Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Comic Review 57 // Lawman of the Future 10

Welcome back everyone. I was away for a bit there due to family responsibilities but I'm back now and diving head first into issue 10 of Lawman of the Future. That's right we are officially into double digits.

First up the cover. We knew it would be Judge Death heavy so no surprise to see his corpse hand on the cover. Whilst Judge Dredd looks worries, PSI Judge Anderson looks like see is giving a speech. Not sure what the artist was thinking with this posing. As always there is something for free and two new stories.

This issue contains three tales as always. Judge Death (Part 3), Election Day and finally Perp Running. I also see a picture of Otto Sump so I am excited to see which tale he will be in, I can only assume it will be Election day.

Judge Death (Part 3) - Final we are getting the showdown I wanted. Judge Anderson versus Judge Death. Breaking through Death's psychic wards, Dredd and Anderson finally come face to face with the super villain. Physically weakening the body of Death, Anderson attacks Death on the spiritual realm. Using his own spirit trapping orb to capture the superfiend and entrap him with the spirits he has tormented.

The artwork was beautiful, and though the story deviated for main stream Dredd I enjoyed the twist. The way he was trapped at the end was a great way to finish this villain off. Great start to the issue.

Up next is a double page showcasing the ruling council of MC-1.

Chief Judge Jefferson - Non existent in 2000Ad so have no idea about him. Seemingly a street Judge before injury. Not much else to report on him.

Head of SJS - Judge Geer - Once again an all new character. I'm a bit confused as to his look. In the movies the SJS are all black military looking, designed to take down corrupt Judges. Whilst Geer looks like a street Judge with skulls, a bit of a miss for me.


Head of Tek - Judge Ramirez - okay seems to be all new characters with no links to 2000Ad. Sadly not much to report on the character.

Head of Med - Judge Kelly - once more no real details. Disappointed none of these characters have links to actual 2000Ad characters.

Head of Psi - Judge Shenker - holy crap this one is based on an actual character! I wonder if he will be like his inspiration or actually be good at his job? I hate the Ying and Yang logo. Very weird uniform choice.

Election Day - The city is voting on who will be the next mayor of MC-1. The parties running include: Ugly Party, Free Mean Machine Lunatic Fringe, Peace Party, Punishment Party and Citizens for a Non Violent Society. Just like most things in MC-1 it soon devolves into a fight and Dredd is called into to make arrests.

With attacks rising Dredd becomes bodyguard to Otto Sump of the Ugly party and has to keep the leading candidate alive long enough to win the election.

Fun read for sure. Reminds me of a novel I read where it was election day but instead of Mean Machine, Judge Death was the random choice.

Perp Running (Part 1) - continuing the big mega racket story arc. We are introduce to Paradise Island, a resort floating out on the Black Atlantic. Here rich Mega City citizens come for holidays and to view the strange sea creature exhibits. It is also a base for perp running, changing a perps face to match a tourist before killing off the original. Soon Dredd has taken down some of the criminals and is heading to Paradise Island to follow the trail.

Good start to this tale and I am excited to see how the Kraken comes into the story. Also good to see tales escaping MC-1 and showcasing other locations.

Overall this is a great issue. Solid stories for all three. Great artwork and an okay filler piece. Now to start on issue 11.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Comic Review 56 // Lawman of the Future 09

Following on from the exciting introduction of Judge Death, I am swiftly moving onto issue 09. The cover is intense showing Judge Dredd versus Death in a killer embrace. Death looks crazy badass, but the real shocker is the tagline of meet Judge Anderson. So not only is Dredd getting some support but it is going to be the amazing PSI Judge herself. The rest of the cover is the classic line up, prizes to be won, great artwork and a new story.

The tales in this issue are Block War, Judge Death and Job Selling. Following the opening page we are introduced to PSI Judge Anderson and her case files. Not the most in-depth telling of her character but at the bottom of the page is some gang slants that I feel hint towards what is going to be seen in the comic.

Tale - Judge Death Part 2 - Eek! I'm excited for this one. Dress is pretty much at Deaths mercy and is only saved when reinforcement arrived. Having believed to had destroyed the host body, Dredd takes the remains of the body to psi division and we final meet Anderson. Whilst this is happening a survivors body is transferred to the local medbay, but why does the doctor believe this survivor is dead.

First up this is a three parter! This is new unheard of territory for the magazine. Secondly why is Anderson hardly in it? Give me more Anderson. Great opening tale.

We are then treated to a competition, a few adverts and the exit polls of previous issues. Then we get some info on the Angel from the Film, along side a two page poster of Mean Machine. All pretty standard. So let's move on.

Tale - Block War - opening panel is intense featuring Dredd and Hersey in the middle of a five way city block war. The lead up of the block war is pretty simple. The city housing department has decided to build five city blocks (The Jackson Five) and house the roughest members of society there, they hope to curb all crime in this way.  Well it didn't work and soon the blocks are a mess and block war is declared. Judges are called in to bring the blocks back under control. Soon through heavy handed violence and some knock out gas, four of the five blocks surrender. Only Micheal Jackson block remains lawless, but this comes to a swift end after Dredd smashes his way through the top floor killing the leaders with excessive use of a H-Wagon (think flying tank).

This was a classic Dress story line, full of over the top violence and action. Loved seeing this verses version of the H-Wagon. Looks menacing and brutal which it should.

Then a standard page of readers letters before the final Tale - Job Selling. The mega rackets are conning innocent citizens into believing they are heading to a well paid job. Unfortunately for the gullible citizen that job is as a slave, in a mutie mine in the Cursed Earth. Of course once Dredd finds out it all comes to violent end!

Great issue all three tales are epic and great reads. Of course the Death tale is the best, but the other two are great representations of MC-1 life and worthy of a read.  Now onto issue 10.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Comic Review 55 // Lawman of the Future 08

Just like that we are a third of the way through these classic comics of the mid nineties. They are honestly better than what I was expecting, but some issues seem to be of a higher quality than others and I really hope the quality stays fairly high and we get some interesting articles in them soon.

With that in mind we dive into issue 08. I'm excited for this one as we see the entrance of Judge Death! The cover is pretty standard with Dredd dominating the cover and the creepy Judge Death themed badge looming over his shoulder. It would also seems like a new mobster story is coming, along with 'Hot' artwork, the chance to win some games and Who is Judge Death?

Stories inside this issue are; Organ Legging which we can assume is a one part story, part two of Death Hunt which must end this issue and finally Judge Death which has to be a two parter? I'm already a little worried as the image used on this page makes Death look a bit stupid, I hope the artwork is better than that. The next page is almost a full spread of Judge Dredd Casefile, based around info already provided by this comic. The artwork is rehashed from issue one and the info is a bit lack luster. Nice idea if they had put some real effort into it.

Tale - Judge Death. What on earth! The main tale is up first and this has taken me by surprise. As a freak storms wrack MC-1 a figure looking like a Judge appears in the middle of a road in front of a prisoner transport rig. After smashing through the window after being hit, we discover the person is none other than Judge Death. His belief is simple, crime can only be committed by the living; thus life is a crime. Soon Death has killed all the criminals and is mind controling the Drivers. Using his hijacked truck he smashes into a local iso block freeing all the inmates. As the inmates dream of freedom, Death is quick to act and wipes out the entire prison population! Dredd finally arrives and a showdown starts. Death seems to know a lot about Dredd which is creepy, but when he takes Dredd's lawgiver and fires it we can only believe Death is Dredd! What the hell!?

Such a great start. The artwork was solid, the character creepy and the story mind boggling. Is he Dredd?

Tale - Death Hunt. Part two, Judge Dredd is running from the Hunt club. All he has to do is keep them busy long enough for the Tek department to discover their where they are filming and broadcasting from. Got to be honest, it was a weak story last issue and following the first tale it feels even more lame. The artwork is lacking and the story pretty straightforward. Let just move on.

The next few pages are classic readers letters, drawings and photographs. They are a funny to reader and remind me of a simpler time. But with that we head into the final tale.

Tale - Organ Leggers. Judge Dredd is taking on the Mega-Mobs in this tale. Following a raid on a low level crime crew, Dredd discovers one of them is carrying a pair arms! After a finger print test proves the arms belonged to a legally dead victim, Dredd knows exactly where to continue his search - Resyk.

Resyk for those new to Dredd, is a factory that takes the dead and breaks them down into usable parts like plastics. Here everything is used apart from the soul!

Inside Resyk Dredd tracks down his next perp and discovers where the bodies are being stored. Following a raid a large mob rack has been closed down, meaning Dredd is making friends once again and only time will tell what this means for MC-1.

And with that we finish issue 08. Definitely an improvement over 07. Standout story was of course Judge Death but Organ Leggers was a close second. Hopefully issue 07 was a blip, but I guess only time will tell.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Comic Review 54 // Lawman of the Future 07

Moving swiftly on with Lawman of the Future we hit issue 07. The cover is dominated my Judge Dress being held by Robotic arms and bold Guilty? written above it. Finally we might be hitting this verses version of the robot wars! Along side this we get told there is a chance to win a CD audio drama and claim a free T-Shirt (what is with all the free stuff?).

The first tale is going to explain the cover so let's jump straight in.

Tale Revolt of the Robots - Judge Dredd is in the deep end this time. All across Mega City one droids are starting to revolt against their human masters and it is up to Dredd to workout what is going on. With the assistance of his trusty robot house keeper Dredd manages to locate the ringleader of the droid revolt. He just needs to stay alive long enough to bring them to justice.

Pretty good take. Doesn't hold up as well as the traditional telling of the tale, but it's a classic Wagner take attempting to confront social injustice.

Next page is not that exciting. It showcases different droids found throughout MC-1 and the roles they play within the futuristic city. Closely followed by a two page spread of an ABC warrior Droid poster. Based on The Hammerstein droids used by President Booth in his failing years of government. This one made it in to the film and made for a cool villain.


Tale Quake Part 2- As we last left Dress he was attempting to rescue citizens from a collapsing tower as Quake struck once more. Knowing he had to find him fast Dredd realized he had to be operating out of the Undercity. Soon Dredd is on his tale and it turns out he was a ordinary citizen replaced by droids. And in his quest to prove he was better he had actually became the thing he hate most.


Then some dull readers letters and drawings, I get it is aimed at kids but come on give us a real article! We also get the hint that Judge Death is in the next comic. So excited to see how this series deals with such a super fiend!

Tale Death Hunt Part 1 - As a citizen most of your day is filled with boredom. If lucky you my have a hobby like Batgliding or dishwashing. But if you are really lucky you might find yourself the next selected victim of the Hunt Club. The hunt hunt is a bunch of wannabe killers who random select a citizen to hunt and kill, whilst rich guys bet on it. Lucky for our citizen Dredd is nearby to lent a saving hand.

With that issue 7 is done. Not gonna lie very underwhelmed. The stories lacked purpose or depth. The filler articles added nothing for the reader and I'm willing to state this was most likely the weakest issue yet.

I hope 8 is more actioned packed especially with the appearance of Judge Death. I hope they make him extra creepy. Until next time.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Sector 102 // Titan Penal Colony

Welcome Dredd heads! Today's article is all about Titan. The space colony jail for corrupt Judges, this is one location you don't want to visit. It must be noted that a lot of my fluff predates the Chaos Bug comic arc. So Titan still exists and hasn't had the massive prison break.

Titan

The moon of Titan is a location that all Judges pray they are never unlucky enough to visit. Titan is the location of the Justice Department's penal colony, where corrupt Judges are sentenced, and Judges that do not fit into Mega-City one life are transferred to serve as wardens, a punishment almost as grievous as the life of a prisoner. 

Titan is the largest moon of the gas giant Saturn, measuring 5150 kilometers in diameter, orbiting Saturn every sixteen days with a length of day of equal duration. Slightly larger than Mercury, Titan could be classed as a planet in its own right. From space, Titan is an orange orb, its atmosphere composed of thick clouds of nitrogen, ammonia and methane, making it impossible to view the planet's surface from space. Titan's atmospheric pressure is sixty per-cent greater than the pressure found at the bottom of Earth's oceans. Whilst the surface of Titan is covered by ice and rock, the temperature can reach lows of -180 degrees Celsius and Liquid methane rains down on rust coloured methane oceans. It's a depressing place, a place that can break the corrupt.

The Justice Department chose Titan as the site of its penal colony because of its abundant water and atmosphere. Before construction could begin on the facility, robot probes scoured the surface of Titan for a suitable location not too far from water reserves; soon the probes discovered a suitable continent about the size of Australia. With the location found, the Engineer Corps set up a series of force fields to generate an energy dome, to provide protection from the methane rains. With the dome in place, construction finally began on the prison, beginning in March 2062 and completed in January 2064, it was commemorated with a ceremony attended by the then Deputy Chief Judge Veitch. The first judges sent to Titan were personnel found guilty of violent offences against citizens and fellow judges. In 2071, in the wake of the Great Atomic War, Titan was flooded with judges charged with aiding and abetting the disgraced President of the USA, Robert L. Booth. No sooner had those judges been shipped off world when Chief Geneticist Morten Judd staged a murderous coup against Chief Judge Fargo. Judd was exiled, his followers sentenced to Titan for life.


In subsequent years, Titan became home to Rico Dredd - the corrupt clone brother of Judge Dredd - and a group of judges lead by Judge Grice who violently opposed a city-wide referendum proposing a return to democracy for the people. In 2115, Grice led a mass escape from Titan, resulting in the near-total destruction of the prison complex and the brutal murders of the feared Governor Khurtz and all his subordinates. 

The rebuilding of Titan Penitentiary began in 2117 and was completed in 2118. The new prison is smaller and rises higher into the atmosphere to make future breakouts more difficult. The Justice Department also took this opportunity to improve security in the form of autolaser emplacements around the prison perimeter and explosive implants fitted to the chests of inmates, have made the possibility of further escapes all but impossible - but still the prisoners try...

Titan Government

The Mega-City 1 Justice Department, manages Titan in a similar manner to a sector house, with a solitary leader supported by various department heads and an army of combat-ready personnel. However, the distance between Earth and Titan (800 million miles) means that the Titan commanders are given the authority to wield the power of life and death over their prisoners. 

The head judge is called the governor, who has little contact with the prisoners and is only concerned with the general administration of the prison and to conduct a brief interview with new prisoners, basically to threaten them with punishments more terrible than the dire life they will lead over the next twenty years if they step out of line. The governor is assisted by the chief warden, head of the judges who keep the inmates in line,and the chief medical and technical officers who care for the inmates and maintain the prison's security. The governor is typically selected from former sector chiefs, or Space Corps commanders put out to pasture. Whilst the other members of his command can come from any age group or justice career. In 2125, the present governor of Titan is Bale, a former SJS officer. His command staff include Chief Medical Officer Korsen, Chief Technical Officer Bough and Chief Warden Slanner

Governor Bale-

Archilles Bale was a distinguished SJS operative who masterminded city wide hunts for corrupt judges, known as 'Black Eye' by those who came to fear his arrival at their sector house. At 51 years of age, Bale was badly injured in an explosion caused by renegade Judge Currick, losing both his left arm and leg. Bale was fitted with prosthetic replacements in later years, but had already been seconded to Academy of Law tutoring duties, a post he secretly despised. When offered the role of Titan governor in the wake of former governor Khurtz's murder, Bale had at last found a position where he could once again wield authority over corrupt judges.

Bale has been Titan governor for seven years and is pleased with his posting, though he will from time to time have live entertainment shuttled over from Earth, his favourites ultra-violent Hondo City Tri-D movies set in the present, or historical depicting the Japan of the primitive twentieth century. Bale is focused, determined and merciless to those who oppose his will, whether they be prisoners or warders. Though Bale has not to date had a warder executed, it would not be beyond his will to do so if provoked

Other Staff of note:

Chief Medical Officer Korsen- Ex Space Corps officer who earned merit fighting the Kleggs, on board 'Fargo'. Now trying to make his way home, Korsen has become stuck as Titans Med Judge.

Chief Technical Officer Bough- Female, tech Judge. Not much info on her.

Chief Warden Slanner-Hard arsed, beats and abuses prisoners.

Titan Wardens- Recruited from ISO cube Judges, tho a few Judges even volunteer or are forced to served- It is a soul destroying isolated life and the guards are prone to violent behaviour and become nihilistic. A term of Titan service is 6 months, but most guard serve multiple terms as they become addicted to the power over Judges. Discipline within their ranks is lax, leading to guards decorating their uniforms with nicknames, symbols and spray paint.  


Arriving at Titan

For the entire, twelve hour duration of the flight, SJS judges watch the prisoner intently, to curtail any thoughts of escape, though they would first have to escape handcuffs and chains. Once the shuttle lands on Titan, the SJS turn the prisoner over to the Titan warders. Before they depart to return to Earth, the SJS speak with the governor, providing additional information concerning the prisoner. The new inmates are marched off to the med-bay; where their faces receive bionic modifications to enable the criminals to survive outdoors, beneath the energy dome protecting Titan from the outside elements. The conditions within the dome are extremely unfriendly to Earth life, but tolerable when filtered through breathing apparatus known as 'muzzles', welded and bolted onto the prisoner's face with the minimum of anaesthetic. The muzzle is permanent, worn by the former judge for the rest of their life, barring extensive and highly expensive reconstruction surgery back on Earth, priced well beyond the meager finances of Mega-City One judges The prisoner's two decades are intentionally monotonous, designed to break the convict's spirit and in time with counselling from the resident psycho Judge, hoped to rebuild the prisoners's respect for law and order, although when finally released,the former judge will never be allowed back into the Justice Department. The prisoner's day begins with a wake-up call blasted through the prison block's speakers from a single pacifier riot gunshot. In 2125, the prisoners each have a cell to themselves and are fed from a motorised vending unit delivering hi-nutrient cubes twice a day. Toiletry facilities are incorporated within the cell, next to the prisoner's bunk. Within quarter of an hour after wakeup, the prisoners are released from their cells and forced into a chain gang, handcuffed and bound, as they are marched single file by the Titan wardens to an open topped transport that carries them beyond the dome to outdoor mines two miles south of the main building. There, the prisoners are released from their restraints at gunpoint and given las-drills to spend the rest of their sixteen hour day mining the Titan rock for raw materials that will be shipped back to Mega-City One and to the Earth colonies to be used for construction. It is no easy matter to toil in the mines of Titan - the weather is hellishly cold, even within the energy dome, and to stop working for even a minute is enough to freeze the blood. The muzzles provide oxygen, coupled with filtered and recombined Titan gasses for breathing purposes, but not enough to stop panic attacks and the threat of suffocation if the prisoners do not learn quickly how to control their breathing. The energy dome allows gravity generators to lighten the local air pressure to make life slightly more comfortable for the prisoners. Later, the labourers are shuttled back to the main building where they are fed, watered and receive medical care if necessary before sleeping inpreparation for the next work shift.

Relations between prisoners ranges from friendly to violent depending on the former judges' natural disposition before they arrived on Titan and how well (or badly) they have adapted to life in the mines. The only time that prisoners are allowed to converse is during their hard labour, difficult at the best of times due to constant breathing difficulties. No matter how prisoners relate to one an-other, they generally regard the governor and Titan wardens with nothing less than outright hostility. It is the governor's mandate to see that his prisoners' wills are broken, and from their emotional wrecks new, obedient men and women emerge to cause the Justice Department no further difficulties. The governor rarely meets the inmates, normally only to declare temporary changes to their routine, or to punish all the prisoners for the indiscretions of one or a small number; on Titan, all men are equal and share the same fate (except for the command staff). The Titan wardens are brutal and sadistic by design, though some genuinely enjoy inflicting pain on their former comrades. If ever there is to be a break-out, the prisoners will first target these swine for the kickings and lashings they have suffered at their hands
  
Punishment

As if a sentence to twenty years on Titan was not enough, troublesome inmates can expect severe punishments at the whim of the governor. Minor indiscretions such as theft of penitentiary property or tussles with other prisoners such will result in the culprit deprived of food for a week whilst still being forced to work a normal shift. Prisoner violence directed against the warders is punishable by a severe beating in a private, sealed room at the other end of the prison complex known to the prisoners as the 'blood bank'. A more extreme punishment is to be sealed in the Coffin, a broken refrigeration unit welded to the outside wall of one of the storage bunkers, the prisoner is fed once a week through a slot and is deprived of any form of hygiene. Should a warder or command personnel be murdered by a prisoner, the sentence is death by hanging, out in the courtyard on a signal given by the governor, an event that all prisoners are ordered to attend if they do not want to donate to the blood bank. In the past, the infamous Governor Khurtz used prisoners as guinea pigs to test torture techniques upon for the eyes of paying representatives from other mega-city justice systems. Now that Khurtz is dead, killed by one of the prisoners he tortured, the Justice Department has assigned a monitor to ensure that the subsequent governors are not tempted to follow Khurtz's line of behaviour


Freedom

When a judge enters Titan, he is generally prepared to die in there, such is the sense of hopelessness instilled in him by the facial surgery, his living and working conditions and the unremitting brutality of the warders. But prisoners are allowed to keep track of the time they spend in incarceration, one of the few luxuries the warders afford them, though some regard it as pure psychological torture. Nevertheless, exactly twenty years to the day they arrived, the prisoner is summoned for an extensive medical by the CMO before being given fresh, nondescript clothing and marched to the governor's office for one final lecture on discipline and respect for the law. The governor does not shake hands with the prisoner - he was once a judge after all, and cannot be underestimated - but ends the meeting by conveying the Chief Judge's wish that the prisoner can now provide a useful contribution to Mega-City One. With five hundred credits and a paycard that will grant him two weeks stay in reasonable rented accommodation, the former prisoner boards the Titan shuttle - often passing new inmates - and returns to Earth

Most former prisoners choose to live in Mega-City One for the rest of their days. A majority manage to secure paid employment, a testament to the drive and motivation drilled into them all those decades ago in the Academy of Law. Those that do not successfully adapt to civilian life sometimes leave the city to search for some new meaning to their lives. Whilst others fall into old habits and join street gangs/thugs/criminal organisations and take over them using their superior skills. These ex-cons soon gain the attention of the Justice Department and are stamp out quickly before they can bring more shame on the Department. 

Famous Prisoners

Prisoner 17544 (Judge Diggle)- Abraham Diggle, saw action in 2nd Robot War. Diggle stole weapons discarded during the retreat of Nero Narco's Forces and planed on selling them on the black market. The weapons were later used in a murder and Wally Squad traced the weapons back to Diggle. Diggle is now in his 4th year and seeks a means to escape. Diggles cropped hair is now long, covering his neck tattoos and he has no teeth left due to Warden beatings.

Prisoner 17228 (Judge Barnes)- Noel 'Bastich' Barnes a block judge turned rogue. Used heavy handed tactics on criminals and was arrested for murder. Barnes suffered severe frostbite on Titan so now has a fake foot and arm.


That's it for now. I plan on adding to the criminal list as names pop up. Feel free to comment below and thanks for reading.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Book Review 52 // Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter

When I first started up this blog I had planned for one filled with beer and Warhammer. No way did I expect the blog to become primary books and comics. Though beers still feature and will continue to I feel the Warhammer aspect is kept alive purely by the novel I read. Which leads us nicely into today's review.


Book Details

Title: Galaxy in Flames
Author: Ben Counter
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 416
Commercial Fluff: Having recovered from his grievous injuries, Warmaster Horus leads the triumphant Imperial forces against the rebel world of Isstvan III. Though the rebels are swiftly crushed, Horus's treachery is finally revealed when the planet is razed by virus bombs and Space Marines turn on their battle-brothers in the most bitter struggle imaginable.

Review

Having read this novel when it first came out I am sad to start it once more, as I know where it will lead. I will feel the same heartbreak for the characters once more. I enjoyed this book back then because I had an idea of where it may lead, but now I know for sure and I feel I am picking at an old wound which has not fully healed.

The novel itself is split into three parts. So if it is good enough for the book then it is good enough for the review.

Part One: Long Knives

Already this sounds deadly, as the term Long Knives brings up images of Night of the Long Knives. A night in real life when a rising dictator cleared his rank of those who could stand against them. The beginning half of this chapter brings us to speed, Horus has fallen to treachery and with the help of Erebus is now forming pacts with daemons. We also discover that a few of Horus' brothers have already sided with him - chief amongst these being Fulgrim of the Emperor's children.

Elsewhere on the ship Euphrati Keeler is still unconscious after her run-in with daemons in the library, and with the aid of Kyril Sindermann is on the run from the Legions. Whilst prone Keeler is completely unaware of the cult that is forming around her. And the ultimate effect she is having on those around her and the future of the Imperium.

This section then finishes with a battle on Isstvan Extremis where forces (possibly not loyal to the Warmaster) are deployed against a Warsinger and protecting troops. In this battle, we get reintroduced to characters that have only played a bit role or have been mentioned in passing. Characters like Saul Tarvitz from the Planet Murder story and Garro of the Deathguard. It is also revealed that something isn't quite right within the ranks of the Emperor's Children. Leading us nicely into:

Part Two: The Choral City

Following the failed attempt to sway Tarvitz, the Captain of the Emperor's Children has finally seen the light and noticed something is amiss. Then as the war for Isstvan III begins Tarvitz's fears are realized. This is actually a purge of the ranks and that the Primarchs have gone rogue. Fleeing his flagship Tarvitz steals a Thunderhawk and attempts to escape to the planet in hopes of warning the others. During this attempt, Tarvitz is aided by a long-time friend Garro who destroys the pursuing crafts chasing the Thunderhawk.

Elsewhere in the fleet, the traitorous moves are being played out and on the Vengeful Spirit, the remembrancers are gathered together and purged from the fleet in bloody gunfire from the Sons of Horus. Euphrati Keeler and Kyril Sindermann only survive this purge by being aided by the Sons of Horus Captain 'Half Heard'. With his assistance, they escape the Vengeful Spirit and find refuge with Garro. It is during this section of the book that the betrayal is set in motion and the virus bombs "Life Eaters" are launched on the unaware troops on the planet below.

Part Three: Brothers

Thanks to Tarvitz's warning a large amount of the Isstvan group forces survive the bombing, enraging the World Eaters Primarch who leads an assault against his former brothers in arms. With the war going awry, Horus is forced to commit forces to the planet and a drawn-out battle begins. During this time Tarvitz rises to take command and leads the defence of the betrayed troops.  Unfortunately, the betrayals keep coming and Tarvitz's own
friend Lucius double-crosses the defenders and weakens their defences. The book ultimately finishes with some epic showdowns. Up first Tarvitz versus Lucius, though completely outclassed by Lucius. Tarvitz is able to use a move learnt from Loken in an earlier book to gain the upper hand, forcing Lucius to flee into the swirling melee to escape. Then we get the title fight - Loken and Torgaddon versus Abaddon and Aximand. Set in the dramatic parliament building, the fighting breaks into two groups. It soon becomes apparent, that the traitors are better fighters and Aximand claims first blood killing Torgaddon. Fearing the end is near Loken attempts to sell his life nearly, but as all seemed lost a giant titans foot crushes the chamber forcing Abaddon and a regretful Aximand to flee. The final scene is a trapped Loken watching the bombs fall once more as the traitors fire bomb the city from orbit.

--------------------------------------------------

Ouch this book broke my soul. I find myself hoping beyond all reason that Loken somehow lives (a space marine can survive bombs dropping on them right!). I even found myself hoping Lucius wouldn't betray Tarvitz, even though I know how the stories go. And I guess that is the sign of a good tale, even with prior knowledge of how it plays out I was still 100% sucked into the tale.

As I finish writing this I am close to completing Flight of the Esienstein so it would seem we are on the Horus Heresy train for a while. Until my next post stay safe.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Comic Review 53 // Judge Dredd Lawman of the Future 06

The cover of issue 06 is full on action with Movie Dredd falling towards the reader. A pretty straightforward cover declaring two new tales, the third token for a free t-shirt and some hints to the cover art story.

We then get a few filler pages of adverts and editorial pieces about how popular the comic is. Then we get the heavy hint of upcoming villians lose in MC-1. Including Weapons Freak, Milo Lune, The Lawmaster and Vic Visconti. The Lawmaster looks and sounds pretty badass and I'm glad to report he is in the very first tale.

The Lawmaster - A nightclub is the scene of a monster shakedown. Just as it seems to be about to bare fruit, a vigilante by the name of The Lawmaster smashes in guns a blazing. Once Judge Dredd is on the scene Lawmaster's time is numbered. But how is the vigilante managing to stay one step ahead of the Justice Department?

Great tale could have easily been a two part episode.

More filler pages of readers photographs, a t-shirt advert and a two page poster. Highlight of these pages is a review of MC-1's funniest craze Batgliding. Which is a great segway into the next tale...

Graveyard Shift - Milo Lune is leading the charge of escaped psychos from the holding cells and is running rampant throughout the local mall. After watching Lune takedown multiple Judges it is up to Dredd to bring him to justice. But how will the Batgliding master criminal play into this?

Then more filler pages of readers letters and drawings. I just wish we could have less of this and more stories or more Movie photographs.

Quake - A new villain is on scene and causing localised earthquakes with the ability to bring down entire City Blocks. Even Judge Dredd is unsure were to start looking. After the second block is announced as a target, the full might of the Justice Department move in to attempt to clear the block. In classic stupid fashion a citizen refuses to leave and Dredd is forced to enter the building in an attempt to rescue the citizen. Unfortunately as Dredd arrives in the apartment the building starts coming down.

We are steady moving through these issues and I am truly enjoy them. The tales themselves are well thought-out, the artwork is great, I just wish they would give themselves move time to tell the tales. Lawmaster could easily have been a two part and I feel quake could have made longer with more build up to the villians role.

I hope you are enjoying this step back in time. Let me know if you are below.

Beer Review 68 // Bellwoods Barn Owl No.17


It's been a hot minute since a beer review so let's just jump in. I was lucky recently and got a beer mail delivery from Bellwoods so I am going to start with these.

Details

Name: Barn Owl No. 17

Style: Barrel Aged Double Dry Hopped Wild Ale.

Brewery: Bellwoods.

Country: Canada, Toronto.

ABV: 6.3%

Artwork: Very nice pair of hand drawn Barn Owls. Not sure if the label changes between different recipes?

Commercial Fluff: 
As years passed and our oak aged beer became more robust, we discovered many unique, interesting, single barrels deserving of a special release. Barn Owl was created as a response to these lone wolves, and has grown into a diverse, ongoing series that reflects the growing diversity of our barrel program. The name is a nod to the wise and exacting animal that keeps watch over the farmhouse (er..industrial warehouse), and the one-off creations are released sporadically throughout the year, just as soon as we deem the barrels ripe for the picking.

Barn Owl No. 17 began as a blend of a sour golden ale and a bretty pale ale before being locked away in wine puncheons for extended barrel-aging. The blend was dry-hopped prior to barrel-aging to create a stable, well-rounded hop character -- and then dry-hopped after emerging from the barrel creating a lovely balance between a dank dry-hop, brett funk and a pleasant acidity. Flavours and aromas of pineapple, peach skin and plum.

Own Opinion

Label: It's a nice label, not my preferred style compared to their other labels which I find more stylish.

Pour: Orange, hazy with a tight white head of foam. Looks very tasty.

Aroma: Brett funk is front and centre on the aroma. Once you get past that you start to get tropical fruits like canned pineapples.

Taste: quite an acidic brew. Notes of that canned pineapple come to the fore alongside some softer notes of juicy fruits. For me the acidic wild ale gives the beer the quality of sharp citrus which makes for quite a refreshing brew.

Would I buy it again: Yes. I'm definitely interested in trying more of these brews I wonder if they ever release the older recipes anymore? If you know the answer then let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Comic Review 52 // Judge Dredd Lawman of the Future 05

We are back from our Wally Squad tour of duty and diving  into the Lawman of Future series. If you haven't been keeping up I have rediscovered the joys of reading the Slystone Dreddverse comics and we are now heading into issue 5.

A bit of an awkward looking Dredd as his lawmaster seems to be in mid jump. According to the cover we have two new stories and Lawmaster mayhem inside. So let's go deep diving. The first few pages are pretty standard, a quick rundown of the stories and some filler news piece. Nothing really that special so I will swiftly move on to the first story.

Lawbreaker Blues We join Dredd as he faces off against Weapons Freak: a perp with a passion for guns. This is fun tale as we view the story through the eyes of Billy Ray a small time pickpocket currently chained to Judge Dredd whilst he faces off against the Weapons Freak. I like the change of pace to this tale and how Billy Ray manages to get a full pardon after Dredd uses his skull to knockout the villain. It's a fun tale and a great opener.

We are then treated to some readers letters and a t-shirt advert. Then we get a pullout Dredd poster with him in a classic pose. I can easily image the longer me carefully detaching the poster and covering my textbook in it (man I was cool).

Homunculus The tale I have been waiting for. When we left off Dredd was exploring the old MC-1 sewer system in search of a monster that is killing troggies. Unfortunately for Dredd the Monster found him first. Following a brief struggle Dredd manages to chase the monster off. Then with the assistance of a sewer droid Dredd confronts it in it's lair, breaking the beast into multiple parts. Believing the beast dead, Dredd returns to surface. But what if Dredd only succeed in producing more monsters!

Up next is a page of readers attempts at drawing Dredd. The theme for the pictures was Judge Dredd Two. I really loved the idea of having Arnold Schwarzenegger as Judge Death (yes you read that correctly). Just imagine a world where that happened, wouldn't it be amazing!?

Graveyard shift The start of the most dangerous shift has begun and to make matters worst it's a full moon! As Dredd races across the city trackling crazy perps, one Milo Lune has managed to release all the local loonies from jail and is leading a mass breakout. I am interested to see where the tale goes and what the Bat Glider role will play out to.

And with that the issue is finished. It definitely has inspired me to create a few characters for my games from this - Weapons Freak for sure will be heading into my games soon, along with the ability to hunt monsters in the sewer systems. Downside of this issues is the two parter, the story feels a little weak and the art is also a little painful.

Let me know your thoughts below or just say hi!

Comic Review 51 // Mega-City One Volume 03

The time has come to finish up the Mega-City Undercover collection. The third installment cover showcases the one and only Dirty Frank looking out on a MC-1 looking cityscape, but lingering above him is a vicious looking giant surgeon. I wonder what this will have to do with his tale.

On the next few pages it is implied that this issue only contains two tales. Up first is a continuation of the Low-Life tale and the second sees the return of Lenny Zero (one of my favourites).

Tale - Low-Life The Deal: Dirty Frank faces his biggest challenge to date and discover if he is fit for duty. It is soon and quite quickly decided that Frank is unfit for active and is forced to take the long walk into the Cursed Earth. But before this sentence can be carried out Frank offers the panel another option. One last undercover gig. In exchange Frank will attempt to infiltrate the Hondo-cit Yakuza and discover Aimee Nixon's fate.

This is sad tale and a great conclusion to the Low-Life saga. Frank is such an unique character and having read these so close together it is hard not to feel his pain, as he watches his life go down the drain. I also loved seeing Hondo-cit and the over top cultural icons and imagery. This was a great tale and we'll worth the price of the volume alone.

Tale - Low-Life The really big Christmas Sleep: This tale jumps far ahead in the timeline and is actually set after I have personally got in the Dreddverse, so I'm not entirely sure I get all the talking points. From what I can piece together Frank believes there is still a shadowy organisation operating within the Justice system. After getting a colleague to assist him Frank suffers guilty hallucinations about Nixon and realises this case is too dangerous to involve his friend but sadly it is already to late.

What on earth is going on with this tale?

Tale - Lenny Zero Zero's 7: Oh hell yes! Lenny Zero is back, this is one of my favourite characters in the Dreddverse. Lenny is in need of a big score and you can't get bigger than Justice Central criminal funds reprocessing transport. This giant mobile fortress collects all the sector houses illegal money collected in raids and transport it the central bank. It is almost impossible to get near so Lenny has to form a team like no other. In this rag tag group is:

Shuggy Bear - An enhanced Polar Bear who now runs a shuggy hall.
Johnny Cash - A disgruntled Central Bank cash machine looking to escape the back alley of MC-1.
Satellat - A rogue Sov block droid who is now a gun for hire.
Mink - A creepy Psi who discovers Lenny's plan and blackmails him to be apart of the heist.
Afro Dizzy - Chemical specialised who runs a local nightclub.
Max Normal - The pinstripe freak is back!

Soon they raiding the vault, escaping the law and looking like they are in the clear but it can't be that easy for Lenny?

Great tale, was fun, action packed and not what I expected at all. Good to see some old characters come back and some dirty jokes sneak their way in. Real highlight - Loggerhead - The Southside Droid Mafia boss, an ex timber droid from the Canadia Wastes. Mean looking and something I really want to attempt to build.


With that I am up to date with Low-Life, where do I go now? I've really enjoyed these and it is always fun to experience a different side of the Dreddverse. I feel I will need to get the dumping detective next. Thoughts?


Comic Review 57 // Lawman of the Future 10

Welcome back everyone. I was away for a bit there due to family responsibilities but I'm back now and diving head first into issue 10 o...