My Thoughts/Review Blog

Vacationing In Southern Vietnam: 2 weeks of fun (& gut pain)

TET PERSPECTIVE

Tet is the Vietnamese version of Lunar New Year and it's a busy & exciting time for the country, but it's also a travel time. My buddy and tour guide went with me to Can Tho and Can Bei to check out the floating markets and strange meats. Can Tho is on the Mekong, a powerful yet steadily weakening river that starts all the way in the Himalayas. The lighting like this above the streets gives the city an upbeat feeling, though life on the ground is gritty and a bit hardscrabble. If you go here, don't be too surprised by the plastic pollution (it used to be worse) and be surpised by the food. We tried fried rat and, no S*** it tasted like chicken! My friend insists we should try fresh grilled rat, but even I doubt that's easy to find.

Oddly enough, it wasn't the fried rat that fried my intestines. I believe it was the ice or the pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea that did me in on the last day. 

Strange Meats-Continued

This was my favorite dish in the country- sauteed water buffalo meat with lemongrass and bamboo shoots. 10 out of 10, would try again. Unlike American Buffalo, it doesn't have the sweetness but has the tenderness.

I consider the dish to be a metaphor in some ways. Vietnam cuisine is very meat-based compared to other SE Asian countries. Some historians consider this the reason for the more warlike past cultures, though I feel it wasn't reflected in the details I read in the history museums. Remember that they fought the Mongols and won, so they had a lot of fighting to do. The second part of the metaphor is that who would waste a 2,000lb meaty animal? That's not to say Vietnamese eat every animal, but you don't hear a lot of birds and insects. In Ha Tien and Can Tho, I heard more animal than I expected to. Once again, Vietnam defied my expectations in many ways.

Wrong Dial Episodes 1-3 on Zebra Comics

Zebra Comics has been appeared/spamming a lot in the Black Comics groups I frequent. Now they have our undivided attention. As I constantly remind creators, you might not want my attention. Today we find out if they're worth your attention with Wrong Dial, their AfroFuturist comic.

This is a webtoon hosted on Zebra Comic's website. The first 2 episodes are free, but if you want to read more, you should buy coins or subscribe. I bought coins because I wasn't feelin' episode 1. 

Episode 1 introduces the main character Wahab who watches his village and brother get killed in a counter-terrorism raid by Cameroonian special forces. We then meet Tattah, a prince with a magic bracelet. As we learn in episode 2 and 3, the bracelet has powerful magic and there is a secret council of tribal leaders who are trying to track down the thieves who killed Tattah, and then Wahab wakes up some mechs hidden behind some hills. A good parking place, to be honest. In general, I found episode 2 and 3 to be pretty well-written as the story has depth to it and the characters (that survive) seem worth following.

The artwork is fairly standard for color webtoons. The art teams are going more for speed than beauty for the medium. Nowadays you can make improvements using special tools, but I don't know if they had them in this early episode. The artwork in episode 3 definitely looks more polished when compared to episode 1, as evident by the hologram/ghost effects one of the characters has.

Worth your time? At 3.5 stars, it's a maybe. If not, Zebra Comics has lots of choices that I will explore later this year, now that I've got coins. Click here to see their whole lineup including this good comic.

PS43 Survives Issue #2

The author made some changes to their webtoon site when I went back to see if it was still active. The readability improved a bit so I decided to take a look at issue #2. At the end of #1, nobody in the school had died. Now, as you can see on the cover, someone died. Let's find out whom...

We continue with the storyline of Letitia leading the kindergarteners around the city. The kids are not quite an effective fighting force but Letitia does her best. Since they are little kids they are easily distracted by things, like puppies. The zombies are never distracted, only their hunger moves them. An evac order gives the kids a destination and they make a move to the island. Unfortunately, the zombies got there first and now they're trapped in the trainyard, where 2 of the kids pay the price. Can Letitia keep the rest of her young charges alive? Issue 3 is already in progress.

The artwork's improved from the start of the story. I think a new artist is at the helm and it shows. They still use the real-life photos in backgrounds to give the reader a sense of being in New York City, and the lack of people in the shots is something you never see in the real NYC (except at night). While less wavy, the art still lacked body and dept in some ways. The paneling improved but still lacked some creativity.

As usual, you can PS43 returns here. And my first review here

4-15 Issues #1 and #2 by WildeMan Ent.

I'm trying to remember whom I promised a review to in mid-December. I think it was this one, so I went online and bought it. Never wait too long to make a purchase. 

The first issue is a long flashback that sets the tone of the story. Joan is a little girl who loves her parents, but they are taken from her in tragedies. The first tragic death is her father who dies of drowning or beating. This death effects her mother, as if she's haunted by it and she kills herself after a long bout of depression and drug use. Or were they, as the last frame hints as something else. The second episode has a much older Joan about to speak to the boss, but the boss has been sexually harassing his employees, and now it's her turn. But, she trades 'places' and her father is now in the room. What's gonna happen to the pervy boss? Despite the good start, I am a bit confused by the plot. Perhaps the next issues will explain the details further?

The artwork for both issues was interesting, to say the least. I liked the framing and the focal points but I don't like how much paper was left blank. There's way too much blank space per page that could have been used, or switched with a smaller paper size. Issue 2 wasn't much better, though it was improved in some ways. There was a marked improvement in the motion scenes as well as the framing. I'm always happy when I see improvement.

4 out of 5 stars. You can find issues 1-4 at WildeMan Entertainment.

Aceblade #7 by 4th Wall Productions

I'm getting through my Kickstarter backlog with another fave (of sorts), and it's also a 4WP production. What can I say, Mr. Quick may be slow on deliveries but he brings a lot *da-dum twis*.

We return to an Aceblade frustrated with things in the city and the jailing of his gym student. He almost takes out his frustration on a local punk but pulls himself back. Aceblade's alter ego has a gym business and he pestered by the media, which includes a reporter from LumberJax's turf. Crossover! Anyway, Aceblade's student is the victim in some sort of scam and Aceblade returns to the bank attacked last ish to find clues that could free her. Unfortunately, Aceblade's evidence isn't enough to sway the judge.

I'm no legal expert, but I'm fairly certain there's no way that ruling would survive appeal. Also, I think the judge in real-life (bribed or otherwise) wouldn't admit Aceblade's evidence upon his barging into court. I think he would've called a closed door hearing in his chambers first. So the writing team got the court drama a bit wrong. 

The art isn't great. I think Ballad had better art. The cover is slightly misleading in that Aceblade isn't on trial, though he is going through a trial. I think the paneling was done well, especially in the last scene, but I wasn't a fan of the city backgrounds. While I'm not THAT familiar with Las Vegas, I don't recall as many tall building there, outside of the touristy gambling/hotel zones.  So I felt like some backgrounds looked real, others didn't. Though I noticed some building looked copied from photographs, which I felt is a good way to add authenticity to a background. Props to the team if that's the case. I wasn't a fan of some of the people scenes in that they lacked 'grit' and looked too 'clean. But that just might be art team's style.

I'm giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can find Aceblade #7 at 4thWallPros along with Harlem and other works there. 

Harlem #1 by 4th Wall Productions

Another series of Kickstarters cleared and I'm happy again to be talking about them. This is second half of the same Kickstarter that Ballad came in, though it has a different producer.

We jump right into the action when Harlem (woman on the cover) wakes up and sees charred corpses around her. She checks the room next to her and finds her parents shot dead on the floor. And of course the police are on the way. Someone wants her dead as is using the police to get it done. Harlem gets to her grandma's house and the truth of power's origin and its activation comes out. Can she handle the threats arrayed against her alone? Apparently she isn't as a fan favorite shows up to help. Here's a hint; he wields an axe. No, not the body spray. 

The cover artwork's better than Black Rose but not exceptionally impressive. I liked the flame effect as it's a good representation of her powers and style. I wasn't a big fan of the overall art and the consistency of the characters. On page 9, there is a police photo of the main character that the news is broadcasting but it doesn' t look like the character so IDK what they were thinking. People would be calling the cops on the wrong person all night long. The action and power effects were consistently good and I'm hoping that the series continues with the same styling for those scenes. 

I'm giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can find Harlem at 4thWallPros along with Aceblade and other works there. 

Ballad of the Black Rose by Bequest Studios

Another series of Kickstarters cleared and I'm happy again to be talking about them. Today we get a Western comic. Don't usually get those, padner! Let's ride!

Mr. and Mrs. Rose are homesteaders with an interesting past. They have a daughter called Prim who is the cutest around. But one day trouble finds them in town and they have to take action to protect their home. That trouble comes in the form of surprise taxes on their house. When they can't afford to pay, a shootout happens and little Prim becomes an avatar of the...not sure what's that supposed to be? The Teddy Bear of Destruction? There weren't Teddy Bears in the wild west days so I'm not quite sure if that's what the comic is trying to invoke. You'll need to read and see.

The artwork is slightly above average, even though I found the cover art to be below average. The paneling really frames the shootouts and tension well. Mr. Quick is not the artist, so while I can't say whether or not he planned the paneling, I can say that Silva's style is a little weak in some aspects with the background and head shapes. I know the trend is to draw everyone pretty, but this is an ugly story and it needed to be drawn ugly to reflect that. I think in that regard, it came out pretty well. I also liked how they drew Prim, and the menace of the finale.

I'm not a super fan of western stories but I see some potential here. You can find Ballad of the Black Rose at 4thWallPros along with Aceblade and other works there. 

Long Distance by Etan Comics

I've had this on the back burner for a month and now it's time to take it off the stove! Etan Comics is the publisher of Hawi and Zufan series, and while they work on those, they gathered some African artists together to bring this anthology to print. The stories are not linked and they in general have a similar theme- African perspectives. 

The two best stories were the front and back ones. Yes, they were the war stories, and they weren't particularly sci-fy like the cover art, but they were quite stylish. The first story is about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and how the pilot John Robinson flew the Emperor to the battlefield despite long odds and resistance. John would later become the father of the Tuskegee Airmen. The second story is about a squad of Ethiopian soldiers fighting in the Korean war, against the NK Army and the US racists. I've been to their memorial in Chuncheon and the coffee shop (because Ethiopia means coffee, right?). It's nice to see them also get some love in the comic book format too. 

That's not to say the other stories didn't move me. If you are interested in a story that moves you more, you'll find them in these 80 or so pages of art. I didn't find the other artists stories and art as great as Niobe or clean like YouNeek, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying them. 4 out 5 stars.

You can pre-order the hardcover as of 12/23/23 but I haven't seen the digital version yet. So you should go to https://etancomics.com/ to get your own copy once it becomes available.

Tales of Asunda #4 by Stranger Comics

We wrap up our journey into the Tales of Asunda with #4 Mother's Hands. This one has a greater tie-in with the events of previous issues and the main plot as a whole. Niobe wishes to break into hell to liberate her lost love, but Dura needs to talk her out of it. To do so, she takes Niobe to meet her mother. But as readers know, her mother died long ago and Niobe is an orphan. Dura had something else in mind.

The artwork was once again, above-average in quality. It's not glossy or shiny like an Invincible comic, but it's got the good details where it counts. This is more of a romantic tale than an intergalactic slugfest so don't expect well-detailed art. Instead, think of the art as a function of getting the reader to feel the emotions of the characters. Don't expect dreamy backgrounds; expect a feeeling of love.

I think this was the author's intent to tell the story in this way, to let go of lost loves and family. Recently his mother died and I think in some ways this story lets us think of people we lost and the we had for them when they were alive. I also felt the planting of the flower made for a great metaphor, and maybe, a great romantic gesture. 5 out of 5 stars. 

As always, you can find it at strangercomics.com

Tales of Asunda #3 by Stranger Comics

I like this series, can you tell? It's consistent, follows a set theme, and the characters drop bars. Until...today's issue. 

This story doesn't really feature Niobe until the mid-issue break. It has more to do with unrequited love, but it doesn't start that way. A diverse group of adventures takes on the assignment of destroying a monster hiding in a cave complex, you know, your typical D&D setup. However, these adventurers are not as serious and spent a bit of time snarking at each other. Perhaps this is a Darkest Dungeon playthrough? And like the game, the adventurers get picked off by the monster. However, the monster has a sad, romantic reason for staying there. The monster used to be a princess, who was married off to another prince, and she swore to wait for him to reincarnate. It's a charming story in some ways, and stereotypical in others.

The artwork doesn't disappoint, and the framing remains top-notch. You get a feel of menace in some scenes and the first ending will certainly chill your bones. The second ending doesn't carry the same emotional weight as the first but it gives a big hint and that's subtle enough.

As always, you can find it at strangercomics.com

Kid Solar #1 by Trippy Bull Comics

The Black Comics Creators Facebook group has a lot of comic book makers looking to make their big break into the industry. So today I heard from the proprietor of Trippy Bull Comics with a review request. Let's see if it lives up to the hype!

The slightly typical origin story follows Sam (the boy in the school jacket) a typical struggling high schooler. He and his friend get jumped/set up by a gang and Sam runs inside (where else but) a poorly guarded nuclear fusion facility. A stray bullet triggers an explosion and Sam gains superpowers. But street violence is not something easily solved by powers. See how long Batman's been fighting crime in Gotham?

As far as the art goes, I'd say it's better than many #1 issues. The art team has a good grasp of paneling and shading. My only complaint is they draw the heads a bit too large. That'll probably work its way out in future issues.  4 out of 5 stars.

You can find Kid Solar at TrippyBullComics for free or $8 for a hard copy.

Tales of Asunda #2 by Stranger Comics

Two brothers, 1 flower. Only 1 can win such love. I also know you cannot make someone love you. But you can make them hate. I love this line from Dura in the comic. It oozes layers and depth.

Waso the elf-man, and Dusu the man-man are living together in the village of elf people (I think) and Waso's still upset over humans kidnapping his mother and the tribe adopting Dusu. Waso is a prince who dreams of a strange woman who resembles her mother. So, they've got beef. Compounding their beef is their shared affection for Uun-Sil. To win the heart of Uun-Sil, she gives them a 'mission impossible'- find this legendary flower and give it to her. Dura reminds the boys that while they can get the flower, it might not win her heart. But will they listen? 

The art wasn't especially remarkable or out-of-this-world, but it wasn't bland either. The whole comic had an earthy-brown tone to it, which made more in-keeping with the theme, but didn't produce as many striking visuals. The striking visuals that were there were also a bit muted as a result. Artistically, not one of their best works. But in the end, this is a story-driven comic, not an artistic comic. 

At the end there's a soliloquy on trauma and healing, but it doesn't quite apply here because Waso is getting hints that his mother's still alive. Therefore, I'd skip that part of the end text. 4.5 out of 5.

As always, you can find it at strangercomics.com

Tales of Asunda #1 by Stranger Comics

It's been a minute since the last Niobe series I covered. One of the problems with the series is it mainly comes out on Kickstarters and the writer's on the convention circuit, etc & so forth. Fortunately, I found a series that I hadn't read before. I thought I already had the bulk of the Asunda universe that when I saw this, I went digging through 3 hard drives and still couldn't find it. Bruh...

Anyway, you can't go wrong with a Niobe comic. Stunning visuals, deep lines, deeply drawn lines, the weight of lore, and of course the glowing sword. First Kill mostly focuses on Niobe as a teenager, traveling with the Stranger to get to the safe place before Niobe She is Life. Along the way, Niobe and the Stranger encounter a dangerous demon called Uusuju, which forces Niobe to take her first kill. We also get to the main plot of the story, where we find Niobe standing before a group of soldiers to be executed for attacking her and her people on the orders of the Untamed. Niobe offers the soldiers a better choice. Will they take it or is there false pride more important?

The art remains top-notch. The way Niobe is drawn, the framing, and the coloring give her both a menacing aura yet a lovely focus. Dunno whether the artist took inspiration from modern Wonder Woman comics, but I get a certain artistic vibe from it in this one. Because it's lore-heavy, this is not such a standalone comic as it appears to be, so I don't recommend it for new readers. 

As always, you can find it at strangercomics.com


Silver Surfer Ghost Light 1-5

I was going to say it's been a long time since I read a Silver Surfer series. But I just remembered I read the Power Greater Than Cosmic which got good reviews, mostly for its humor. This story is not so humorous. 

The Silver Surfer was stuck on Earth for decades since he fought his master Galactus in FF #52. While stuck on Earth, he met a black scientist named Al Harper, who worked with him to find a way to get past Galactus' barrier. However he died at the hands of the sinister Stranger (a demi-god with a 70s mustache) and Surfer buried his body. Decades later, Toni and John's family move into his house, find his lab, and somehow bring him back to 'life'. This cosmic energy event attracts the Surfer, starting a wild adventure in the small town of Sweetwater, I wish the art was as good as the story.

While I was a fan of the cover art, the interior art felt a bit lacking. Some scenes were too shaded, some were too bright. The characters were not drawn consistently. Maybe I've been spoiled from too many Ron Marz and Ron Lim comics, but I expect top tier artwork when the Surfer's involved. I also felt like Al's nanosuit was a bit too much like the Green Lantern. I give Ghost Light a shiny 4 out of 5 stars.

You can find Ghost Light at Amazon and Marvel's website. 

Here's the latest release of Cyberbeast Model V from my favorite artist Ariel Viola. I've got one more art piece to make up and then I should be ready for the webtoon artist meeting. 

For best visual scary reference, set your browser to dark mode.

Iyanu the Child of Wonder Vol 3

Here we go! Y'all know I'm a big fan of everything YouNeek! It's hard not to get excited for a new release of the Iyanu series. Does this one maintain the awe of the first two issues? Well...

OK, I get it, it's geared more towards young folk than us crusty 40-somethings like me who read too much McFarlane growing up. But I feel this edition misses the mark on some ways. While I was very happy with the action and the leadup, I felt there was a bit too much chatter and drama. I'm concerned that some readers might only go halfway into the volume or skip over the dialog and focus on the visuals. At any rate, we find Iyanu and Biyi escaping the invasion and they rescue Toye the bookworm along the way to the source, while the people of the walled city rebel.

Speaking of the visuals, the artwork, pacing and framing remain top notch. The sequence is easy to follow, the proportions seem correct, and the animals enemies seem to pop out of the page. I wasn't a big fan of how they drew Iyanu as it wasn't as consistent throughout and I often got her mixed up with Biyi in some scenes. 

With the series set to go on the air on HBO MAX soon, I'm considering the possibility they frontloaded a lot of key material here to have enough for the show writers & animators to work with. Sometimes that's a bad thing (see later seasons of X-Men 93) but here I think it works. Another decent winner from the minds of YouNeek!

You can find Iyanu Vol 3 pretty much anywhere like Amazon and Kobo.

BAM the webcomic

I haven't reviewed anything in awhile, mostly because kickstarters are taking their sweet time. So I paid a quick visit to the Black Comic Creators and found this interesting gem. It reads like a mix of Invincible, Spider-man, and Dragon Ball. It's an odd webcomic that works well with the right blend.

The heroes of Earth are tired of the constant complaints by the people over the heroes' activities, and decide to bye felicia the planet. 10 years later, Wymond and his friend Joon are orphan teenagers living in an abandoned library, barely scraping a living selling scrap. Apparently after the heroes left, the world became Somalia (since they probably didn't take the villains with them). During a fight with Prism gang members, Wymond's powers activate and he takes them down. With his friend and a hero mechanic, they fight to restore order to the city. Unfortunately for them, the Prism gang's not taking the challenge to their drug trade lying down.

The artwork is a bit simple and less refined compared to other works I've read. Since this is a webcomic, that's to be expected since the format is not as free as a standard paper comic. Though I feel the art team can do a better job on lettering and typos. Typos are very distracting. 

You can find BAM! at Avocomics. Watch out for some copied pages and some misdirected links. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Astral Genesis #1

Have you read this story before? Because that's the feeling I had when I read the first 5 pages. 

Former astronaut Jonathan DeVane struggles with life after leaving NASA in the wake of the mission to destroy a comet. Turns out, it wasn't a comet at all but an alien spaceship and debris from the crash killed hundreds across the world. But our hero doesn't know that, until his colleague Tommy asks him to help transport a Russian hacktivist to a swap meet. But it turns out the convoy was also carrying a secret. A secret named Lila. DeVane, the hacktivist, and the alien hybrid Lila must fight the US government to figure out her origin and what the evil general is up to, all before the invasion fleet shows up. 

This is a graphic novel of 120 some pages so I wasn't counting on the air being great throughout. I was a bit surprised to see that it was quite consistent in quality. The paneling and interspaced amount of full page spreads were good as well. The dialog bubbies are spaced quite well and I didn't have problems knowing who's talking and when.

But the main problem with the story is that I've read too many versions of it. The grizzled vet main character and Lila the alien hottie reminds me of Fifth Element, the Russian hacktivist reminds me of a dumber Edward Snowden, and the evil general reminds me of every B-movie Scify channel's produced. Hell even the alien invaders felt "stock" to me. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

You can get Astral Genesis from Pet Piranha Entertaiment on Indiegogo.

The Woman from A.F.R.O #1

Another one of my Kickstarters came through, right at the start of my overseas trip. So now I gotta sit down and write this review. Oh, my life, it's so hard. #sarcasm

Stella Rae Simone is a spy and bodyguard for A.F.R.O the All-Female Revolutionary Organization. She gets an easy assignment in this issue- Protect Keith Washington, a George Washington Carver type with a cure for carbon emissions. unfortunately, some international terrorist group has other ideas. Can Stella rescue him in time for the speech?

The art seems pretty mundane for a first issue. I didn't see any particularly glaring mistakes. The framing and panel work looked pretty professional as well. I feel like the art team spent more time making Stella look hot and curvaceous rather than on the overall art. Me personally, since the character is a combat-type, I would have drawn the afro smaller to minimize the grab potential. But that's just me.

You can find it at the FroLife website here.

Ascension Chronicles #1-30 (Webtoon version)

When I first heard of this comic, it was hosted on some website and I tucked it into my "read eventually" list. How many years ago was that? (Check paper) 4 years ago??? Holy hell I'm late on this one! Anyway, now it's on Webtoon and I've decided to take a look. 

We start off with a fairly boilerplate intro. Humans in space, etc, then bad aliens show up and the hero has to leave his family behind to die, on the orders of his father. Naturally, Hanzo Midori doesn't accept his father's decision and decides to join the Protectorate Navy. In his first mission with the forces, the dreaded Imperial Consortium shows up to raid the planet he's patrolling. With grit and clever use of imaging, the humans win the fight, or so they think. Hanzo and his fellow fighter pilot are unable to stop the theft of data but learn a deep dark secret hidden under the planet. 

Because this wasn't originally made to be a webtoon, there are some artistic and stylish mistakes that aren't as serious in the website version. Though many of these are related to aspect ratio differences and the way the art team should have done the paneling. Most webtoon readers don't like lateral reading so they should've split the panels to make a long pole instead of filling a page. 

Anyway, if you're interested in an exciting, CGI drawn space action comic, I think you're in for a treat, provided you're forgiving of the art foibles. 

You can find The Ascension Chronicles at Webtoon.com or at https://ascensioncomic.com/comic/prologue/

The Demon Lord is My Mistress #1

Here's a hilarious one that'll never make it to your local comic book stores. Might make it to your local adult toy store, however. Or comedy shop due to its humorous ideas.

Eric AKA E is a chef at a busy kitchen and a big time anime fan. His coworkers respect him for his work ethic and skills though they rib him for liking anime in his 30s. One day, he falls asleep in his car and gets Isakaied (not by Truck-Kun) by a goddess but the demon lord Layla intercepted the summon and claimed him instead. After some fooling around, the goddess gets the hero back but is embarrased and has to cover up her mistake. Now, E must defend Axis against the evils and fight the demon lord, using video game mechanics similar to the Land series. It's every weeb's dream...until it becomes a nightmare.

The art isn't nightmarish, though the framing and position make it hard to follow at some points. For an adult oriented comic, it lacks a lot of nudity and seems excessive in other ways. Did the giant bird really tear the priestess' clothes off? Seems kinda off to me. Going forward I think the artist will change up the framing and improve the readability. Will the team add more nudity? In some ways, it might be less if they added more.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars. A good hilarious start to a series I certainly will be following. 

For now, it's not on sale. When I hear about it, I'll update this posting.

Akolyte #5 Therans Cry

Another one fresh off the Kickstarter press!

We follow Akolyte after the climatic events in issue 4, in space and heading to fight the Children of Chaos. Why he didn't check the nearest kindergaten is beyond me since there are many children of chaos in there. Anyway, he is attacked by Therans and before he can sort out the matter, a cybernetic enemy called The Zenith. The Zenith are hunting the Therans for some reason, and Akolyte must come to the rescue. Who are these enemies and what role will they play in the universe? I suppose this will come to a head in future chapters.

The art show some improvement over the first issue. The character's powers and the panel placement definitely showed improvement. You get as great a cosmic vibe with this issue as you did with the first issues. 

The story wasn't as interesting or as dynamic as it could have been. The plotline did not seem too boilerplate, but the idea of a weak race needing to be saved by a galactic hero has been done a lot, especially in the Silver Surfer comics. Now some of this is to be expected, since this character is somewhat patterned off the space traveler genre. Another mistake was at the end, in which both groups are shown to not be what they appear to be. Which is fine, but Akolyte should have sensed that right away. Perhaps this storyline will continue with the next issues, since this one did well on Kickstarter?

It'll be a while before this comic comes to the stores but you should keep an eye out for it at the Konkret Comics website.

Scorpio #3 by John Robinson IV

One of my favorite yet frustrating series is finally back. I wrote about this series in 2019 and while I wasn't a big fan of issue #2, I was pretty psyched when I heard #3 was coming out. But is it any good?

This issue continues the storyline of the zodiac...people? They look like people. Anyway, we learn of a dangerous conspiracy that seeks zodiac relics, like the one in Shim's possession. In the aftermath of the break-in, the company's in chaos and Shim is forced to confront his CFO, who now has his relic box. Can he unlock the relic and save Naomi before the monster slays her? Can he square his love triangle before all 3 sides learn of each other? What other drama will come his way?

The art team changed since #1 first came out and I certainly notice the difference. The characters are drawn better and the action is crisper, plus the framing looks much less blocky. There's a lot more CGI effect in this issue, which you'd expect in an exposition scene. An overall improvement.

Story-wise, I feel it's a bit too short and without a followup message regarding the next issue, I worry that this might be the last issue. I liked the ending and the way it built suspense. Robinson's always had good worldbuilding skills and it shows in this issue, especially with the ending. It's not a deeply flawed series, and while it doesn't have the depth of Saga or the clout of Niobe, it's still an interesting read.

I'll update this site when the issue hits the stores. Until then, check Kickstarter.

IYANU: CHILD OF WONDER Vol 2

Another great work from YouNeek studios finds its way to my blog! I was quite happy with this sequel to Volume 1, though the art was a bit lacking at times and I wasn't a big fan of some framing. Still we got a lot of good story to complement the art and give us an idea as to what the hell is going on in Yorubaland and how the Corrupted animals got that way. Iyanu gets the obvious student choice: Complete the mission or save the beloved master? But first, she needs training at the hands of Biyu's village matriach. Answers will fly out of the page in this issue, but it isn't a lot of infodumping like other works. 

You can find Iyanu at the links here. In fact, you might even see it on TV soon.

My month playing Elite Dangerous. HINT: I wasn't very 'elite'

June 2, 2021

Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a space exploration MMO that I’ve taken to playing lately. It reminds me of my volunteer work on the PlanetHunters website, since I helped find many of those planets Kepler data had spotted. It was a team effort (more than 1 person had to acknowledge the find) but yes readers I DID MOST OF THE WORK!~ everyone else just copied off me. But they never respected MY GEINIUSSSS!

Anyway, Elite uses the real-life map of the Milky Way as the basis of the worlds. There are human factions and aliens and planets to land on, that kinda stuff. Also there are space stations and asshole pirates that knock you out of supercruise and hassle you for stuff. I mean, seriously? You really wanna pick a fight with me over my 1 ton of scrap?

I haven’t purchased the Odyssey DLC yet, but I will after they add more features and hopefully a Rimworld-esque experience.  So I’ve been cruising the bubble 200 light years from Sol, making…a lot of funny mistakes.

This is the diary of Old_man_Steve, a divorced pilot running from the problems he caused on Tau Ceti and the 15% monthly alimony check he owes. 

Incident 1: Tried Autodock. It crashed me into the rings of the station twice. I got billed for it. I don’t see why I should be forced to pay for damages that Autodock caused. Hell I can barely park the ship at this point in a Coriolis station but I don't hit anything.

Incident 2: I got yelled at for scanning government ships. But I’m in a damn Sidewinder! I don’t pose a threat. A Sidewinder is the starting ship and it's basically made out of thoughts & prayers.

Incident 3: I was using the Full Spectrum scanner when I found something called a Convoy Dispersal Pattern so I zoomed in. I heard man grunting sounds in the convoy signal and a woman saying “take it, take it like a boy”. Alright...found the freak fleet.

Incident 4: DSS probe hit a station that I aimed at by accident. Look I was trying to aim it at the planet but got a bit carried away. I guess it was cheap because I didn't get fined when it hit the station.

Incident 5: Couldn't blow up the drone in the practice round because I forgot to click H to target the drone. I spent 30 minutes shooting at this thing and couldn't figure out what the hell I was doing wrong. I bet the test examiner was shaking his head the whole time.

Incident 6: Ship bumped into my rooftop while I was trying to enter Coelho Station. Hey can’t you see I’m trying to park here? How do I get his number? I'm FLYING HERE I'M FLYING HERE! I want an insurance payout!

Incident 7: Went to bathroom in Supercruise mode. Came back 10 minutes later and I was going 1,350c and 10.2 light days away from the system I just finished exploring. Look I set the damn thing to 0.15c when I had to take a dump.

Incident 8: Got cocky and tried to fight an entire wing by myself. It didn’t go well.

Incident 9: I left the Pilots Federation District by accident because I thought the next world was part of the district. There was no sign. So there I was, with only 5.5 million credits to my name and a Sidewinder I forgot to fix, to face the Milky Way all by my lonesome. Sure hope this goes well. I'm sure the instructor doesn't want to see my dumb ass again.

Incident 10: Parked in wrong hanger deck and got yelled at by the station. Look I couldn't see the damn numbers! Gimmie a break!

Incident 11: Crashed into a nav beacon and now it’s ‘compromised’. Whoops...

Incident 12: Some jerkwad tried to fight me over 1ton of scrap I found at a degraded signal source. It's scrap! There's still plenty of it at that spot. Don't throw your life away over this, man.

Incident 13: While playing ED I was listening to Anton Petrov on Youtube and the ad came on so I looked away and clicked skip. Rammed a criminal in the Weapons fire zone. Started the fight. Boy was he or she confused. I won the fight, too.

Incident 14: Got interdicted 4 times in a system run by a gang but they couldn’t stop me. Look if this is too hard for you, then maybe you should leave me alone. Stop embarrasing yourselves.

Incident 15: Became allied with the Communists by accident. All I did was donate a little cash. They also seemed super stoked about all the planetary data I sold them. Hmm did I just start the Cold Space War?

Incident 16: I was about to swear at someone in the chatbox and the screen went from fullscreen to halfscreen somehow. I had to have hit some wrong button.

Incident 17: Pirates kept failing to interdict me. So now they wait until I’m scanning planet to get at me. They are really starting to get on my nerves.

Incident 18: Crashed onto the landing bay a few times. Why is it so hard to get the autodock to stop bugging me? Look I had the proper altitude and everything.

Incident 19: It took me 10 minutes to land because it never dawned on me that I was circling the base! Planetary landing are not easy for beginners!

Incident 20: There was a shootout in front of the Misfits of Science coriolis base. So I started shooting. Then they fined me. Hey everybody else was shooting! I want to challenge the ticket! Officer this isn't fair!

Incident 21: Almost crashed into the outpost because I was reading the Road to Riches site while cruising. Think I knocked over another lightpost.

Incident 22: The autodock tried to correct my landing on an outpost but instead got stuck on some sort of fixture. Took me a minute to unjam the thing. Autodock you're supposed to be HELPING me land, not getting stuck or smashing into rings!

Incident 23: I got 10 million for selling exploration data to a prison. I wonder what that really means...

Incident 24: Forgot to buy limpet transfer controller and limpets. I accepted to help someone and tried ramming him. But no fuel was transferred so I gave up and went somewhere else.

Incident 25: I used a lot of probes on that Earth-like world with lots of lights. They hit the planet at mach 50 or something. I'm sure there was no damage....maybe...

Incident 26: I was going too fast and the fuel transfer limpet bounced off the other ship. Look buddy, you wanted help. You didn't say 'competent help'.

Incident 27: The space communists really seem to like me. Seems like I get top credit every time I sell exploration data to their affiliated stations. Hey I got a lot of bills to pay. Why not?

Incident 28: Some punk Novice tried to fight me. So I flew by the space cops and they were VERY Happy to fight him for me.

Incident 29: I tried the same trick again in a Low Security system, this time shooting a lot of seeker missiles at the target hoping for an alpha strike. It worked...kinda... But I forgot which group my main weapons were and got beat up pretty bad. Good thing I was in the Diamondback Explorer.

Incident 30: Speaking of the Diamondback Explorer. it is REALLY loud with throttling the engine. I'm thinking of landing just so I can go outside and put in some sound masking foam. With a 4A thruster it sounds like someone shoved a Halo Elite into a bus engine. Whomp Whomp Whomp! That ain't soundin right...