
Not in supply.

Cable #10
In the present, Cyclops, Emma and Beast have been ambushed by Bishop and a nasty little surprise he’s smuggled into the X-Men HQ. Meanwhile, hundreds of years in the future, Cable realizes what the former X-Man has done to the planet -- all in an effort to make sure Cable and the four-year-old mutant messiah never, ever return to the present. Once again, the rules of the hunt have been completely rewritten, and the future of mutantkind has never looked more uncertain.
The baby isn’t a baby anymore, in January she’ll be four years old already. Hmm. I still don’t get how Bishop knows what to do to change the future so Cable can’t return. Oh well.
Not in supply.

Captain America #46
Eisner-Winning artist Steve Epting returns as the New Captain America comes face-to-face with an old ally -- Prince Namor -- on a dangerous trip to China. Can Bucky and Namor team up to save the memory of an old comrade-in-arms as Cold War crimes come back to haunt the Winter Soldier? Part 1 of 3.
Presumably the old comrade in arms is Jim Hammond the Human Torch, as he’s on the alternate 70th anniversary cover. I missed out on Namor in Herc, and now I'm missing out on this. Oh well.
Not in supply.

Civil War: House of M #5
How Magneto formed the House of M! It all comes down to this...the final battle between Magneto's mutant army and the United States of America! Can the Master of Magnetism stand against non-metallic Sentinels? What will happen when Magneto's children learn that he's their father? And how will Earth's superpowers respond when the planet's most powerful mutant finally makes his bid to conquer the world? The epic conclusion to the House of M's greatest untold story is here!
Still not a lot I can say about this, as I haven't got the second issue yet.
In supply.

Fantastic Four #563
December has a Cosmic Sized special instead of the regular book. This month has the FF nowhere to be found. Is Millar really killing off Sue? Does Reed bite it in the final issue of SI? Is the Fantastic Four no more? Marvel are being very quite about this.
Missing in Action.

Erm. My mistake. Looks like the Millar-penned #563 has been delayed from December to January. It seems to have a Human Torch alt cover, exactly like Cap. Or Marvel just posted the solicit wrong.
Not in Supply.

Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Star-Lord...trapped in jail...in the Negative Zone Prison...under attack from King Blastaar and his barbarian hordes! Will Rocket Raccoon and his new Guardians arrive in time to save their leader? Given their recent run of luck, probably not! Plus, cool art by Star Wars penciller Bong Dazo staggering revelations about Adam Warlock - as events continue to build to WAR OF KINGS! Surely you must be there for the next chapter of the series that has WeeklyComicBookReview.com raving: "If you aren't reading GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY yet, now is the time to get a taste of the awesome that is Rocket Raccoon and the gang."
I'm pretty sure something is missing from that solicit. But it's Guardians, and it never misses and thats why its...
In supply.

Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1
It's finally here...WAR OF KINGS! The Secret Invasion may be over, but the Inhumans are still reeling from the terrible wounds inflicted on them by the Skrulls. And this time, the Royal Family and their massively powered people have been pushed too far! You have never seen the Inhumans like this - and it's only the beginning! Plus: How will the empire-expanding Vulcan react to these recent universe-shaking developments? Before this double-sized shocker is over, vengeance will be had, daring alliances will be forged, and the first shots in a destiny-changing battle will be fired! The acclaimed team of writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and artist Paul Pelletier unite to revamp heroes, reveal villains and rock the universe!
It costs more...buuut...its double-sized and written by DnA. So its gotta be good.
In supply.

Thor #600
The mighty God of Thunder hits a major milestone! THOR goes back to its classic numbering for this issue 600 mega-event, and even Stan "The Man" Lee joins the party with an all-new story! J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel bring their widely acclaimed run to a major culmination! And Chris Giarrusso lays down an epic Mini Marvels Thor adventure! PLUS jaw- dropping wraparound covers by Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic! Miss this issue?! We say thee NAY!
This makes me laugh. In a good way, though.
Not in supply.

Tech-powered Ex-X-Men #20…I mean, New Warriors #20
This is it. This is what it’s all led up to. In a future that’s everything he’s ever fought against, Night Thrasher has achieved his mission and been reunited with his brother, Dwayne. But at a cost. One that’s growing. And when that cost becomes too high, Donyell realizes he needs to take it upon himself to set things right. In this final issue of NEW WARRIORS, all bets are off. And no one leaves unscathed...
I was just wondering last week how many people were buying this.Apparently, not enough. Fans of Chamber, start sending Paul Cornell your requests.
Not in supply.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #2
This appears to be classified alongside the Dark Reign stuff. Hmm. I better add the Dark Reign One-Shot to my December list. I need to know what dark dealings the X-men are getting involved in. For some reason, Newsarama and CBR didn't have the cover for this - but IGN did.
In supply.

X-Factor #39
Witness the most important event in the lives of Jaime Madrox and Siren—the birth of their baby! What will happen to X-Factor—and what will be the meaning for mutantkind!...All we can guarantee are that the answers are not what you expect—but that’s what makes it X-Factor! Don’t miss what is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of 2009!
It’s Siryn. Get it right people. You’d think the birth of the second mutant baby would garner a bit more attention than a normal issue of XF. But none of the power players from Messiah CompleX seem to care. I’m not complaining – X-Factor doesn’t need to get involved in another cross over, and Peter David generally knows what he’s doing. I’m sure he can make it an siginificant event without the involvement of other books. X-Factor have probably been able to keep it secret, what with Bishop taking out everything that can detect mutants and all the power players from Messiah CompleX embroiled in their own problems. Besides, no one ever said this baby was a mutant…
In supply.

X-Force #11
After Warpath's shocking discovery last issue, now it can be told... the origin and history of the mysterious man who betrayed the Purifiers, killed a Technarch, and plans a dark future for X-Force and all of mutantkind. Welcome to first century ROME, and meet the man named Eliphas and his Black Queen...the woman the X-Men know as SELENE.
Looks like they’ll be picking up the Wither/Selene loose threads here. Not surprised. But it’s X-Force. It doesn’t exist. I don’t know about it.
Not in supply.

X-Infernus #2 (of 4)
Darkchilde comes calling to the X-Men’s doorstep—and she’s not leaving without her Soulsword. The next pulse-pounding issue by C.B. Cebulski and Giuseppe Cammuncoli is here and it’s shaking up the X-Men in a big way.
Yeah, that doesn’t tell us anything. No cover image either. For all the information that’s been thrown at us in interviews we still know very little about this mini. But it seems like it will be good.
In supply.

X-Men: Legacy #220
It’s the moment that X-Fans have been waiting for — Rogue makes her return to the X-Books. But while Xavier seeks out Rogue, who is searching for him? Hunter becomes hunted and friend becomes foe, in a story that will change your favorite Southern Belle forever. Part 1 (of 5)
Looks like Legacy is going straight from the crossover into a five-parter about the Prof and Rogue. I don’t care much for Rogue, so it looks like I won’t be getting this for a while still. I like Mike Carey’s writing, I just don’t like the topic.
Not in supply.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #2 (of 4)
Marvel Girl, Korvus and Lilandra are the only resistance to Vulcan’s reign, but Vulcan aims to end their rebellion. With Havok, Polaris and rest of the Starjammers in prison, they don’t stand to get much help. The Shi’Ar Empire is expanding under Emperor Vulcan’s reign… Come see the road to the WAR OF KINGS!
There's still two more issue of this in Febuary and March, so I don't think WoK is actually starting till April, despite what SI:WoK says. I think its like the Annihilation events which had a one-shot, minis and a main series, except the minis are GoG, Nova, Inhumans and this, and the scheduling is a bit off.
In supply.

X-Men: Manifest Destiny #5 (of 5)
The final issue of the hit X-Men anthology mini-series is here! See the pulse pounding conclusion of Mike Carey and Michael Ryan’s Iceman story? What does Mystique want and why is she coming to Iceman? Also stories featuring the return of Avalanche and a rockin’ story starring your favorite glam-X-lady Dazzler!
Well here’s my answer – MD is definitely five issues. Despite the first issue saying 'of 4' on the cover. I hope that the Iceman story has a good finish. I don’t much care about Dazzler or Avalanche though. This is a hit series? I thought everyone hated it. You may think I’m crazy to get it, but I’ve committed myself and I’m stubborn.
In supply.

X-Men: Worlds Apart #4 (of 4)
On one hand, her husband. On the other, her teammates. While Storm races to save the lives of the Black Panther and the X-Men, she recognizes a third option: take down the one responsible for making her choose in the first place. And to do it, she just might get some help from an unlikely source…
Say what? After all the hype Storm’s not going to choose between the X-Men and Wakandia? Meh.
Not in supply, fortunately.

Young X-Men #10
You think you know everything there is to know about YOUNG X-MEN? Think again. One shocker has been brewing since #1 and the pot peaks with #10. Don’t miss this landmark issue of Young X-Men.
I’m really tempted to pick this up. The Y-Men arc will have finished in December, and this book looks like it will be going somewhere at last. But I’m still getting a lot of miniseries in Jan, so I’ll probably wait for some of them to end, and for the book to pick up threads from Infernus.
Not in supply…yet.