Review – Malefic #1

  • Writer: Dan Schaffer
  • Artist: David Miller
  • Published by: 1First Comics

Stories of insanity always have their own surprises and twists, Malefic is an interesting and modern take on such a tale. A young aspiring doctor, a past tarnished with a bit of shame, cannibalism and a dash of attempted murder. This is the life of our Doctor Freust in Malefic, it’s ugly, gritty and fascinating at once as the young doctor kicks off their debut issue right in the lion’s den without a second thought.

This first issue is a casual introduction that slowly drags Doctor Freust and readers deeper and deeper as events unfold. Having a lead with no issue about bearing it all in their back story with no issue is a welcoming, they know what happened, what it did and they’re not paralyzed by it. It’s just the larger machine and inmates of the facility that do manage that state later on once Doctor Freust realizes what her father was really up to and buried in.

Complimenting this intricate story are pages of art from David Miller, delivering expressionistic styling throughout. From the first pages of Doctor Freust talking in her cell to cannibalistic seductive murder, faces and gestures in these pages are creative and expressive giving life to each scenario. We get a detailed grand picture of the facility, the dark halls and chambers within it and a bit of extreme detail when it comes to inmate habits. But it all acts as a support to the story and the atmosphere of Malefic, even more so when adding in the Diagnostic Spectacles which are just an interesting twist on the real inner demons waiting to make their way out later in the series.

Malefic #1 delivers a bit of everything out of the gate, interesting back story, a horrifying granny figure, devastating loss, an asylum to end all asylums, super-secret religious organizations and more. It’s just packaged so well and delivered in the right portions that it makes for an interesting read especially as we stroll into Halloween season. Can it get much worse for Doctor Freust? Undoubtedly and it most likely will which is a good hook for readers looking for something to tickle/scar their brains.

Link: Order (Digital)

Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Pitchfork

Director: Glenn Douglas Packard
Produced by: Glenn Douglas Packard, Darryl F. Gariglio, Noreen Marriott
Associate Producer: Shaun Cairo
Screenplay: Glenn Douglas Packard, Darryl F. Gariglio
Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment

Horror is a touchy genre, so much focus on visuals, shock and awe leave viewers almost always expecting something to pop out right at them all the time, with such a high level of anticipation it’s interesting when films play around with the inner workings to deliver something out of the norm. Pitchfork follows a group of carefree college kids as one of their friends faces their parents after coming out to them.

There’s a mix of favorability within the cast, people pulling dirty deeds on each other and generating a sense of wonder on who falls prey first to this beast of the night. Most of the cast are blissfully ignorant of the troubles lurking on the farm, throwing a farm rave of sorts while everything goes down. Oddly enough Pitchfork runs with a long lead into the damage and even when it goes down it’s not a rapid-fire affair, instead, it’s methodical and downright cruel in some delivery but it’s what helps shape the experience.

Pitchfork uses the classic teen slasher experience and twists it around while also dousing the story with a blast of psychological shock on top of all else, it’s what helps define the movie as the events layer into a bloody mess. I can’t say I completely expected the twists and turns the movie took and efforts it made to defy classic staples of horror movies in the mainstream. It’s campy and violent while carrying disturbing twists which grab curious fans from across the spectrum.

While I came into Pitchfork expecting bodies to start dropping in typical fashion, it was anything but that. The film develops its own pacing and general structure that leaves viewers waiting for what lands next.

Cast:
Daniel Wilkinson
Lindsey Nicole
Brian Raetz
Ryan Moore
Celina Beach
Keith Webb
Sheila Leason
Nicole Dambro
Vibhu Raghave
Rachel Carter
Andrew Dave-Collins
Carol Ludwick
Derek Reynolds
Addisyn Wallace
Anisbel Lopez

DVD / Blu-ray release date: May 2nd, 2017

Review – Mom & Me

Writer & Director: Ken Wardrop
Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment

Mothers day is around the corner and a new limited release movie is landing early to remind many of us about those unique relationships with the mothers in our lives. Mom & Me joins Joe Cristiano in his pursuit for motherly stories from Oklahoma, deemed one of the manliest states in the US. It’s a mixed series of emotion, hearing tales of childhood discipline, discovering later in life friendships and growth and more.

Just over an hour in clips and stories the experiences sweep across the board, while generally upbeat the tales do have darker periods which adds a unique dose of honesty to the film. While there are segments of love and respect from many, there are also tales of frustration and rebellion and the realizations that eventually came from those conflicts which brought about new appreciation and growth.

Young or old there’s an interesting crossover of experiences throughout Wardrop’s film and the cameos that highlight the interactions between those callers and their mothers. Not everyone has a happy ending, some had bouts of violence, drugs and other life struggles that they faced but the unique theme is, in the end, their mothers persevered and came back when their kids still needed them most and those moments etched themselves into the minds of those men.

Overall Mom & Me brings viewers back to their own memories with their mom or significant parent in their life. The reflections bring smiles and pull a tear or two out while listening to stories of care, persistence, struggle and forgiveness. For Oklahoma listener’s there is little doubt about the impact and position their mothers had in their lives and how it’s shaped them after realizing the power the relationship brought to their lives. It’s hard to say it’s specifically a feel good piece, there are so many windows for viewers to reflect on the past, the present and the future and where they stand themselves.

The filming highlights multiple dynamics of those relationships told while cutting itself short enough to not overstay its welcome. As a VOD title or a casual film to catch it would deliver a worthwhile experience and that’s what makes it stand out given the timing of the release, allowing viewers to take a moment to let it all soak in after it’s all said and done.

Review – Liberty: Deception Volume #1

Creator, Producer, Writer: Travis Vengroff
Co-Creator, Storyboards: Adam Cartwright
Sketches and Ink: Raymund Bermudez & Art Shaft Team
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letters: Eduardo Camacho
Cover Art: Dave Dorman, Eirich Olson

A Terraformed world gone mad, sounds like another day in the dark voids of sci-fi storytelling… or is it? Liberty: Deception drops readers into the shoes of Tertulius Justus, a figure with a uniquely manufactured past that lives in the hearts of the citizens of Atrius.

While Justus doesn’t get a common introduction, his life and reputation are anything but that. Combat Medic and Senior Investigator for the Bureau, Justus takes on the worst of the bunch that want to harm Atrius. Unfortunately, his legend is built on a government propaganda machine that seeks to create new heroes on the front lines that aren’t actually on the front lines at all. Kind of complex but so is Liberty.

Volume 1 throws readers into the depths of Atrius, well within their prison system we find the darkest of offenders or at least it once seemed that way. The story fills with confusion and some levels of deception, soon the story starts to come together through a series of flashbacks to quickly build depth to the story and get a better understanding of Justus and his place in the world. Given the reach of the story there are few if any slow moments through the first issue, pacing keeps readers guessing what comes next and where Justus is going with such a troubled situation.

The issues that follow in the volume continue with character introductions, back story and development so the cast doesn’t feel like a handful of fodder thrown in for cheap drama. Consideration flows through every page to highlight the struggle, the character flaws in their core and physically while bringing together a perfect storm as Justus comes into his own. Readers also learn how those overseeing Atrius have painted a twisted narrative and hold their own vanity in such high regard they’d sacrifice anything to retain it. Enemies of the empire are painted in mutant form, alien from anything they’d know as a complete misrepresentation, the mass manipulation of the media runs so strong the citizens blindly trust anything that comes to their lap.

Unfortunately, there’s a large cliffhanger with Volume 1, while tons of work has gone into the project and talent came from around the world to make it happen, there’s a desire for more and one has to worry when the next bit will come. The story has supplements running in other mediums but with the artistic quality and stylization directing the narrative, it’s hard to just swap mediums and take in the same energy.

One of the biggest things to take away from Liberty: Deception is how refined the read is and how familiar or comfortable it feels even though it’s a completely different piece from what’s come before it. The action, dialogue, and sequences are all well executed and illustrated to tell just the right tension, emotion and direct the narrative along. Given the size of the group behind the project and the distance between everyone, the result shows a remarkable level of consistency throughout. The Liberty: Deception team does note the challenges they had to face but it really did create a much stronger product once it was all said and done. For those looking to explore beyond the everyday book, Liberty: Deception presents an interesting cyberpunk, dystopian future full of twists, turns and of course, deception.

Links:
Kickstarter | Amazon

Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

 

Extended Credits

Continuity, Conway Flashback, Map, ABI Advert: Casey Bailey
Character Design: Eirich Olson
Twitch Flashback: Colin Lorimer
Aemos Flashback: Danielle Otrakji
Reeve Flashback: Deon De Lange
Tales from the Tower Advert: George Kavallines
Atrian Adverts: Arianna Westerfield
Citizen Guide Cover: Sean Thornton
Reeve Endures Poster: Michael Lee-Graham
Motion Comic Production: Brian Stabile & Astro Crow
Soundtrack Composer & Producer: Steven Melin
Concept Design, Creative Consultant: Laurie Thomas
Symbol Design, Chapter Border Design: Matthew Bailey
Digital Renderings, Writer for the Liberty Podcast: Kaitlin Statz
Matte Painting: Dylan Peirpont
Liberty: Deception Logo Design: Stacey Baldini

Review – SuperMansion S2 “The League of Cheesedom”

In the ongoing battle to redeem the league in the eyes of the public we see Rex and Portia take some drastic moves to appeal to a wider audience and monetize their celebrity status. But what would you expect from the endless spending from The League of Freedom when you combine it with a media tycoon like Portia? Sadly the events that follow take a sharp dive in classic SuperMansion form, but at least there are some silver linings.

The League of Cheesedom brings about a long arc for the episode using Rex and Portia, what it also does is introduce an origins story for Jewbot. While there have been many teasers about their origin and mechanics there was never anything terribly in-depth until now. From the start it seems the curious and pacifist minded Jewbot always held a reputation as being an anomaly, as our bot learns of their unwanted origins they take an emo turn for the episode until they stumble across some unique relatives.

The episode is part of a string of missteps and failures for The League of Freedom in establishing new trust and confidence with the public. They’re so thirsty for a break they’re often diving head first into anything they can get and having Portia on their side means everything gets thrown against the wall until it sticks. While that section was entertaining in itself, seeing Jewbot turn emo and struggle with a Five Nights at Freddy’s crew that plays Nine Inch Nails inspired tracks and wants nothing but death was pretty rewarding.

As a whole The League of Cheesedom was a consistent episode for season 2 that delivered on all fronts without jumping too far off the scales. Having Jewbot get some extra closure was a nice moment that also carried a few nice twists and put a nice bow on his messed up life story.

Story:★★★★½ 
Animation:★★★★½ 
Acting:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Trekker: Rites of Passage

  • Story: Ron Randall
  • Art: Ron Randall
  • Colors: Ron Randall
  • Lettering: Ron Randall
  • Cover Art: Ron Randall with Jeremy Colwell
  • Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Intergalactic politics are never easy, getting caught in the black-ops dirty deeds of a big political storm is even more problematic. Trekker takes readers into the shoes of Mercy St. Clair, a Trekker / Head Hunter that doesn’t mind tangling with the worst the galaxy has to offer. The TPB edition is a full collection that covers a rough dance with the larger world that Mercy has put aside, seeking a simpler isolated lifestyle it’s not long before everything breaks down and her past emerges again.

Trekker spins off into secret government military operations, overthrows of outside territories and a rough ride through space with intense action and gun battles.

Ron Randall creates a complex web of relationships through the pages of Trekker, following Mercy through the pages there’s a huge struggle within as she fights constantly to shut the world and everyone in it out of her life. Creating a character that isn’t ice-cold but carries that on their shoulders because it’s what they know of the world is an interesting read, there’s sympathy and encouragement even while knowing it could all lead to dreadfully bad situations.

The art syncs up perfectly with the scenes, conveying careful energy and gesture to sell just the right read. From Mercy and her partner having some drinks (a few too many actually) to her expressions fighting predators in the wild with everything on the line. When you’re writing and illustrating that’s certainly a unique perk to have. Ron Randall creates momentum in the panels and emotion that helps keep characters alive and readers engaged.

Few moments ever manage to fall out of the constant friction in the story. The characters are flung from one bad scenario to the next all while holding on for dear life, Randall makes sure it’s not an easy ride and even in the most secure of moments, the floor falls right out from underneath Mercy and the reader. It’s unique in the mixture of cultures and a sci-fi manifest destiny gone wrong. Readers see the good and the bad not just in the shadowy government actions but in the people and their inherent desire for more.

Trekker is an interesting read, the art lands on point with carefully crafted pages that blend with the words on each page and give an expanded  understanding of the characters and world. For those looking to mix up their sci-fi experiences Trekker delivers, the character development is a very strong suit for the book and Ron Randall keeps a firm grasp on everything he wants readers privy to during the ride which makes it all the more interesting.

Preview: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: Out Now

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – SuperMansion S2 “School Me Once”

With Dr Devizo out of the picture for now and Rex’s secrets secured it’s on to new business for The League of Freedom. School Me Once drops everyone into a flashback of Rex and his younger years working with Zenith The Earth Mother. Flash forward to present day and Portia / Zenith is ripping him a new one.

Season 2 really has no love for Rex and the rest of the members are feeling the sting of the public pressure in School Me Once. We see tales of manipulation, mythical creatures, tales of yesteryear and Jewbot studying the stereotypical college experience. The cast moves to spring back from their downward spirals including Cooch who breaks off from her depression over Brad and discovers a new role to explore.

Even with such a splintered storyline the SuperMansion team allocates enough time for almost everyone to navigate their adventure in the episode. Saturn and Jewbot seem to take a hit on their story as suddenly things go from Thousand Island to flag pole butt in a hurry. Ranger falls into the like minds of his era with the college conservatives and mostly re-lives his youth through the episode.

 

The animation team does a solid job with modeling and gestures but they do manage to shine well with the team action sequence. The camera sweep along with the action create a sequence that goes beyond the norm for the show and it’s a rewarding experience as it’s not static while it goes on.

School Me Once is obviously an important step in the storyline but the Saturn section feels forced, having Jewbot wanting to understand and experience a frat makes sense because of his nature but the rest doesn’t hold well. It’s a short segment though and the rest of the episode holds the experience up to introduce a new key character in Portia /  Zenith.

Story:★★★½☆ 
Animation:★★★★★ 
Acting:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – SuperMansion S2 “Virtual Reality Bites”

Crackle’s season première of SuperMansion is here, with The League of Freedom still trying to rebound from the betrayal of Lex and assault from Dr. Devizo the group also has to contend with public demands for their termination as a group.

Given they have chaos in the streets it’s not entirely that shocking the public wouldn’t be entirely happy with The League of Freedom, throw in some human rights violations by illegally storing criminals under the mansion and the massive rebuilding costs and yeah… It’s not like they weren’t already under a bad light from excessive spending issues and rebuilding costs after each battle.

We see Titanium Rex take center stage, he’s trying to get his team in order, fight dissenting public opinion and face down a massive data breach of the mansion. The team in the meantime has their own battles, with Brad dead we see American Ranger help Cooch with her grief and find hope in seeing Brad one day in the afterlife. Saturn goes borderline stalker trying to track down his nemesis and Jewbot stands at the center trying to help Rex bury some dirty laundry.

The episode brings the group back with classic tales of Rex and his endless issues while letting Jewbot settle into his new body and work his magic in a realm he’s more familiar with. The story stays just as wild as ever with American Ranger determined to take on the church to help Cooch break into heaven and Saturn takes his nemesis obsession to new levels trying to fill the void in his world. It’s SuperMansion at its roots essentially.

 

Virtual Reality Bites hasn’t skipped a beat, the props and animation are smooth with detailed scenes. Voice acting from Byran Cranston, Heidi Gardner, Tucker Gilmore and the rest of the team are spot on as their characters settle into their own in the start of the season.

SuperMansion is already setting up an interesting new season so we’ll just have to see where season 2 continues to go and how the team manages to handle all these escaped villains.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Animation:★★★★½ 
Acting:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

WEBZEN & MU Legend blow out Valentines Day with beta key giveaway

Eager to boost some social interactions, WEBZEN the developer and publisher for MU Legend have decided to kick off Valentines with a beta key giveaway on their Facebook page. The second closed beta period opens the next week so they decided to make the twist on it a little interesting.

Unfortunately that does leave those with an interest to play wonder what exactly to do today but at least they’ve got you covered in a week. The upcoming beta focuses on localization, primarily for German, French, Polish, Spanish and Brazilian-Portuguese players. If you don’t speak any of those you can always play in English of course.

The announcement also includes a new teaser from WEBZEN that  you can catch below.

GOG shows some love this Valentines Day

It’s Valentines Day and there’s certainly some love in the air already with GOG. They know there are many out there who love to come home after a long day and sit and bask in the warm glow of the thing that brings them so much joy… their PC.

From Wishlists, With Love is their 6-day sale that knocks up to 90% off over 70 of the top wishlisted titles on GOG.  Top games on sale include The Witcher 3 GOTY, Dying Light, Arcanum, Psychonauts, Darkest Dungeon and more.

For more info and the full list, check out GOG