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Nintendo’s 2017/18 3Ds line-up looks amazing!

4 hours ago

With the E3 video game conference in the rear-view mirror, Nintendo is now looking ahead to all the great games coming to Nintendo 3Ds family systems this year and early 2018. This includes games in some of Nintendo’s most popular and long-running franchises, including Metroid: Samus Returns, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, Pokémon Ultra Sun, Pokémon Ultra Moon, and Hey! Pikmin.

Highlights include: Metroid: Samus Returns: A modern reimagining of the 1992 Game Boy adventure Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid: Samus Returns for Nintendo 3Ds features an enhanced arsenal for bounty hunter Samus Aran, new moves and abilities, and a redesigned map. The game launches on 15th September alongside two new Metroid series amiibo: Samus Aran and Metroid. While supplies last, fans will also be able to purchase the Legacy Edition of the game which includes a physical version of the game, a Metroid II: Return of Samus download code for Nintendo 3Ds, an old-style SteelBook®, the Samus Archive sound-selection CD featuring 25 tracks from across the Metroid series, a gold “S” Mark pin, a Morph Ball 3D keyring and a 40-page artbook. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions: This enhanced remake of the first game in the Mario & Luigi series contains updated visuals, touch-screen controls and helpful game-play upgrades. Newly added side story Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser, stars many of Bowser’s familiar right-hand enemies. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions launches on 6th October. Two new amiibo figures will also be released on the same day: Goomba and Koopa Troopa. Pokémon Ultra Sun & Pokémon Ultra Moon: With new story additions, new Pokémon and enhanced features, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon offer a fresh adventure through the tropical Alola region. The games launch on 17th November. Ever Oasis: This beautiful and mystical role-playing action-adventure game from Koichi Ishii, the creator of the Mana series, launches on 23rd June. In between exploring the desert and conquering puzzling dungeons, players can build up their own personal oasis. Players can try Ever Oasis right now by visiting the Nintendo eShop and downloading a playable demo*. Visit our YouTube channel to watch the Ever Oasis launch trailer. Hey! Pikmin: In this new type of Pikmin game, players are tasked with throwing all types of different Pikmin using the Touch Screen to solve puzzles, overcome challenges and defeat enemies through a side-scrolling adventure. Hey! Pikmin launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3Ds family of systems on 28th July, the same day as the New Nintendo 2Ds Xl system and a new Pikmin amiibo figure (both sold separately). A playable demo* is now available to download by visiting the Nintendo eShop. Visit our YouTube channel to watch the Hey! Pikmin demo trailer. Miitopia: Calling all Tomodachis! A dark lord is stealing the faces of everybody in the world of Miitopia, and it’s up to brave players to bring them back in this adventure sim launching on 28th July, the same day as the New Nintendo 2Ds Xl arrives in Europe. Monster Hunter Stories: Prepare to embark on an RPG adventure unlike anything the Monster Hunter series has ever known. In Monster Hunter Stories, become a rider and bond with monsters to raise their potential and unleash powerful combos. Players can fly, swim and crash into new areas of the map; discover eggs to collect and hatch; and participate in turn-based battles with a party of up to five monsters. Monster Hunter Stories launches on 8th September. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: Starting with the creation of a party to exploring the uncharted labyrinth of the Yggdrasil Tree, Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is all about players choosing how their adventures unfold. The fifth main instalment in the loved RPG series contains the epic turn-based battles, challenging exploration, and beautiful art styles fans have come to love. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth launches this autumn. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology: The original Radiant Historia on Nintendo DS is a beloved RPG classic. In this expanded version of the game, players will experience new story content, enhanced gameplay and an updated presentation. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology launches in early 2018. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux: When Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey returns on Nintendo 3Ds, expect it to do so with new story content, additional endings, a new dungeon to explore and more fun surprises. This enhanced version of the essential RPG launches for Nintendo 3Ds in early 2018. Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can you stay focused?: Prepare to train your brain by completing a series of challenging exercises with an emphasis on concentration skills and focus to train your working memory. Challenge your abilities to focus with eight Devilish Training exercises that’ll push you to the limit, or play against your friends and family, when the game launches on 28th July

So what new Nintendo titles in this list are you looking forward to the most? Are there any other Nintendo titles you’re more excited for? »

- Phil Wheat

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Graphic Novel Review: ‘Ravina the Witch?’

5 hours ago

Written by Junko Mizuno | Art by Junko Mizuno | Published by Titan Comics

A bewitching and beautiful tale of an orphan girl who was raised by crows in a trash heap. One day, a dying witch gifts her with a mysterious magic wand and her life changes forever! Now, the human world is hers to play with… Or will this land of fear and corruption prove too much for the fledgling witch? In a time of witch hunts, Ravina must have her wits about her!

I’ll admit, when I first glanced at a page of Ravina the Witch? the layout put me off. The art choice was different to what I usually read, so I moved it further down my ‘to review’ list and read something else instead.

I feel bad. Never again will I judge a book so harshly without giving it a chance. I came back to Ravina the Witch? today and, luckily, my initial reaction was proven wrong.

Ravina, written and drawn by Junko Mizuno, is a strange story that, like any good fairy tale, will stay with you after you have finished. My initial judgement that it was childlike was…well… half right. It’s written in a childlike way, possibly to mimic the fairy tale style it is going for, but readers will very quickly realise that this is not a story for children. Laden with dark themes and light erotica, this fairy tale is very much closer to original Brothers Grimm than their shiny, Disney remakes.

The art, like the story in Ravina, has its own special flavour. As previously mentioned, it put me off at first, but the blending of light colours and darkness soon pulled me in. Add this with the tone and flowery patterns and Ravina is set apart from the rest. Mizuno has also opted for a more traditional, story-book style of telling the story, through paragraphs under or between the panels, which put me off at first glance. If you’re looking for speech bubbles and captions, look elsewhere. You shall not find them here.

Ironically, the one of things I praised earlier is also one of the biggest problems I have with Ravina. The blend of childlike language and the inclusion of erotic and very adult elements left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. I know this won’t bother everyone, but for me I was unsure how to react to what I was reading. Now that I’ve written that down, it occurs to me that maybe that was its intention. Maybe the whole point was to make the reader feel uncomfortable with the subject matter at hand. The strange and uncomfortable world of Ravina.

This dark, erotic fairy tale is a strange tale of magic and adventure. Looking for something a bit different, yet beautifully dark to add to your collection? Ravina the Witch? might be for you.

**** 4/5 »

- Richard Axtell

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‘Baby Driver’ Review

6 hours ago

Stars: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Space, John Hamm, Jamie Foxx | Written and Directed by Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright’s return to American moviemaking is a more earnest and coherent foray than 2010’s Scott Pilgrim, and it’s a blast of pure positive energy after the relatively dour The World’s End. It opens with the eponymous Baby (Ansel Elgort) rocking in his car to The John Spencer Blues Explosion, and it never stops dancing.

Baby is a guy with a permanent Tony Manero swagger. He’s under the wing of gangster boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), who’s both a mentor and gaoler. But Baby has almost paid off his debt and he’s approaching the “one last job” cliché, after which he hopes to hit the road and leave his Atlanta life behind.

Then Baby meets a beautiful waitress, Debora (Lily James). They quickly fall in love. However, the freeway out of the crime world is not clear. Doc needs Baby for yet another last job, working alongside the hyper-macho Buddy (John Hamm) and his scheming girlfriend Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and the batshit crazy Bats (Jamie Foxx).

Can Baby finish his getaway driver stint and find freedom and a future with Debora? Or is he on a road to oblivion?

Life is a playlist for Baby. A childhood accident left him with tinnitus, and now he drowns out the whining through the power of the iPod, wearing earbuds 23 hours a day and moving to the thrum of the music. (He even samples real-world conversations and mixes them into bad hip-hop.) Wright’s penchant for rhythmic editing has reached its natural zenith, and it’s exhilarating.  The British auteur has compiled a soundtrack – and frankly a narrative brevity – of which Tarantino can only dream. And it’s not just the music but the sound design, which is astonishingly detailed and well-choreographed, whether it’s the percussive crack of gunfire, the sad ring of tinnitus, or the intimate singing of wine glasses.

The marketing may have overtones of classic car capers like Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway or Walter Hill’s The Driver, but really Baby Driver is a mashup of the last few decades of modern action movies. It takes in the muscular physicality and mute cool of the ‘70s; the efficiency and the gaudy aesthetic of the ‘80s and ‘90s; and in its hero shaped by formative tragedy, even includes some of the comic book sensibility of the new century. It also feels like the greatest Grand Theft Auto movie never made. (If only Baby could learn from GTA that sometimes the best way to evade the cops is to stay still until the heat is off.)

Elgort is charming and tragic in a way that he totally wasn’t in The Fault in Our Stars, and he has a great chemistry with James, who pulls off blue collar Georgian with effortless aplomb. In supporting roles, Spacey brings gravitas and grades of grey to his deadpan mobster, while Foxx is genuinely funny and menacing.

But Hamm is the real psychotic of the troupe. Unlike Bats, Buddy comes in the guise of a friend, before finally actualising his rage and cruelty. It’s disappointing that the final showdown descends into a mindless macho wrestle, but the storytelling is movingly redeemed in the epilogue.

As ever, Wright is constantly imaginative in deploying his action beats and setpieces. For him, it’s not enough to give us a scuzzy warehouse gun deal, so he delivers it as if a group of bankers are being presented with a fine dining experience. Wright gleefully toys with our expectations throughout, whether it means building to the ultimate car chase, only to show us a foot race; giving us musical intros we think we know but we don’t; or inverting the mentor role by making the kid the carer.

A very welcome stem of morality runs through the movie. It is made abundantly – perhaps excessively – clear that Baby is a boy with a good heart, a million miles from the French Connection-type antihero. Yet, ever the optimist, Wright’s fable is as much a reflection of the countercultural mood of its time as any film from the Nixon era. He is right-on when he proposes that real heroism in the modern age is in decency, accountability and humility – an implicit indictment, perhaps, of today’s prevailing political bleakness.

What a rush this movie is, and what a work of authorship. Employing style in the service of soulfulness, Baby Driver is like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive shot through with the sensibility of a Hollywood musical. It’s absolutely an Edgar Wright joint and it’s an absolute joy, and if it isn’t on my end-of-year best-of list then I’ll eat my driving gloves.

Baby Driver is out in cinemas on 28th June 2017. »

- Rupert Harvey

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‘Flintstones #12′ Review

7 hours ago

Written by Mark Russell | Art by Steve Pugh | Published by DC Comics

It is safe to say that The Flintstones will go down as one of the biggest pleasant surprises in the history of comics. When the first promo images were released for this along with the other Hanna Barbera series the majority of the world scoffed at the very idea of this project. While the other series like Scooby Doo Apocalypse have left a lot to be desired, Mark Russell and Steve Pugh’s Flintstones has been one of the best comics since its debut. It is a series that will only grow in notoriety as more people learn about its brilliance.

Issue twelve is a bittersweet moment as it marks the end of this fantastic book. Not wanting over extend this idea is admirable, but still, it is hard to let something so consistently good go. In reality the sharp social and political commentary that makes The Flintstones what it is could only last so long. Rarely do comics or really any form of entertainment end before there is a sharp dip in quality. Part of being a great creator is knowing when to move on to something new.

This issue works as a wrap-up of some of the major stories that have been building during these past twelve issues. A testament to the power of this series is how it crafted one of the most fulfilling narratives around a bowling ball and his relationship with a vacuum cleaner. Objects that were just cheap gags in the original cartoon where the heart and soul of this series, which ties into one of the biggest surprises of this last installment. For a series that was mighty critical of the human race and our society, this had a much more upbeat and optimistic outlook.

During the issue The Great Gazoo is giving his assessment on humanity and its downfalls but why there is reason to be hopeful. Within that framework we see Bam Bam and Pebbles attempting to better understand the conflict between science and religion. The result is one of the best explanation for the need for religion I have read. One that is not critical nor ignorant to its problems. The Church of Gerald has been a consistent source of humor but here it became something more.

Steve Pugh also needs to be praised for his work. No one else could have made this book except for him. That look that many people criticized at first was key in making the tone perfect. If this looked too cartoony it would not nearly be as effective and if it was too realistic it the irony would be absent. I truly hope these two work on so much more in the future.

If you are still hesitant to read this series get over that as quickly as possible. Go back to issue one and get ready to experience twelve issues of genius. This final issue may not be the best one so far but it is a fitting end to a special book. I can safely say we will never see a book like this ever again.

*****½  4.5/5 »

- Dan Clark

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Trek to the Past – Star Trek: Tos Season Two in Review

8 hours ago

Star Trek is probably the most successful science fiction franchise of all time spanning six decades of science fiction storytelling. In the series, I will be looking at the highlights of all the past episodes from each season of all five TV shows that went before leading up to the new series Star Trek: Discovery that will be airing in the fall of 2017.

Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two

Development

The ratings for the first season of Star Trek were low which, in previous years, would have seen the series cancelled straight away, but NBC decided to renew the series for a second season – mainly because it appealed to a younger audience. The series was given an episode order of 26 episodes, which in future years became the average number for an episode order of Star Trek.

There were a few changes in the Season 2: like cast member Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand quit the show due to personal reasons; they introduced a new character called Ensign Chekov, who was brought in to appeal to the younger audience and he had a very Beatles like hairpiece in his early episodes – as this season progressed they got rid of the hairpiece and let him have his own hair(!); and also they added DeForest Kelley (McCoy) to the opening credits which made him the third lead character in the series from that point on.

The character of Mr Spock became a breakout character and a sex symbol after the first season had aired, and in this season there were many episodes centred around Spock – such as the seasons opening episode ‘Amok Time’ which was set on his home planet Vulcan and where Kirk and Spock have to fight to death.

Writers

Some of the writers from the first year returned to write scripts for the second year – including as Gene L. Coon and D. C Fontana. They were joined by new writers such as John Merdyth Lucas, Robert Sabaroff and John Kingsbridge who wrote some classic episodes of this season, like ‘Patterns of Force’ which had that common theme in the original series of Star Trek where they beam onto a planet that represents an alien society ;in the context of earth history like in this episode it represents Nazi Germany in the 1930s. There were many episodes like that in this season, another being ‘A Piece of the Action’ which represents an alien society in 1920s gangster culture. Another standout episode in this season was ‘Mirror Mirror’ where members of the Enterprise crew were transported on an alternative Enterprise. This episode famously had a badass Mr Spock with a beard and the crew kill each other to move up in rank.

Top 5 Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two

5) The Gamester of Triskelion

In this episode Captain Kirk and his companion are kidnapped into slavery and trained to become gladiators. It’s a real “starter episode” if you want to get into the original series; and your always wondering how Kirk and crew are going to get out of this one. It’s one of the many cliché episodes where they have a lot of stylized fight scenes and Kirk gets the girl. But overall it’s a little bit of fun.

4) A Private Little War

In this episode the crew of the Enterprise see the interference of a once peaceful planet from the Klingon Empire. It’s another one that tackles a social issue of the time, which is the Vietnam War, which was at it’s height in 1968 when this episode aired. It’s an episode I have always enjoyed – even if it’s flawed somewhat.

3) The Doomsday Machine

The Enterprise has discovered a planet destroying weapon and a Commodore that puts the crew of the Enterprise in danger, in crazy mission of revenge. This is one of most popular episodes of the original series. The highlight of the episode is the performance of William Windom, who played the vengeful Commodore Matt Decker, and his obsession of wanting to destroy the planet destroying weapon The Doomsday Machine.

2) Mirror Mirror

First of many “Mirror Universe” episodes and I think this is still the best – come on who doesn’t like seeing the crew of the enterprise being bad to the bone for one episode? Plus Spock has a beard and is being as bad ass as ever!

1) Amok Time

I’m sure you saw this one coming… could it really be any other episode? What’s not to love about this episode and visiting Spock’s home planet and watching Kirk and Spock fight to the death? And that brilliant ending where you see Spock almost being human. »

- James Morrell

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‘Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #3.4′ Review

9 hours ago

Written by George Mann | Art by Mariano Laclaustra | Published by Titan Comics

Before I get going on the actual review, a quick mention for the fantastic covers that the Who titles have. All issues have multiple covers, ranging from photo covers, to fully painted, to cartoony. Once upon a time multiple covers were intended to suck investors into buying several copies of the same issue, but now they offer a different flavour to any and all buyers. Fans of comics probably go for the painted/ cartoony covers, fans of the TV show the photo covers. The painted cover this month, by Simon Myers (pictured above), is rather fab I must say. But I digress.

George Mann and Mariano Maclaustra return for the concluding part of the rather fun, vintage feeling ‘Beneath the Waves’. The Doctor and space punk Hattie have not really been enjoying 1979 Seaton Bay, despite the awesome fish and chips, due to the arrival of strange seaweed creatures with a nice line in psychic attacks. After the normal shenanigans, The Doctor gives himself up to be taken by these creatures, so as to avoid any further attacks on the town and the people. Good for the town, not so good for The Doctor as he is dragged underneath the waves into the sea. This issue could be a very short review.

As The Doctor disappears, Hattie of course is having none of that. She finds a diving suit and suits up, a little too naturally for a future space punk if you ask me, and dives in after the seaweed creatures. We then have a several page under the sea text less sequence, as Hattie fights off the seaweed creature, finds The Doctor, with a handy air breather attached, and they mutually rescue each other. Great sequence, culminating in a powerful psychic blast seemingly showing these creatures are lost and just want to go home, a frequent Who trope.

The Doctor now realises that a spaceship crash landed millions of years ago, with its occupant in hyper-sleep, and had been at the bottom of the Bay. Recent cliff movements had caused the ship to shift, and the occupant to wake, obviously none too happy. The ‘attacks’, by both seaweed creatures and psychically, were attempts at communication. The Doctor, of course, cannot let this lie (literally) and devises a pretty cool plan to free the creature. Underwater punk rock. Yep. The Doctor and Hattie lay down some outstanding licks, causing some outstanding vibrations, that free the trapped ship. An unfortunate consequence is that the town starts to suffer from an Earthquake, but The Doctor and the alien team up to avert that crisis. Job done.

Although the main adventure was wrapped up, The Doctor usually has several other things going on as well, and one of those was his attempt to re-inspire Hattie, who was going through something of a personal crisis. What better inspiration to have involved her in a mission where her music directly saved the trapped alien, her voice saved a creature with none. Boom, The Doctor is in. Hattie returns to her own time and place, destined for greater things (The Doctor plans on returning in a year or two, to get a signed copy of her bestselling album to be). Great wrap up.

An excellent issue, really well written and drawn. Although Mann directed the story with a fine hand, many pages had no actual writing, so Laclaustra’s storytelling skills came to the fore. The underwater sequence was especially good, down to the wavy panel edges, and the full page panels were things of beauty. Story and art worked really well, and I liked the moral of the story, using the rescue to re-inspire Hattie. The musical resolution may have been a little over the top but, who cares, it was fun and it worked for me.

All change next month with a new creative team, new companion in Bill, and new story arc, but this was a fine send off for this particular team.

Their Doctor rocked it. Literally.

**** 4/5 »

- Dean Fuller

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Titan Comics team up with Bethesda for The Evil Within, Wolfenstein & Dishonored comics

10 hours ago

Titan Comics have announced that they are teaming up with the legendary developer Bethesda to create in-canon stories based on Dishonored, The Evil Within and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, all of which are due to hit comic stores and digital devices this Fall.

From the press release:

Following Titan Comics’ smash-hit prequel comic series to The Evil Within in 2015, Titan Comics will publish a direct lead-in to the upcoming survival horror videogame sequel, inviting readers back into the blood-curdling world as imagined by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami!

Coming to comic stores and digital devices on September 6, Titan Comics’ new The Evil Within comic book series finds Detective Sebastian Castellanos still shell-shocked by the horrific events that took place at the Beacon Mental Hospital, and reluctantly pulled back into Mobius’ macabre world when a gruesome serial killer unleashes a new kind of hell onto Krimson City.

The Evil Within Issue #1 is written by Ryan O’Sullivan (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, Turncoat) with art by Damien Worm (The October Faction) and Szymon Kudranski (Spider-Man).

On September 13, 2017, get ready to sock it to the Nazis with an all-new comics prequel to the hotly anticipated first-person action blockbuster, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which continues the adventures of B.J. Blazkowicz as he leads the resistance against the Nazis in occupied America.

In Titan’s new comic series, written by Dan Watters (Limbo, Assassin’s Creed: Uprising) with art by Piotr Kowalski (Sex, Dark Souls) and Ronilson Freire (The Mummy), dive headfirst into the alternate universe of Wolfenstein as B.J. Blazkowicz returns to take on the Nazis. Can he stop the march of goose-stepping boots? Or will the sinister Hans Hartmann be victorious?

Titan Comics will also publish brand-new Dishonored comics, to tie-in with the upcoming Dlc (downloadable content) of the smash-hit first person stealth-‘em-up Dishonored 2 videogame!

Written by by Michael Moreci (Roche Limit) and illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri (Dishonored) and Mattia Iacono (Demone Dentro), Dishonored: The Peeress and the Price, Titan Comics’ new series, sees Emily Kaldwin return to Dunwall for an adventure with Corvo Attano. Emily comes into conflict with a politician named Archibald Dufrane, and there is a mysterious killer on the loose – but when Emily’s powers start to falter in the middle of their investigation, things start to get deadly…

The Evil Within #1 (on-sale September 6, 2017), Wolfenstein #1 (on-sale September 13, 2017) and Dishonored: The Peeress And The Price #1 (on-sale September 27, 2017) are available to order from the upcoming July edition of Previews. »

- Phil Wheat

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Needle in a [Comic] Haystack #4: ‘Moonlighters’

11 hours ago

Hi! Welcome back to Needle in a [Comic] Haystack, where I tell you about where you should spend your money, because you are probably only buying cape comics, and c’mon, haven’t we all had enough of them? Today we’re going to deal with a brand-new series by Katie Schenkel and Cal Moray about teenage werewolves, queerness, a supernatural team, and every furry’s dream smashing into each other to create a really awesome and fun comic from the outstanding team at Space Goat.

[One word: I do know Schenkel personally, but this comic is still super great]

What do you do when you’re bitten by a werewolf and have no one to turn to? If you’re college student Renee — the audience surrogate/lead of Moonlighters – you go to the nearest agency that deals with supernatural creatures. Unfortunately, as Renee finds, it’s not so much an agency to help people deal with supernatural creatures, as it is an agency to help supernatural creatures find help when they can’t (like if they have a cat stuck up a tree and the fire department won’t answer).

This ragtag group of goofballs, it turns out, are all also werewolves – but unlike Renee, all of them were born that way. Someone is out there turning humans. Who? And will it interfere with all of the cute romance that’s in the air? Hopefully not.

If you like X-Files, this is a series you’ll love. If you’ve always wanted to see a group of queers together being happy, you’ll dig it. Heck, if you love just fun comics, you’ll want to check this out.

Now, to stop being just a general comics recommender person, and talk to a smaller percentage of people: Hi, the queers. I’m queer too. And it’s hard for me to find a comic with depictions of people like me that aren’t… shocking, horrifying, or weird. It’s hard to find people who are just, you know, people. This comic – despite the people being, you know, werewolves – is one of the best depictions of queer people ever. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s nice to be able to look at a comic filled with queer people and just smile. If you’ve ever felt the need for something nice, here you go.

This is the comic you should give to your queer children, if you have any. This is the comic you’ll re-read on sunny days, or read on sad days when everything seems low. It’s soft and sweet and happy and it’s available on Comixology. Go grab a copy, you won’t be disappointed.

That’s all for now. See you next time, folks. Until then, happy Pride Month! »

- Tara Marie

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Official poster for ‘The Defenders’

11 hours ago

Marvel’s The Defenders – which premieres globally on August 18, 2017 at 12:01am Pt – follows Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones), a quartet of singular heroes with one common goal – to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.

The series follows the releases of Marvel’s Daredevil , Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage and Marvel’s Iron Fist. Marvel’s The Defenders stars Charlie Cox, (Matt Murdock/Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Finn Jones (Danny Rand/Iron Fist). Additional cast members include Academy-Award nominated actress Sigourney Weaver (Alexandra), Elodie Yung (Elektra), Scott Glenn (Stick), Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeri Hogarth), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse), Simone Missick (Misty Knight) and Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing). »

- Phil Wheat

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Nerd Buy: Funko Pint-Sized Horror Heroes

11 hours ago

A brilliant first series of Horror Pint Sized Heroes from Funko features many horror icons, including: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Gremlin, Pinhead, Chucky, Michael Myers, Pennywise, Beetlejuice, Cthulhu, Carrie, Krampus and Elvira.

Pint Size Heroes are a new Cdu, blind bagged, mini figure concept which will bring great characters and design to customers at a pocket money price. Each series consists of 12 figures. Check out the line-up below: »

- Phil Wheat

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The History of Bad Ideas – Episode 181: Sharecropping in Disney!

13 hours ago

Emanating from their studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, The History of Bad Ideas sees hosts Jason, Jeff and Blake talk about all things geeky on their podcast. Whether it’s rumours of the latest comic book movies, debating who really is the worst villain of all time, discussing the latest comic issues or just wondering about life in general, you are sure to have a fun time with them! In theory.

If you haven’t listened to the show before – why not? – you can check out previous episodes of The History of Bad Ideas podcast on iTunes and look out for new episodes here on Nerdly each and every week…

Episode 181: Sharecropping in Disney!

The Hobi Gang welcomes Number One Fan Doug into the Bob Studios to talk his latest visit to Disney World and Pandora, aka AvatarLand and to teach the gang some Disney history! The guys are hating on Transformers even before it is released, Blake hates the fake news surrounding Wonder Woman while Jason lightens the mood with impressions of celebrity siblings! The gang is scared of Bat-nipples, Jeff gets angry at people that don’t understand Lost while Doug is only interested in a new Atari console if it has the dirty games from the old system! The guys list their Top 5 Favorite Fictional Fathers and Hobi has two Bad Ideas of the Week this time! This episode is sponsored by the Cincinnati Comic Expo! »

- Phil Wheat

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Graphic Novel Review: ‘Warhammer 40K: Will of Iron’

21 June 2017 10:01 AM, PDT

Written by George Mann | Art by Tazio Bettin | Colour by Erica Erin Angiolini | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 112pp

After a thousand years of warp storms, the Calaphrax Cluster has re-opened to the universe, and Baltus and his fellow Dark Angel Space Marines join a strike force sent to explore and secure the region, in search of forgotten artefacts and ancient technology! But the forces of Chaos are never far away… and a shameful Dark Angels secret from the Horus Heresy soon leads to a new front in the war!

Ahh, Warhammer 40000. I remember you from my youth. Hours spent painstakingly painting and arranging little figurines on my desk so I could make shooty noises out of the corner of my mouth and stare at them proudly.

What? Game? There’s a game?

Anyway, onto the comic. This volume comes from Titan and collects the first four issues of the series under the title of Will of Iron. There are plenty of opportunities to make shooty noises out of the corner of your mouth throughout because as we all know: in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.

It’s not the destination, however, but the journey that really shines through in this volume.

The artwork, by Tazio Bettin, has some very impactful moments throughout. Made even more stunning by colourist Erica Erin Angiolini, there are a few pages where I just stopped to gape at the beautiful space vistas that these two have managed to bring alive. In fact, if it had been a comic comprised entirely of dramatic space landscapes, I would have been happy (but maybe a little bored). Luckily, we also get some well envisioned characters and action sequences as well.

On the story side, it’s written by George Mann. In our review of the first issue by Dean Fuller, he mentions how the story is not really for people new to Warhammer 40k or the surrounding universe. For this first volume, that description still stands true. I get that Space Marines don’t like Chaos Space Marines because of reasons and the Chaos Marines are probably the bad guys because they are uglier and wear black (possibly because it’s slimming?) but, beyond that, I don’t have much of an in depth knowledge myself. I mean, why can’t they all just get along?

I also realised, on the my third read through of the volume, that I didn’t know any of the character’s names. At first, I thought it was because they had names like Inquisitor Sabbethiel, Interregator-Chaplain Altheous, and Master Seraphus, which are long and complicated and refuse to stay in my brain. But on a fourth read through, I came to the conclusion that character development is on the weaker side.

Inquisitor Sabbethiel (just writing that name is a pain) and her motley crew are by far the most interesting group in the volume, but they are just teased at. Who are they? Why are they following them? They are also the most varied bunch of characters in the comic, providing a stark contrast to the faceless space marines and armies who shoot at each other for the rest of the issue. Maybe a bit more character time and less epic battles might have balanced it out, but an argument could be made that you don’t buy a ‘Warhammer’ comic for the emotional journey. Pew pew pew!

All in all, not a terrible volume. If you’re a 40k fan, and have the lore down, or are looking for a fast-paced, action-filled read this might be one worth checking out. But for the uninitiated or a random passer-by? Maybe not quite your cup of tea.

***½  3.5/5 »

- Richard Axtell

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Bandai announce new ‘.Hack’ title

21 June 2017 9:01 AM, PDT

Bandai Namco have announced the release of .hack//G.U. Last Recode for the PlayStation 4 and PC. The definitive .hack//G.U. experience for existing fans and newbies, .hack//G.U. Last Recode collects the three .hack//G.U. action-rpg titles; Rebirth, Reminisce and Redemption with updated 1080p, 16:9 widescreen picture, and 60 fps frame rate, gameplay balance changes and additional features to be announced in the upcoming months.

From the press release:

.hack is a multimedia franchise created and developed by famed Japanese developer CyberConnect2. Comprising of video games, anime, novels, and manga, the world of .hack focuses on the mysterious events surrounding a wildly popular in-universe massively multiplayer role-playing game called The World. .hack//G.U. begins after the events of the original .hack series with players assuming the role of Haseo as he tracks down a powerful Player Killer named Tri-Edge who killed his friend’s in-game avatar Shino, and put her in a coma in real life.

In addition to offering the .hack//G.U. trilogy, .hack//G.U. Last Recode will also include enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience as well as a new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with full stats.

“The .hack series has been one of the most acclaimed series in the history and we are excited to announce this definitive experience for those who loved the original games and those who haven’t experience them yet,” said Antoine Jamet, Brand Manager Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe. “With the new features that will be part of the title, fans will experience .hack//G.U. like never before with .hack//G.U. Last Recode!”

.hack//G.U. Last Recode will release for the PlayStation 4 (physical and digital) and PC in late 2017. »

- Phil Wheat

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‘Demon Hunter’ DVD Review

21 June 2017 8:01 AM, PDT

Stars: Niamh Hogan, Alan Talbot, Michael Parle, Sarah Tapes Jenkinson, Kevin O’Malley, Nic Furlong, Aisli Moran, Saorla Wright | Written by Tony Flynn, Zoe Kavanagh | Directed by Zoe Kavanagh

Lurking in the shadows of society, within the rich and powerful, is the true essence of evil. A young girl, Taryn Barker, descends into this dark underworld to search for her sister. But when the sister is raped and murdered, Taryn vows to take revenge. She survives a demonic possession that should have killed her during a satanic ritual, and is rescued by a team of demon hunters who train her to fight evil. Years later, Taryn is detained by police and questioned over the murder of a man who she believes to be a demon. As the bodies pile up, Police Detective Beckett is forced to seek Taryn’s aid in rescuing his daughter from a demonic cult. Running against the clock, Taryn must venture into the darkest depths of the city to save Beckett’s daughter and prevent a potential Hell on Earth.

A true independent horror movie, made completely outside the “system” by an Irish, first-time, female, filmmaker? That’s enough to peak anyone’s interest in Demon Hunter. But then add the fact that Zoe Kavanagh’s debut feature is a spin on the same arse-kicking, take-no-prisoners, give-no f**ks, strong-female character that made Buffy the Vampire Slayer must-see TV; and you have a film that should be on the radar of Every genre fan!

But can a truly independent film live up to such expectations? In a word. Yes.

Not confined by its obvious low-budget, Demon Hunter is – like all good indie genre cinema – a  perfect storm of ideas, story, performances and filmmaking. And whilst budget may be lacking, the rest of the elements that make up Kavanagh’s film work to overcome any shortcomings: including a badass heavy metal soundtrack that really helps ramp up the excitement in the films numerous fight scenes; and a setting – the streets of Dublin – that haven’t really been explored in such rich detail previously.

In terms of story and plot, Demon Hunter packs a Lot into its swift runtime. The film manages to not only tell Taryn’s backstory, but also weave an intricate, and intimate, tale of the oldest of battles: that between good and evil. By making Taryn’s tale one of not only good vs. evil, but also of revenge and personal vengeance, Kavanagh manages to make what is essentially a small-scale production feel a part of a much larger story in an even larger universe. This really feels like only the beginning for our titular demon hunter…

Speaking of whom, our heroine Taryn is part Buffy, part Angel (with a dash of The Crow) and not only embodies everything that made those two characters great, but she’s a fiesty, fighting Irish lass too. With an inherent vulnerability – due to both her past and because of what Falstaff has put her through – that keeps the character grounded in reality when fighting demons is anything but real life. Taryn’s journey is fully mapped out here: from her schoolgirl beginnings to the rousing, and kick-ass, speech she gives at the end – this is her story, her fight, her film. And heres to seeing more!

Demon Hunter is out now from Left Films. »

- Phil Wheat

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Trailer & artwork for Wesley Snipes’ action flick ‘Final Recall’

21 June 2017 7:01 AM, PDT

In his first leading role since 2012’s cult [s]hit Gallowwalkers, action superstar Wesley Snipes returns to the screen in Final Recall, alongside Rj Mitte (Breaking Bad) and Jedidiah Goodacre (Tomorrowland). Here, Snipes has a hell of good time as a no-nonsense survivalist trying to stop aliens from taking over planet Earth, and attempting to convince a cabin full of teens what is at stake – basically, the end of humanity.

A group of friends are spending the weekend at a cabin on the lake while, unbeknownst to them, aliens have begun to attack planet Earth. A number of the friends are abducted immediately by the ship hovering above, and the remaining two of the group, Annie and Charlie, must rely on an eccentric and dangerous hunter who seems to have special knowledge of the attack, explaining that this day has been prophesized for years and extraterrestrials have been guiding Earth’s evolution in preparation for their ultimate takeover.

Final Recall, aka The Recall, is released in the UK on Digital HD on August 14th and DVD on August 21st. »

- Phil Wheat

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Panel Discussion #37

21 June 2017 6:01 AM, PDT

Hello again, and welcome to the recently resurrected Panel Discussion. I’m Kieran, and every week I’m going to go through some of the best comics of the week to give you an idea what you should pick up that you might have missed. This is another stacked week with some fantastic first issues and great jumping on points for books you might be behind on, so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

The biggest release of the week again goes to DC Comics for Tom King, David Finch, Danny Miki and Jordie Bellaire’s Batman #25 which kicks off the massive new storyline, “The War of Jokes and Riddles”. It feels like absolutely ages since we got a great straightforward Joker story or a great straightforward Riddler story so getting both at the same time feels like an absolute treat. Not only that, but the story has already promised to bring in players from all over Gotham including Deathshot, Deathstroke and of course, Kite-Man. This is going to go down as an iconic Batman story that you’re not going to want to miss out on, so grab this issue today.

The second big release of the week is Chip Zdarksy and Adam Kubert’s Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 which is conveniently timed to come out just weeks before the brand new motion picture. Zdarsky proved that he had the skill to write Spider-Man in the pages of Howard The Duck and his love for the character is evident, even if he dunks on him constantly. While one of Marvel’s top-tier artists, Adam Kubert is underrated as a Spidey penciller even though his work on Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine was one of the best Spider-Man comics of the past decade. While he does great work here, his classic superhero style doesn’t quite gel with Zdarsky’s comedy chops but each creator has tweaked their traditional style to accommodate their collaborator in new ways, which is always the sign of a great book.

If you’ve been sleeping on Dan Abnett’s run on Aquaman this week’s Aquaman #25 is a brilliant jumping on point thanks to the arrival of Stjepan Šejić who breathes new life into the underwater world of Atlantis as a deposed Arthur Curry grows a sweet looking beard and tries to get his throne back. Šejić is an artist known for his love of DC Comics characters thanks to his prolific fan-art output and it’s a massive surprise they haven’t recruited him sooner. Abnett has been building a long-form story in the pages of Aquaman to rival his work on Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Super-Heroes so this is a jumping on point you absolutely don’t to miss.

Lastly, I have to shout-out Image Comics’s new release, Shirtless Bear Fighter (Shirtless Bear Fighter #1 review)by Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner, Mike Spicer and Nil Vendrell, which is exactly what it says on the tin. It feels like a throwback to the Image Comics of ten years ago that didn’t quite have the identity it does now and was trying a bunch of new stuff that led to comics like Proof and Firebreather and if that’s the sort of thing you’re into or just if the name catches your eye, you’ll want to at least give this first issue a shot and see if it’s for you/

That’s it for me this week but there’s still a great number of awesome comics on the stands for you to check out. Happy reading everyone, and I’ll see you all next week! »

- Kieran Shiach

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‘Batman #24′ Review

21 June 2017 5:01 AM, PDT

Written by Tom King | Art by Clay Mann | Published by DC Comics

Many have already heard of the big reveal that happens on the final page of this issue, and for those who have not been staying current with this Batman series, it may seem strange from afar. In reality, it is a major character moment that has been building since Tom King first took over this series. After ‘The Button’ crossover, a lot of hype has been built around Superman: Doomsday Clock and what that means for the DC comic book universe. I have a feeling though the biggest impact  ‘The Button’ will have is with the character of Batman.

During that event Batman got the chance to do something he had not done since he was a child. He communicated with his father ever so briefly. Due to reality and time hopping shenanigans he came face to face with Thomas Wayne from the Flashpoint universe.  Thomas pleaded with Bruce to stop being Batman and try to be happy. Considering the history of Batman a moment like that will do wonders to his psyche.

King decided not to focus on that right away we instead got what was perhaps his best Batman issue yet with The Brave and the Mold. Thematically it ties in wonderfully and again touches on the psyche of who Batman is as a person and a hero. Is he doing what he is doing to avenge his parents or is there something more?

Some may find issue with King’s lyrical dialog. By no means is it attempting to be realistic, instead focusing on stylistic banter that resembles a twenty-first-century version of iambic pentameter. With this issue, we see how that style of speaking contrasts when he is speaking to someone like Gotham Girl versus Catwoman. There is a level of familiarity and openness with Catwoman that does not exist with other characters.

Batman is one of the few series at DC right now that is not getting by simply by being familiar. King is attempting to take one of the longest running characters ever on a journey, unlike anything he has ever been on before. It is a journey that is not necessarily dictated by whatever villain he is facing off with, but rather one where Batman does some serious self-reflection. Batman was told to live a normal life by his own father, a father that clearly knew the same pain that he did. What we are seeing is if Batman or Bruce Wayne even remembers what normal life is like anymore. I see his actions at the end of this issue not a proclamation of love rather a desperate attempt to find the normalcy that has evaded him since that faithful day his lost his parent. The only question is if he will ever be able to find it.

****½  4.5/5 »

- Dan Clark

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‘Arms’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

21 June 2017 4:01 AM, PDT

Nearly four months after the launch of Switch, Nintendo’s system gets its first major first-party exclusive (let’s ignore 1-2 Switch) – and it’s a cracker. A cartoon one-on-one (or two-on-two) fighting game with stretchy limbs, bulging eyes, mad music and gibberish voices, it’s as colourful, accessible and unputdownable as anything the Kyoto gaming gods have created in the HD era.

Arms is essentially a ranged fighting game, more concerned with relative position and lateral movement than the complex move combos of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Injustice et al. It better resembles elder brawlers like Power Stone and Virtual On, as well as more recent fare like Pokken Tournament.

Arms is quite hard to learn and very hard to master. But it’s inviting and different enough that you will want to learn. This is a game built around motion controls, and they feel natural and responsive. However, if you prefer a more sedentary session, standard controls are also available, even if they lack the nuance – and frankly the fun – of beating the imaginary hell out of your living room space.

Tilt both joy-cons sideways to sidestep and tilt them together to block; the shoulder buttons dash and jump respectively; and of course you punch to punch. But then it gets deeper. You’ll discover that blocking charges your fists, as does landing a jump. Punches can be curved, allowing you to dash behind scenery and attack unseen. And with every strike you are building a power bar, which when full can be unleashed in a furious flurry, the like of which E. Honda could only dream of.

The character art style lies somewhere between the heavily caricatured style of Overwatch and the alien weirdness of Splatoon. The female characters are marginally more interesting than their male counterparts, but everyone will have their favourite. Do you go for the dashing dexterity of tiny Min Min, with her ramen noodle arms? Or the brute force of the colossal Master Mummy, whose undead wrapping projects his fists? Personally, I’m partial to Ribbon Girl’s ability to dash multiple times in mid-air.

Ten characters (until the upcoming free Dlc is released, anyway) may look like slim pickings, but bear in mind that each character comes with a unique set of three arms, each of which has its specific benefits. It could be a standard boxing glove; a bird-shaped rocket for super-curved punches; or a giant mallet which is sluggish but will break through a block.

In terms of single player content, while we don’t get a proper story campaign like Splatoon, nor do we get a tacked-on mindless slog like Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. New players would be wise to play through the single-player Grand Prix tournaments with each character. This is a series of ten bouts: eight fights and two special games.

The specials are V-Ball (keepy-uppy with a ticking bomb), Skillshot (punch targets for the highest score) and Hoops (slamdunk your opponent). Alternatively, you can jump into a kind of endless mode, where you take part in a series of single bouts; the arms are randomised and the goal is to build a winning streak.

The main online features are Party and Ranked modes. The latter is not available until you have beaten the Grand Prix mode on level 4 (no mean feat for the beginner). Party mode is where the action is at for the regular player. This employs a wonderfully wacky lobby system, where you’re constantly shifting between randomised games, being paired with people depending on your skill level. In the meantime you can practice your strokes. It’s a great way of dealing with the natural downtime of the online experience.

Taking part in games awards points which can then be used to buy time in a further mini game, where you unlock the ability to mix and match arms – the purpose being that eventually you will have unlocked all arms for all characters. At this point (if you ever get there) you will have thousands of potential combinations. Admittedly, what distinguishes some of the arms is merely cosmetic. But more often the difference is stark, and it’s in the choice of weaponry that the game’s depth reveals itself. There is real joy in facing a loadout system which makes a genuine difference to the way you play.

Arms harnesses Nintendo’s hardware exquisitely – not just in terms of using the gyro controls of the joy-cons, but also in delivering rock solid 1080p/60fps action (720p in handheld, natch), even with two players. Any more players and the framerate is locked at 30.

It’s hard to say whether, with Arms, Nintendo have done for one-on-one fighting games what they did for racing games with Mario Kart. Time will tell. (My instinct is that it will be a gradual hit, as more and more people realise that “motion control” needn’t always be synonymous with compromise.) But for now this is a gloriously vibrant, playable, and wonderfully original new IP.

Arms is out now on Nintendo Switch. »

- Rupert Harvey

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‘Freeway Fighter #2′ Review

21 June 2017 3:01 AM, PDT

Written by Andi Ewington | Art by Simon Coleby | Published by Titan Comics

A little style over substance last issue, or perhaps a book finding its feet and a writer finding his tone. Although the fighting fantasy books themselves are derivative of other genres, or ‘inspired by’ to be kinder, the format of multiple choice game play makes it tricky to design a story that does anything but pay lip service to the original book. Andi Ewington made a decent stab at it, but the lack of script made the art stand out even more, and Simon Coleby did a fine job. It was a decent start, but I felt as though we should have had that bit more. Luckily enough, that’s the job of a second issue…

For those that came in late, the year is 2024, a virus has wiped out 85% of the world’s population, and the survivors are the ones best able to adapt, scavenge and fight to stay alive. One of those is former racing car driver Bella De La Rosa, whose driving skills have proved pretty handy. Unfortunately I doubt I’d survive long in my Ford Focus. Bella avoids conflict when possible, but as we saw in the first issue, she can mix it up with the roughest if she needs to. After seeing off a rival scavenger, Bella arrived in a seemingly deserted town to search for supplies and lick her wounds. Unfortunately, she’s not as alone as she thought.

Luckily enough for Bella, it’s a man called Ryan, also hiding from the Doom Dogs, the local Mad Max edge of madness type gang. He’s trying to get to New Hope, after his family were killed when Haven fell. He even recognises Bella’s car and her father’s racing days. Bella agrees to take him some of the way, showing that gruff exterior has a bit more depth to it than we have so far seen. Even to the point she shares her chocolate bar with him. Now that’s post-apocalyptic friendship right there. So, road trip it is. for a time, a pretty nice road trip too, as Ryan and Bella get to learn a bit about each other, enjoying an unspoken connection to another ‘normal’ human being. One word ruins everything. Ambush.

Now that’s more like it. This was a good read, and actually shows the first issue as the scene setter it was. This issue had some great character development, nice dialogue and interplay, and a look at how difficult it is to lead even a semblance of a normal life in this world. Death is pretty much around every corner, from those either already dead or those trying to kill you for even the smallest possession. Ewington sketches out this world much better, and the added depth works well.

The art is again fantastic, Simon Coleby really capturing not only the nasty, dirty qualities of this world, but also the sadness, the bleakness, for those trying to continue on. There are some nice large panels in here, and a very effective splash of a dead couple in their bed, which tells a story in a single panel. Very nice work. Honourable mention for the moody colouring by Len O’Grady too, which really enhances both the art and the mood of the book.

This issue funnily enough felt as though the creative team had read my comments on the last one, and worked on those areas that lacked a little last time round. A much meatier script, some nice character work, a plot direction, even a sidekick. This pressed all the right buttons. I also continue to enjoy the text pieces at front and back, they really add to the overall fun.

The issue ends, you have two choices. Forget you read this far, go and watch a soap opera Or pick up issue 3 when it comes out and live a long, fun and fulfilling life. The choice, as Fighting Fantasy taught us, is yours. (Don’t be that guy who cheats, no-one liked them).

**** 4/5

Freeway Fighter #2 is out now from Titan Comics. »

- Dean Fuller

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East End Film Festival: Rafael Kapelinski talks ‘Butterfly Kisses’

21 June 2017 2:01 AM, PDT

With the film set to play the East End Film Festival soon, here’s a flashback interview from host Stuart Wright talks to director Rafael Kapelinski about his debut feature film Butterfly Kisses and the World Premiere on Saturday 11 February 2017 at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The full album Nathan Klein’s score for Butterfly Kisses is available on Air-Edel Records, via all major platforms including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.

Thursday 29 June – Eeff 2017: Butterfly Kisses (UK Premiere) + Q&A (Hackney Picturehouse). Get tickets www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Hackney…premiere-qanda

Saturday 1 July – Eeff 2017: Butterfly Kisses (Curzon Aldgate). Get tickets www.curzoncinemas.com/aldgate/film-i…tterfly-kisses

Find out more about the East End Film Festival and gets tickets for further screenings right here. »

- Phil Wheat

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