Wednesday Watchlist

Stephen, Jo and I put our heads together and pick out three books from the ever-growing number of titles hitting the comic stores and advise you where best to put your money.

Stephen – Change #2 by Alex Kot and Morgan Jeske:

We brought you an advanced look at the first issue of Image Comics new mini-series Change back in December. I was struck by the high-concept, ambitious writing in the first issue and that continues in issue #2 which is released this week. Issue #1 left me with more questions than answers and I didn’t really have much idea what was going on. Issue #2 looks set to keep the mystery going and the pages I have seen look absolutely bonkers. The art is superb as it was in the first issue and Change looks likely to be one of the best comics on the shelves for the next few months. I love it!

© Image Comics
© Image Comics

Jo – Point of Impact #4 by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel:

With issue 4, Point of Impact concludes. This miniseries ‘exploded out of the blocks’ with the dramatic death of a young woman and has subsequently followed the investigation of her murder through three people connected to her namely, her husband, an investigative reporter, her lover, an ex-soldier, and her friend, a homicide detective. Faerber understands the medium perfectly, and with Kuranel, he has captured the mystery flawlessly. I cannot wait for Wednesday and the dramatic finale, in which answers are promised, and the creators’ next project. These two are rising stars.

Point of Impact #4 © Image Comics
Point of Impact #4 © Image Comics

Mark – The Superior Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve no doubt heard the news that Peter Parker is dead and it’s a bit of a twist because only the readers know he’s dead. Amazing Spider-Man #700 hits stores between Christmas and New Years, not only did the issue itself make headlines the story has been making headlines for months with leaked copies of ASM #700, previous issues thanks to torrents and shop owners not being able to keep it in their trousers and even writer Dan Slott receiving death threats. Peter Parker died whilst in the body of Doctor Octopus who vowed to carry on Spider-Mans legacy and as far as his friends and family know nothing has changed but as readers we know the truth. Truth be told I feel uncomfortable about picking this up and I’m weary this could be Clone Saga 2.0 but I’m curious to see if Dan Slott can make this an enjoyable read.

Superior Spider-Man #1 © Marvel Comics
Superior Spider-Man #1 © Marvel Comics

Will you be picking any of these up or do you have your eye on something else? Let us know!


Review: Once Upon A Time S02E10 – The Cricket Game

Here’s the thing about Regina; she is a very tragic character. Cora’s constant manipulation has warped her, from the outside in.

However, it’s impossible to sympathize with Regina because she never makes the right choice. And if she does, she makes the wrong choice in short order, because it seems, to her, the quickest path to retribution and revenge.  Nowhere is this more evident than in “The Cricket Game.”

The episode opens on Cora and Hook at the harbor next to Hook’s oh, so inconspicuous pirate ship. Hook wants to find Rumplestiltskin and kill him, immediately. Cora turns the ship invisible and a fisherman into a fish, reminding Hook that there is magic in Storybrooke. It’d be death for Hook if he confronted Rumplestiltskin, now. Besides, Cora has more important plans; she wants to destroy her daughter.

After an awkward family moment with the Charmings, it’s flashback time! Regina learns that Snow and Charming have taken the kingdom from King George. Instead of running, Regina goes after Snow. She finds her alone on Queen’s Road.

She immediately tries to kill Snow, when, surprise! Charming and others appear out of thin air. It’s a trap and Regina is taken to the tower.

Back in Storybrooke, everyone is having a welcome home party for Snow and Emma. Regina shows up with lasagna. Emma has invited her. When Regina tries to leave, Emma follows, telling her that Archie let slip the truth about her anti-magic therapy sessions. Emma is thankful, but not enough to allow Henry stay the night with Regina. Regina swallows her desperation.

Cora and Hook watch from the rooftops.

“Well, is she broken?” asks Hook.

“Not yet,” says Cora.

The next day, Regina finds Archie and Pongo at the docks. She is, quite rightly, furious at Archie for breaking her confidence. Red overhears the argument.

It’s flashback time, again! The members of Snow and Charming’s round table are discussing Regina’s fate. “The Queen will never change!” says Jiminy. Charming and the others agree. It is best for everyone if Regina is executed. Snow has her misgivings.

This is Snow’s major character flaw; she tries so desperately to see the good in everyone, she sacrifices her safety and the safety of those around her.

In Storybrooke, Red sees Regina walking into Archie’s office. Archie is surprised to see Regina and tries, again, to apologize. Pongo knows something is up but before he can run to Archie’s defense, Regina freezes him and sucks the life out of Archie.


As Regina leaves, the disguise drops. It’s Cora.

Pongo runs to the diner and alerts Emma and Red. They follow and find Archie dead on his office floor. Red tells Emma all she witnessed between Archie and Regina the day before.

Flashback.  Regina’s father has come to visit her in the tower. He asks for forgiveness and says that she could save herself if she, too, asked for forgiveness. She seems resigned to her fate.

In Storybrooke, Emma and Charming have Regina at the police station. They tell her that Archie is dead and Regina is shocked.

Flashback to the execution. Regina stands in front of Snow and Charming. Rumplestiltskin is in the crowd. As her last words, Regina wants everyone to know she feels regret, regret that she was not able to kill Snow White. Clinging to hatred and vengeance to the end is Regina.

And yet! When the arrows are loosed, Snow calls them off.  This is what I mean. Regina has been trying to kill her for, like, ten years. Her last words were, “[I] regret I was not able to kill Snow White,” and still, Snow is convinced of her possible redemption.


Like mother, like daughter. Back at the police station, Emma is convinced Regina did not kill Archie and lets her go.

Flashback. “My, my, aren’t we trouble, dearie?” Whaddaya know? It’s Rumplestiltskin and he has the perfect way for Snow test Regina. For a price.

People just keep striking deals with the Dark One, perfectly aware that his price will screw them over, eventually.  So okay, here goes Snow, choosing to strike a deal with the Dark One rather than execute the woman who keeps trying to kill her.

Back at Archie’s office, Emma, Snow, and Charming are looking for evidence. There is a lot of evidence. They are quick enough to realize that it’s a set-up. They assume Gold is the culprit.

Gold, however, is quick to point out that there was a witness to the murder who can prove it wasn’t him; Pongo. He says that Emma can use her magic to read Pongo’s memories, after he pulls them into a dreamcatcher.

That’s what I like about Gold, always thinking outside the box. Well that, and his raw animal magnetism.

With remarkable ease for someone who just discovered her magical powers, Emma reads Pongo’s memories. Sure enough, there’s Regina, draining the life out of Archie.  Emma rushes out of Gold’s, to “get Regina.”

Flashback to Regina in the tower. Snow is there and says she knows Regina wasn’t always evil. She says, “All you need is someone to let you out.”

“Just like that?’ Regina says.

Yup. Snow opens the door but before you can blink, Regina has her hand around Snow’s neck and a knife in her side. Here’s Regina, making the wrong choice.

This was the test and Regina has failed. Snow is unharmed. Thanks to Rumplestiltskin’s newest spell, Regina cannot physically harm Snow or Charming. Snow tells Regina she’s been banished. And then, Snow threatens to kill Regina if she hurts anyone in the kingdom.

Hold up. Instead of executing this homicidal queen with dark magical powers, Snow banishes her and then reminds her she is still capable of harming others. Smart.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma accuses Regina of killing Archie. She tells her not to come near Henry. Regina is enraged. Suddenly, Cora is there, throwing balls of magic to Regina. With a smile for her mother, Regina disappears in a cloud of dark smoke.

Flashback to Regina’s castle. Rumple is there; he tells Regina that it is Snow and Charming’s wedding day. Regina shrugs it off, not having any way to kill Snow. Rumple tells her, well, no, not in this land…

And we’re back at the Storybrooke docks with Cora and Hook. Hook wants to know if he can kill Rumplestiltskin, now. No, but Cora has a gift for him in the ship’s hold.

It’s Archie! You know, the guy in town who knows everyone’s secrets. Who did Cora kill? Hook wonders

“How would I know? I just got here.” Which is the perfect villain response.

Cora and Hook look down at poor Archie. “This cricket will chirp,” she says.

Next week’s bumper promo shows that Hook finally gets his chance at Rumplestiltskin.  Horray! I’ll get play “Who’s The Hotter Villain”!


First 50 Pages: Heart Search – Book One: Lost

© Carlie Cullen

Heart Search – Book One: Lost
by Carlie M.A. Cullen

I write, and I edit. This gives me two unique perspectives on what I read. As a writer, I can understand why authors struggle in certain areas. As an editor, I can’t understand why they would publish these problems without fixing them. I am not nearly this snarky with the people I work with; I would absolutely be if they published their work before it was ready. I get snarky because someone didn’t tell them, “Hey, this isn’t quite ready.”

Today’s First 50 Pages is talking about Carlie M.A. Cullen’s Heart Search. It’s an indie pub, and it kind of made my heart-break… and not in a good way. There may be spoilers, but this review is only about the first 50 pages, so I won’t be spoiling much.

So, I had plenty of gripes with these pages. So much in fact that I had to put it down. Now, this book was better than some books I’ve read recently, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough to keep me going. There were quite a few clichés I’m just so tired of seeing done in vampire books. The whole “I have to leave you to keep you safe!” scenario. Seriously? One of the main characters, Joshua, gets turned into a vampire in the beginning of the book. Now, this is problematic seeing as he’s supposed to marry his girlfriend Remy in two weeks. They have sex and neither of them remembers how during their romping session that he could have bruised her up so badly. He’s mortified. Does this sound familiar? This is pretty much unbelievable. I mean, I generally remember the bruises I get from sex, and even if I don’t it’s pretty much a badge much like a hickey is. While those can be somewhat embarrassing, it’s a constant reminder of the love-making that went on. And as “in love” as these two are, it shouldn’t have been a problem.

Following Joshua’s “I can’t stay or I’ll hurt you more” departure, Remy doesn’t even go after him. She needs her twin sister to coax her into it. Then, when we follow Joshua after he has left her, he thinks about how he misses her but then thinks, “he had a new and exciting future to embrace.” Wow. My first thought after reading that was, move on Remy! This guy isn’t worth your time!

But that’s just plot stuff. I haven’t gotten into the grit that annoyed me the most. Beware writers, I’m using a term you guys are (should be) terrified of: head hopping. I’m not kidding. Here’s another term to be fearful of: POV shifts. To my readers, this means that the story shifted from Remy’s point of view to a third person account of what was happening with Joshua. So one chapter is “I [blah blah blah]” and the next chapter is “he [blah blah blah]”. This made the story hard to follow. And in all honesty, the first person writing was borderline third person. At one point, Remy has a panic attack and states her lips were bluish. How would she know that? Was she looking in a mirror? No.

Also, there were several things that just seemed like the author gave up trying to make it right. I’ll just go through my notes (yes, I make notes about books as I read them. It’s much easier to go back later this way).

1. She struggled with introducing the twin sister. When Remy opens the door, she says she saw her own face staring back at her. This could have been done so much better. I mean, I’ve known a lot of twins, and every identical twin has tells. The way their smile is or how they do their hair even. It was too easy. It’s like okay, here’s the sister, and she’s the twin. There’s nothing special about it to me now.
2. She actually wrote “ha ha ha” as part of the dialogue. I felt like I was reading a text message.
3. After Joshua starts to predict he’s a vampire, he goes to the internet to find confirmation. Wow, cause this isn’t in the media enough already. Then only after his internet research does he start to exhibit vampire traits. Be logical folks.
4. During his transformation, Joshua is in such agonizing pain that he feels like he’s dying, but yet he manages to not scream. Okay, I’ve been in excruciating pain. I screamed. I couldn’t help it. It can’t be helped. So I was left to believe that the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as he let on.
5. I hate the “all of a sudden” or “I completely forgot until now” scenarios as well. What the author really means is that they didn’t want to fit it in earlier or that they were too lazy to weave this bit of information in better.
6. Oh, how about before Joshua leaves Remy, he comes into the bedroom and tidies up by making the bed and putting dirty clothes in the basket. But, then he ransacks the room packing to leave. I mean, what was the point?
7. When Remy and her sister start to get down to business trying to find Joshua, they immediately find his journal. This is a journal he looks like he’s written in everyday. Remy has never seen it. I dare my live in significant other to try to hide something like a journal and have me not know about it. I wouldn’t read it, but I sure as hell would know about it. And even if it’s possible that Remy didn’t know about it, I sincerely doubt Joshua would leave it behind. It was just too easy. They needed info about Joshua and *poof* a journal appears that Remy never knew about.

Here’s two things my writers should learn.
1. Adverbs are bad. Use as seldom as possible. Also, show don’t tell.
Examples: “suddenly felt extremely tired” and “unexpectedly, I was dreadfully vulnerable and lonely.”
Fixes: These aren’t perfect, in fact, they’re off the cuff, but you’ll get the point I hope. “The adrenaline was wearing off. The weight of my decisions cascaded down on me in a heap of exhaustion.” As for the second, I would go with something like, “Her absence made the room bigger, and I was left feeling like the only living thing left in the world. I rushed after her, avoiding the thoughts nagging at the corner of my mind.”

2. The UK vs. US language barrier. I’ve had this debate a number of times. I work with a lot of writers who are not from the US. In fact, most of the people I work with that don’t live in the US speak some form of British English. This is where I get picky. Some phrases are easy to figure out. For example, I think most readers will understand “cuppa” or “windshield”. Thanks to Harry Potter, most Americans recognize “bloody hell” as well. But, if it wasn’t for my working with UK writers, I wouldn’t get a lot of the turns of phrases that are frequently used in dialogue. So, I’ll say this. If there is an alternate way to say something that would be understood by both reader sets (UK and US) then go for that. One of my favorite examples to mention is a dressing gown. I ran across this early in 2012, and when I read it, I thought nightgown. In the US, that’s something typically reserved for a much older crowd. In fact, the author was referring to what we’d call a bathrobe or just a robe. This is a big deal because it defines the character… is the character trendy or wearing grandma clothes? Even common dialogue can be a little difficult to get through for US readers because it’s not something we are really used to. With the advent of ebooks, I think this is even more important. These books are easily available across oceans, and we no longer have to wait for a US version to come out or for our retailers here to carry the book.

I wouldn’t discount this author. I think she has potential. Maybe some more experienced beta readers would help. The problems I found weren’t tragic, but they were enough to make me put the book down. I’m sure during a long car ride I might pick it back up.


Geeks Unleashed’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2013

Continuing our look at the year ahead from yesterdays Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2013, Video Games get their turn today. Get those consoles fired up and joypads ready for Geeks Unleashed’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2013:

10: The Last Guardian

This is the latest game in the works for the developers of Ico and Shadow of The Colossus- two uniquely stunning games focused around relationships between character and entity. In each there is a barrier, which defines how the game is played; in the first a boy defends a girl and they must work around a language barrier, in Shadow of The Colossus, a young man must use the environment around him to scale massive creatures which he intends to slay. In The Last Guardian, the developers explored a friendship between two very different species: a strange gryphon-like creature and a human child. Very little is known about the game however, and the release date has been pushed back over two years. According to the chief of Sony Worldwide Studious however, the game has not received the axe and is still in development. There were apparently massive technical issues that needed to be over come. This could imply that The Last Guardian concept was reaching too high and may never come together, but I like to think it means this game will pioneer a whole new genre to blow away modern audiences.

© Team Ico

9: Majora’s Mask: The Remake… ?

Fans of the Legend of Zelda series nearly wet themselves when a trailer for a Majora’s Mask remake on Wii U was released. The trailer showed Link –transformed into a deku scrub – running through the familiar underworld of Clock Town, yet it was beautifully revamped to create an even more ethereal world, gilded with magic and wonder.  But, alas, the trailer was a fake. A very good fake. However, it has sparked a plea within the Zelda fan-base for Nintendo to heed the siren call of the remake, and make this dream a reality. The trailer has outlined just how much potential for a remake Majora’s Mask has. It moved away from the classic themes of the elements prominent in Ocarina of Time (with the temples of fire and water ext) and took a more psychedelic root. The game is teeming with eccentric characters and their eccentric lairs, such as the old professor and his colorful observatory. Just looking up and seeing the mad face of the moon is proof enough of Majora’s Mask’s strangeness. This could all be wonderfully reworked using modern-day graphic capabilities, to re live the special experience that was Majora’s Mask.  The Ocarina of Time remake for 3DS received rave reviews, Nintendo. You have proved that this is well within your capabilities, so come on! Listen to your fans!

8: Beyond: Two Souls

The makers of renowned Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream have done it again. With a script that took over 12 months to produce, state of the art graphic technology and Ellen Page as the voice and face of the protagonist, what can go wrong? The plot is set over 15 years of the main character’s life – Jodie. She is constantly in the presence of a strange entity, which has the numerous powers, including the ability to manipulate matter around Jodie. However, the presence of this being means she can never have a normal life, outlined by a trailer showing Jodie sat in a police station with a shaven head, unable to speak. Little else is known about the story, but –in keeping with Heavy Rain mechanics- there will be alternate endings to this interesting release, and some will be darker than others.

© Quantic Dream

7: Pikmin 3

If you’ve never played Pikmin, now is the time. The Pikmin games are full of pure joy, tragedy and adorableness. They centre on the trials of little space men that use a troop of ant-like pikmin people to complete various tasks (breaking down walls and building bridges ext) in order to reach a goal, such as recovering the lost parts of a damaged ship. As they have progressed through the Nintendo consoles, the added power of each platform has really shone through; this game looks beautiful, and is set to be one of the most endearing games of 2013.

© Nintendo

6: GTA 5

Grand Theft Auto is officially hitting Hollywood! That’s right, the fifth installment of GTA is going to be based in Los Angeles. There are also three characters that the player will be alternating between as a posed to just one. Trailers have introduced these three new characters, briefly outlining their personalities and walks of life. Michael is the first be introduced. He appears to be an older man living in marred splendor; as he settles down by his pool for a cheeky midday cigar and bourbon, his wife and bratty daughter argue inside over petty matters, which he appears all too distant from. Trevor however, hasn’t seen quite as much success in life, and he lives in more run down conditions. He’s mentally unstable, filthy and brandishes a tattoo on his neck saying, “Cut here”. He and Michael were partners in crime in the past, best friends in fact, but something caused them to split. The third and final character is Franklin, a repo man who dabbles in-car theft. He follows the more traditional GTA protagonist bill with a desire to go one step further and branch into the criminal underworld. It will be interesting to see how the fate of these three men comes together, and could be the corner-stone in a new GTA era.

© Rockstar North

5: BioShock Infinite

Infinite is set to be the most unique of the BioShock games so far, with a movement almost completely away from the claustrophobic, branching off into open ground on a gargantuan floating city. Upon first hearing this I feared the series would lose everything that made it what it was. However, the demo confirms that BioShock is still as gripping, eerie and mysterious as ever, with the new protagonist Booker traipsing through the streets as very, very strange things happen around him. A terror even more fearsome than Big Daddy awaits him though, with the introduction of Song Bird. This is a colossal mechanical entity that serves as guardian to Elizabeth, the woman Booker has vowed to rescue from her imprisonment on the city.  Elizabeth is with Booker throughout the game, but she’s no Princess Peach. Elizabeth has powers of her own, which coincide with Booker’s and make her a formidable companion. Infinite’s release date has been set back previously though, which I fear may be its downfall; anticipation has made expectations so high that it may never be able to live up to them. Lets wish this game the best of luck.

© Irrational Games

4: God of War Ascension

This latest installment to an already critically acclaimed series will follow Kratos once more, as he attempts to break his oath to the Gods. Gameplay footage has demonstrated that this God of War is going to look just as good as its predecessor, God of War 3. Developers have also revealed that they have moved the “fun button” from circle to R1, giving Kratos the opportunity to tether in his opponents and initiate classic exaggerated kill sequences that make fights all the more satisfying.  Ascension is also evolving the concept of puzzles, which fitted in so well with past God of War games. Videos have shown Kratos using his powers to partially rebuild structures laid to waste so that he can scale them to reach new areas, in a Mirror’s Edge-esque fashion, which looks like great fun. Developers say this installment will be just as over the top as previous games, as it’s all about having a good time and really enjoying the experience.

© SCE Santa Monica Studio

3: Gears of War Judgment

If you think Gears of War couldn’t get any more action packed, think again. This prequel is set just after the war against The Locusts has ensued- around a month after Emergence Day, or E Day for short. It claims to be far faster paced than the trilogy, with constant waves of fearsome foes, set on ripping your squad apart rather than pick and pop. This title will explore the past of Baird and his squad, who are on trial for severe war crimes. Each level is a retelling of different parts of the story during the trial, which builds up to their alleged wrongdoing. This is an interesting new slant on story telling, and should help colour each mission with an atmosphere of things to come. People Can Fly are assisting the development process this time round, adding a rating system for each level- not dissimilar to some of their previous games such as Bulletstorm. Gears of War is easily one of the most popular game franchises of the third generation consoles, making it impossible for its developers to leave it to rest after just 3 games. That’s right, there will almost certainly be more Gears action to come.

© Epic Games

2: Crysis 3

Crysis defined the “next gen” movement with the first game, dropping jaws all around the world with its outstanding graphics and AI. Instead of altering the FPS game play it perfected it by incorporating the functions of the high-tech nanosuit, which gave players the option to use super strength, speed and stealth cloaking in a luscious jungle. The free world layout present in many levels made players feel like predatory entities, with the option to approach enemy clusters withguns blazing or with significantly more fun guile. I invented a new verb during my time playing this game, referring to Nomad as “animalling it” whenever I was hiding amongst the foliage, scanned the area for hostiles and then quietly and cleanly dispatching them after a moment’s calculation. Despite the second game delivering great combat and even better visuals, the city setting and linear level layout removed that feeling of “the hunter and the hunted”, feeling like more of a traditional FPS. It looks like Crysis 3 is going to combine the best of the two games though, as we see Prophet battle through New York, which has been consumed by a vibrant forest. His signature futuristic army-grade bow has not only been the highlight of advertising campaigns, but recaptures that animalistic feeling that made the first game so enjoyable. Stealth mode can also be used along side weapons to further instill this sensation. Crytek have also massively built on the concept of everything taking damage if you lay into it enough, with gameplay showing giant splinters of wood crumbling off grounded logs and newly sprouting trees collapsing as bullets tear through their thin trunks. Crysis is back everyone, and I for one am very, very excited.

© Crytek Frankfurt

1: Dead Space 3

Dead Space is most definitely going in the right direction. The sequel to the first game was met with critical acclaim; it was one of just 12 games in GamesTM’s history to be branded with a 10/10 rating. However, the game mechanics and setting evolved little from the original. Instead Dead Space 2 perfected itself with horrifying new enemies and a gripping story that took Isaac Clarke –the game’s unfortunate protagonist- through some chilling areas. For example, the darkly ornate Unitologist churches or back to the Ishimura, eerily showing signs of a clean up program that never saw completion. Dead Space 3 giving us another excellent plot and a couple more putrid necromorphs to dismember would be all well and good, but for this series to deliver yet another terrifying adventure, Dead Space 3 needs to deliver a fresh experience. From previews and trailers so far, it looks like Visceral Games have done just that, with some new additions that make this next game look like a fantastic 2013 release. Previews have revealed that Isaac Clarke’s engineering abilities are being manipulated to offer a whole new creative side to Dead Space 3. The Bench theme is still in play, but rather than a relatively simple “power node” leveling structure for weapons, health and abilities Isaac will gather up useful parts he finds during his ordeal. These can be used to fashion weapons with a range of different rounds (incendiary, electricity ext), bullet types and forces. I think this will create a great new sector in the fan community, as people share their creations on the Internet and people create walkthroughs to show players where to find the best parts. I fear there may be complaints from some of the slightly less creative players out there though, who could see the system as taking away from the “real” gameplay- but there will most likely be classic weapons available, or a schematics system to pacify them.  One of the biggest points of discussion has been a move away from the solitary experience of Dead Space 1 & 2, with Isaac being accompanied by a new character going by the name of John Carver. Resident Evil 5 is renowned as the “Resident Evil that just wasn’t scary” which was partially due to the partner theme. But, we must remember one of its predecessors, Resident Evil Zero, which succeeded in delivering just as many scares with a duo system, thanks to the morose environments and chilling enemies, which remained unaltered. There is also a single player option for those that still feel that a lone experience is the only one that will unnerve them, but cut scenes from trailers imply that to get the most out of your Dead Space 3 the multi player is the only way to go. Dead Space 3 also has a very different setting, on an icy planet rather than the bleak innards of an ailing ship that the last two releases offered. Fans have complained that Dead Space is turning into Lost Planet due to this new snowy environment, which I personally think is ridiculous; the similarities are ultimately unworldly creatures and that it’s a bit chilly. Yet, many people are perfectly happy to let mass-market FPS games revolve around near identical themes. So let it snow, baby.

© Visceral Games

Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2013

The holidays might be over, but there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate. Starting on the 6th, these twenty shows are returning, some for the last time ever, so get settled in front of your TV (or computer) and prepare for another great season of shows in 2013!

20.  Arrow

Even without the “Green”, this show has proven to be a huge success. I’m sure 2013 will bring even more action and archery for our billionaire-vigilante, Oliver Queen.

19. True Blood

Sure, this show has gone completely off the rails, but was anyone in it for the nuanced storytelling? It’s all about the vampire/fairy/werewolf sex! Anyone who says differently is lying to themselves.

18. Lost Girl

This show returns in a few days and I am on the edge of my seat. I need that succubus detective, her human companion and her lovers, a werewolf and a human doctor, back on my screen. Who wouldn’t? I mean, succubus detective!

17. Once Upon A Time

Everyone is free to leave Storybrooke! Will Rumpelstiltskin find his son? Will Hook be just as fabulous, and Cora just as deadly, in this land? And when will Mulan and Aurora hook up? Come on, who even remembers Prince Phillip?

16.  The Office

In just a few episodes, we’ll say goodbye to Dunder-Mifflin and all of its employees. After nine years of Dundies, bird funerals, weddings, babies, interventions, wrestling matches, and paper, lots of paper, I think I’ll miss Toby the most.

15.  Archer

Time to enter the danger zone; the world’s greatest secret spy is back! Timothy Olyphant will guest star. I do hope he likes ocelots.

14. Parks and Recreation

The good folks of Pawnee, Indiana will return in style. There will be a wedding! And young men dressed in Tom’s Brooks Brothers Boys collection! Stylish indeed.

13. The Vampire Diaries

Elena’s been sired, Stefan’s been crushed, and Damon’s training Jeremy, Vampire Slayer. Oh! And Klaus killed Tyler’s mom! I’m dying to see what happens next.

12. Mad Men

Who’s ready to see what everyone is up to at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? I’m sure somebody will be drunk, somebody will be tripping, and somebody will be having an affair. I can’t wait!

11. Skins

This year marks the end of Skins. This is sad. But, old characters are returning, and this is awesome.

10.  The Walking Dead

The second half of series three doesn’t air until February. I can’t wait that long!  What’s happening at Woodbury? And the Governor, will somebody kill the Governor? It shouldn’t be that hard, he’s only got the one eye.

9.  Game of Thrones

Series three will have a few extra minutes per episode. Obviously. How else are they going fit in all the dragons, and battles, and nudity, and Tyrion being a witty son of a Lannister?

8.  Louie

The first series of this award-winning comedy is finally coming to the UK. Louis C.K. takes self-deprecating humour to a new level as he chronicles the life of a struggling stand-up comedian, father, and newly single man whose attempts at dating are so disastrous that one woman takes off in a helicopter to escape him.

7.  Luther

After a long wait, we will get four “perfectly dark, chillingly-formed episodes.” Thank god. And, did you hear Alice may be getting her own spin-off? That’s a gift I didn’t know I always wanted.

6.  Homeland

The CIA is in ruins, everyone is dead, Saul’s in charge, and Carrie’s determined to clear Brody’s name. I could not be more excited to see what happens next.

5.  Fringe

How did Donald become September? How does this information help The Plan? What is The Plan? Only three hours left and I have so many questions!

4.  Arrested Development

The Bluths are back! No one seems to know when Netflix will air the thirteen episodes (all at once!) but everyone agrees it will be sometime this year. Everyone got their chicken dances ready?

3. Sherlock

The amount of reading I have done concerning the possible ways in which Sherlock jumped off that roof, appeared dead to Watson, and survived, is, well, a completely ridiculous amount. I need answers, I need series three!

2. Breaking Bad

Eight episodes! Eight episodes? I can’t deal with the end of this show. At least we know there will be plenty of drugs, money, and drama before we wave goodbye to Walter White, forever.

1. Doctor Who

2013 will mark fifty years of Doctor Who. Fifty freaking years. That is all.


Going Green Without Results: Review of O.N.I.F.C. by Wiz Khalifa

Wiz may be smoking, but this album in not © ballislife
Wiz may be smoking, but this album is not © ballislife

By guest writer Jeanette Dobrowski:

Standing for ‘Only Nigga in First Class’, O.N.I.F.C. is Wiz Khalifa’s second studio released album with Atlantic Records. And if you think the name Wiz Khalifa is familiar but can’t quite place it, recite the colors “Black and Yellow” and his latest hit will come whooshing into your left brain and leave smoking out your nostrils.

Going back to the album in question, don’t hold your breath for long, for O.N.I.F.C  has you for 17 earchewing tracks of poorly-executed Pittsburgh rap. The unimaginatively named opener Intro drags you in through at the same pace as his inhale, and if you are wondering whether the fun house you are about to enter is somewhere you want to go, he immediately clears up any doubts as Paperbond opens with “yeah yeah yeah yeah.” Nice to know that as a listener you’re being reassured.

Fall Asleep stands out at first with a unique and dreamy quality which, as one of his most experimental sounds on the album, ends up coming across forced. Do I expect more from Khalifa? Yes. Was I sure he would be able to delivery? No. It seems his rapid ascent to the pop stardom allotted to radio recycled MCs has gone to his head and disconnected his hip hop soul. His lyrics are recycled concepts, afterthoughts of his lifestyle, while his art takes a backseat as he drives his Ferrari chain-smoking Ls.

Khalifa’s themes are, well, green: smoking OG kush on the regular, how much more money he has than you, occasional descriptions of his sexual prowess and well… that covers it. He clearly measures his success by how much money he’s made, but also leaves you wondering what happened to content and quality along the way.

Wiz Khalifa may be “keeping it real”, but what he really needs is an ego reset and a lesson on the principles of hip hop. His beats maintain a hypnotic quality through to the end of the album, but then you feel like you’ve been filled with empty calories and left to run home. I suggest  grabbing a copy of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang and re-emerging with a new type of high.


Supporting Our King: King Lizard Nominated by Pure Rawk Awards

Nightmare Livin' the Dream © King Lizard
Nightmare Livin’ the Dream © King Lizard

Contemporary hard rock pioneers King Lizard have been shortlisted for the Best Album award at the Pure Rawk Awards. Their album, Nightmare Livin’ the Dream, has already attracted widespread critical acclaim and has served as a launchpad for a UK and Europe-wide tour in 2013.

Coming just days after being awarded a Top Five position in our Top Ten Albums of 2012 review, the nomination is just another in a line of successes for the band’s second album. In an exclusive interview with Geeks Unleashed, guitarist and band spokesman Niro Knox had this to say about the nomination:

“What a nice surprise, it feels great to have Nightmare‘ nominated for Best Album. We sure feel we worked very hard for it and it’s nice to be noticed like that.”

“Pure Rawk has been going on for ages in London and it’s cool that they put us in there.”

The award ceremony takes place on 8th March 2013 at Boston Music Room, and is run in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Voting closes soon, so take a look at the various nominations and how to vote here.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ – New Red Band Trailer

Secrets are revealed in the latest trailer from Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner’s upcoming movie.

The film takes place fifteen years after the original Brothers Grimm fairytale, both have now grown up to be become bounty hunters, “now we kill witches for a living, who am I kidding – we’d do this shit for free.”  Hansel & Gretel also stars Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Derek Mears and Thomas Mann and will be in US cinemas on the 25th January, and in the UK on 22nd February.


PREVIEW: Executive Assistant: Assassins #7

The Extinction begins in EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: ASSASSINS #7 from Vince Hernandez, Jordan Gunderson and Teo Gonzalez and is in comic books stores on the 16th January 2013.

The return of Executive Assistants Orchid and Lotus can only result in one possible outcome—more bloodshed! As Lily and Aster struggle to find a way to get to and kill the EA killer, Mazutsu, the pair quickly realize it’s better to make amends and unite as group, or risk dying as individuals as the “Executive Extinction” crossover continues!

All Images © Aspen Comics



Interview: David Schwartz on Wrapping up Idolized

IDOLIZED #5 Cover B Rachel Clark
IDOLIZED #5 Cover B Rachel Clark

This month Aspen Comics will release the final issue of the current volume of their first ever superhero series – Idolized but that doesn’t mean we’re in for a happy ending. The initial pitch by David was delivered to Aspen Comics after having worked on Fathom and Ember, part of the process in building this comic also involved an online voting for character appearances, a lot of work has gone into building this comic from inception to delivery. The preview issue #0  which came out back in the summer of 2012 and gave us a teaser of what to expect from issues #1-4. Idolized is the tale of Redemption and Revenge and takes reality television to the next level. Issue #4 ended leaving our protagonists, life in the balance – what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Geeks Unleashed: So with one issue left of the final chapter in the first volume of IDOLIZED, Joule’s looking like she’s in some hot water. With next issue being the last of this volume can we assume that no one is safe?

David Schwartz: You can definitely assume that. With Stasis aiming to upend all of the world’s largest corporate and governmental institutions, no one in the entire world is safe. And, yes, someone key to the series does definitely die in issue 5. But, that’s all I can tell you for now (he says, smirking wickedly…).

GU: You must be pretty satisfied bring Joule’s story full circle from the preview issue to the end of issue #4 which hinted at this ending, has it been hard going bring this story to the point you needed it to be?

DBS: It was actually all mapped out from the start. I tend to outline an entire story arc before I ever get started on scripting any of the individual issues, and so I had a fairly detailed path to get to where we are now.

What’s been hard has been getting it all to fit in to just 5 issues. It just wasn’t enough to tell the story I wanted to tell, and to give the characters the depth I wanted to provide. So, we came up with the idea of the extra content in the back of each issue in order to help flesh out the world of IDOLIZED, and I’ve really enjoyed being able to work on those. But, as we came down to these final two issues, I came to realize that I really needed more space to do the story justice, so issue 5 is going to be 32 pages instead of the standard 20. I wish we could’ve had even more space than that, but I think we’ve done a really solid job of creating an entire world, and telling an epic story, in just 5 issues.

GU: Although we know Joule will be facing off against Stasis will we be seeing a resolve to Joule’s character? Especially with her conflicting emotions of revenge and redemption?

DBS: Yes, there’s definitely a resolution there. We absolutely get to see a full arc with Joule. Now, whether or not she’s able to maintain her new-found equilibrium in Volume 2 is another story…

GU: With this being the final part of volume one, how is looking for volume two?

DBS: No definite start date yet (we’re all focused on Aspen’s big 10-for-10 initiative at the moment). But we’re all hoping to be able to continue the franchise long into the future. I’ve definitely got some ideas for what numerous future storylines would look like. Between the Top 10 contestants, the judges, the Protectors, and all of the other dozens of characters we’ve introduced in volume 1, there are an unlimited number of stories we could tell, and lots of opportunities for meaningful social commentary, humor, drama and emotion.

GU: If Idolized continues will it focus on the character of Joule or will this be a like a television show and next volume also be next season?

DBS: Let’s just say that those two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive concepts. It may just be both…

Preview Pages from Issue #5:

All Images © Aspen Comics. 
> ADVANCED REVIEW: Idolized #4
> Interview: David Schwartz on Idolized from August 2012 

Aspen Comics Unveils Full Slate of “10 for 10” titles and Jam Poster

As we enter the New Year not only will Micheal Turner’s Fathom be celebrating 15 years, Aspen Comics will also be hitting the 10-year-old mark and as part of this celebration Aspen will be launching ten issue #1’s with each issue only being $1. The full list of titles and release dates are as follows:

Here’s the order as they’re listed below along with their corresponding launch month: Legend of the Shadow Clan (February), Shrugged (March), Jirni (April), Charismagic volume 2 (May), BubbleGun (June), The All New Fathom (July), Awaken Skies/Overtaken (August), Executive Assistant: Iris volume 4 (September), Trish Out of Water (October) and All New Soulfire (November).

Jam Poster Layout
Aspen “10 for 10” Jam Poster © Aspen Comics

To add the this celebration Aspen also be introducing several initiatives in store and online. Fans will be able to obtain special “Reserved Editions” by adding the “10 for 10” titles to their pulllist. Fans who purchase all ten of the “10 for 10” releases will be eligible to receive “Perfect Tens” poster and “Reserved Edition”.

Fans will able to vote online and in-store via ballot boxes for their own adventure for August’s “10 for 10”  between two all new series: Awaken Skies and Overtaken.

Stay tuned to Geeks Unleashed for more news as it comes.


London Super Comic Convention – Fourth Wave of Creators Announced

Geeks Unleashed are pleased to announce the fourth wave of creators attending London Super Comic Con,  the following names have confirmed they will be attending at the Excel Centre in London on the 23rd and 24th February:


Dan Slott (Amazing Spider-Man), Neil Edwards (Fantastic Four), Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers), Jamie Mckelvie (Young Avengers), Simon Furman (Transformers: Regeneration One), Al Davidson (Doctor Who), Simon Davis (2000AD), Ian Edginton (2000AD), Adi Granov (Avengers), Erik Hendrix (Intrinsic), Peter Hogan (Resident Alien), Kevin Hopgood (2000AD), Frazer Irvine (Gutsville), John-Paul Bove (Transformers: ReGeneration 1), Marco Santucci (Secret Invasion), Ralph Tedesco (Se7en), Marco Turini (Squadron Supreme) and Chris Weston (The Authority).

> Interview with the Organisers of the London Super Comic Convention


PREVIEW: Harbinger #0

The Omega Age Begins in HARBINGER #0
Valiant have sent across preview pages issue #0 which goes on sale on 6th February 2013 by Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier) and  artists Mico Suayan (Batman: The Dark KnightThe Punisher) and Pere Pérez (Aquaman)! Harbinger came in at number 14 on Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Comics of 2012.
Long ago, in the aftermath of history’s first atomic holocaust, Toyo Harada discovered a vision for the perfect future – one that he has vowed to realize with or without the consent of the human race. With a private army of hyper-telekinetics at his side, this omega-powered harbinger of humanity’s potential has spent decades reshaping the world to conform to his will. Now here, for the very first time, witness the origin and rise to power of this malevolent mind that would destroy the Valiant Universe rather than see it slip through his fingers.
Cover by MICO SUAYAN (DEC121260)
Pullbox Exclusive Variant by CLAYTON HENRY & CLAYTON CRAIN (DEC121261)
Wraparound Gatefold Variant by LEWI

All Images Copyright Valiant Comics 

The Future of Marvel NOW! Is XX.

The Future of Marvel NOW! Is XX.

 Brian Wood.

Olivier Coipel.

April 2013

© Marvel

Looks like Marvel at it again with another with another one of their teasers. Taking a crazy guess I’d say Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel are launching their own X-Men title. Marvel has had a habit of releasing these and following them up a week later and revealing the answer to their teaser. So if this is an X-Title then what mutants are on the team why is there is DNA in the background? Perhaps this title will be something different from what Bendis is doing. Whatever the answer I’m looking forward to finding out.

Brian Wood’s the Massive recently made Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Comics of 2012.

Novel Review: Vortex (Tempest Book #2) by Julie Cross

©St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books
©St. Martin’s Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

You know, other than my classic novel reviews, I haven’t had many nice reviews to write lately. Unfortunately, I’ve just been reading a lot of unpolished coal. I mean, sure, there’s a diamond in there somewhere, but I don’t feel like getting my hands dirty with a book that’s already been published. So, if I get bored or am rolling my eyes too much, it’s going on the Maybe-I’ll-Finish-This-Some-Other-Time shelf. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened lately.

So, you can imagine what a breath of fresh air it was to read Julie Cross’ Vortex all the way through and enjoy it. I will say if I was to judge this book by the cover, I probably would have never touched it. In all honesty, I thought the cover was corny. Plus, I’m not a fan of real people on book covers. I mean, what if this is made into a movie? Are those the people who are going to play the actual characters? I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Okay, so you guys remember how I reviewed James Patterson’s Confessions of a Murder Suspect? So the protagonist in that was really smart and clever and her parents were loaded. These little details line up with the protagonist in Vortex. Both of them have little mysteries they have to solve. And in all honesty, I just want to throw James Patterson’s book in the fire. How is it that this is Julie’s second book and it was everything that Patterson’s wasn’t? Isn’t he the one that is supposed to be the big name author? Julie’s book kept me involved. I wanted to know what happened next. And on top of that, it was written in 1st person POV… and that protagonist is a guy! How many books are written from a guy’s point of view? Few. If I put these two books in a boxing match Patterson’s book would have been knocked out in round one.

Oh, and let’s discuss my favorite thing to nag writers about: cussing. Now, I’m not sure exactly where you’d classify this book genre wise… I mean, it read a lot like YA, but the content was above what I’d consider YA. So I guess maybe this is the budding “New Adult” genre. So, that being the case, it can get away with a lot more. I cannot stand it when someone puts cussing in a book and it has zero weight. What I mean by that is if you are gonna have a late teens or early 20’s kids say “fuck” it better hold some weight. Meaning I don’t really like seeing it in common conversation. Now, in Vortex this is handled beautifully. Cussing was used where it seemed relevant and necessary. You’d be surprised how often this is an issue with stuff I edit. Seriously.

Let me not forget Holly and Jackson. I’ll have to say that I was really glad I came into this series around book two because I was able to more wholly root for other members of the cast. If I had read book one and then read book two, I think I probably would have been a little disappointed how that whole Holly/Jackson thing played out.

Finally, I do have to note that the whole timeline vs. complete jump thing kind of confused me. Maybe had I been around for book one I’d get the plotline, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to really wrap my head around how events were really playing out. But, luckily for me, I was able to just realize that certain things had already happened somewhere/sometime else and it was usually explained why this was important. I think the ending would have been more climactic for me if I had been able to follow it better. But, this in no way stopped me from liking the book. It also never got confusing enough to put it down either.

So, all in all, good book. I’d recommend it. I loved Stewart and I loved Kendrick. (Two new female power houses.) Umm… what else? It feels weird not to be so snarky in my reviews. I kind of want to go around to every single book store and replace Confessions of a Murder Suspect with this book. It’s just better, so much better.

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