Thursday, 31 March 2011

Viking Dead review



Zombies, eh?
I don’t know about you, but I am of the opinion that they have been, of late, somewhat over exposed. So it takes something special to make me sit up and take notice.
Thankfully, Abaddon have been managing to do this, with books like Way of the Barefoot Zombie and I, Zombie both taking the genre in original and interesting directions.
And you’d have to be dead inside not to think the prospect of Viking zombies was very cool indeed.
So… does this book live up to the hopes I had for it..?
Things start off well. I love having my expectations subverted, and this book does that very early on, as the reader thinks it is going to be about one thing and it quickly becomes apparent it is not.
Now, I’m not an expert in Vikings and their lore and lifestyle, but I get the impression that author Toby Venables is. Or if not an expert, it feels like he has done his research and he doesn’t allow the research to swamp the story.
And the story is, I’m happy to report, a good one. I have to say, that while he has assembled a great cast of characters, the story is not, for the most part, particularly original, with nods to things like The Magnificent Seven and a few other classics in there. This is not to say that it is not well told, however.
Venables tells the tale in short chapters that make this an easy read and has the reader hanging on for just one-more-chapter…
I mentioned characters- and yes, they are well realised, but I had a minor problem with the names. They are, I’m sure, authentic Viking monikers, but the trouble is I have no idea how to pronounce them, so was recognising characters by a collection of letters on a page rather then a name.
The other good things: the pacing is great and the plentiful action scenes are well written. And there are the zombies. We don’t see many of them for the first part of the book. Their presence is hinted at and they are genuinely spooky when we do encounter them.
And then there is the ending…
I had an inkling about what was going on earlier in the book, and was kind of correct when we got to the final chapters. Now, initially, I did not think the ending was going to work But by the gods it does.
I mean literally right up until the final paragraph I thought Venables had dropped the ball on the final stretch, but as he reveals his true intentions in the closing words, I could not help punching the air in glee.
Obviously I will not spoiler anything here… but if you think that Zombie Vikings are cool, well…

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Doctor Who: To the Death review



After the triumph that was the previous Big Finish Eighth Doctor adventure, Lucie Miller, I was resigned to the fact that this one was never going to live up to it.
For the first third of this story, I thought I was correct in thinking this, but as the plot unfolds and things take a decidedly dark turn I realised I was wrong. Oh boy was a wrong!
As always, I will not be doing any spoilers, which in a way makes it very difficult to talk about this story- more so than usual. All I can say is that things happen and they are genuinely shocking.
Put it this way… one of the biggest weaknesses to long running sci-fi shows or action movies is that no matter how much jeopardy the lead characters are put in, you know that by the end of the episode or the movie everyone will still be okay and the status quo will be returned.
I really really enjoyed this. The previous episode promised a lot, and boy does it deliver it here. There is a colossal amount of stuff going on, as plot threads that have been woven through the last year of adventures come to fruition in ways that are most unexpected. And I don’t mind admitting that I had a tear in my eye on more than one occasion.
As I have said in reviews before- I enjoy being surprised (in a good way) and To the Death does more than surprises the listener- it genuinely shocks them.
This is, I think, absolutely essential listening.

And special note must be made of the final line. It is quite brilliant, very moving, and is one that echoes beautifully down the decades (or centuries) of Who history.

Child of Eden trailer

If any of you have tried the Kinect in the Xbox, then you'll know what an astonishing piece of kit it is.

Things appear to have taken a leap forward if the trailer for the forthcoming game Child of Eden is anything to go by.
I think we'll be getting this...





Visit the game site HERE.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Moon #1 review




 I didn’t know what to expect from this book, especially after reading the description from the creators:

In the year 12AD a group of Celtic Druids attempted to summon the Moon to Earth and bind it into human form, an eternal guardian to defend our isle from all who would do her wrong. 2000 years later and he’s still doing that job: suited, booted and ready to investigate any crime deemed too strange for the regular police. A detective story like no other, Moon is the tale of one astral body’s quest for revenge, justice and shandy!

So, onto the comic itself…
This episode starts of in an unusual way, with the first scenes being set in Ancient Britain, where we get to see the ‘creation’ (for want of a better word), of our titular character. This is a fun scene with some nice bantery (yes it is a word... well, it is now) dialogue between the characters.
Fast forward to the present day and we meet Mr Moon again in his job as an agent for a Mysterious Government Department.
Being the first issue of this (hopefully long running) series, there is a certain amount of introductory material to get through, but this is quickly steamrollered out of the way by a complex and exciting action sequence.
This part in particular impressed me a great deal. Artist Steve Penfold demonstrated an understanding of drawing action in the first issue of Fallen Heroes, but his work here is even better. The weaknesses I observed in his Fallen Heroes work all but gone here. There are some very ambitious panels that he manages to pull off, and the art is complemented nicely by some good colouring from Ivanna Mitalla .
Scripting is good too- with a clear narrative and some nice dialogue and jokes that actually work from script writer Dan Thompson. Writing a silent lead character with a moon for a head is quite a task to give yourself, but the creative team here manage to pull it off.
I did have a couple of problems… well not really problems, but questions. But I’m sure these questions will be addressed and/or answered in future issues, so I’m happy to let them pass for the time being.
Future issues? Well, we are promised another instalment- but really, as with all Small Press/Independent comic releases, this all depends on you- yes YOU- the paying customer.
So, what I’m ordering you to do is buy it!

And you can get it HERE.

The Lois Lane Letter

Bleeding Cool ran this wonderful letter earlier today and if you are any sort of a comics fan at all you really should read it.
And after you have read it, well, then that's up to you...

Read the letter HERE

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Three Musketeers trailer

You know, here at HiEx, we generally like to keep things positive id we can. But sometimes, it is really difficult to do so. And this is one such occasion.
We don't like to judge by first impressions, but this trailer looks truly terrible.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Doctor Who The Ribos Operation audiobook review



This story is from what to many is the golden age of Doctor Who.
Tom Baker was at the height of his powers and he had iconic companions in the shape of K-9 and the wonderful Mary Tamm as Romana.
The Ribos Operation was the first in a series long arc of stories that had the Doctor scooting around the universe trying to locate and reassemble the six constituent parts of the Key to Time. I was but a young lad when this was on television, but even then I remember watching the final episode of the arc and wondering just what the hell the point had been… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves now! Let’s deal with this one first.

First off is the audiobook itself, which is written by Who stalwart Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan in the series) and based on a script by Robert Holmes. Because of the nature of this particular adventure- being the first in a long arc- things start off rather slowly as we have to set up not only the Ribos storyline, but the whole Key to Time thing as well.  In and of itself, when it gets going, the main plot is not that bad.
That is not to say it is without problems. The plot revolves around a pair of con men pulling a scam on the deposed dictator of a planet, which is fair enough. The problem is that the scam itself is so simplistic, unoriginal and transparent that I could not help but think that if he was this stupid, the dictator deserved to be deposed.
However, apart from that the writing is very good. The characters as all very well written, with the Doctor and Romana sparking off each other instantly and at times hilariously.
The story is read by John Lesson, who of course is famous for providing the voice of K-9. So when I now talk about his voice acting on this, you will know which character he manages to nail effortlessly. I think that because Baker has such a distinctive voice it is hard to hear anyone else trying his lines, but Lesson does it well nevertheless.
All in all this is a fine recording, and hopefully Audio Go will follow it up with the rest of the Key to Time season.






Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Long John Silver Vol 1 Cinebook review



Remember those books you read when you were young, and thought they were brilliant, and then, on revisiting them as an adult you discovered that they were actually utter rubbish?
This was/is not the case with all of them, of course. The most notable among them, in my opinion, is Treasure Island. This book is not just a rollicking adventure tale well told- it is also a genuinely important piece of literature. Literature that’s entertaining and cool! What an invention!

Anyway, there have been countless attempts to recapture the magic of the original novel in attempted sequels. Some of them have been okay, some rubbish. But each of them made the same error- they mistook the villain of the story for an anti-hero.
Long John Silver is not a nice man, and any attempts to soften him always end up failing. He’s a pirate, for goodness sake!
Which brings us to Cinebook’s Long John Silver.
This is not a sequel to Treasure Island, but merely "an homage to an extraordinary masterpiece" as they explain in the afterword.
So, in that respect, we should ask- does it succeed?
And the answer has to be: undoubtedly yes.
Our main character in this volume- Lady Vivian Hastings- is a gloriously grotesque person. She is cold and beautiful, scheming and cruel, selfish and greedy. She’d make a great villain. But, as is revealed, she has good reasons for her terrible behaviour, the reader ends up not only feeling sympathy, but rooting for her as a heroine.

And all this is before we have even met the titular character.
Do they do him justice? Well, for what I’ve seen so far with this volume (volume two is on the list for reading very soon!) they do. Silver here is a huge hulking man, intimidating and clever, but with a streak of charm running through the middle.

And the art... oh the art. It really is something else- absolutely exquisite. 
This first book is very much set up, with the characters only assembling for the adventure proper by the end of the book, but I can guarantee you’ll want to join them on board ship, as they set sail for whatever the future holds for them, in volume two.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Torchwood Department X review




And so to another Torchwood adventure, read again by Kai Owen, the actor who plays Rhys in the series- although his character appears here only briefly, perhaps to balance out his starring role in Ghost Train!
As I said in the previous review, while Torchwood was not served well by plot (or budget at times!) in the TV series, there was and is still a lot of untapped potential in the concept.
One part of the concept that is used well here (and has been used in the series before) is Jack’s immortality. Not just the indestructibility, which is used here to great and gory effect, but the fact that he’s been hanging around in Cardiff for quite a few decades and in that time has managed to amass enemies as well as friends.
The other is something that I’m assuming is new to the series. I haven’t read any of the Torchwood spin-off novels so don’t know if it has appeared before, but I will say that it is an idea so clever and obvious that I would be surprised if it hadn’t been used before now.
The plot if very good, and while some elements were pretty obvious from the outset, there are a few genuine twists on the way. I was surprised in listening to both this and Ghost Train, to discover that I quite like the character of Ianto Jones, who gets some nice stuff to do and arguably gets most of the best lines.
The only downside to this story came in the shape of a couple of clumsy bits of writing. “He said, tersely” for example. There is no need for that adverb! Surely the actor reading the line should be able to convey the terseness of the line himself..?
And I know that this may just come off as nitpicking to the majority of you… but it sticks out like a sore thumb to the writer part of my brain!
Apart from that niggle though, I really did enjoy this story. If only Torchwood on the TV had the imagination on display here…


Department X is released by Audio Go.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Doctor Who The Gemini Contagion review



Having been spoiled by Matt Smith reading the previous Audio Go Who, The Jade Pyramid, I have to confess to being a little disappointed when I saw that Meera Syal was reading this one. Not that I should have worried, she is a fine actress, and reads this adventure wonderfully, although I’m not sure that her Scottish accent is any better than that of Matt Smith! But her phrasing is spot on with both Amy and The Doctor- she made the words sound like they could easily have been delivered by Smith and Gillan.
If I’m honest, I’ll have to say that the story, while every well written, contains few surprises plot wise. There is however a fine message going on behind the story, so this earns it a lot more points, and it also has some nicely creepy moments, aided in no small way by some clever and atmospheric sound design and incidental music.
And yes, while the plot is somewhat predictable, there is still a lot to enjoy in here- the aforementioned atmosphere for one, and some nice big action set pieces. It’s not often we get to ‘see’ the Doctor piloting a spaceship, after all!
While this tale lacks the edge of some of the better Big Finish audios, it is still worth an hour and a half of your time.

Slaughterman's Creed and the problem with Amazon

As you may remember, we reviewed the rather excellent Sluaghterman's Creed not so long ago HERE.

Well, It seems there are some difficulties with the book- or rather, with the treatment the book is getting from Amazon.
Nic Wilkinson explains:

The details for this book are incorrect (due to the ASIN - the warehouse number assigned to products by amazon -apparently having been also assigned a book of flute music).

This means that the title and price are incorrect, as are the "new or used" options from the marketplace, which take you to details for the flute music book. 

I am one of the creative team on this book and I have tried unsuccessfully for over 2 months to try and get this changed, as has the publisher, but Amazon repeatedly claim they cannot/will not change it.

The publisher has contacted amazon directly only to be told that no one can correct this error by the customer service team.

This is appalling service, to the publishers of both books, and to customers, who cannot search for/order either book correctly.

Anyone wanting this title I can only suggest ordering direct from the publisher at http://harrymarkos.com/wordpress/titles/slaughtermans-creed/ or from Waterstones or WHSMiths where the book is correctly listed and the right item will be shipped.

We can only echo her words on this. Slaughterman's Creed is more than worth your time and money, but if someone like Amazon is disinterested in selling it to you, then you're better off taking your hard earned money elsewhere.

You can add your voice to the Amazon discussion page HERE.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

John Hicklenton's 100 Months - now on ebook

John Hicklenton's 100 Months was certainly the most powerful book I have read in the past few years. You can read the full review of it HERE. Cutting Edge Press have just released the book on ebook format, and if you have nor got it already, I urge you to do so now. You will not regret it.


And even if you have bought it before- this ebook version is worth a look, as it has some wonderful extras- including some astounding and powerful unused images from 100 Months. There is also an autobiographical strip there, which is as honest, brutal and downright moving as you expect from someone as honest, brutal and downright moving as Johnny.



Published on the first anniversary of his death, in tribute to JOHN HICKLENTON, one of the world’s greatest comic book artists
john hicklenton
100 months
Foreword by Pat Mills

18 March 2011   eBook £14.99
Original Hardback £19.99



EXCLUSIVE eBOOK EDITION OF HIS FINAL MASTERPIECE, 100 MONTHS,
FEATURING AUDIO FILES OF INTERVIEWS WITH JOHNNY AND PAT MILLS, CONCEPTUAL DRAWINGS TRACING THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHARACTER MARA, AND PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED ARTWORK FROM HIS UNFINISHED
GRAPHIC NOVEL, Here’s Johnny

Dark, terrifying and brilliant’ - Simon Pegg

100 MONTHS is a heartbreaking final vision: one man going head to head with death, and with Death, and with life.  I felt lucky to be allowed to read it and fortunate that Johnny made it for us before he left.  It lingers and it haunts, and, ultimately, affirms.’ - NEIL GAIMAN

100 Months takes all of Hicklenton’s passion and his fire and his beautiful, dark, disturbing imagery and blasts it across these landscaped, fully painted, panel-less pages...100 Months
is a beautifully brutal and blood-stained piece of wondrous poetry, illustrated by someone
who was taken from us too soon, with far more to say than he was ever allowed in this life.’
- FORBIDDEN PLANET
It is, as you’d expect, breathtaking.  If you’re a fan of Hicklenton’s work, you’ll maybe have an idea of what to expect, but he manages to surpass any expectations.  There are images where Mara travels across a landscape of bones and twisted bodies that stop the reader in their racks... It is not comfortable reading.  It’s not supposed to be.’ - HI EX!
‘These are Johnny Hicklenton final words – and what words!  Along with his trademark brutal, visceral draughtsmanship 100 Months both sickens and intrigues with its blend of classical symbology and modern anxieties... the narrative hits each page like a hammer blow.’
 - JUDGE DREDD Megazine

‘...epic, blood-soaked and brave’ - BIZARRE, Book of the Month


100 Months is a simply stunning work of the visual imagination, one which transcends
the medium of the graphic novel to produce a genuine masterpiece for these end of days.  Highly recommended.’ – BLACK STATIC

‘It is his magnum opus – his wonderful fevered imagination let loose in a final orgiastic flourish
of beautifully tortured barbaric images.’ - COMIC HEROES

‘The artistry on display here is truly breathtaking.  Almost disturbingly beautiful, it is often difficult to look at such macabre imagery knowing it came from the mind and imagination of a dying man.’ – ALTERNATIVE MAGAZINE ONLINE

‘Hicklenton has always been a master of the macabre, but the bleak and horrific imagery in
this book are absolutely beautiful in their darkness, even for him.   It really is a vision of Hell
put onto paper and it’s definitely a book you will go back to multiple times to pour over the imagery...  A true work of disturbingly beautiful art by a man who leaves the world a little
less interesting by his passing.’ - GEEK SYNDICATE

‘...an honest book, a passionate book and a disturbing book. It is illustrated using immense talent, great love and unforgiving anger; a book faced with a true deadline, literally, placed upon it.’ - CRIKEY!

‘...a monument to one man’s Love, Hope and self-belief and to that most important trait -
the refusal to compromise your art.’ - FORCES OF GEEK

 ‘starkly beautiful and apocalyptic... recalling Goya at his darkest.’ – DOWNTHETUBES

‘...the crowning achievement of a brilliant career, a true graphic novel that engages ultimate themes of life, death and salvation’ – EDITION

JOHN HICKLENTON was born in Guildford in 1967 and spent the last years of his life in Brighton.  He is best-known for his work on the titles 2000 AD, Nemesis the Warlock and Heavy
Metal Dredd. 
His brutal, visceral draughtsmanship radicalised the ‘Judge Dredd’ character and rejuvenated the 2000 AD stable.  He was diagnosed with MS in 2000, and took his own life on
19 March 2010, aged 42.  His life, work and illness are the subject of the Animal Monday documentary Here’s Johnny, which was broadcast on More4 and was the first film to win two Grierson awards. 

Happy Birthday Dennis!

THE YEAR OF THE MENACE BEGINS!  Celebrate Dennis the Menace’s 60th Anniversary with The Beano

When a member of the Beano staff drew a rough outline sketch (literally on the back of a cigarette packet!) of a spiky-haired boy on a winter’s day in 1951, few would realise the impact it would have. That basic sketch, under the work of artist David Law, quickly became Dennis the Menace and his first appearance in The Beano was on March 17th 1951 - 60 years ago this week! But far from getting his bus pass, Dennis remains as menacing as ever and, thanks to the magic of comic strips, hasn’t aged a day either. Having been promoted to the front cover in September 1974 and now the undisputed star of the long-running weekly UK comic, The Beano, Dennis has evolved with the times but he retains many of the classic elements that have so endeared him to children of all ages for the last 60 years. Contrary to popular media belief, Dennis still has his catapult and his pea-shooter and isn’t afraid to use them!


Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Dennis the Menace’s first appearance with a special issue, on-sale on Wednesday 16th March, The Beano will embark on a year of celebration, known as the Year of the Menace, including a focus on ‘classic’ menace give-aways including catapults, pea-shooters and the like. One of the earliest ‘menacings’ in the Year of the Menace will involve US President, Barack Obama, as well as the cross-party support of David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg!
Beano Editor, Mike Stirling, said, “There’s no question that Dennis continues to appeal to kids of all ages and he remains the quintessential menace. Children want to be like him and really challenge the establishment - that’s why he continues to appeal.”

“We always aim to give our readers what they want”, continued Stirling. “Between our research insight and from meeting fans, we know Beano readers are smart kids who know what’s going on the world – they’ll be excited by the thought of Dennis and the President meeting but, of course, The Beano is bigger than any President!  It’s a huge honour to be immortalised in the Beano and, as a big comic fan, we would expect President Obama to be thrilled to be recognised by the World’s most famous comic”.


 Dennis is headed for another 60 years of success, allied to a range of developments outside the pages of the famous comic. As well as the hugely successful annuals and the brand new Beano website, www.beano.com, Dennis is licensed across a range of different product areas from food to clothing. There is also a Beano musical stage-show is in development. The continuing popularity of the character is reinforced by his move into an animated series, Dennis & Gnasher, which has proved massively popular on CBBC – being one of the most successful shows on the network, having been seen by around 15m UK viewers. The show is exported to Australia, India, continental Europe, and as of October 2010, the United States meaning Dennis now has the platform to be a global menace! The Beano is also doing its bit for this year’s Red Nose Day for Comic Relief, with a special edition of the monthly Beano magazine, BeanoMAX, now on sale.
Celebrate 60 years of Dennis the Menace with The Beano this week.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Rocksmith

New from Ubisoft. Here's the press release:


Today, Ubisoft announced the development of Rocksmith, a new video game franchise that is set to revolutionize the music genre. Rocksmith is the first and only game where players can plug any real guitar with a standard quarter-inch input jack into an Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, a PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system or PC, and play through an in-depth library of music including everything from the latest hits to classic rock songs.

Featuring gameplay that automatically adjusts to the player’s skill level and innovative game design that makes reading music visually fun and intuitive, Rocksmith engages experienced musicians and those who are picking up a guitar for the first time. The game includes a sizeable library of music from classic rock bands to current artists, such as The Animals, The Black Keys, David Bowie, Interpol, Nirvana, and The Rolling Stones,.

“Rocksmith is the most authentic and addictive music game ever created,” said Geoffroy Sardin, HQ Chief Marketing & Sales Officer at Ubisoft EMEA.  “Whether a beginner or a seasoned guitarist, players can progress at their own speed and walk away from the game with the ability to play songs by memory.  Rocksmith is the only video game that gets players stage-ready.”


Now, what I want to know is: how the hell is this going to work? I'll be curious to see if this really can turn folks into armchair musicians in a way Guitar Hero could not?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

XIII Vol 6: The Jason Fly Case




I’m sure that if you are not familiar with the comic, you will at least be aware for the name of this series through the video game and television mini-series.
Briefly- our hero is an amnesiac with a tattoo reading XIII- and that’s pretty much all he knows. He soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy, as people in fiction in this situation almost always do.
Anyway, we’re picking up in volume six, which is a good place for new readers to begin, as it begins a new story arc, one where XIII is starting to pick up the threads of his past life- threads that bring him, in this episode, to the snowbound town of Green Falls.
As this is the first in a new arc, a lot of what is going on is set-up, with a new conspiracy being hinted at in the town and a whole new cast of characters being introduced. Of course the writing, by Jean Van Hamme, is brilliant, and we flash between the present and the past- without captions to tell the reader we’re doing so- with consummate ease.
As for the art… what can I say? I lost count of how many times I slowed down, or even stopped reading the dialogue altogether just so I could drink in the splendour of William Vance’s art.
My only complaint, if this could even be called a complaint, is that the book ends on a great cliff-hanger that leaves the reader desperate for more.


 XIII is published in the UK by Cinebook.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Torchwood Ghost Train review



I sure that most of us can agree that the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood is rather hit and miss. And if we are really honest, it misses more than it hits, although the most recent series, Children of Earth, was very good stuff.
So, it was with some trepidation that I listened to this Audio Go adventure.
The story is read by Kai Owen, who plays Rhys, the long suffering husband of Gwen, in the series. I’m pleased to report that he is very good at it- although his American accent, when he’s doing Captain Jack, is a bit off.
It’s doubly nice that he is reading this particular tale- as Rhys is the main character in the story. There’s a nice through thread as every now and again something crazy happens as he meets Gwen or one of the other Torchwood staff and we see briefly whatever alien invasion they happen to be dealing with at that particular time.
Meanwhile, Rhys is conducting his on investigation into a seemingly mundane mystery at the haulage firm he works for. But of course, we all know that it is not quite as run of the mill as he first thinks.
Things build nicely in the tale, and the second part in particular is very strongly written and well plotted.
Well worth a listen.

Conan The Barbarian teaser trailer

Hot on the heels of the groovy poster earlier this month comes the first teaser trailer for Conan.

There's not much to go on here, well actually there's nothing really, just a few images and a line or two of dialogue. But it does have a voice over that is so clich├ęd it is almost hilarious.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Doctor Who Lucie Miller review



Ah, now this review is going to be a challenge.
It is going to be very difficult to get through this without the review just being a gibbering series of disjoined exclamations of things like ‘Awesome!’ ‘Brilliant!’ ‘Genius!’ and the like.
Yes, it is really that good.
The Eighth Doctor series has been consistently high standard throughout, but this story raises the bar even higher yet.
So- what makes this one so good?
And in that question lies the problem! As you should know by now, I don’t do spoilers- even little ones- in these reviews, so that will make it difficult to talk about some of the very cool things that happen in this story, but I’ll try.
Firstly, there is very little of The Doctor in it. This means that the rest of the cast get to stretch their wings a bit and get into the meat of the plot, and watching them try to cope with horrendous life and world changing events without him there makes for some very good drama, with one character in particular going in a direction that is most unexpected.
In fact, I’ll deal with the main plot here. It is as audacious as it is clever. To think you could get away with doing it is one thing… but to actually do it and succeed is astonishingly impressive.
Then something happens about halfway through the story… and it was lucky I was listening to this alone in the car, because I suspect most people would have been shocked when I shouted a very bad swear word at the player when it happened. And I am bursting to say what it was (the thing in the story that is, not the swear word) but it is just too good a dramatic twist to spoil in any way.
And to cap all this excitement it ends on the mother of all cliff-hangers.
It may be hyperbole to say this is the best Big Finish audio I have listened to- but it’s damned close.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Dragon Age II trailer

Looks like my kind of game!


Razorjack gets a new website!

As I am sure you all know, Comic legend John Higgins wrote and illustrated the Graphic Novel Razorjack, which was released a while ago.



Well, things are heating up in the Razorjack universe, with a series of original novels based on the world and the characters about to be unleashed by Com.X.

And to help keep you informed as to all things interdimensional you should really add THIS WEBSITE to your list of favourites!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles- The Perpetual Bond review



My recent emersion in the Lost Episodes recording has given me a newfound appreciation of both Peter Purvis as an actor and the First Doctor.
So it was a rather nice surprise to put this on the player and discover that this companion chronicle features both. Indeed, it takes place in the immediate aftermath of the tragic climax of The Dalek’s Masterplan- so I was in the fortunate position of being full aware of what they were all talking about.
There are a lot of clever things about this story. I like the nice touches of lightness that are peppered throughout, and lord knows that it needs them at times. I like the way it easily invokes the mid-sixties setting. I like the story itself- it feels like something from the era- maybe not a contemporary Who though- it feels like an episode of The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone.
As well as the story itself, there is of course the message. And the message being set out in this story is done so with just the right amount of polemic. With subjects such as the ones addressed here, it would be all too easy to be unsubtle and to club the listener over the head, but it is just on the right side of this line. Indeed, the writer even does the ‘villains’ the service of allowing them to give you their side of the argument, and it is a testament to his ability that their argument is not entirely unconvincing, despite the horrendousness of what they are doing!
Best of all though, is Purvis. He exudes an easy charm and is effortless in his reading of the tale, and his ‘Doctor voice’ is very good. Special mention should also go to the second actor in this audio- Tom Allen. His is an interesting character and one who provides this story with its most unexpected surprise…

Available from Big Finish.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Conan The Barbarian poster

Starring Jason Momoa in the title role, this new screen version of Robert E Howard's Cimmerian warrior hits the cinema in 3D in August this year.
Here's the newly revealed poster:


Doctor Who The Feast of Axos review




Revisiting old Who monsters can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. A lot of the time the story can end up just being a tired retread of what had gone before or- arguably worse- is a missed opportunity that ends up wasting the effort.
The best thing to do, of course, is to not use them at all… unless the writer can think of something new to do with them. Thankfully, this is the case in this latest Big Finish Sixth Doctor adventure, and as you can work out using your considerable detective skills, this features the return of the Axons!
An Axon yesterday


Following on from the end of the previous Sixth Doctor tale The Crimes of Thomas Brewster, this story could rightly be subtitled The Temptation of Thomas Brewster, as the character gets some meaty stuff to do throughout the tale.
And as with the best of the Big Finish range, this one keeps the listener guessing, as plot points that are set up early play out in unexpected ways. One of the many cool scenes and ideas here comes in the cliffhanger at the end of episode three. It is simply a brilliant piece of writing. It leaves the listener genuinely wondering how the character is going to survive (indeed, I honestly thought that they were a goner), but the resolution of it in episode four is ingenious. Ingenious because it not only a clever idea, but also because it is something that had been mentioned a number of times in previous episodes, and so I really should have worked it out- all the clues were there, dammit!
As good as John Pickard is as Thomas Brewster- and as good as the rest of the cast are- this is really (more so than other adventures) the Colin Baker show. He gets to do something a bit different here- and does it brilliantly. I’ll probably repeat this again many times, but it is a delight to hear him as the Doctor- a role he so obviously loves and the relish with which he plays it is almost palpable.
 

You are the LAW!



The LAW is coming- at it is you!
You can patrol your local neighbourhood in the guise of the country‟s most famous future cop thanks to a new Judge Dredd costume from Cesar, available later this year.
The fantastic costume gives you everything you need to get into full law-giving character – a full body jumpsuit with muscle padding, plus utility belt with pockets for your phone and  money, knee and elbow pads, detailed shoulder and eagle pads, boot covers, gloves and a shiny PVC helmet.
One of the most iconic British comic book characters ever created and the very antithesis of American spandex-clad superheroes, Judge Dredd has been bringing justice to the streets of Mega City One for three decades  – and is to return to the silver screen  later this year  with a Hollywood adaptation starring Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy) and written by Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later).

We want one!