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Review: DRAMAtical Murder

dramatical_murder_3146So if there’s one thing that’s of common knowledge it’s that adaptations of video games are either fantastic or phenomenal. If you didn’t know DRAMAtical Murder, a recent 2014 summer release anime from Nitro+chiral, is on the weird middle cusp, where it can be good on some aspects while near awful on the other side. So for the low down Dmmd is an otome Japanese game, essentially a yaoi/bl dating game, for adults, which was later adapted into an all ages anime. This is one of the reasons this show doesn’t essentially work, as it struggles to make it accessible for an inclusive audience. It’s obviously for an 18 and older audience but it downplays a lot of important plot points because of that. But anyway, enough of that for now, and onto the plot.

The main character Aoba lives on an Island, Midorijima, where there is an old district and a new district, named Platinum Jail. He meets with old friends and new friends, all who have their own special issues, and then evil befalls upon them! Well not really but an evil plot of mind control is I guess? The plot was never really that good as in the game you only really play for the other characters backstories, but I suppose I have to cover it despite all of that. So… Anyway. Aoba and friends must rush to Platinum Jail and stop a dastardly plot as well as come to terms with their troubled pasts that hold them back from living full lives. There’s also this whole thing with games like Rhyme or Rib, and the war between the players. Yeah. That’s the plot.

There’s also this whole thing about robot companions, often looking like real pets, called All-Mates who are the coolest thing ever. They will search the internet for you as well as check for viruses, and much more. We see ones that are birds, rabbits, lions, snakes, and dogs. I want an all mate and so should you.

So then. Characters.

Aoba Seragaki is our main dude, a blue mullet wearing twenty-three year old, who apparently has mind powers. Yup, he can literally turn your mind into a bowl of noodles, well only if he really wanted to. He’s pretty much a big ol’ blue nerd, has a robot dog, lives with his grandmother, and works at a junk shop. Also he wears a stupid puffy jacket. He is able to pretty much date any of the following options of characters.

Kojaku is our samurai ladies’ man, who is a hairdresser when he’s not the man in charge what is basically a gang, Benishigure, but not yakuza. Really he’s just a huge nerd too, but has a tragic backstory. He’s also Aoba’s childhood friend, which if you didn’t know is always a choice in otome games, who just wants to protect said person. Kojaku is tough guy who doesn’t let harm come to civilians, especially the ladies. He’s also got a bit of temper issue when it comes to certain things, including his tattoos.

Noiz is our younger brat type, who is the head guy of a Rhyme team, Ruff Rabbit, as well as an information broke.  He’s also got a tragic backstory concerning how he was raised and how it turned him into who he is. Not very tact he literally is always pestering someone to fight him or pissing someone off because he can. He sees the world as a give and take system, everyone wants something from him, which is the only reason anyone would be kind to him. There’s something that he cannot feel that Aoba helps him understand.

Clear is our tragic white haired anime boy, except… Well spoilers on that one, anyway… He came into the story because he heard Aoba’s voice call out to him. That’s why he’s there, for his Master’s voice. He’s happy go lucky, if not a bit dense about things.  He doesn’t show his face to people out of certain reasons and everyone seems to love him in the fandom. Unfortunately he also has a tragic backstory. All of them do.

Mink is our cinnamon flavored thug, leader of the group Scratch, and man is he controversial in the game. Quiet and reserved, he’s only really interacting with the other’s to meet his own ends. There’s a reason he’s in Midorijima, and it’s not a good one. Still he’s the one least willing to let Aoba into his life and for good reasons. Everyone either loves or hates him, and it’s ridiculous because he is fictional.

Ren is Aoba’s All-mate, but also something deeper than that, his partner. Without any spoilers I’ll let you know that Ren is there to help Aoba no matter what happens. He will fight in Rhyme if need be, which gives him an alternate mode from his dog all mate form, as a beefcake. He’s also faced with many tough choices, mostly concerning how he feels, and if he is even justified in having emotions. At the end of the day he just wants to be by Aoba’s side. He’s also got a voice deeper than an abyss.

There’s also these two guys who say they aren’t twins but they are totally twins. They’re pretty…. Pretty messed up.  But also pretty. They are yakuza trash and seem to be pretty proud of it as well as unapologetic. The role they play is actually pretty important but far better explained in the game. In the anime they’re really only there to be ambiguous.

So the animation was definitely a downgrade, but that’s a bit hard to really talk about, as the game was not actually a moving animation. But still just the art of the anime was a bit on the dull side, as well as god damn atrocious in Episode 3 where apparently the animators sent the rough draft rather than the final product. The version that aired was clunky and horrible anatomy wise. And they later re-released the episode, but only in Japan, mostly due to the uproar of poor animation. It dulled out characters and made them blockier and less them. When the game that wasn’t animated but had literal stills of scenes is better than your animation that you definitely had more money to make… Well that’s just sad. Also while I’m not complaining, all the money had to have gone to that last episode. Sweet Jesus they made the Ren beach scene beautiful, I may have cried because of it.

This series had the unfortunate problem of having to deal with a multi-ending game, where were they going to take it? Which route? Well they decided to do all five routes in one go, which wasn’t the best idea on their part. It made the story telling as clunky as the animation, because Aoba was forced to fix a friend’s situation in basically ten minutes. It resolves things in a way that isn’t believable and I had a hard time really caring about the problems these characters were faced with. Nothing was fixed that fast in the game and I just had a hard time connecting to the characters like I did in the game. I know it’s not fair to constantly be comparing, but as a source material it is important.

Now the music was all pretty much done by the Japanese band GOATBED, which actually in canon is Aoba’s favorite band, and was not my favorite part of the show. I could give or take the opening and ending, but honestly it didn’t ruin the show either. Also pretty much everyone from the game returned to their roles in the animation, minus Mink’s original voice actor, and it was nice to hear some new line and bits from them. Still there was the whole issue of things being way too fast for me and that was mostly a story telling issue.

All together it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve watched, far from it actually. While it was a bit of a let-down compared to the game, which I’ve played, and found far superior, despite its own faults. I still found it entertaining and if I were just coming into it without any prior knowledge I might have liked it even more. Still overall it wasn’t the worst possible thing. And we’re still waiting for the two OVAs to be released that may or may not be the bad endings from the game but toned down. Now let’s also remember that, if you’re going for the source material after reading this, the game is for adults and features adult themes.

Overall rating: 6.5/10

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The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best” – Review

Leftovers“Once upon a lonely
The sky was black and stormy
I was on my way to King Marie
This day of disaster
My heart was beating faster
I ran all the way to King Marie”
– “The Girl From King Marie” – Jody Reynolds

The departured were all regretted at one point. Laurie regretted…oops, let me start my Review at the beginning, much like that incredible episode did on Sunday night. All the way at the beginning. Then I can explain that first sentence and continue my thought. It’s a good theory, I think, and I will need all of your help to see if it is somewhat true or close.

The Leftovers aired their penultimate episode, The episode immediately before the finale, on Sunday night and it was exactly what we have been wanting and waiting for since the pilot. In a series that predicates itself on the events of October 14th, all we wanted to know was what happen on October 13th or, more precisely, what happened immediately prior to the moment of departurism (note: departurism is a word I just invented…I can do that…I think…but we all know what it means). The seconds, minutes, and hours before the Sudden Departure. And we got it in a brilliant flashback that Damon Lindelof has become a master at portraying.

So, let’s start at the beginning. A theory I had stated before is that the dogs are symbols of the Guilty Remnant. The episode this past Sunday has given us a load of answers to our burning questions and provided some twists and turns in the process. One twist is that the dogs are not the Guilty Remnant…hear me out. I think the dogs represent Laurie. Kevin is represented by the deer. I’ll give some interesting supporting evidence throughout my Review so keep an eye out for it and we can discuss in the comments below. More on this later.

We see Kevin right away in his beautiful home, with his beautiful family, as we are transported back in time three years (4 years?), just days before the SD. Much like there was a scar, or flaw, on the island of The Lord of The Flies, there is also a crack, or scar or flaw, in the foundation of the Garvey home (remember: Kevin sees above the painting the crack in the wall like a lightning bolt). The writers do a wonderful job at setting up our characters lives prior to the universal ‘tic-toc’ leading up to the SD. We see Nora Durst and her happy family at a time when she is ignorant to the fact that her husband is cheating on her. We also learn that Patti was a patient of Laurie’s long before Laurie had taken the white.

Not everyone was happy. That is not what the writers were trying to show us. People were not happy, then out of nowhere the SD occurs and people spiral into despair. Kevin was lying to his wife. Nora wanted out of the “juice-box” cycle of life. Patti was kicked out of her home by her ex-husband. We finally learn why Patti puts some crap in a bag and wrote “Neil” on it and left it on his porch. Laurie, her psychologist, told her to get rid of her bad emotions from her relationship by doing this.

One of the big revelations of life before the SD is that of Jill. Jill was, uncharacteristically so, very happy. Very very happy. I did not see a scene without her smiling ear to ear or singing. she loved her dad and thought her mom was the greatest. We know Jill as the melancholy school girl who is sad and angry at the world for destroying her family.

Getting back to my theory that Kevin is represented by the deer and Laurie by the dogs. When Kevin Sr. is telling his officers about the deer in town, he instructs them to put it down because it is dangerous and unstable. Kevin wants to save it, bring it back to the woods, and let it go. Much like he did with Patti. He took her to the woods, and let her go. Kevin is just trying to save himself from becoming unstable and from going crazy. At the surprise party, Kevin tells Laurie the deer is just ‘confused’ much like he has been for the entire series thus far. To top it off, Nora’s daughter tells her that “maybe the deer is just looking for it’s family?”. Kevin’s dream sequence a few episodes ago also alludes to this theory. Kevin hears rumbling from a nearby mailbox. Remember this is where Kevin hides his cigarettes from Laurie. When he gets closer, after seeing a deceased Laurie in the back of a truck, a dog pops out and barks viciously at him. Which brings me to Laurie being represented by the dogs. Laurie is the one that wanted to get a puppy and we see her coddling one with, none other than, Gladys (who seemed happy, but we know she lost someone in the SD). Laurie tells Kevin (finally happy they found the deer) “It’s trapped, better go save it”. Notice how Kevin was happy about the deer and upset about the prospect of the dog. Kevin, as the deer (he even sees his reflection in its eye), is trying to not get chewed up and eaten by the dogs as we saw in the first episode of the season.

And finally, what I noticed about the people who were departured; the common thread amongst them. I noticed that they were all regretted by one of The Leftovers. Kevin regretted having the affair. Nora regretted her family, if only for an instant. Sam (the baby that departured in the pilot) was regretted by his mother who threw her hands up to Laurie in the car. I wonder if we will be able to point to this in the future as we learn of more people who lost someone on the SD.

This was definitely my favorite episode of the season. The writing was perfect and the flashback was orchestrated very well. It was great getting a lot of answers to our questions and seeing the SD before it happened and how it affected our main cast. The Leftovers, week to week, is a bleak look into the lives of the citizens of Mapleton and this past Sunday we were given a break form the morose souls and shattered bits of humanity. It was nice, even if it was for only a little bit of time, to see our characters in a different light and somewhat happy frame of mind. But, of course, this is Mapleton, and no one stays happy for long.

Thoughts and Discussion

- The music in the episode:
“Shotgun” – Junior Walker & The All-Stars
“Punching In a Dream” – The Naked and Famous
“Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous
“Without You” – Usher
“November” – Max Richter – This is actually the piano music you hear in nearly every episode when things are becoming clear or at the end of an episode when revelations occur.

- Did you notice…The Sudden Departure occurred at 2:23:48 PM. ’23’, ‘4’, and ‘8’ are LOST numbers. Other LOST references include the numbers 4, 8, and 42 on Laurie’s prenatal monitor in the doctor’s office.

- Did you notice…Jill’s Science Fair experiment dealt with Entropy.

- Did you notice…Laurie’s calendar quote reads – “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground”. It is a small insight into life I believe. Nobody feels the world around them; they create their own world as they go. Maybe? What do you think this means?

- I like the little foreboding nods to the eventual SD. Like when Kevin Sr. stated “You have no greater purpose”, or Nora saying, “For the next four weeks, I have no family”. Kevin also saying to Tom, “Sometimes, you have to pretend”.

- Did you notice…Last week Patti told Kevin that Laurie counseled her. Now we know she meant it literally.

- Patti predicted the day of the SD. I suppose it could be chalked up to “A broken clock is right twice a day” type of thing, but still.

- Does everyone remember The Pattersons? The deer goes into their house where Kevin goes upstairs to corner it. These are the people that Nora interviewed for their SD check a few episodes back when they lost their boy with Down-Syndrome that we saw in this flashback episode counting coins and directing Kevin to the location of the deer.

- The deer could also represent feelings of being trapped. It affected certain peoples lives on the show. Just like the deer wanted to be free so did Kevin. The woman who hits the deer took a different route. The deer affected the woman Nora’s husband was having an affair with. And the old couple taking care of the boy with Down-Syndrome who tells Kevin that leaving the house “is not going to happen”. Kevin felt extra trapped which was foreshadowed by the dear having the balloon of “It’s a Girl” covered in blood on it. I love the symbolism in this series (The metronome on the floor of the school that Kevin stares at was perfectly placed).

- “A man says to the Universe…Sir, I exist” This was a great speech by Kevin and appropriate. The Universe responds, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation”.

- My favorite part of the episode was when the car full of women pulls up to Kevin sitting on the curb. They ask, “Are you ready?”. Did they think he was part of the Guilty Remnant? They could not have formed yet formally, but what if they knew beforehand? Kevin WAS wearing white. Maybe they thought he was a member? Maybe they were from wherever Dean came from or whoever speaks to Kevin Sr.? The situation could not have become any more mysterious as the manhole cover rattles and explodes in a fury of fire and heat. Did Kevin even think about this moment when he learned of the SD event all over the world?

The Leftovers – Solace For Tired Feet – Review

Leftovers

After last week’s amazing episode of The Leftovers, where we learned more about Nora Durst and her daily life, the writers slow things down a little and it makes me wonder where they are going with the first season. There are only 2 episodes remaining until the first season finale and I am still not sure what the finish line is for the characters. Don’t get me wrong, every episode, in my opinion, has been great and I can’t get enough of this show. However, by this point in a season, shouldn’t we at least know what the end game is going to resemble? The good thing is that there were some revelations that cleared some things up, giving us answers to some questions we had. In this show,of course, with more answers there always seems to be twice as many questions springing up.

The best thing we learn from this episode is that Holy Wayne is two-timing the mothers of his unborn children (sorry, I can’t bring myself to typing ‘baby mamas’…oops). He seemed very out of sorts when he was speaking with Tom and I was a little confused as to where all of that came from. I suppose it is still nice to see that he cares for them and wants to make sure they have money to survive, but what does he actually think will transpire from all this? I would love to know everyone’s thoughts about Holy Wayne and his potential clan of children (I’m certain these were not the only two girls that are pregnant by him). And is the Asian thing a personal preference or is it necessary from a prophetic standpoint with him? I ‘m sure we will get more answers regarding him and his children soon as the season draws to a close and Christine having already given birth…by herself…in a bathtub…yikes.

I read an article that Damon Lindelof and his team of writers took time to come up with different scenarios for what people would do in a real life SD and apparently one was the scene with Jill and her gang of friends locking themselves in a refrigerator to honor some myth they heard about. I thought that scene was one of the best of the episode and was exactly what teenagers would do in a post SD world. Jill’s rebelliousness is growing more dangerous with each episode and I’m wondering how far she will go. Possibly joining a cult would be my guess. What do you all think Jill is headed towards?

Kevin’s scenes are, by far, the best and strangest in any episode. It’s difficult to tell what is real and what isn’t with him. The dream sequence this episode showed what could be foreshadowing with Laurie in the truck bed wrapped in plastic and bloody. There were quite a few GR members in the back of the truck actually and I wonder if something will happen where the towns people will take it upon themselves to eradicate Mapleton of their nuisance in white clothes.

The highlight of the episode was Kevin and his search for his father, who escaped from his facility. The writers continue to blur the line with certain scenes. Some have religious undertones while other serendipitous events could be viewed as happenstance. Take for example Kevin Sr. being in the right place at the right time to save his granddaughter, Jill. Are we to believe he just happened to be running through that part of the woods at the same moment Jill needed rescuing or is it possibly divine intervention? I am extremely looking forward to who “they” are that Kevin Sr. kept referring to when speaking with Kevin Jr. in the diner and why they have a subscription to National Geographic. If he had an iPad digital subscription he wouldn’t have had to go to Gabota to find a back issue either…jk. He says “they” were very specific and he needed to give Kevin Jr. the issue from May 1972. I looked up the issue and it is very interesting. Christine, in her slumber, mutters at one point in the episode about “There’s spiders under water” and one of the articles from 1972 is titled, “The Spider That Lives Underwater”. The next episode of The Leftovers is titled, “Cairo”, and another one of the articles is, “Cairo, Troubled Capital Of The Arab World”. It is all very cryptic and makes me look forward even more to the next episode to find any connection.

Thoughts and Discussion

- The songs in the episode are:
“The Love You Save” – Joe Tex
“Miserere Mei Deus” – by Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine & Gaël De Kerret

- I hope we find out what Holy Wayne’s girls mean when they say, “He’s the bridge”, very soon.

- The National Geographic story line is very intriguing, especially as it suggests that Kevin Sr. can commune with people that are not there. I wonder if the fact that the camera showed his reflection in the window for a moment menas he is in fact crazy and only speaking to himself. I would love to know what you all thought.

I hope you all enjoyed the episode! Please comment below to tell me what you thought and where you think the story is going.

The Leftovers – “Gladys” – Review

Leftovers“But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
And nothing at all keeps sending him…”
– “What A Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers

I apologize that this Review of Sunday’s episode of The Leftovers is a little late, but I wanted that first scene to marinate in everyone’s mind for a little before you commented below. I watch a lot of TV, which I’m sure quite a few of you know already, and there have been few scenes that have elicited the kind of reaction I had when I saw Gladys in those cringe-worthy first minutes. It was brutal to say the least and I have been anticipating what all of you thought about that scene and the episode as a whole.

I believe what happened to Gladys will reverberate throughout the remaining episodes of the season. It definitely added to the theory that the GR is being set-up as the series first ‘big-bad’. After watching the episode, I immediately tried to draw conclusions to who killed her and why? A few scenes stuck out to me as odd and if we piece them together I think we can come up with a plausible explanation of what is going on in Mapleton. Mind you, none of what transpired in this episode was in the book, so I don’t already know the answer to this; we are all in the same boat. In fact, the TV series now appears nothing like the book, except for the basic characters.

The first scene that I recalled was the first few seconds of the episode. Gladys and Patti sit across from each other and between them is Patti’s desk. They sat in silence, of course, staring at each other before exchanging a terse nod, as if they knew what would transpire and they had a prearranged agreement about something. I found this a little odd, but it makes me initially think that the GR and Gladys were in on the barbarous stoning that resulted in Gladys’s death. The GR would have much to gain from Gladys becoming a martyr of sorts. The second scene(s) that somewhat supports this theory is Patti taking Laurie to her ‘day off’ breakfast at Denny’s [1]. I think she was doing this to recruit Laurie to be the next martyr or possibly choose someone else for the spiritual position.

Something else I was thinking about is the mysterious character named Dean, who shoots stray dogs and has a perpetual supply of chewing tobacco in his mouth. If you noticed when Gladys was snatched up by the convenience store there were dogs barking in the distance. Since I associate everything relating to dogs to Dean, I think he was in on it along with that man walking his two dogs that came up to Kevin’s car and startled him awake. I know, I know, that is specious reasoning, but you all think Dean had something to with it too, right? He just happened to be in the woods at the time they were looking for Gladys – He is always chewing tobacco (much like the other GR Members always smoking) – and he is trying to become friends with the towns Chief of Police whose wife is a member of the GR.

There are so many cults popping up all over that the ATF changed it’s name to “Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Cults” – The ATFEC. And apparently they get raided to bring about their end according to Agent Kilaney (get it? ‘kill any’– no?…is that a stretch?…ok). So far, we have these cults: Holy Wayne, The Guilty Remnant, The Barefoot People (remember this is what Tom and Christine are pretending to be with the targets on their foreheads), Heaven’s Converts (this is the cult that was on the TV getting raided when Kevin woke up in the beginning of the episode – the compound was in Noma, FL where Agent Kilaney was), and Tomorrow’s Family. I suppose this is to blur the lines between religious and cult beliefs in our society. People will believe what they want to believe and everyone has their own agenda for believing. In a moment that expresses his belief system perfectly Reverend Matt says to Kevin, “Killing these people is pointless, they don’t care because they are already dead. What I want is to bring them back to life.”

At one point the Rev tells Kevin a story about Thomas the Disciple and Jesus. The meaning behind it is that it is easier to stay silent, then it is to speak truth. This is a comment on the GR and Gladys and their relationship with the town of Mapleton and it’s citizens. I imagine we will find out by the end of the season if it is easier to stay silent or speak truth. When taking in to account the whole episode, the message that comes across is ‘doubt’ and how it relates to ones religious beliefs. Doubt is a necessary element to any religion so faith has something to be compared to and springboard off. Patti says to Laurie, “Doubt is fire, and fire is going to burn you up until you are but ash.” Gladys, unfortunately, had doubts.

[1] – I don’t think it was actually Denny’s, but I thought it was funny, so I wrote ‘Denny’s’.

Thoughts and Discussion

- There was pretty good song selections in the episode. Here they are for those of you want to know:
“Kiss On My List” – Hall & Oates
“What A Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers
“Warrior” – Terry Divine-King & Winston Francis
“The Twins (Prague)” – Max Richter

- My other idea for the Tagline to this Review was “Officer Mustard Stain”.

- Did you notice…Gladys had 13 rocks thrown at her. The number 13 has a mostly negative connotation and is referenced quite a bit in religions.

- LOST Numbers – Gladys was supposed to be in morgue drawer 4. Officer Mustard Stain had 8 white dress shirts at the dry cleaners. The numbers in the time in Patti’s car both times add up to 16. Laurie woke up at ‘2:3”8′ and it has been 8 months since she spoke.

- Did Patti put feces in the bag she wrote ‘Neil’ on and leave it on someones porch?

- In case any one was wondering Gladys is a latin name that means ‘Sword’. I have no idea what that means so if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

- Did anyone else think that Dean (the dog shooting guy) looked like the man processing bodies at the ATFEC center at the end?

- Nora’s statement to Kevin at the dry cleaners is a comment on the SD and makes light of it – “They’ll turn up pnce you stop looking for them.” Which they did. This is now the second episode in a row and third so far where something just “vanished”.

- Did you notice…Jill’s room has a lot of interesting things on the walls. One thing I thought was interesting and worth mentioning was the poster for “Murder By Death”. It is the name of a band and also a movie. The movie is a comedy that revolves around a murder mystery whodunit.

Thank you for reading my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the episode further. I would love to know what everyone thought about that cold open and the episode in general. It’s hard to believe this episode marked the halfway point for the season – only five episodes left! Have a great weekend everyone!

Review: The Sixth Gun #41

6GUN #41 _Page_01“But when the horror…when death…did not come for her quickly…she sought it ought”
– speaking about Griselda

The Sixth Gun #41 is a stand alone story of Drake and Becky’s relentless journey to obtain The Sixth Gun and the five others, but also necessary if we are to understand the history of The Six and from where their power originated. That story is the reveal of Griselda The Grey Witch’s past and what other twisted and dark secrets she holds. We have seen here many times before, but never really knew what her motives were. Why does she want The Six so bad? What does she plan on doing with them once she gets them in her grips? This issue of The Sixth Gun explains The Grey Witch’s history as well as her plans for the future once she gets her hands on all six guns and it only spells out doom and gloom for our heroes Drake and Becky.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is about The Sixth Gun that makes it so enjoyable. Is it the writing, the characters, or the art? It must be a harmonious combination of all three and Issue #41 delivers just like each chapter before it. The art in The Sixth Gun is always a standout part of each book and in this issue we are treated to the wonderful illustrations of Tyler Crook. If you remember from a few past issues, Crook aided Bunn’s co-creator and famed artist Brian Hurtt. Like Hurtt’s top-notch drawings, Tyler Crook’s illustrations take on a cinematic quality that jumps out of the page making you helpless to put it down. Add to this Bill Crabtree’s colors and sometimes I forget to turn the page because I’m staring at each drawing so intently.

The Sixth Gun is the first comic I ever read by Cullen Bunn. I have picked up everything he has written since and he never disappoints. Issue #41 of the The Sixth Gun is a perfect example of how rich and intricate his storytelling can be and the main reason it’s one of the few comic books I read four or five times in a row. The history of the Grey Witch is something I never thought was necessary until now. Cullen Bunn delivers another amazing chapter of Drake and Becky’s adventures preparing us for the inevitable with tales from the very beginning. Learning of Griselda The Grey Witch and her history was the perfect story to tell that breathes more life into one of The Sixth Gun’s most feared villains. Someone asked me once to describe a comic book with one word. If I had to describe The Sixth Gun #41 using just one word it would be, FUN. All the elements I spoke about just now make this a really fun comic to read, re-read then read again.

 

Spoilers for The Sixth Gun below – Warning

Thoughts and Discussion

- Now that Jesup has all Six guns is their nothing in Griselda’s way to utilize their power?

- Now we know that Griselda cannot physically hold any of the ‘Guns’. Will this affect how she uses them for nefarious purposes?

- How will Drake and Becky get the ‘Guns’ back?

- We know that The Grey Witch is General Oliander Hume’s mother and we probably will not see him ever again (maybe?), but will we see The Great Wyrms again? I would love to see Drake and Becky fight them.

 

Story: Cullen Bunn – Art: Tyler Crook – Colors: Bill Crabtree – Letters: Crank! – Cover: Tyler Crook (Top) & Brian Hurtt (Bottom)
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Quickie Review: Jon Snow II – The Legend of Curly’s Gold

I picked up my second Jon Snow figure recently, same company, but a completely different style. Let’s take a look at the Funko POP! Jon Snow.

package-web

And now my watch begins….again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The package is the standard POP! fare. The character is clearly visible from the front and the Edition Two line-up is shown on the back. I really love the design of Cersei. That one should be titled the first figure to look like a total bitch. Now unleash the Snow!

frontbackside-web

Turnaround………Jon Snow

 

 

 

 

 
Like all the other POP! figures from Funko, Jon shares a very simple body design and over-sized head. The amount of detail added to make each figure unique is where Funko shines. His Night’s Watch outfit features some really nice sculpted details, like the fur accents, belts, and straps. Longclaw is even nicely recreated and features the recognizable wolf’s head pommel. While the head features a basic sculpt, I feel it captures more of Jon Snow than the Legacy figure did. All the elements just come together to look more like Jon Snow.

The paint is very basic on this one. Black, lighter black, silver, white, and skin tone are what you get.  I would like to have seen a different paint applied to the fur lining, to break up the black and create some depth to the paint scheme. All the paint apps are applied very well and feature no bleed or slop. Longclaw`s pommel is done especially well. There are some small paint apps missing on the side of Jon`s hair that hangs down on his forehead. This only really noticeable up close and is not a big distraction at all. This seems to be a common thing with the POP! figures, as my Ned has the same issue.

partners-web

BFFs4Life

pason-web

Tell me of mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with all POP! figures, Jon features one point of articulation, the neck. Even with this one point, it’s possible to get a pretty cool pose.  By itself, the figure is really good. However, when you add a friend, the figure shines. I got lucky and cracked a Ghost as my first Funko Mystery Mini figure and having the pair displayed together is awesome. I doubt we`ll ever get an in scale Ghost to go with the Legend figure, so this is wonderful alternative. Jon also looks great standing with Ned. I`m sure they`ll have that talk about his mother any time now……..*sniff*.

The Funko POP! Jon Snow is great addition to your Funko or Game of Thrones collection. The figure`s simple design distills the character down to its core, while maintaining the character`s essence. It also does what few figures can do, it makes other figures you own better when displayed together. I highly recommend added Jon Snow to your shelf.

 

 

Review: The Walking Dead #127

wd-cover-127“I promise Rick doesn’t bite”
– Jesus to Magna

Yes he does, Jesus. At least he did once. When he was the fearless leader of our little group of survivors years ago. I’m sure he is that same leader. That same tragic hero we all love and root for in the zombie apocalypse. A lot of people love the new Walking Dead, but I’ve read that a few people are not too thrilled with the new direction the comic took with issue #127. Is it a little different? Sure, but don’t we trust writer Robert Kirkman enough to deliver great storytelling time and time again? We have trusted him this far and we have come a long way since Rick’s coma over ten years ago. To those not loving this new arc, I say just give it time and this new beginning will grow on you, I promise.

The Walking Dead #127 was teased by Kirkman, back before the conclusion to All Out War, to be a ‘new beginning’ and a completely different feel to the story. He was absolutely right. It is an entirely different feel and reads like a new #1. We were told that All Out War would alter the story from what we were used to before it began and the biggest, and best, difference is the addition of Stefano Gaudiano on inks. Charlie Adlard is already amazing and continuing to have Gaudiano from All Out War is just icing on the cake.

Warning Spoilers Below

The new arc, appropriately titled ‘A New Beginning‘, starts us off with a few new characters. The mysterious women on the cover, that was teased a few months back and had the internet scrambling to discover her identity, is named Magna and is the leader of this small band of survivors that has been roaming the area for an unknown period of time. Her traveling companions are named Kelly, Luke, Connie and Yumiko. They have no set destination in mind and happen to come across an extremely large herd of walkers when Jesus comes to save them. At this point I could tell that the plot jumped ahead a little, but not exactly sure how much. Jesus, Heath, Eugene, Aaron and Rosita show off their skills at corralling and leading walkers where they please and this is when I think the time has skipped ahead at least a few years, thinking it must have taken some time to coordinate this talent of theirs. The only problem they had was herding the walkers right into Magna’s group, subsequently getting one of their members, Bernie, killed. RIP Bernie, we barely knew you.

After the Herd is safely out-of-the-way, Jesus and the rest of the group go back for Magna’s to bring them to Rick for approval. I really like Magna and think she will be a great addition to the comic. We then shift focus to Rick waking up next to Andrea (their relationship seems to be going strong and survived the time-jump) and he dons his new ‘hand’ or ‘claw’. I’m glad Rick finally got an artificial hand, something that was long overdue. He appears to be settled into the leadership role nicely, as well. Carl looks older and is calling Andrea ‘mom’, which I thought was a little strange. He still has some secrets, however.

The Walking Dead would not be complete without the usual twists and turns and we get one at the end (I won’t spoil it for you). I will go into more detail of it next issue. I wasn’t happy about the issue when I first read it, but after a couple more times I changed my mind. How could you not like this book? It has everything you could want. There are quite a few new characters plus old characters that seem to have larger roles also. It’s a little too early to tell where the story is headed, but, like I said, I trust Kirkman to deliver a quality book every month. Speaking of that, I kind of already miss the bi-monthly release schedule.

Thoughts and Discussion

- What was the misunderstanding Carl had with the cooper’s son, Alex? Is it important to know? I just assumed because it was in the book, but we never really know what it is.

- I’m not sure how I feel about Carl’s new look. I want the sheriff’s hat back.

- I have a theory about Magna and the time jump. Since the comic began, Rick and his group have encountered different villains that all have their own ‘community’. Now, with the time-jump, Rick is the one with the ‘community’ and groups will encounter them. Is Magna and her group the new ‘Rick and the gang’? If that is the case, I am really going to enjoy the ‘new beginning’. It will be cool to see the conflicts that arise from a different point of view.

- Where is Michonne and Ezekiel? The ‘core’ group seems to be broken up and I hope they come together soon.

Thank you for checking out my Review! Please comment below to discuss the issue further!

Story: Robert Kirkman – Art: Charlie Adlard – Cover: Charlie Adlard/Dave Stewart – Ink: Stefano Gaudiano – Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn – Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Fresh Out Of The Box – Video Review Premiere – Talon

Hi folks! Have you been reading my reviews and news articles and wondered, “What does this Adonis, this Cadillac of men sound like?” Well, here’s your answer! Below you’ll find my first video review. I’ll do these in between regular reviews just to spice things up. I had a few technical issues and I’m still learning the ropes of video production. I haven’t really done much video work since high school and we used Video Toaster back then (insert old joke here).

With that in mind, please be kind. Hope you enjoy.

 

PS. If anyone knows quick way to add some art to the sides of the video, since I shoot it in portrait, I would appreciate the help. Thanks!

Review: The Sixth Gun #40

Sixth Gun 40c“You want damnation? I’ve got plenty for you.”
– Drake to Jesup

The Sixth Gun #40 concludes the story arc, “Not the bullet, but the fall”, and book 7 of this amazing fantasy western. With all the comic based TV shows getting script orders from top networks recently I was hoping their would be renewed interest in The Sixth Gun for a series. Maybe in the future? For now, I am perfectly happy with the comic book series and at least we have about two years left of that to give us our fill of Drake Sinclair and Becky Montcrief.

Issue 40 has really changed the course of The Sixth Gun and where it goes from here is going to be hectic and crazy for Drake, Becky and Nidawi (should we call her FauxNidawi now?). Jesup is still hot on their trail after they escaped the town of Brimstone and he currently possesses one of the Six. Drake makes a valiant and noble decision by telling Becky she needs to get as far away from him as possible so he can stall Jesup and prevent him from obtaining Becky’s Sixth Gun. One of the elements I love about the comic book is how Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree create amazing sequences and panels of gunfights and dire situations so well. Drake and Jesup’s panels really stood out in this issue and the illustrations and color were a huge part of that.

This issue is almost like a ‘season-finale’ with a really huge cliffhanger. Some questions were answered and a few popped up making it a perfect story to end on until we get issue #41 some time next month. Drake and Becky have a long way to go on their journey out of the hole they are in now and I can only imagine how they will do it. Cullen Bunn is an excellent story teller and I look forward to each issue. The next arc is aptly titled ‘The Grey Witch’, and we have been waiting to see this confrontation for a long time.

Thoughts and Questions – Spoilers

- I’ve asked this before, but what is going on with Drakes shoulder? It looks like it is made of armor. It definitely helped him this issue.

- Is Nidawi dead or is Screaming Crow reviving her WHILE he is taking over her body?

- Is Gord really dead? And Where is Asher and Kirby?

- How can Drake and Becky try to stop Jesup and the Grey Witch now? Jesup seems to be unstoppable, but something tells me that whatever is happening to Drake will play an important part in that. Lol, I wish this would become a TV series soon.

- Did becky successfully change the time-line with Gord?

Story: Cullen Bunn – Art: Brian Hurtt – Colors: Bill Crabtree
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Clone #16

Clone16-Cover

Clone #16 started its fourth arc this week and we can already see the story getting grittier and riskier. The last arc ended with the clone’s and Amelia’s life in danger, but with the promise of an island sanctuary on the horizon. The Coalition and Vice President Davis were spreading the word that clones are bad news for America and need to be dealt with accordingly. It was not looking good for Luke and his band of clone compadres and this new arc appears to be heading in that same direction right off the bat.

Issue #16 is essentially separated into three acts to get the story moving forward. The Clone Sisters are undecided on what to do with Amelia since their father won’t accept her on the island. An island which I thought we would be on by now, but I enjoy this book so much I can wait as long as needed. She is not a clone, but has sacrificed a lot of herself and her life for benefit of all of them. Kazumi wants to keep her safe, however, Meiko and the other three girls want Amelia dead. They come across a cabin in the woods (this is another instance showing that you should never go into a ‘cabin in the woods’) and Amelia decides to see if anyone lives there as it could be a daytime sanctuary for all of the clones on their journey. Their journey, by the way, is taking them all to a private jet two days away. What they find in the cabin adds another twist to the story and with it Clone gets better and better.

The second story revolves around Mrs. K and her involvement in The Coalition. She is still healing from what happened to her the last time we saw her and I honestly thought she was done for. The writers believe there is more to Mrs. K to flesh out and right now her and The Coalition are the antagonists. She is visited by Pastor Snyder and something tells me there is an evil hidden agenda behind his smile and what plans he has for Mrs. K.

The third and final story that starts off in this issue is the journey of Gamma (the clone with the tattoos). He decided to leave the safety of the clone group because he couldn’t be their leader and possibly because of his love for Amelia. Luke has both and I wonder if we will get to see a showdown between the two in the future. We see Gamma getting drunk in a bar before he starts a brawl with some Coalition sympathizers. My guess is he will infiltrate The Coalition and see whats going on inside and it’s only a matter of time until his path crosses with Mrs. K.

Clone is definitely one of my favorite books every month and I can’t wait for each subsequent issue to find out what happens next. The art that Juan Jose Ryp delivers each issue never ceases to amaze me. It is truly unique and adds the perfect compliment to the story especially when added with Andy Troy’s colors. Whether you are a single-issue reader or someone who waits for the Trade you will not be disappointed.

Thoughts and Discussion (Spoilers)

- Creator and writer Schulner (Dracula) will write and executive produce the Universal TV project himself, with Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and David Alpert (The Walking Dead TV Series Producer)

- What will happen with Amelia? Will she make it to the island?

- Will the clones ever get to the island?

- What does Pastor Snyder have in store for Mrs. K?

- What is Gamma’s plan when he gets to The Coalition?

Story: David Schulner, Aaron Ginsberg, Wade Mcintyre – Art: Juan Jose Ryp – Colors: Andy Troy – Letterer: Rus Wooton – Cover: Juan Jose Ryp, Andy Troy
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

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