Friday, September 29, 2017

Fiction - Numenera: Awakening to Need

Image owned by Monte Cook Games

Garthax awoke from the midnight black of hypersleep. He felt odd. There was a no feeling of mental refreshment as he would gain from normal sleep, but his body felt rejuvenated and ready. The medical systems in the hypersleep chamber had clearly worked as intended, repairing the wounds to his body, and saving his life. Still he wished for real sleep.

The panel before him slowly began to turn translucent allowing the physical darkness of the hypersleep couch to slowly illuminate with soft blue light, and banishing sleep from his mind. As translucency became transparency Garthax became aware that he was being watched. A pair of the primitives were peering at him through the transparent barrier while a third stood at the control panel of his hypersleep chamber. They looked different from the last time he had seen their kind, and that one of them could operate his ship's controls, even those as basic as the hypersleep couch, spoke volumes of their progress during the time he had slept. Garthax wondered just how far this hypersleep had carried him into the future.

As the medi-computer analyzed the ambient atmosphere and adjusted Garthax's lung structure to compensate for compositional drift Garthax tapped the audio sensors and ran the primitive's language through his linguistic cerebral symbiote. To his surprise Garthx found that they spoke a language that had deep roots in Kellax-trall. The symbiote assured Garthax of a 93% comprehensional match.

At last the chamber opened, and the primitives excitedly backed away. Two, wearing metallic armor and wielding crude weaponry took position in front of the third, a thin elderly female. "Careful, Jessita, we don't know what it'll do," the largest of the three, and clearly an alpha male, said.

"No harm will be offered in exception of return in kind," Garthax spoke firmly, unsure if the symbiote had fully mastered the syntax of this strange variant language. "How came your entry to this place?"

The elderly female brusquely pushed her way forward, "We seek aid in defense of our home." She looked Garthax up and down and nodded her head, "We beseech you, oh ancient traveller, to aid us in the defense of the people of Ellomyr."

Find the Numenera 2 Kickstarter campaign here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #133 - Review: Kamandi Challenge #8

Kamandi Challenge #9 is out today! So let's discuss #8. Spoilers henceforth.

Prior issue reviews:


Published By: DC Comics • 31 pages • $3.99 • full color • Art: Rude • Words: Giffen

What's In It?

Spoilers ahead folks last warning!

OK, where were we? Oh, right, on a hang glider being attacked by a parasite. Ho hum, Kamandi foils this one by landing in the water, swimming to shore, and tearing the parasite off him before smashing it to bits. Basically something that last issue took over some of Kamandi's allies in seconds posed ... zero threat. Sadly it actually manages to get worse from here...

The remainder of the issue has Kamandi caught between two warring tribes, one of wolves, the other of goats and sheep. Each sees Kamandi as a prophesied hero of their people: Ulysses or Odysseus. Seriously. Kamandi manages to leverage his position to get a boat and try to make his escape as the tribes go to the dumbest war ever. Which is par for what is the dumbest issue of the run so far by a long margin.

The art was OK, but the writing was poor. Both the story and the dialog were unclear and uninteresting and at times actively confusing. A number of the scenes throughout can be summed by two aesthetically similar tribes yelling "Ulysses" or "Odysseus" while smashing into each other. By the end of the issue I was glad it was done, and happy to know that the next issue wouldn't feature anything by this issue's team. Maybe I'm being harsh but I can't abide by a boring and poorly written narrative that weighs down a limited series with pointless silliness.

As I said the art was ... OK, it wasn't great by any means and a lot of the pages were just confusing in layout and visual narration with two two factions having a very similar look. There were a few decent splash pages but mostly they came at the end and couldn't redeem what had come before.

World building is likewise a fail, mostly because neither tribe was interesting. The setting was likewise boring, being a little explored island with some woods and vaguely Greek inspired architecture. Even the colossus like status of Ulysses/Odysseus just elicited a groan from me when fully revealed at the end of the issue. Previously, tropes like communist bears were at least refreshed by the addition of a hive mind and a robot god-city. There was no such refreshing brought to this issues cultures.

As if all that wasn't obnoxious enough the credits are all paired off as Ulysses and Odysseus pen names. It makes me think that Giffen and Rude realized this was garbage and wanted to cover their tracks.

Make like Kamandi and run from this trite and boring story.

Rating: 20% - An entirely wasted effort that I will probably never bother to re-read. A waste of $4. The 20% only comes from the few decent panels of art and the fact that next issue has new creatives.