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Member Since 22 Apr 2011
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Topics I've Started

Dark Horse Should re-publish the Marvel Graphic Novels

03 April 2015 - 08:41 PM

I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this.  But, wouldn't it be great if Dark Horse remastered the Marvel Conan graphic novels from the '80's and '90's and republished them as a set in a single hardback?  I'd sure buy it.  I think there were seven graphic novels total, including the rare one done by John Buscema.

 

The Witch Queen of Acheron

 

Conan The Reaver

 

Conan of the Isles

 

The Skull of Set

 

The Horn of Azoth

 

Conan the Rogue

 

The Ravagers Out of Time


The Activity

22 March 2015 - 08:31 PM

Anybody familiar with The Activity?  It's a damn cool book.  I just finished the first trade (first five issues), and I really liked it.  I bought the other two trades.
 
The Activity refers to Intelligence Support Activity, ISA.  This is what the Army calls spying.  The book is about Team Omaha, a Full Black SpecOps team that is charged with cleaning up other people's messes (mopping up after the CIA) and targeting HVT's (High Value Targets).
 
If the introduction is to be believed, the neat spy and military equipment used in the stories are supposed to be real.
 
These first five stories really don't have an ongoing, connecting story (which I'm hoping will come).  These first five tales serve to introduce the team members and highlight the types of missions that Team Omaha does.  Even though it is episodic so far, I can see one story thread starting to emerge.  Somebody is watching the Team--some other agency.  Indicators are that its the CIA, but who knows at this point.
 
I've got a question, though, for any of you familiar with the book.
 
Issue #2 (Chapter Two in the first Volume):  Team Omaha is charged with regaining a captured American operative that disappeared six months ago and was presumed dead.  Turns out, Al Aqsa (I'm guessing a made-up Muslim Extremist Terror Organization) has him alive and is going to trade the operative for weapons with....we don't know who.
 
Here's my question.  The Team goes in.  They tranq the Al Aqsa guards.  Find the operative.  Then, kill the operative!  Spray some acid stuff on him to disfigure his face.  And take off.
 
Nobody in the team seems to care that they just killed a brother American (and operative--Team Omaha knows the guy).  Not even the new girl on Team Omaha, code name Fiddler, seems to have a problem with what they just did.  In fact, she engages in a prank with a Signals team.
 
Did I miss something?
 
I understand why they tranqed the guards.  They want to see where the trail leads for the arms deal.
 
And, I understand why they might kill the operative, if the info on the arms deal was paramount (and it'd better be nukes or chemical/biological weapons, because they just sacrificed an American soldier for the chance of the trail).  But no one--NO BODY--seems upset or distraught over doing the deed.
 
Thoughts?
 
 
 
ken-nolan-developing-the-activity-comic-

Battlestar Galactica Marvel Style

08 February 2015 - 10:30 PM

I'm taking a trip down Memory Lane and bought the original Marvel run of Battlestar Galactica that was published int he late 70's along side the original TV program.  The comic ran for about two years (23 issues), which is a year longer than the TV series ran.
 
The book follows the series closely for the first several issues.  Issues 1-3 cover the 3 hour premier movie where we see the devastating Cylon attack and the destruction of the Colonial Fleet and the Tweleve Colonies.  The Galactica survives and retreats to the remote planet of Carillon (where the indigs have a taste for human flesh).
 
Issues 4 and 5 follow the series' 1st and 2nd episodes (after the three hour pilot) that completes the series set-up:  Commander Adama discovers a planet at the end of a trackless void in space.  It is the planet Kobol, the birthplace of the Human Race.  There, in the ruined tombs, he finds a history of the Thirteen Tribes of Mankind.  Twelve of them, of course, stayed together, eventually settling the Twelve Colonies.  But, the Thirteenth Tribe went its own way, to some other Galaxy, settling on a planet called Earth.
 
But, the Cylons catch up with the rag-tag fleet, and the stone-carved history is destroyed right before the Commander's eyes.
 
On episode 4 of the TV series, we see the first stand-alone, non-major-plot story.  It's a story about story about Apollo landing, alone, on a farming world where a damaged Cylon called "Red Eye" is the town bully.  The episode has an Old West vibe, Apollo vs. the Cylon, reluctant hero vs. the evil gunslinger.
 
But the comic...
 
This is what I think is cool and why I wrote this post.
 
The comic strays from the TV show on issue 6, and the story it tells is MUCH, MUCH BETTER than what we were given with the original TV show.
 
There's lots of story arcs (which is unlike Marvel at the time where most comics were single-issue stories).  With issue 6, the Battlestar comic sees Adama go into this giant tank--kind of a sensory deprivation tank--that the Colonial Military uses for interrogations.  The goal is to search deep into Adama's memory in order to recapture the history of the Thirteenth Tribe that the Commander saw carved in the rock on Kobol.  Not only is this a cool and interesting continuation of the Battlestar story, but, as it will later prove, is also a great story telling device to go back in time and tell stories set decades before the Cylon Attack.
 
In fact, that's exactly what is done two issues later as we see a young Captain Adama and a young Lieutenant Tigh sent on a mission by their Commander (Commander Raynon of the Battlestar Galactica!) to Scorpia.  Not only is it damn interesting to see life on another of the Twelve Colonies besides Caprica, the writers out-did themselves by making Scorpia unique.  They could have easily just made Scorpia a clone of Caprica, but instead, Scorpians have embraced Artificial Intelligence (where Adama mentions that the Capricans have suppressed and even outlawed AI to some degree).  
Robots serve in just about every capacity on Scorpia, from menial tasks, to police and military, to lots of other uses.
 
The ending of this story on Scorpia is brilliant (and much more engaging, I have to say, than the TV series) where Adama, Tigh, and the Scorpian Delegate to the Council of Twelve run into a Cylon probing squadron who shoot down the Delegate's shuttle.  Crashed, on a non-settled world, Adama and Tigh prepare defenses for the inevitable Cylon ground attack.  But, the Scorpians will not fight.  They will not join Adama and Tigh in their own defense, instead relying on the shuttle's security bots to make a defense.
 
And, make a defense they do.  The Scorpian security robots fight well but are just out-numbered by the Cylons.
 
Cornered rats, Adama and Tigh have no choice.  The two of them are all that's left, and they rush out to meet the oncoming Cylons, two against many, the only defense the Scorpian Delegate has left.
 
At that moment, the Scorpian Delegate throws off its robe to reveal itself to be--surprise, surprise--a robot!  Up until this point, the Delegate has only be shown in a hooded robe--the face lost in the darkness of the large hood.  Even the Scorpians did not know that their Delegate to the Council of Twelve was a robot--that highest political figure of the Scorpian Colony was a robot!
 
The Delegate rushes out to defend its people, and it too, is destroyed by the Cylons.
 
This is what is takes to enrage the remaining Scorpians.  They pick up blasters off the dead and rush to support Adama and Tigh.
 
When the smoke clears, every example of AI, both Cylon and Scorpian, lies in clumps on the ground.  Adama and Tigh....and the bravery of the robot Scorpian Delegate...have saved the day.
 
I loved this story so much because, not only did the Scorpians learn something about relying too heavily on Artificial Intelligence, but Adama, who holds Caprican prejudices against AI machines, also learns something from the  Delegate who gave what it knows as it's own life to save its people.
 
Great fraking story!
 
And, much, much better than what we're given on the TV show.
 
Plus, all of this is wrapped up in a larger story where Councilor Uri (from the Rising Star) attempts to replace Adama as Commander of the Fleet while Adama remains helpless inside the Memory Machine.
 
Uri's plan?  The Fleet can only move as fast as its slowest vessel.  So, Uri wants to collect his followers and allies aboard the Galactica and simply jump out, leaving the rest of the Fleet to defend itself as best it can.  Uri and his lackeys will have the best chance of survival in the Battlestar, alone, without any of the civilian baggage to slow them down. 
 
For Battlestar fans, this is a story that I wish I had seen filmed.
 
Good stuff!

The Legend of Conan by Robert E. Howard

10 January 2015 - 02:26 AM

Just saw this at Amazon.  Publication date is August 1, 2015

 

 

 

The Legend of Conan by Robert E. Howard


D&D article in Boston Globe

02 January 2015 - 04:51 PM

Playing D&D includes gaming in Conan's universe, in my book.  Check out this article in the Boston Globe about the resurgence of the game, due to the Fifth Edition.

 

Click Here.