Timeless: First Impressions

timeless

THIS PREVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE

From NBC.com:

From Eric Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”), Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and the producers of “The Blacklist” comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, a soldier and a history professor who use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?

We’re two weeks in, at this point, and while the show has yet to quite live up to the enthusiasm that the previews stoked in me, I’m still happy to report it’s a fun ride. Certainly good fare for time-travel lovers and history buffs—that is, assuming you’re the kind of history buff who likes to play with history and have a little creative license. If you’re like most of my college professors, then you take yourself way too seriously and won’t enjoy this show at all. My curse is that I’m somewhere between an academic historian and an average Nielsen TV viewer, so I’m coming off these first two weeks with some mixed emotions. You should certainly watch it, and judge for yourself.

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Frostbite: First Impressions

frostbite-vertigo-comicsWriter: Joshua Williamson
Artwork: Jason Shawn Alexander
Publisher:
Vertigo Comics
Issue #1: November 2016

THIS PREVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE

From the publisher:

Long after Earth has entered its second ice age, humanity has learned to cope with the frozen elements. In this cold and bleak future, heat is power, and brutal gangs roam the icy wasteland looking for it. If that wasn’t enough, a terrible disease nicknamed “frostbite” is literally freezing people from the inside out. Once you catch it, the effect is instantaneous. There is no immunity, there is no cure.


frostbite-coverMy comic book addiction is starting to get as bad as my board game addiction. I’m still waiting for Hadrian’s Wall #2, a buddy of mine loaned me his copy of Civil War to read, and I have about four or five serial titles sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to get caught up. Meanwhile, Newsarama keeps turning me on to all kinds of new content. It really is impressive what great literary content lies beyond the “costumed adventurers” and “masked vigilantes” for which comic books are so notorious. This month’s new obsession is Frostbite, a six-part serial by writer Joshua Williamson (known for Flash:Rebirth and Nailbiter) and artist Jason Shawn Alexander (known for Empty Zone and Batman: Arkham City). Set in a dystopian future where scientists have completely screwed things up—this time in regards to climate rather than nukes, pandemic, or zombies—our socially outcast anti-heroes come fully equipped with a surivalist, anti-authoritarian, manga-like mindset. And if they violently slaughter just the right scumbags, they might unwittingly save humanity. Or epically die trying. Guilty pleasure all the way. Here’s some talking points:

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Hadrian’s Wall: First Impressions

hadriansStory: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artwork: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics
Issue #1: September 2016

THIS PREVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE

From the publisher:

When an astronaut on HADRIAN’S WALL is murdered, pill-popping detective Simon Moore is dispatched to investigate the ship’s crew… including his own ex-wife. But if Simon’s not careful, what he finds could make the interstellar Cold War go red hot. From the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed series C.O.W.L. comes a gripping, locked room murder mystery where the secrets of everyone involved are as dark as the space that surrounds them.


hadrian-3I’m loving the fact that more and more comics seem to be taking a page out of the tradition of manga—by which I mean: they plan to END. I love spandex-wearing super heroes; there’s no denying. But one of the biggest turn-offs for me as a comic book reader/collector, and one of the strongest barriers to my buying a given title, is the terrifying prospect that the writers (a) have no intention of ever arriving at the resolution, and (b) they may even intend to further complicate matters with endless spin-offs, cross-overs, and alternate versions. That’s a big commitment, like a marriage, so I’m very discriminating when it comes to comic book serials. I hate divorces (see my rant on my now terminated Howard the Duck subscription). Therefore it was happy tidings when I learned a month or two ago through Newsarama of the upcoming, 8-issue arch by Higgins & Co. How could I not be interested in a combination of science-fiction, alternate reality, film noir, murder mystery, and historical reference? Issue #1 hit the stands this month, and I’m happy to report, even though I’m already married to several other titles, this tryst to Hadrian’s Wall looks like it’s going to be a wonderful love affair.

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House Rules: DUNGEON SOLITAIRE: LABYRINTH OF SOULS

dungeon-customLast week I gave a very thorough review of Matthew Lowe’s magnificent little game, Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. In short, this is a very creative and captivating game, which really grabs you by the imagination and pulls you in. My biggest gripe about the game was that it is heavily deterministic and chance-based, and that a good portion of the game is devoted to simply seeing rather than choosing what happens next. Continue reading

Game Review: DUNGEON SOLITAIRE: LABYRINTH OF SOULS

dungeon coverDesigner:  Matthew Lowes
Artist: Josephe Vandel
Publisher: Matthew Lowes (through Game Crafter)
Players: 1 – 2
Playing Time: 15 – 30 minutes

Complexity: light/fun
Random Interference: high
Components: B
Aesthetics: A
Overall: A

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