Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I'll miss you, Adam West.

*This is a commentary from guest writer Kelly C. on the passing of legendary Batman actor Adam West*

So, Adam West died a couple of weeks ago. I cried when I initially read the news, and I cried again every time I saw another article about it, or every time a friend texted to ask how I was doing. (What can I say, my love of Adam West and affirmation of him as the one true Batman is fairly well known.) Basically, I cried a lot, and I felt ridiculous for doing so. I mean, why should it matter to me, really? Which led me to wonder, why do we get so upset about the deaths of celebrities anyway? The vast majority of us can’t claim to have known them as actual humans beings, we only know them as an image, usually one they have created. Even celebrities that are very open with the public have at least some part of their life that remains behind closed doors. I can say that I had the pleasure of meeting Adam West at a comic-con once, along with countless other fans that weekend. That doesn’t mean that I can claim that he was a friend, or an acquaintance, or even a friend of a friend of a friend. So why do I care?

The answer, I think is simple. I don’t feel like I’m blowing the lid off of any huge secret by writing about it, it’s just something I realized during my day-long Batman marathon. We don’t mourn a celebrity because of who they were. We mourn them because of who they were to us. We’re sad because we remember how they made us feel or what they meant to us. Maybe we even saw a little of ourselves in them or vice versa. And when they’re gone, that’s gone.

Take Carrie Fisher as an example. When she died last year, it was a blow to fans everywhere. And there are a thousand reasons why. Her very open struggles and advocacy for mental health made her a relatable figure for innumerable people. But she’s best known, of course, as Leia. What she accomplished in Star Wars was to give a face to a role that represented strength and independence while still being feminine. She taught women over the past 40 years that a princess doesn’t have to relegate herself to being a damsel in distress, that instead a princess can take matters into her own hands and shape her own future. It was a defining role that showed that a female can do or be anything. People remembered her for those achievements and the fact that she empowered multiple generations, not so much for who she was in day to day life. With any kind of fandom, that’s how it is.

So after all that, why am I sad about Adam West? Well, here’s what he meant to me. I remember watching Batman with my uncles during the summer months in New York and being absolutely fascinated. It was as much a bonding experience with them as it was entertainment. Adam West was so confident and serious, it’s easy to believe that he had no idea how campy the entire show was, and that’s just part of what made it so much FUN! To this day I can put on an episode of the series, laugh just as hard as the first time, and probably spot some new gag as well. It’s hard to explain how much Batman was a part of my childhood. I also remember when I found out that an entire Batman universe existed outside of that show…and how little I cared about that. Adam West was Batman, pure and simple. Every role he took on for the rest of his years had a touch of the same insanity that he brought to the show, all the way up to the Mayor of Quahog. (It’s my personal belief that he may actually have been just a touch insane, but since we weren’t friends, I’ll never know.)

 I have plenty of memories and all the places they take me back to, but their creator is gone. And for that reason, I cried. It’s been a couple of weeks, but if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch more Batman now.

Monday, May 1, 2017

8th Edition rumor round-up 5/1

A lot of things about when 8th edition is going to hit and what it will contain have been floating around the web this weekend. Here's a collection of what's what but as with all rumors, take with applicable salt:

"Day one any beyond:

June 10th launch, they’re going to drip feed us rumors for the rest of  May.  Expect to see full Space Marine datasheets sometime around the end of next week, with a couple of fluff pieces talking about how the galaxy got ripped in half and how all the marines got taller.

For those of you who are saving your pennies, here’s what the launch schedule looked like so far.

About 1-2 weeks beforehand all 7th edition exclusive products are being pulled from stores for good. Codex’s, Rulebooks, Dark Vengeance, not the new campaign books such as Gathering Storm [since] those are still fluff pieces, but expect those to become much harder to find.

Then on day 1:  5 new, free soft cover/PDFs launch with all the core 8th edition rules.

They are:
The Rules:  Containing your prophesized 12 pages of core rules, plus outlines for open play and the 14 universal FoC, ranging from 1 HQ and 1 Troop choice = 1 command point allies to massive 20+ slot charts that grants a fist full of command.  The new force org charts are pitched as a great way  [to] customize your army, one of them is a big guns esq 1 troop/HQ 5+ Heavy support, but really they’re just designed to scale command points to game size.

A few of the wilder ones, such as the aforementioned big guns list, have restrictions and special rules that might sway players one way or the other in terms of army composition, but the more well-rounded ones grant the most command points (which are such a big deal. I cannot stress this enough, proper use of command points can make or break strategies), and the real meat and potatoes special rules granting armies are going to be built from the FoC structures found in your army codex, once they bring those back.

The free PDF version of the following books will be sectioned up amongst
faction lines, but the paper ones are going to be the mash-ups listed below.

Armies of the Imperium: Exactly what it says on the cover, a splash of lore
and datasheets for every imperial unit in the game.

Armies of chaos:  The spiky version of the above.

Armies of Xenos: Split up among proper faction lines (Eldar, Tau, Necron, Nids), and containing datasheets and rules for the rest.

A galaxy in flames:  Art and fluff book.  Brings everyone up to speed on the setting, pushing the story forward by a few weeks and setting up the opening of a AoS style narrative campaign."

The battle tome will become the template for the codex, not the other way around.  Each dex will get the special army wide rules, 6-12 relics, 6 warlord traits, and 6 psychic powers, only now it’s written that you can chose to ether select or roll on warlord/psychic charts.  It will also contain full rules and points for all the old and new units in a given army, and special rules for things like warbands, campaigns, narrative missions and the like.

Formations are back, but they cost points now, and so are decurons, but they will be a lot more flexible and take cues from their AoS counterparts

And then there was some speculation on what the starter would contain:

"Starter Set
The starter set goes live the 17th and is going to be Death Guard Vs. Ultramarines, $120 box.  Chaos gets a blob of cultists, a few terminators, a few plague marines, a lord, and drones.  Loyalists get 2 tactical squads, a devastator, an assault squad, plus a librarian and a captain.  Comes with dice and rulers as well.

In addition, there will be the standard soft cover core rules booklet and a small campaign book.  The campaign book has the stats for all the dudes in the box, plus a series of narrative missions that set up the ground floor for the first real story arc of the new edition."
There was also the video GW released yesterday that seems to confirm the thought debunked rumor that we were going to get larger marine models:

All interesting stuff. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Catching up on comics: Inhumans vs. X-Men #1-6 review

After the destruction of a Terrigen Bomb by Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans, two separate clouds have been drifting randomly over the Earth. Much like the original Terrigen Mists, the Terrigen Clouds grant anyone with dormant Inhuman genes fantastic new powers. It is discovered not long after that the Terrigen Clouds are poisonous to mutants, not just causing a terrible disease called "m-pox" but also neutralizing the x-gene in humans which would effectively destroy the mutant population in a generation. Because of their need to destroy the Terrigen Clouds, the mutants of the Marvel universe are fighting the Inhumans so that the clouds can be destroyed and future mutantkind preserved. The Inhumans, who rely on the cloud in order to produce more Inhumans, are fighting to save it.

Thus, Inhumans vs. X-men was born!

The extra sized Issue #1 starts off with Hank McCoy lamenting the death of Scott Summers (if you want to know more about that, read this) at his graveside. Beast then heads to a meeting of the general leaders of mutant-kind at this point: Forge, Magneto, Storm, Rouge, Emma Frost, the younger Hank McCoy, Magik, and the older version of Logan. The older McCoy reveals to the group that they are out of time in finding a solution to the Terrigen Cloud problem. The clouds are about to entirely dissipate into the atmosphere, making Earth inhospitable to mutants in two weeks.  During the discussion of what to do next, Emma Frost reveals to McCoy that the mutant's plan to strike back has already begun. When Beast attempts to warn the Inhumans, he is hit by a bolt of lightening from Storm. She then reveals that the plan to attack was, in part, hers. Black Bolt is taken out by Dazzler and Emma Frost at the Quiet Room, Lockjaw is teleported away and drugged by Fantomex, the young Jean Grey is sent to distract Karnak as long as possible, Magneto takes out the Inhuman's flying fortress, and the issue ends with a massive group of X-Men moving to assault the Inhuman stronghold of New Attilan.

Issue #2 opens with New Attilan's preparations for the incoming X-Men attack. The fight then starts in earnest, with Magik teleporting various main Inhumans away from the fight: to Limbo. A few of the younger Inhumans manage to escape, Iso and Inferno, though they have to fight through Sabertooth, X-23, and the younger version of Angel. With the last minute help of Eldrac, they teleport to the site of a machine that will destroy one of the two Terrigen Clouds. It just happens to be guarded by Old Man Logan.

In Issue #3, Iso and Inferno split up to try and destroy the machine that will destroy one of the Terrigen Clouds. Inferno takes the fight to Logan, Iso heads off to confront Forge. Iso incapacitates Forge and destroys the machine and Inferno manages to temporarily stop Old Man Logan. Iso and Inferno call on the help of Ms. Marvel (the Inhuman one) to gather a group of Inhumans together to fight back against the mutants at New Attillan. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Mosaic, Quake, Reader, Grid, and Synapse. Karnak finally manages to break out of Jean Grey's mental trap but finds himself still far from the fight in the other dimension known as The World with Fantomex there to assist the young Ms. Grey. The Inhumans trapped in Limbo begin to formulate an escape.

Issue #4 beings with Reader teleporting Mosaic to Muir Island to infiltrate the X-Men base and find out the Mutant plan by reading Magneto's mind. Mosaic succeeds in finding out what the Mutants are up to but Magneto, long ago trained to fight off psychics, kicks Mosaic out of his mind. Mosaic then Jumps into young Cyclops' mind and escapes in a Blackbird. Meanwhile in Limbo, the Inhumans led by Medusa and Johnny Storm escape their prison and begin an assault on the X-mansion located there in hopes of finding Black Bolt. Colossus, on guard at the mansion, has other ideas. The mind controlled Cyclops lands in New Jersey to find the group of NuHumans led by Iso and Inferno. He reports that the Royal Family of Inhumans is trapped in limbo and then reveals the truth behind the Mutant's attack on the Terrigen Cloud: that it is about to cause the death of all Mutants on Earth. Ms. Marvel asks "Who are the good guys?"

In Issue #5 Fantomex, Jean Grey, and Karnak continue to duke it out in The World. In the Limbo home of the X-Men Gorgon and Colossus fight as the rest of the Inhuman Royals look for Black Bolt. They find him guarded by Havok, the brother of Scott Summers. In an emotional speech, Havok says he could kill Black Bolt for the death of Cyclops, but he won't yet hints that it isn't for the reason they suspect. back in New Jersey, Forge is awake and explaining the workings of the Terrigen Eater to Iso and Moon Girl. Moon Girl comes up with a miniature version of the one that was previously destroyed so that it can be moved to where the Terrigen Cloud is. They head to Ennilux to use the facilities there to construct the new Terrigen Eater but come across the X-Men leaders and a fight breaks out. Karnak and Lockjaw are found, and leave to find the battle just like Colossus and Havok leave Limbo to do. The issue ends with Magneto dropping the Blackbird on everyone.

Issue #6 has all X-Men and Inhumans assembled in Iceland for the climactic final fight for the future of the Terrigen Clouds. Emma Frost reveals to Rouge that this was always about killing the Inhumans. As the battle heats up and the Inhumans seem to be losing ground, the NuHumans arrive with ships from Ennilux and the son of Black Bolt and Medusa, Ahura, through an approaching Terrigen Cloud. Iso tells Medusa that this fight has been one for the Mutant's survival, not just a petty conflict against the Inhumans. As the Terrigen Cloud rolls closer, Emma Frost prepares to die but Medusa uses the activation switch for Moon Girl's smaller Terrigen Eater to destroy the cloud just in time. Though the rest of the Mutant's consider the fight over Emma Frost is determined to tear the Inhumans down in Cyclops' memory. She activates Sentinels designed to kill Inhumans and a new fight begins. The first casualties are the three airships carrying the people from Ennilux which serves as a rally point for the X-Men and the Inhumans to work together to stop Frost. A mind controlled Magneto adds his force to Frost's destroying Cerebra. The battle rages on, Emma Frost and Medusa finally confronting each other. Before Medusa can kill Frost, Havok breaks the fight up.

In the aftermath, apologies are made to the older Hank McCoy. Emma Frost has gone to ground but is revealed to be wearing a helmet similar to Magneto's yet it pays homage to Cyclops' most recent cowl. Medusa laments the destruction of the Terrigen Clouds, an even that assuredly prevents any new Inhumans from being created, but is certain there is still a future for her people.

I liked this story, overall. Despite the familiar tropes of the "Marvel Team-up" where two sides are at first at odds then band together against a common foe it was a really interesting read. As with most of these events the final issue wrapped things up far to quickly for my tastes. Medusa leaves Johnny Storm without so much as an explanation and apparently goes right back into the arms of Black Bolt. She also abdicates the throne and places Iso in charge. The fight that Havok interrupts is used as the immediate cessation of the entire battle, so it is rather jarring to turn to the following page and see that things are already in the future some days or weeks later.

As there is simply too much to describe in these things, I urge you to go to seek out the issues or the trade and read the story in its entirety. For those that read the series, what did you think? What predictions do you have for the fate of Mutants and Inhumans? Please comment below and don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed!

Monday, April 24, 2017

All the news from the 8th Edition Q&A feed

After the long awaited and un-shocking reveal over the weekend that 40k 8th edition is coming, the Warhammer Community team had a live feed today to go over the FAQ they released and to answer questions live from we hungry gamers. Here is what I gleaned from the live feed:

Movement stat and Armor modifiers are doubly confirmed.
Vehicles lose armor values, will degrade over time like in Age of Sigmar. Monsters too. (everything can hurt everything else) No stat is capped at 10. Bolters will be able to hurt tanks. Knights will doubtless have tons of wounds.

All models and scenery currently in 7th edition will receive rules.
Command points: there will be 14 force organization charts.
Each one generates a number of command points,
You can reroll a die. You can interrupt the initiative a charger gets for charging.
The command points will fit with the fluff of each army
You can only use one per phase.
Templates are going away!
5 books will come out at launch, containing rules for ALL THE ARMIES!
                Codexes will come out afterwards detailing each specific army.
Cities of death and other supplements will be updated

“This will be the most balanced edition we have ever had”
The three styles of play: Open, Narrative, and Pitched will be constantly refreshed just like the General’s Handbook in AoS

A Warhammer 40k app is in the works but won’t be ready at launch

The top three design goals were: “work for all three ways to play, hold up to the competitive aspect, make it far more accessible”
Wanted to make Chaos the big threat in the new edition and not in the background like previous editions.

There will be two different sets of point values:
Power level will focus on narrative play that covers a broad stroke on units (doesn’t worry about weapon loadouts)

Matched play pays for points per model and weapon as well as other gear just like we currently do.

New Factions we haven’t seen before will appear, some at launch!

Keyword will work in the units like Age of Sigmar, in an effort to nerf death stars and super friends. The example given was that marines and imperial guard won’t get to swap benefits because of their keywords.

They want close combat to be viable again and feel the rules support close combat armies just as much as shooty ones.

They really want to make this an edition that people will enjoy.
Well that was the gist of the Live feed. The last point they wanted to put out there that anyone that has proof of purchase on a codex in the last 8 weeks will be able to contact their customer service and receive a voucher for their purchase, which was pretty decent of them.
What do you guys think? I'm excited but I know there will be oceans of salt out there.

Friday, March 31, 2017

More SW: Armageddon leaks! Tau, Eldar, and Dark Eldar!

As many people have been noticing, SW: Armageddon seems to be a serious return to the days of 2nd edition. Whether that's good or bad depends a lot of the gamer but if this IS a lead in to how 40k 8th Edition plays I can see how different point tiers like what we see in Age of Sigmar becoming an important distinction for games. If you take a look at the leaks that hit the web today for Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Tau, there will be lots of modifiers to standard dice rolls, and with those kinds of time consuming calculations in play a 1,000 point game could take 4 hours potentially. Keep in mind this is ALL speculation but if this is the sneak peek at 8th Edition a lot of us expect it is, the way we play will change significantly. Codex bloat will wither away but modifier stalling while playing will create longer games yet those games will have more tactical depth as you play the battle field for those modifier advantages.

Here are a few examples but be sure to click the links for all the images:

They sure look like the kinds of warscrolls we might see for 40k, don't they?

Thanks to the website La Voz de Horus for spreading these scans around

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Catching up on comics: Death of X #1-4 review

Mutants. Inhumans. These two groups have had an increasing presence in comics and other media the last decade. The X-Men have staring in movies since 2000, and have had representation on the small screen in assorted cartoons since the early 90's (and one made for TV movie in 1996 focusing on Generation X that I loved). The Inhumans, who have recently appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will soon appear in their own live action television show and upcoming movie in 2019.

In the current Marvel comics timeline, these two groups are at war! After the destruction of a Terrigen Bomb by Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans, two separate clouds have been drifting randomly over the Earth. Much like the original Terrigen Mists, the Terrigen Clouds grant anyone with dormant Inhuman genes fantastic new powers. It is discovered not long after that the Terrigen Clouds are poisonous to mutants, not just causing a terrible disease called "m-pox" but also neutralizing the x-gene in humans which would effectively destroy the mutant population in a generation. Because of their need to destroy the Terrigen Clouds, the mutants of the Marvel universe are fighting the Inhumans so that the clouds can be destroyed and future mutantkind preserved. The Inhumans, who rely on the cloud in order to produce more Inhumans, are fighting to save it. This conflict culminates in Inhumans vs. X-men, a seven issue mini series that should wrap up in April.

As a precursor to that, a four issue mini-series dealing with the death of a prominent mutant character and the beginings of the Inhuman/X-man conflict came out entitled Death of X. Today, I'm going to discuss what happened.

In issue one, a squad of X-men fly to Muir Island in response to a distress call sent out from a mutant research facility. The green fog of the Terrigen Cloud has already enveloped the island. Meanwhile, at nearby Matsumoto, Japan, a group of Inhumans are flying above the populace in expectance of the Nu-humans the cloud is about to create. Back on the X-men side of things, they arrive to find that the the entire facility has died while collecting data on the Terrigen Cloud, which is revealed to be the source of the calamity. Cyclops himself passes out from exposure though he soon recovers. Back with the Inhumans, the group comes under attack from Hydra while trying to secure a Nu-human cocoon. During the struggle, the Nu-human "hatches" and reveals he has the ability to cause all non-Inhumans in a rather large radius to fall comatose, unhurt. Cyclops decides as a result of the new information about the Terrigen Cloud, it is time for mutants to go on the offensive and "take care of their own." Crystal, leader of the Inhuman group, states the same thing in response to the Hydra threat. That sets up a dramatic final page where both leaders state their intentions to protect their species.

The writing in the book does an amazing job of keeping a steady pace throughout the four issues. This book existed as a flashback to explain exactly how Cyclops was killed leading up to Inhumans vs. X-men, and white it does provide details and an interesting story, I feel the death of Cyclops from "m-pox" is somehow hollow. It doesn't have the same impact as those who died from the Legacy Virus in the 90's, for instance. It's so quick that there feels to be almost no meaning at all. The same statement applies to his apparent suicide.

As much as I disliked Cyclops in recent years I do feel he deserved something a little more substantial around his demise. What did you guys think of the series? If you haven't read it, despite my spoilers you should seriously check it out. It's a pretty pivotal moment in current Marvel comics stories so it would do you some good to have an idea of what is what. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

In issue two, Storm arrives to New Attilan to deliver the news that the Terrigen Cloud can kill mutants and to gauge Medusa's (Queen of the Inhumans) reaction. Medusa immediately moves to begin protecting mutants in the path of the cloud which satisfies Storm's worry on if the cloud was an intentional attack or not. As Storm begins to leave to help with the Inhuman led mutant evacuation, Cyclops sends a planet wide psychic declaration through Emma Frost that the Terrigen Cloud is lethal to mutants and possibly humans as well. He says that the X-men will strive to protect everyone from the Inhumans and their "weapon". During the projection, the Stepford Sisters see something in Emma Frost's mind but are sworn to secrecy concerning it. The Inhumans head to Madrid, Spain in an effort to divert the cloud and receive some timely support from Storm. Though the crisis with the cloud has passed, a riot in Madrid threatens the lives of all present and the Inhumans and a few X-men led by Storm try to neutralize the rioting. Cyclops and Frost leave for Madrid to confront the Inhumans. Meanwhile, the Nu-human named Downer uses his powers to stop the riot after the Inhumans weigh the consequences of catching the X-men up in the area of effect. The move works, however, and the riot is stopped.

In issue three, Emma Frost is explaining the situation to Magneto by boiling down the Terrigen Cloud into an increase in Inhuman numbers with an equal decrease in mutant numbers. Thanks to a remote viewing of the Madrid riot, she also spins the activity of Downer to stop the riot as a serious threat to mutants since Storm's team was easily dispatched as an afterthought. Just as Storm's team wakes up and Crystal's Inhumans are explaining their actions, Illyana teleports in and kidnaps Downer. Magneto appears immediately afterwards and attacks both groups in an effort to stall them while Cyclops's group begins a plan to attack the Terrigen Cloud with the help of a mutant named Alchemy.

In the midst of the fighting between Storm and Crystal's respective groups, they notice exactly what Cyclops is trying to do. Crystal gets an emergency call out to Medusa to bring her up to speed on the situation and to ask for aid. Medusa appears near where Cyclops and his followers are standing, showing up with Lockjaw, Black Bolt, and others. The attack on the cloud is momentarily stopped by the Inhumans and they discuss their next move. Unfortunately, a new assault on the Terrigen Cloud beings and Medusa's Inhumans are forced to act, though their response arrives too late. As they close in on Cyclops' group, the cloud has already been turned red and Alchemy reveals that he succeeded in neutralizing the Terrigen in the cloud. His actions come at a cost as by doing so he is infected with "m-pox" and quickly dies. As both mutants and Inhumans come to grips with what this new turn could mean, Cyclops confronts Medusa and Black Bolt. Medusa quickly points out that the distruction of the sacred Terrigen mists have made mutants the enemies of the Inhumans forever. Cyclops gives a monologue about his actions and what this will mean for the mutant people and just as he is about to attack Black Bolt with an optic blast, Black Bolt whispers, sending a deadly shockwave that instantly flays Cyclops to pieces.

The issue skips ahead to a week later where Storm is giving a eulogy at Cyclops' funeral. Off to the side, Emma Frost and Cyclops' brother Havoc are discussing the aftermath. Storm as fashioned an uneasy peace with the Inhumans where each group will "live and let live" for now. Havoc confronts Frost about the nature of Cyclops' death, feeling that "death by Black Bolt" doesn't make sense. This causes Emma Frost to reveal the Havoc, and the readers, that it was his initial encounter with the Terrigen Cloud that actually killed Cyclops. The following events transpired by Emma Frost projection an image of Cyclops into the mind of everyone (except the Stepford Sisters) to make everyone think he was alive. The resulting attack on Black Bolt was done so that Cyclops could be come an ideal and a martyr.

Shadow Wars: Armageddon rules leaks

For those of you who are interested in seeing what this different version of Necromunda might hold for you before you buy it, imgur user Aracersxx has posted four scans. It appears to be a rather simplified rules set like Age of Sigmar. The one downside I see so far is that (in these few pages) they only have Ork and Marine type weapons, excluding any of the other races GW said will be playable. In other words, expect another book for Shadow Wars in the near future.

As has been discussed amongst my local gamer group, pay attention to these rules as they could be the precursor to what 8th edition 40k holds in store for us.