Category Archives: Snap *censored* Pop Culture

Minecraft: The Island

Introduction

I can’t remember when I learned about Minecraft: The Island. Furthermore, I’m not exactly sure when I made the connection that it was written by Max Brooks. Yes, Minecraft week is bleeding into a second week. I wanted to say “again” there. Because, it feels like the last time we did Minecraft, it took over two weeks. What can I say? We really like Minecraft around here. Okay, with that being said, let’s get to the introduction.

Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks. He is also the author of World War Z, one of my favorite takes on the zombie genre. In fact, I have started to write my own zombie short story in a similar fashion. Sorry, I know this isn’t self promotion time. I was just discussing on Facebook with a friend this particular story and I think that I should start writing it again. I’ve always wanted to release that particular collection around Halloween. That gives me 4 months.

Okay, now I’m done with the self promotion

Instead, I’m going to promote another guy’s book? Someone who probably doesn’t need my help? I guess that just goes to show what a great guy I am. Okay, seriously, though, let’s get on to the review.

The Great

It’s Minecraft: How much longer can I get away with this gimmick? Since only about maybe half a dozen people actually read this page, probably quite a while. Again, though, I have to add the caveat that it is as much like Minecraft as a book possibly can be. So, like the game, it is obviously limited. However, anyone who has ever played the game knows exactly what the book will be about even if it wasn’t titled as a Minecraft book.

It’s a good story: This should come as no surprise. Mel Brooks, even through the satire and stupid humor, has always been a good storyteller. Clearly, like Joe Hill, his son has inherited that particular talent. World War Z was an amazing story and this one is, too. If you’re anything like me, you will simultaneously want more of the story and want to play Minecraft after finishing this book.

The Good

Young Adult: The book is YA, which is a catch all these days for anything that they’re not entirely sure how to categorize. That’s not a bad thing mind you. I would love for my kids to read both this book and The Hunger Games even though you might think that both books are very different in content and themes.

Thankfully they’re not pictured here, but I don’t wish Twilight on anyone.

What I’ve learned from the world of Minecraft: This note at the end of the book hit particularly close to home. I resisted Minecraft for a while because I wrote it off as a silly or stupid game without much in the way of a story. While the last part is mostly correct, I’ve been able to craft my own stories as I’ve played, and Quinn has done the same. I’m not entirely sure about Aiden, but he has regaled me with stories of his adventures from time to time. The game has provided an outlet and a way to connect with my kids that is priceless. I appreciate that it has the same effect on others.

The Decent

Short: Minecraft: The Island a short book, but that’s to be expected from YA. Again, this isn’t a bad thing necessarily. However, as I mentioned earlier, I was thirsting for more by the end of the book. Oh well, I can just go play Minecraft and make my own stories.

My Idea!: Okay, that’s not entirely true. I’ve never had the idea to actually write a Minecraft story. But, I have had the idea to put together a video series of a guy who wakes up in the Minecraft world and follow him as he learns about this strange new world. Yeah, I know, piss or get off the pot. Well, I’ve been updating the web page for a good few months now. I think I’m ready to piss YouTube videos. Ugh, sorry for that visual.

There, now you can censor it and not have to look.

The Verdict

Minecraft: The Island is one heck of a book. It was a bit surprising that it was such a good story. No, not because I didn’t trust Max Brooks to tell a good story. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. I have seen other authors who venture into YA territory and you can tell that they’re not giving their best efforts. Max Brooks didn’t take that route. I’m glad that he didn’t. If you want to kill a day at the beach, you could do much worse than this book.

Marvel Comics June 2020

Introduction

Now, for Marvel Comics June 2020 Review. Before that, it’s time for honesty. This week was supposed to celebrate the release of Mortal Kombat: Aftermath. Instead, I celebrated staff meetings and report cards. I didn’t want to totally lose the momentum I had been building on the page, so I decided to shift to comics this week.

And, so, I reviewed the four DC comics that I received from DCBS yesterday. Likewise, I only got 3 Marvel comics in that shipment. But, as I emphasized in the previous article, it’s good that we are getting any comics. After a two month hiatus, any amount of books is good news. So, let’s talk Marvel Comics June 2020. Like my DC article, each book gets its own section.

The Amazing Spider-Man #43/Legacy #844 (Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley)

The Great (Classic Spidey): Every since Nick Spencer took over writing for Spider-Man, I’ve loved the book. He is able to capture the fun of Spider-Man in a way that some others miss on a huge level. I understand that comics have grown with their audience. However, maybe Spider-Man is just supposed to stay the goofy guy we always knew and loved.

The Good (Bromance): I’ve been all in on the Spidey/Boomerang bromance since the beginning. There was less focus on it in this issue, but it was still fun to have in the book.

The Decent (Kingpin?): Look, I’m all for a good old fashioned Spidey/Kingpin showdown. I loved that part of Into the Spiderverse. However, it just didn’t feel like it fit very well in this particular story. It felt like a definite filler.

Avengers #33/Legacy #733 (Jason Aaron and Javier Garron)

The Great (Lesser Known Avengers): Instead of being reduced to cameos, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider take a headlining role. Later, Black Panther and Thor try to play hero, but nobody can take down the big bad, Moon Knight! Very cool to see these hereoes front and center.

The Good (Nothing but fights): This book was a good old fashioned (using that term a bit in this article) beat em up. Sure, there was dialogue. However, it was mostly in the service of getting to more punching. You may know that I’m not usually a fan of this, but every now and then, it’s fun.

The Decent (Why?): My notes say, “Where is this story from?” But, that seemed like a long subheading, so I just went from why. I feel like lately I’ve been missing a lot in comics and I don’t just mean literally missing them. I mean, a lot of this is going over my head. Why the heck is Khonshu pushing Moon Knight over the edge? Hopefully we find out.

Venom #25/Legacy #190 (Donny Cates and Marc Bagley)

The Great (Eddie’s Recap): I’m not normally a fan of Cates’ writing in some other books, but he has a feel for Venom. I like the voice he gives Eddie. He also brings and edge that the book needs. This one is Eddie telling the Avengers about his time on Venom island and I’m completely here for it.

The Good (Bonus Story): Being a “milestone issue” (latest new number 25), they have a bonus story at the end. It’s a fun little story and it has an Easter Egg. They give the name that Eddie and the symbiote might have chosen in a different Marvel Universe.

The Decent (Knull, etc): I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of the Knull storyline/retcon. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just don’t completely understand where it came from and why it exists. I’m not sure that it adds much to the overall lore.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics 2020 hasn’t quite picked up where they left off. However, other than the fact that they were planning another super summer crossover event, I was very excited about the direction that marvel was taking with their books. So, the Covid-19 sabbatical hit them harder than DC. As long as they find their momentum again, I’m excited that Marvel can get back to where they were and hopefully DC can join them.

DC Comics June 2020

Introduction

Wow. DC Comics June 2020. It’s been a while since we’ve had a comics review on the page. Chris and I have been texting back and forth about various updates from the comics companies and DCBS over the last few months. For a while there, it looked touch and go.

I mean, we’ve had conversations in the past about the state of the industry. It has been touch and go even before having to shut down production and distribution for just under two months. But, we both got notifications last week that comics were being shipped. I only got 9 this time around, I think. Compare that to the 25-30 that I was getting.

So, things obviously aren’t back to normal. Then again, we keep being told that we shouldn’t go back to normal. I agree with that in some sense. And, I don’t mean to be insensitive because ultimately comics are a small thing compared to all that is happening. However, I hope that if we find a “new normal”, comics are a part of that.

Then again, we have been inundated with arguments that comics have gotten far too political these days. Wait, this panel is from the 1980s?

Because there are so few comics this time, I’m going to give each series their own section in this article and the Marvel one tomorrow. Now, let’s talk some DC Comics June 2020.

Aquaman 59 (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha)

The Great (Plot Twist with Orm): Since the beginning of Rebirth, Arthur has been in a fight to regain his throne. This continues into this issue. However, there is a bit of twist with the fight that I found interesting. Hopefully they continue to explore that going forward.

The Good (Aquaman’s Daughter): I don’t mind that Aquaman has a daughter now. It just seemed to come out of the blue and I don’t care that much about the character. Sure, she’s just a baby (kid?) and I should, but this particular plot idea wasn’t well thought out in my opinion. Maybe I missed something.

The Decent (Gods?): I have no idea what this was or why I should be interested in it. They were working to find Aquaman’s daughter. Okay, great, sure. I probably missed something. I might need to go back and read some Aquaman. However, gods might be a theme going forward. More on that in the next section.

Justice League 44 and 45 (Robert Venditti, Xermanico, and Eddy Barrows)

The Great (Team): From what I’m seeing, this is a tough title to write. You have a ton of very strong personalities and egos at play and you have to give them all air time. Often, that fails. I feel like it worked very well in these issues. I got the personality of each individual member. Also, they worked very well as a team.

The Good (Spectre): As a seemingly intended contrast to the teamwork, they begin fighting among themselves after defeating the initial threat. It is revealed that it is the Spectre judging them that is causing this. I liked the twist in the story. I guess that’s where I am right now.

The Decent (God again?): So, the Spectre is God’s judgment incarnate. I get that. But, I just found it odd that both this book and the other one dealt with gods in an overt sense. Made me think there might have been a theme. However….

Wonder Woman #755 (Steve Orlando and Jesus Merino)

The Great (Art): I’m not usually an art guy. I mean, I can appreciate the art in a book, but as a frustrated writer, I usually focus more on the story. This story, as many of Wonder Woman lately, as been a bit lackluster. So, I took a step back and looked at the art. Comic book art these days is simply astounding.

The Good (Fine Setup): I feel like I said this last time about Wonder Woman. The story in this issue wasn’t great, but it seemed like a fine set up for whatever is coming next. Hopefully I don’t keep saying this until the story is over.

The Decent (Leviathan): I had no idea this was even still a thing. I didn’t really like it all that much when it was being introduced and now it just feel like one of those annoying canon things in the background like the source wall. Maybe there will eventually be a payoff. Again, maybe I just missed it.

The Verdict

DC Comics June 2020 picked up where they left off before Coronavirus put a pause on things. They’re not great, but they’re not bad, either. At this point, I’m pretty sure it is just the summer lull and not anything else. I, for one, am just glad that there are comics again. Tomorrow, Marvel!

Quarantine Draft: NFC Edition

Introduction

It’s the Quarantine Draft: NFC Edition! This week has been a bit weird for us here at 2GG. I’m not sure entirely why, but I haven’t been as motivated this week to get things done. It’s weird because I’ve been “off” from school for the last three days. So, it should be easy to just write two stupid articles “analyzing” the draft that happened last weekend.

Instead, I’ve been playing Minecraft with Quinn, running two kids to Urgent Care (everything is fine), and finalizing my first written D&D campaign. I mean, it’s time well spent, but I’ve been trying to keep momentum going on the web page, but that’s been neglected. Oh well, I’ve still been able to get these articles out, even if they weren’t Plan A and aren’t very good.

Sometimes you just gotta say f**k it.

In fact, I just said “F**k it” all day today and played D3 instead of writing this article. Then, I spent some time with my family. Again, time well spent, but the web page is suffering a bit this week. Oh well, There’s always next week to get back on track. For now, let’s quarantine ourselves with some NFC draft picks

AFC East

Dallas Cowboys – As I was writing this one, I had a lot of 1s and even a couple of 0s. Thinking I might already be tired of this shtick. Thankfully, this is the last one of these I have to write for at least a year. Either way, I gave them a 3 (see the previous article for the scale), because I want to get CeeDee Lamb drunk and see what’s on his phone that he wouldn’t let his girlfriend scroll through.

New York Giants – I give them a 4. I don’t even think I looked at their draft picks. I just want to stand in solidarity with their GM for wearing a mask to a quarantine draft. In a country where everything is political, I’m not sure why I’m surprised that wearing masks has become an issue, but I am. Goodness gracious.

Philadelphia Eagles – Man, the AFC did things right. In a draft of 1s and 2, every one of the teams is a 3 or 4. This time, I ranked Philly high because they took Jalen Hurts. I wasn’t a fan of Hurts necessarily. In fact, as you might know, I was on the Bama Evil Empire train until Tua took over for Hurts and led them to a National Championship, But, Hurts seems like a good kid and took it all in stride. That gets kudos from me.

Washington *redacted* – ESPN might have caved to pressure, but I refuse. They complain about not being able to say a racist nickname and storm state capitals with weapons, but I’m the snowflake? Sure, okay. In any case, they took Chase Young and he seems like he’d be fun to hang out with. They get a 3.

NFC North

Chicago Bears – I gave them a 1, only because I kind of want to Face Time the GM and tell him that 2000 called and they want their first round big TE pick back. I mean, it might work out okay. In general, having a hulking receiver will work out okay, but that’s certainly not the way that NFL offenses are trending.

Detroit Lions – Another 1. And I have nothing to really say about the Lions either, so let me tell you a story about the Cowboys. I just had to look up which division they played in. I’m a bit worried, folks, about my mental decline during this non-quarantine quarantine.

Green Bay Packers – The NFC North is starting to become like the AFC South. I probably could just send all of these teams to London to restart NFL Europe. I have little use for any of them.

Minnesota Vikings – And after saying that, I now have to admit that I gave the Vikings a 4. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. I just saw that they had about a dozen draft picks. Surely, one or two of them has to be worth hanging out with.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – Jeez. I must miss baseball. I almost typed in the Braves for the Falcons. Whatever. Either way, they get a 1. After the last couple of years, I’m kind of done with the Falcons. Can we relegate them?

Carolina Panthers – I gave them a 2. That might be generous. I’m not sure. All I know is I could be convinced to bump that to a 3. They drafted two guys with hyphenated names. I mean, that’s not something you see every year in the draft.

New Orleans Saints – All I put in my notes is 0. I suppose that I wasn’t impressed. Moving on. Guess, I should say something nice. I want to visit New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I give their draft a zero, but to be a fly on the wall of the locker room next year. As you no doubt know, Tampa Bay made some of the biggest waves (at least in terms of headlines) by signing both Brady and Gronkenstein.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals – They get a 1. Moving on. No, I’m not going to say something nice. If you’ve surmised that I am sick of this shtick, then you’d be correct.

Los Angeles Rams – I have no use for the current Rams team, but I gave their draft class a 3 on quarantine hang out potential. All I wrote was Akers and Miami (OH) in my notes. I still remember when I discovered there was a Miami University in Ohio and they still screw me up on the scrawl sometimes when I don’t read closely enough.

San Francisco 49ers – They get a 0, too. Hey, at least they were runners up in the SB last year. I’m just trying to sound current with that “nice” comment. I actually had to look up who played the Chiefs in this (I almost wrote last, that’s how long this year has felt) year’s Super Bowl.

Seattle Seahawks – I put a 2, and just the word Sounders in the notes. I’m not sure if that means that I could go either way on the draft class and wanted to mention the Sounders winning the championship again. Or, if I’d pretend to want to quarantine with them and then go to the Sounders instead. Now that I see it typed, I think it is the latter.

The Verdict

Unlike the AFC Edition, Quarantine Draft: NFC Edition isn’t as entertaining. Sure, the Buccaneers got Brady, but by this time, Chris is numb to the fact that Brady is gone. In face, he’s actually been talking the last two years that they should have planned for Brady leaving. He even advocated letting Brady go. Still, it’ll be fun to see how the season plays out, if it does. I mean, Supreme Leader says it’ll happen and when has he ever lied or been wrong?

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Quarantine Draft: AFC Edition

Introduction

Welcome to my Quarantine Draft: AFC Edition. To be perfectly honest, this week was going to be dedicated to Doom because the new Doom game just came out, but that felt like too many weeks of relevant and current gaming content in a row. I am putting Doom off until June when I’ll have more time to record videos of game play.

Another truth: I forgot the draft was happening. I mean, I’ve been off and on with the NFL lately (more on than off last year because my man Mahomes and his boys beat someone in the Super Bowl) for almost a decade now, so that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Nevertheless, Chris texted me a few times about it because he’s frustrated by Belichick’s post Tom Brady plans so far. I figured, why not do an article about the draft. It’s been a while since we’ve done sports…well, anywhere.

I suppose I told two truths, so now time for a lie? Nah I won’t do that to you. Instead, I’ll finally get to the introduction portion of the article. The basis of this article is a 0-4 scale on how much I’d like to be quarantined with the team’s draft class. 0 – Unlikely, 1 – Not Very Likely, 2 – Neither Likely nor Unlikely, 3 – Very Likely, 4 – Extremely Likely. Yes, I understand that gives me a “middle ground” cop out option of 2, but I only utilized it 4 times out of the 16 AFC teams and I might change them as I rewrite and edit here.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – Chris was so dejected when the Bills took Fromm instead of the Patriots getting him. I’m not sure if that was the last straw or if it was Eason, but he’s really down on Belichick right now. I told him, “I’ll get my kicks in while I can because they’ll probably win the AFC East again.” What does that have to do with the bills? Nothing, but I’d like to hang out with Fromm, Dane Jackson is from Pittsburgh (my original hometown), and Gabriel Davis is from UCF, which is my adopted team ever since they crowned themselves. These guys get a 3.

Miami Dolphins – This is where Chris’s spiral started last week. The Dolphins took my new man crush, Tua, after he confidently texted me that he was probably going to the Patriots. Nuff said, as far as I’m concerned. Tua alone makes this one a 4.

New England Patriots – 0, Eff the Pats.

New York Jets – I gave them a 1. The only reason I went 1 instead of 0 is because they took an offensive lineman with their first pick. I will forever remember them as the “butt fumble” team, so that just struck me as funny. I’m sure it would get old for him pretty quickly, so their answer for me would probably be a 0.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – I gave them a 1. I didn’t read beyond their first pick and that LJ called him the next Ray Lewis. I don’t need to be getting murdered before Covid-19 can get me. We got old jokes for days here at 2GG!

Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow gets this to a 3. He seems like a chill dude and he played for LSU. Louisiana is, rightly or wrongly, like party city in my head. They also took an OLB from Appalachian State. I would want to ask him if they still talk about the time they beat Michigan. But, that doesn’t quite push it to a 4. I could live without the answer.

Cleveland Browns – While I’d probably give their actual team a 4, this draft class doesn’t do much for me. I gave them a 1 because I’d hope during the quarantine that maybe some of the guys like Baker and OBJ would break quarantine and come hang out with us.

Pittsburgh Steelers – My only notes for my childhood team are 2 – Eh. I guess that means I’m not impressed. I do like that they took a WR in the first round. It means that I won’t have to listen to Simmons and Sal wonder how the Steelers keep getting lucky with their late round WR picks. However, a 2 is almost more damning than a 0. It just means I don’t care that much to actually give it a rating.

AFC South

Houston Texans – They get a 0. They will forever and always get a 0. Other than Deshaun Watson, the entire team can be sold to Mexico to help pay down the national debt. You thought I was going to make another political joke, didn’t you? Well, not here.

Indianapolis Colts – Initially, I put a 2, but I’m going to bump it up to a 3. The Dolphins took Tua, Buffalo took Fromm, and the non divisional rival took Eason to complete the torture of Chris. Add to it that they took a player from my alma mater and, yeah, a 3 is probably apropros.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Like the Texans, we can get rid of the Jags. Other than the year that I won my fantasy football league with Blake Bortles as my quarterback (thus starting my UCF fandom), I sometimes forget that the Jags exist. So, how much traction am I going to try to get out of this Blake Bortles story? Well, do you have a better one? They get a 1 because they drafted a guy named Shaquille.

Tennessee Titans – Jesus, can we just get rid of the AFC South already? I couldn’t even remember what this stupid teams name was. I wanted to say Tuxedos? Whatever, they drafted a guy from Hawai’i. I don’t know the rules of this quarantine, but if I got to spend a month in Hawai’i, I’d be okay with that.

AFC West

Denver Broncos – They’re a 2, leaning to 3. They got Jerry Jeudy and a guy named Cleveland. I could ask him how he feels playing for the…oh, never mind. It’s a solid 2. But, Jeudy will be fun to watch next year.

Kansas City Chiefs – Helaire by himself is a 3. I didn’t see any other names on the list. But, just to be able to play against the guy in Madden with himself on the Chiefs to see if they could possibly go undefeated next year would be a fun exercise.

Los Angeles Chargers – Holy cow. I might have forgotten the Tuxedos names, but I forgot the Chargers were a team. Twice. The first time, I had to come back to add this section. Then, I nearly called them the Clippers. I was going to give them a 2 because I thought their QB’s name was Hebert, but it’s Herbert. So, they’re demoted to a 0.

Las Vegas Raiders – I’m not even sure that I looked at their draft picks, but the Raiders are in Vegas, baby! Similar to my wish to spend quarantine in Hawai’i, why not Vegas? It’s warm, there’s plenty of entertainment (except the casinos shut down), and it’s warm. Eff this New England spring. They get a 3.

The Verdict

Even though I forgot about it, the Quarantine Draft: AFC Edition was entertaining to watch. By that, I mean it was fun to watch Chris slowly lose his mind as Belichick passed over QB after QB in favor of, in the immortal words of one of his last texts, “They took a kicker!” Aside from that, I didn’t pay as much attention to college football the last couple of years, so I didn’t know as many of the players. Here’s hoping that Covid-19 allows us to watch football in the fall.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Children of the Nameless Review

Introduction

Children of the Nameless? I remember when I first heard that Brandon Sanderson was writing a story for Magic the Gathering. It was during the height of my Brandon Sanderson hysteria. I was working as a custodian for two elementary schools nightly and looking for audio book entertainment that was lengthy to help kill time. Chris might have even mentioned Sanderson as one of his favorite fantasy authors.

I remember reading the beginning of the first Stormlight book. It didn’t grab my attention at the time. However, it went on sale on Audible. I had just listened to The Stand for the second time (after having read it multiple times as a teenager and young adult), so I was looking for something else to read. I listened to it. And, I loved it. I devoured the other book at the time. Desperate for more, I also listened to The Reckoners trilogy. It wasn’t as sharp because it was YA fiction, but I still loved the books.

Then, came book 3 in Stormlight. I liked that one so much, I bought Chris a hard copy for his birthday. And, finally, the Magic the Gathering story. I didn’t read it when it released for the first time, free if I remember correctly. Apparently WotC got wind that Sanderson could have sold the book, so they pulled the free version. I won’t say how I got a free copy, because it might be one of those questionably legal activities I get caught up in, but it rhymes with forgettit.

The Decent

Too Short – This is going to feel like a cop out. And, honestly, it is. But, it’s also true. I thought that 220 pages was going to be too long. Probably just my attention span affected by weeks of not being mentally stimulated. However, once I started reading, it went quickly and I wished for more by the end.

Cursed Twins – This is an old trope. However, Sanderson, because he is a great writer, breathes a bit of new life into the old trope. The twins are afflicted with an “opposite blind” curse, meaning that one is blind during the day and one is blind during the night. (Spoiler Alert: Relax, the book is like 2 years old and this is revealed quite early in the book.) There are other new touches, but I won’t reveal them because they might actually be spoilers.

I mean, when you think twins, you probably think these guys, but the story has been around since at least ancient Greek myths.

The Good

Davriel – One of the selling points of the story was that a new Planeswalker was going to be introduced. I didn’t know much (read: anything) about Davriel going into the story, but this was a nice introduction. It doesn’t make me want to play his terrible card, but the story was fun to read.

I think I played it in a draft deck once and went 0-2. I’m not saying those things are directly related, but I’m not taking the chance.

Good Horror – Brandon Sanderson is a hell of a writer. He’s shown, to me at least, that he can write fantasy, super hero fiction, and now horror. This isn’t the best horror that I’ve ever read, but it is certainly passable and has a good creep factor.

The Great

Innistrad – I’m not a huge fan of vampire fiction. I did enjoy Interview and Dracula as a teenager. There was also a time (probably the same time) that I played Ravenloft exclusively as my D&D setting. So, I’m not averse to the blood suckers. I’m just not one of these people who defines myself based on vampire fandom. I did like Innistrad, though.

I think that had more to do with double sided cards. Chris once said that he didn’t care for them, but I think they have a certain kitsch that makes them fun.

Brandon Sanderson – At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the reason this is any good is because of him. I’m not saying that there aren’t other good writers out there right now. I’m sure there are. I’ve just been inundated with crap like “50 Shades of Grey” for the last few years, that I cling to whatever good writing I can find. As mentioned earlier, he has shown range in what he can write, too.

Man, I just can’t wait for that next Stormlight book.

The Verdict (Children of the Nameless is a great story)

Even though I’ve been reviewing comics for a few months (maybe a couple of years), this is my first book review. It isn’t for lack of books on gaming topics. Especially recently, there seems to have been an explosion of those books. Once again, I missed the boat. Nevertheless, Children of the Nameless was a good read. I highly recommend it to MtG, Brandon Sanderson, or general fantasy/horror fans.

Marvel Comics April 2020 Review

Introduction

Thanks for reading my Marvel Comics April 2020 review. I know that I’m a bit of a negative Nancy about this latest apocalypse, but this could be the last review of new comic books for a few months. The latest doom and gloom model says that it could be the last one ever. Chris doesn’t like digital anything and I can’t blame him. But, even Uncle Todd sees the writing on the wall.

I, obviously, hope that comics don’t die. How will I build my virtual empire as an entertainment writer without one of my favorite sources of entertainment? I mean, I like video, board, and card games, but how else can I entertain myself for a few hours each day without comics?

Keep that answer to yourselves, perverts.

Let’s hope that this isn’t the end, True Believers. Having already reviewed the batch of DC comics for the month, I found them greatly lacking. Sure, some of it is just the usual beginning of the year lull before the summer issues pick back up. But, I wasn’t overly impressed with their offering. Let’s dive into Marvel Comics April 2020.

The Decent

Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness? Sign me up?

Avengers 32 (Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness) – This is a dream team for comic book fans. This book should be better. I mean, it’s okay, which is why it’s in the decent pile, but it should be better. The ending was fun. It just took so long for the set up.

Cap is starting to go off the rails a bit.

Captain America 20 (Ta’Nehisi Coates and Robert Quinn) – Captain America vs. a Satanic Cult? I’m not entirely sure that’s what’s happening in this issue, but it is definitely weird. There’s a vicar who is sucking out the souls of people? It’s like some horror story that actually isn’t all that scary. I hope this story doesn’t last long.

This quarantine does seem to have saved us from yet another Marvel summer crossover spectacular event.

Fantastic Four 20 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina) – Not a lot happened in this issue. It’s definitely just designed to be a filler issue to lead into the Empyre event that was supposed to come this summer. And, now who knows? Marvel didn’t release Empyre digitally, so we may never see it. I’m kind of sick of crossovers, but man, that’s depressing.

Why can’t Asgardians count past 15?

Thor 4 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein) – I liked the story of the old Thor reboot before this Thor reboot, but the art was “unique”. I don’t know if I like Donny Cates writing for Thor. The All Father is the Herald of Galactus? Do I have that right? Or, am I missing something big here? Probably the latter.

The Good

I hope they continue along this story.

Black Panther 22 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna) – I wasn’t sure about the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Overall, the story has been up and down. This issue bordered on great. It is a good story of T’challa reckoning with things in the memory plane. I hope they build on that.

Is that Wendingo?

Immortal Hulk 32 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett) – Is that Wendingo on the cover? No, it’s Xemnu. Who the **** is Xemnu? And, why are people calling him the Hulk? This is all weird. Oh, okay, I think I get it by the end of the issue. But, that was confusing. Is it supposed to be or did I miss something in the interim? Again, probably the latter.

Apparently mutants can’t count past 20, either.

X-Men 8 and 9 (Johnathon Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, and Leniel Francis Yu) – Again, I liked Uncanny towards the end of the old reboot before this new reboot. This story is solid so far. Typical X-Men stuff. Perhaps being a jaded old comic book fan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when publishers are pushing so hard for new fans.

The Great

Spidey is the hero we need right now.

Amazing Spider-Man 41 and 42 (Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley) – It’s good to see the Boomerang bromance alive and well. In a time like this where I feel like I’m living every minute on edge, the silliness of the old school Spider-Man is much appreciated. I couldn’t take gritty and angry Spider-Man right now.

Thank you, Hulk, for being reliably great.

Immortal Hulk 33 (750) (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett) – Now, this is more like it. I’m glad that they didn’t go the DC Comics route and have a bunch of short vignettes written by an all-star cast. Ewing masterfully filled the extra pages with a great psychological study of the Hulk. Again, sometimes you just gotta play the classics.

This story is insane!

Venom 24 (Donny Cates and Mark Bagley) – I didn’t really care for Cates’ version of Thor, but I love his Venom. This, along with Hulk, has been my favorite Marvel book since the reboot. And, funny enough, neither of them has been rebooted again. Eddie is Carnage? V-Rex? I need to go back and read the rest of this insane story.

The Verdict (Marvel Comics April 2020 is pretty dang good, I tell you what)

The books that were bad weren’t all that bad. Unlike a couple of the DC books, I didn’t completely skip them for the most part. The good books were bordering on great in some cases and the great books were just fantastic this time around. I may not be looking forward to yet another event (with the uninspired name “Empyre” no less) this summer, but I’m glad to have been able to read these books. Here’s hoping that comics survive the epidemic because I’m excited!

DC Comics April 2020 Review

Introduction

We keep on keepin on here at 2 Generations Gaming. Welcome to my DC Comics April 2020 review. It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the good folks at DC Comics and quite a few things have changed. Tom King is no longer writing Batman. It’s now James Tynion. More on that in a bit. As a result, Tynion is working with Ram V on Justice League Dark. Heck, even Scott Snyder is not on the main JL title anymore.

And, yet, Bendis remains stubbornly on both Superman titles.

Some of these changes have been good. Some have been not so good. I don’t say this to be Captain Obvious. I was just surprised that one change I was actually looking forward to ended up not working out as well as I hoped. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. In any case, let’s take a look at the books.

The Decent (The Usual Suspects)

Action Comics 1021 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.) – I already touched upon this in the introduction and I’m not going to say what I haven’t already said in numerous previous reviews. I guess I’ll just wonder why I’m even reading this book anymore. This particular issue was the culmination of a story line, but it felt too quick and clean to reach it’s conclusion.

Justice League 42 and 43 (Robert Venditti et al) – I also mentioned that Snyder isn’t doing Justice League anymore. That’s good because there’s no more Source Wall nonsense. But, every single issue is a fight where someone says they need to “win or lose everything”. When the stakes are always that high, it loses some of the gravitas.

Superman 21 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis) – See above. At least Reis is doing the art for this one, so it is pretty and dumb.

Wonder Woman 753 (Steve Orlando and Max Raynor) – Maybe I just picked a bad time to get back into comics. Seems like all of the books are wrapping up arcs right now. Even so, in the past, that’s made me want to go back to read the stories. None of these issues are making me want to do that.

The Good (Batman makes an appearance here for the firs time in a while)

Aquaman 57 and 58 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Robson Rocha) – I was very much enjoying Aquaman when we last left off on Noob’s comic reviews. I still like the book and this story is interesting. Maybe it has been too long and I just have to warm to the books again.

Batman 90 and 91 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez) – This is the one that I found really surprising. After I learned that Tom King was being taken off the Batman title, I asked Chris who was taking over. He informed me that it would be James Tynion IV. I love everything that Tynion does, but I don’t love this. I just can’t figure out this nonsense with the Designer. Is this a retcon? Or, is a retelling of an old story? I could look it up, but I just don’t care that much.

Wonder Woman 754 (Steve Orlando and Kenneth Marion) – This one was good. I almost put it in the great section, but it wasn’t that good. It’s just one of those good old fashioned one shot (?) stories they put in between arcs. Good story and good set up for what comes next.

The Great (Thank goodness for Justice League Dark)

Catwoman 21 (Joelle Jones and Fernando Blanco) – When Joelle is writing this book, it’s fantastic. I love her take on the character and am always excited when I see her name on the marquee. This issue was no different. Cover to cover entertainment.

Detective Comics 1021 (Peter J Tomasi and Brad Walker) – It took me a while to warm to Tomasi’s take on the book. I think part of that was just following Tynion IV. But, I very much enjoyed this issue. It is a well told Two Face story that actually had me sympathizing with the character.

Justice League Dark 21 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz) – Tynion is listed as a cowriter on this one, but I wonder if he is focusing more on this title than Batman right now. Because, all of the things that have been true about this in the past are still true. This is just a solid and fun title.

The Verdict (DC Comics April 2020 are surprisingly weak)

Other than the old standards of Joelle’s Catwoman and Tynions Justice League Dark and the surprise appearance of Tomasi’s Detective comics, this batch of books wasn’t very good. Perhaps that’s to be expected because it’s still early in the year. Still, it is disappointing. It’s even more so due to the fact that the virus lockdown or quarantine or whatever we’re calling this has halted production and maybe even shipping until who knows when. DC Comics April 2020 might be the last time we get to read them until the summer.

Spawn 306 Review

Introduction

Spawn 306. Seems like only 6 months ago we were celebrating the “record breaking” Spawn 300. As usually happens with Spawn and Uncle Todd, that celebration was marked by controversy. Some pointed out that since Cerberus ran 300 issues, Spawn would have to get to 301 in order to hold the record alone.

As a result, Uncle Todd has put a banner on the top of the latest book that says “World Record Breaking Comic!” I mean, troll and get trolled, fellas. It works both ways. I wouldn’t say that he’s a master of trolling. But, this one is pretty good.

The exclamation point at the end is the coup de grace, for sure.

So, here I am. Reading Spawn comics. Listening to Korn. Playing Mortal Kombat. It’s like I’m a teenager all over again. Sure, Korn came after my teenage years, but I also have Megadeth, Metallica, Danzing, Suicidal Tendencies, and others from that time on my workout playlist. So, yeah, I’m basically a teenager again. Now, let’s get to that Spawn 306 review.

The Great

Uncle Todd – I already eschewed the virtues of Uncle Todd as a troll. Now, it’s time to do the same for him as a creative force. I have said numerous times in the past that I’m honestly surprised that the comic has been able to still be this fresh over 30 years later. That’s a testament to both him as a writer and being able to realize when things need to be switched up to keep it fresh.

Exhibit A: Bringing back Philip Tan

Philip Tan: Philip Tan was involved during one of my favorite periods during Spawn. In fact, when I saw that Uncle Todd was bringing back fan favorites for the 300th issue, I was surprised not to see Mr. Tan’s name on the list. I even texted Chris that. But, now he’s here and I’m a happy Spawn fan.

The Good

New Story: I’m not entirely sure that this is a brand new story. Something tells me that we’ve visited this future at some point in Spawn’s past. However, it is new to me and it is refreshing. It was no secret that I didn’t enjoy the “politics” storyline from a couple of arcs ago. I did mostly like the Hell Hunt story and will go back to finish that one soon. This one, though, is looking like one I can definitely enjoy.

I don’t care for Raptor or whatever the dudes name is, but I like Claudiaz and she’s made the switch in tone more bearable.

New Character: With this new story line has come new characters. I don’t care for the main protagonist. He just seems like another recycled tortured soul type. However, his sidekick/lover/whatever she is, Claudiaz is interesting. Even though it looks like she was mortally wounded towards the end of the book (spoiler alert), I hope she makes it because I think their relationship is worth exploring more.

The Decent

Answers Next Issue: I might not care much about spoilers, but I absolutely abhor cliffhangers. Unfortunately, nearly all entertainment has become rife with them. The end of every single episode of series television and nearly every single comic (unless it’s the end of an arc) has a cliffhanger to keep you “guessing” until the next issue/episode. It’s overkill in my opinion.

Missing Something?: This is typical since I’ve not read comics in a few months, but I feel like I’m missing something here. I will have to go back and read to see if there was any indication that this particular “timeline” was going to happen.

The Forgettable

This little bastard can go straight to hell.

Eff This Virus – I know that comic books are at the bottom of a very long list of priorities. However, that’s what this article is about, so it’s what I’m focusing on right now. I’m going to miss comics for the next couple of months. Chris said something about them being ahead of schedule because of shipping times, but I wonder if DCBS will continue to ship. I do have an idea to keep the review articles going in case they don’t. Still, I really like comic books and they’d help to keep me sane and occupied during this.

The Verdict (Spawn 306 is different. Is that a good thing?)

Well, things have certainly gone in a new direction with Spawn 306. To answer the question in the title, I’m not sure yet if it’s a good thing or not. I know that’s a cop out. But, that’s honestly how I feel. I didn’t really get into this issue as I had been for ones previous. I don’t know who these characters are. Worse, I don’t care about them. Sure, I’d like to see where the whole things goes, but if Claudiaz ends up dying, so be it. I will keep reading just to see if it all pays off, though. Join me. Seems like a good time to jump back into Spawn!

Mortal Kombat X Komix Review

Introduction

Wait, now it is a Mortal Kombat X komix review? You’re just trolling at this point, aren’t you? Honestly, no. If I was really trolling, I’d give you another one of those erroneously numbered lists. But, I won’t. I will just continue writing my article. You have the choice of whether or not to continue reading.

The reason that it is MKX is that there are no MK 11 komix. Notice how I am intentionally misspelling komix? The “k” is for Kombat. The x is because we are x-treme (in a 1990s way, yougins) here at 2GG. The reason for komix is that I am reviewing what might be my last full DCBS order for a few months at least. This will serve as a nice bridge.

I got the idea for reviewing the komix when I started to put together the plan to relaunch the web page a couple of weeks ago. I saw that Comixology had a good deal on the entire series. I texted Chris the other day, “I’ve been so desperate for comics that I bought the MKX digital series.” He mentioned his DCBS order. As I mentioned, I’m saving those for next week. Now, on to the review.

The Royal Family of the MK series decrees it.

The Great

The Stories – I’ve only made it a third of the way through the series, but so far there are some great stories in the comic. Specifically, the ones that I’m enjoying so far are Scorpion’s and Kotal Khan’s. The first one isn’t a surprise. Scorpion has been one of my favorite characters since the first game. But, Kotal Khan? A reject smurf looking dude with daddy issues? Okay, I guess so.

All he wants is his Papa Smurf to be alive again.

Writer: Remember when I said earlier that there is no MK 11 comic? The main reason for that is that they hired the guy who wrote the MKX comics to do the story for MK 11. So, those of you us thought that the MKX story was lacking and the MK 11 story is so much better, that’s the main reason. Like I say, if you have me caring about a guy like Kotal Khan, you are a damn good writer.

The Good

The Stories – No, this isn’t becoming one of my running jokes. There won’t be a The Stories in “The Decent” section. Some of the stories have just left me flat. The Cassie/Jacqui cage fighting story has been less than stellar. Also, I just don’t like Raiden. I thought I did and I’ve tried, but before MK 11, Raiden has just been a mess of a character.

He should be cool, right? I dunno. I just can only think of the guy in Big Trouble and Little China and it makes it tough to respect him. Also, his story line is a disaster. Thankfully, they finally fixed that.

No Liu Kang? – Like I said, I’ve only made it through about a third of the book, but how are you going to do my boy Liu Kang like that? The protector of Earthrealm deserves better. Free Liu Kang! Watch, he’ll be in the next book I read and every one after that. I guess that means that my complaining helped. Right?

The Decent

Beginning is a bit confusing – This might just be me. I was reading the books while my kids were playing Minecraft in the background, so I wasn’t paying full attention maybe. It’s tough to do so when your youngest keeps saying, “Dad, check out this thing.” or “Look at this, Dad.” Mind you, I’m not complaining. It just made focusing on the story much more difficult.

Short? – It isn’t all of the issues, but a few of them felt really short. I haven’t verified if they actually are or if it is just a product of digital comics not having advertisements, so they are only the 20 or 22 pages of actual content. Maybe they were just books without a lot of writing, so it didn’t take long to read. Perhaps I’m just reaching because I usually have two ideas per section and the books are so much fun that I’m having trouble finding something wrong.

Though, no Liu Kang is really irritating me. Seriously, D’Vorah gets a cover and not him? C’mon, Man.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my Mortal Kombat X komix review. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much going in. Usually these cross promotion things like video game comics or movies or movie video games or comics don’t turn out too well. But, the source material (as damaged as it is in places) is treated well and I don’t feel like the writer is trying too hard to make it Mortal Kombat.

I mean, sure, there are references like “Finish Him!” and the occasional dismemberment that doesn’t entirely make sense in context. However, those are few and far between. I half expected the thing to be like the old comics that my sons would write when they were younger or something like Yu Gi Oh cartoon, where it is literally just the game on the screen. But, it’s not. The story is compelling. The art is decent. I’m just now noticing that it is DC comics, so now it makes sense. They actually have a reputation to uphold. If you find yourself bored, drop the 30 bucks over at Comixology and grab the series.