Friday, January 13, 2017

Mini-Comic-Review - The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 (of 6)

Name - The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 (of 6)
Published by - DC Comics
Written by - Cary Bates, Greg Weisman

Art by - Will Conrad

Coloring by - Ivan Nunes
Letters by - Saida Temofonte

Release Date: January 4, 2017
 
So, it's still Rebirth ongoing, and Dc has decided to bring back one of their lesser known superheroes Captain Atom. This title explores what really happened to Captain Atom and why we haven't heard from him in a while. Veteran Atom writer Cary Bates joins forces with Greg Weisman to tell the story of hero so powerful that he makes the humanity look fragile and what happens when such a hero gets ill leading him to face his imminent demise.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Best New English Light Novels of 2016

So, I start the 'best of the year' list with a relatively easy one. There were only about 10-15 new light novels that got released in English this year and I am going to just list the ones that I think are the best among these. Some might be familiar due to their recent or popular anime adaptations, others are just hidden gems that I think everyone should know about.

So, without more preamble, here is my list.

(PS: In no particular order of preference is this list created and only new series' that started being published in English for the first time were the main selection criteria.)



"Legend of Galactic Heroes"
Written by Yoshiki Tanaka
Translated by Daniel Hudleston
Published by Haikasoru (Viz Media)

“The Golden Brat” Reinhard von Lohengramm, a military prodigy and admiral of the Galactic Empire, has ambitions beyond protecting the borders or even defeating the Empire’s enemies. He seeks to overthrow the old order and become a truly absolute—yet benevolent—dictator. His rival, the humble Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance, wishes to preserve democracy even if he must sacrifice his political ideals to defeat the Empire. Their political and military battles play out over a galactic chessboard in an epic saga fifteen centuries in the making!



[ One of the hidden gems of Japanese sci-fi literature in my opinion, this finally got released in English after about 34 years of its original publication. Often compared to many well-known space operas and occasionally sited as influence this novel series hopefully will finally get the recognition it deserves on the western countries with these releases. I already got the first volume and ordered the second and third one as they got published from amazon.com through Shopr. A must read without a doubt for any lovers of science fiction. ]






"Baccano!"
Writen by Ryohgo Narita
Visual Art by Katsumi Enami
Translated by Taylor Engel
Published by Yen On

Aboard the Advenna Avis in 1711, a group of alchemists summon a demon in the hopes of gaining eternal life. The demon gives them an elixir of immortality and the method of ending their existence by "devouring" one another. Soon after, one among them begins to devour his companions. Realizing the danger posed by staying together, they scatter across the globe.
Centuries later in 1930's America, a certain federal investigator tries his best to combat the rise of organized crime during Prohibition, send a particularly infuriating terrorist to Alcatraz, and catch an outrageous thief duo. Meanwhile, the transcontinental train, the Flying Pussyfoot, begins its trail of blood across the country.
In 2002, a small group of the original Advenna Avis alchemists are on a journey to find the rest of their fellow immortals. However, there is one companion they did not expect to meet again.
Seemingly unrelated events, from a sleepy Italian city in the early 1700's to a modern luxury cruise ship traveling across the Pacific, reveal themselves to be far more connected than anyone could imagine...   


[ Baccano! has a hugely successful anime adaptation and I myself liked it immensely. I still remember the confusion on watching the first 3 or 4 episodes, then the start of the adrenaline rush and the exciting journey up to the end. Immediately after completing the anime I found out that it was based on a light novel. Imagine my disappointment finding out there was no official translation yet. And now, finally imagine my pure and unadulterated joy finding out that Yen Press is starting to publish the series on English on 2016. Already 3 volumes are out in English and I cannot but recommend fellow lovers of fiction to start the journey sooner rather than later. ]








"Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-" 
Written by Tappei Nagatsuki
Illustrated by Shinichirou Otsuka
Translated by ZephyrRz 
Published by Yen On

Subaru Natsuki was just trying to get to the convenience store but wound up summoned to another world. He encounters the usual things--life-threatening situations, silver haired beauties, cat fairies--you know, normal stuff. All that would be bad enough, but he's also gained the most inconvenient magical ability of all--time travel, but he's got to die to use it. How do you repay someone who saved your life when all you can do is die?


[ On the surface Re: Zero might seem like just another 'walking up in a fantasy world' light novel. But, while the setting might be quite unoriginal the content certainly isn't. And that is why it is one of the the most watched anime of 2016. The strength of the story is the beautifully crafted realistic characters which are really hard to find these days on anime. And the twists due to Subaru's unique ability keeps the reader guessing what to expect next. Specially recommended for the fans of this specific genre, as well as people interested in fantasy based thrillers or interesting characters. ]



"My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected"
Written by Watari Wataru
Illustrated by Ponkan 8
Translated by Jennifer Ward
Published by Yen On

Hachiman Hikigaya is a cynic. "Youth" is a crock, he believes--a sucker's game, an illusion woven from failure and hypocrisy. But when he turns in an essay for a school assignment espousing this view, he's sentenced to work in the Service Club, an organization dedicated to helping students with problems in their lives! How will Hachiman the Cynic cope with a job that requires--gasp!--optimism?

[ I'll be honest, I am totally biased about this series and been meaning to get my hands on the English Language release from even before its date of publication was ever announced. Hachiman in my opinion is a gem of a character and deserves as much recognition as possible. The other characters as well as the humor is top notch as well. I already have the first volume which I got from amazon.com and will probably buy the rest as soon as it gets published. I would recommend this to any fans of slice-of-life, but to those who are new to these one I would recommend checking out the anime first to get introduced to the cast. ]
   

Friday, January 6, 2017

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - December 2016

There are only two books on the list for the last month of 2016. Yes, you heard me right, only 2 books. It is such a month.
But, fortunately or unfortunately I missed a bunch of books from November on that month's list (seriously what the hell was I doing), and I have mentioned them here.

"The Knife Slipped" by Erlc Stanley Gardner
THE LOST DETECTIVE NOVEL
BY THE CREATOR OF PERRY MASON!
At the time of his death, Erle Stanley Gardner was the best-selling American author of the 20th century, and world famous as the creator of crusading attorney Perry Mason. Gardner also created the hardboiled detective team of Cool and Lam, stars of 29 novels published between 1939 and 1970—and one that’s never been published until now.
Lost for more than 75 years, THE KNIFE SLIPPED was meant to be the second book in the series but got shelved when Gardner’s publisher objected to (among other things) Bertha Cool’s tendency to "talk tough, swear, smoke cigarettes, and try to gyp people." But this tale of adultery and corruption, of double-crosses and triple identities —however shocking for 1939—shines today as a glorious present from the past, a return to the heyday of private eyes and shady dames, of powerful criminals, crooked cops, blazing dialogue, and delicious plot twists.
Donald Lam has never been cooler—not even when played by Frank Sinatra on the U.S. Steel Hour of Mystery in 1946. Bertha Cool has never been tougher. And Erle Stanley Gardner has never been better.


[ New book from Hard Case Crime, and a never before published pulp from a great author, seems like a must read to me. ]

"Fabius Bile: Primogenitor" by Joshua Reynolds
Exiled into the depths of the Eye of Terror for his dark deeds, former Emperor's Children Apothecary Fabius is drawn back to the Imperium in search of a secret that could be the key to saving his misbegotten life…
He is known by many names - Clonelord, Manflayer, Primogenitor. He is the epitome of deceit and perversion, and feared by man and monster alike. Once the Chief Apothecary of the Emperor's Children, the madman known as Fabius Bile possesses a knowledge of genetic manipulation second to none. Now a renegade among renegades, he is loathed by those he once called brother, and even the most degraded of Chaos Space Marines fear his name. Exiled for his dark experiments, Bile has retreated deep into the Eye of Terror, leaving a trail of twisted abominations in his wake. But when a former student brings word of the ultimate prize for the taking, Bile is unable to resist being drawn once more into the cauldron of war. For in seizing this prize, Fabius Bile might yet discover the one secret his has been unable to unlock... the secret which will prevent his inevitable doom.
It's the start of a brand new series of twisted tales from the mind of an author for whom depraved antiheroes are his bread and butter. And Fabius' vile experiments and complete lack of morality make for a deeply entertaining – albeit monstrously disturbing – tale.


[ Joshua Reynolds tells the tale of the chaos space marine Fabius Bile, count me in, I say. ] 
 

HERE ARE THE BOOKS I MISSED FROM NOVEMBER (SILLY ME!)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Wrath" by John Gwynne
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh.
Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he's to counter the threat Nathair represents.
His life hangs in the balance - and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.
 


"Warden of  The Blade" by David Annandale
Castellan Crowe of the Grey Knights bears a heavy burden – to carry the cursed Blade of Antwyr, a weapon imbued with dark power. For the first time, discover the origins of this dread task and why only Crowe can be the one to carry it out.
Castellan Crowe, Brotherhood Champion of the Purifier order of the Grey Knights, bears a heavy burden – to be the warden of the dread Blade of Antwyr. Its malevolent voice is forever in his head, trying to crack his resolve, urging him to unleash a power he must never use. The toll is terrible, and how long before the incorruptible Crowe is at last defeated? His harrowing task first began at Sandava II… Under the command of Castellan Gavallan, Crowe and his brother Purifiers bring purging flame to a daemonic incursion that threatens to consume the world. What awaits them is more insidious and more powerful than they imagine, and they must reckon too with the machinations of the Blade, as it seeks to destroy its guardian and drown the galaxy in blood.
It's a fascinating look at a compelling character, showcasing the duality of the purest of souls as he contends with the corrupting power of an artefact that could damn him and all he holds dear to utter ruination.


"The Beheading" by Guy Haley
The war is over and mankind is saved. But when war ends, politics takes over, and one man realises that the High Lords who nearly doomed the entire Imperium must be culled. It is time for the Beheading to begin…
Across the length and breadth of the galaxy, humankind celebrates its salvation, and relishes the prospect of a return to peace. But the war against the orks has riven the political bedrock of the Imperium, exposing its rotten core. One man, one powerful man, decides he has the solution, and launches a campaign of destruction so terrible that thousands of years later his actions will still be viewed with horror.
Throughout the series, the political machinations have been as fascinating and compelling as the all-out action – and now it's time for that to take centre stage as assassination and plotting takes over from brutal combat.
 


"The Master of Mankind" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
As war splits the galaxy, the Emperor toils in the vaults beneath His Palace. But his great work is in peril, with the forces of Chaos closing in…
While Horus’ rebellion burns across the galaxy, a very different kind of war rages beneath the Imperial Palace. The ‘Ten Thousand’ Custodian Guard, along with the Sisters of Silence and the Mechanicum forces of Fabricator General Kane, fight to control the nexus points of the ancient eldar webway that lie closest to Terra, infested by daemonic entities after Magnus the Red’s intrusion. But with traitor legionaries and corrupted Battle Titans now counted among the forces of Chaos, the noose around the Throneworld is tightening, and none but the Emperor Himself can hope to prevail.
At last, the secrets of the Emperor's project beneath the Palace will be revealed, and you'll get a closer look at the Emperor Himself than ever before
 



[ So I missed four books last month. Three from black library promising great stuff from old series' and old favorite authors of mine. The other one is the last book of the critically acclaimed 'The Faithful and The Fallen' series by John Gwynne. All should be very fun reads indeed. ]  

December 2016 New Comics To Watch For

Ah, last month, last new comics of the year list. May be until the best of the year list (if I ever get around to doing it anyways), here goes -

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #1
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art and Cover by Jason Fabok
The first major event storyline of DC’s Rebirth era begins with a day Amanda Waller always knew would come: the Justice League discovers the existence of the Suicide Squad! This government-sponsored black-ops team of super-villains with bombs implanted in their brains is obviously a deal-breaker for Earth’s paragons of truth and justice! But you can bet that the Wall and her Task Force X won’t go down without the fight to end all fights as this weekly series gets underway!

MOTOR CRUSH #1
Written by Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart
Art and Cover by Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart
The team behind the critically acclaimed revamp of Batgirl returns with an exciting sci-f iaction-adventure series! By day, Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush. Featuring Part One of ISOLA: PROLOGUE by BRENDEN FLETCHER and KARL KERSCHL!


DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE #1
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Trevor Hairsine
Earth has a new god. The world you know is gone. Welcome to the Stalinverse, comrade.

Welcome to the year 2017…where the Soviet Union has spent decades as the world’s reigning superpower and the Iron Curtain now encircles a planet riddled with war, strife, and oppression. Freedom is a thing of the past in the Stalinverse… So why can’t Russian intelligence officer Colin King shake the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong? He’ll put his freedom and life on the line to uncover the truth… Even if that means finding out whatever happened to the long-missing cosmonaut Abram Adams – the one man who just might hold the key to unraveling the dystopian world of today…

THE MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #0
Written by Margaret Stohl
Art by Ramon Rosanas
Behold the mightiest, fightiest super hero there is! Captain Marvel returns to her helm as Alpha Flight commander with the world cheering her on. She’s the biggest hero in the world – but has Captain Marvel become someone Carol Danvers no longer recognizes? New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Black Widow: Forever Red) makes her comics series debut in a blockbuster Marvel story decades in the making.


HULK #1
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Nico Leon
JENNIFER WALTERS has survived the Civil War…barely…and having risen from the rubble, she re-enters the world a different kind of hero. Fueled by a quiet rage, she is determined to move forward, to go on with her life, but the pain of the past and all she’s lost is always there – an undercurrent, a pulse, waiting to quicken and trigger Jen’s transformation into the one thing she doesn’t have control over…


HAWKEYE #1
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Leonardo Romero
Remember Hawkeye? No not that Hawkeye, our favorite Hawkeye, the chick who puts the hawk in Hawkeye, the butt-kicking hero who had to save the other Hawkeye’s butt all the time. Yup, you know her, it’s the dazzling Kate Bishop making her solo comics debut! Kate is heading west and returning to Los Angeles, with her bow and arrow and P.I. badge in tow. There are crimes to solve and she’s the best archer to handle ‘em! The City of Angels has a new guardian angel.
The talented duo of Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Jem) and Leonardo Romero (Squadron Supreme, Doctor Strange) bring you a Kate Bishop like you’ve never seen her before, in a brand-new ongoing series that really hits the mark!

ROCKET RACCOON #1
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Jorge Coelho
GROUNDED!
From the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket has found himself stuck in the LAST place he wants to be—the backwards, no-class, pit of a planet called Earth. It’s where those dumb furry things people say he looks like are from! One thing is clear—it doesn’t matter who or what gets in his way…he’s gotta get off this mudball, NOW. Easier said than done.


STAR-LORD #1
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art and Cover by Kris Anka
GROUNDED!
Peter Quill might have been born on Earth, but he’s been away a LONG time. How does a man go from soaring through the stars as the legendary Star-Lord to living with his feet planted firmly on the ground? What kind of job options are available for a guy whose CV mostly consists of “guarding the galaxy”? One thing is certain, Earth has a new guardian. Also, a new bartender.

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art and Cover by Kev Walker
From superstar writer Kieron Gillen (Darth Vader) and fan-favorite artist Kev Walker (Marvel Zombies) comes Marvel's first ongoing series starring an original character created in the comics! Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If he ever learns of her survival, he'll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it's time for a return to what she does best. With the droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 in tow, she's off in search of rare artifacts from the galactic center to the Outer Rim and everywhere in between. Aphra's got debts to pay after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some Bounty Hunters and just about everyone else in the galaxy!




[A really nice month this seems. I, like most people, is very excited about the first real crossover from DC rebirth ('Night of the Monster men' doesn't really count in my book), called 'Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad'. Also, 'Divinity III' from Valiant Comics does seem intriguing to say the least. And who can count out the very promising new ongoing series' from Marvel. As matter of fact, I think December really rocks in terms of new comics.] 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Aaaaaaaand, the "New Year" post

So, this is the first week of a new year. I, hereby pledge to be much more active on my blog this year (at least way more active than I was for the last couple of years).

I will be getting more and more stuff from amazon.com this year through various third party services (like Shopr, backpackbang, BDBox etc.). So, I expect much more reading and reviewing as a whole. I hope to restart my campaign on ARC reviews through netgalley, robot army and various other methods that I used to use in the past.

And finally I hope to post a lot of lists regarding the 'best of 2016' in the next couple of months, starting with the first one before the end of this week hopefully.

Wish me luck guys.
 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

December 2016 New PC Games To Watch For

Here comes the last month of the years' lists. Let's start with the PC games.

Dead Rising 4
Dead Rising 4 is an open world survival horror beat 'em up video game developed by Capcom Vancouver and published by Microsoft Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. It was announced at Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference on June 13, 2016. It features the return of Frank West, and is set in a Christmas-themed Willamette, Colorado. The game was released worldwide on December 6, 2016.






 
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a stealth-oriented real-time tactics video game, with a gameplay similar to the Commandos and Desperados series. It is a hardcore tactical stealth game set in Japan around the Edo period. Take control of a team of deadly specialists and sneak in the shadows between dozens of enemies. Choose your approach when infiltrating mighty castles, snowy mountain monasteries or hidden forest camps. Set traps, poison your opponents or completely avoid enemy contact. The game was released on December 6, 2016 and received three German Developer Awards (best German game, best PC/console game, best game design).


Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator
Carrying on the legacy from 1998, comes the next addition to the "Guilty Gear" series! All visuals have been tweaked to the finest detail and hand-polished by the animation masters to produce the top quality hand-drawn anime effect! Game contents revamped to provide for gamers of all skill levels, you cannot miss out on this one! Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- was announced for the third quarter of 2015 for release on arcades, starting at a test location in June. It was released for Japanese arcades on August 25, 2015. PC version as released on Steam on December 14, 2016.




Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
Shantae embarks on her first full HD adventure! When a mysterious crime wave sweeps Sequin Land, it’s up to Half-Genie Hero Shantae to save the day! Use Shantae’s devastating Hair-Whip Attack to send monsters flying, or Belly Dance to transform into a more powerful creature form! Topple the masterminds behind each criminal caper and prepare for the ultimate showdown against Shantae’s arch nemesis - the bodacious buccaneer Risky Boots! It is the fourth game in the Shantae series, following Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. The game was released in December 20, 2016.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier
This is an episodic graphic adventure game based on Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic book series developed by Telltale Games. It is Telltale's third season of its The Walking Dead series, with the first two episodes released on December 20, 2016. The game employs the same narrative structure as the past seasons, where player choice in one episode will have a permanent impact on future story elements.











["Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun" looks so damn good and promises return of an almost forgotten genre; the latest 'Guilty Gear' game gets released for PC. These are the highlights for me.]

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - November 2016

A month with a scarcity of titles that I am really interested in. But then again, not every month can be prolific, right?

"The Burning Light" by Bradley P. Bieulieu & Rob Ziegler
Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.
A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.
A thrilling and all-too believable science fiction novella from the authors of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai and Seed.


[This one seems like an interesting little novella, and I do have my faith or Tor.com, so...]

"Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation" Edited/Translated by Keu Liu
Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards; some have been included in various 'Year's Best' anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken's personal favorites. Many of the authors collected here (with the obvious exception of Liu Cixin) belong to the younger generation of 'rising stars'.
In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore Chinese science fiction. Liu Cixin's essay, The Worst of All Possible Universes and The Best of All Possible Earths, gives a historical overview of SF in China and situates his own rise to prominence as the premier Chinese author within that context. Chen Qiufan's The Torn Generation gives the view of a younger generation of authors trying to come to terms with the tumultuous transformations around them. Finally, Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D. issued for the study of Chinese SF, asks What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?
   


[Translated stories from China should be quite good, and 'Ken Liu' is someone who has amazed me in the past.]

"Dominion" by Peter Mclean
In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth elementals are dying. Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to.
Enter Don Drake, diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie. When the Matriarch tells Don that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job.
Bianakith is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the elementals and bringing down the city.
But the Burned Man has other plans, and those may have dire consequences for everyone.
The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.



[Second book in 'The Burned Man' series, and I am a diligent little member of the 'Robot Army' still.]

"The Iron Beast" by Andy Remic
A war is being waged in an impossible world.
The Skogsgra and the Naravelle have launched their final offensive, and Private Jones and his companions are caught in the melee.
Tens of thousands will die before the battle is over.
They travel deep underground, to find and release the Iron Beast... the one creature that can end not one world war, but two.
But at what cost . . . ?
The Iron Beast is the high-octane conclusion to Remic’s phenomenal Song For No Man’s Land trilogy.
 


[The charismatic Andy Remic writes the concluding part of another trilogy, I can't wait to devour the whole series.]