James M's review of IDW Sonic issue 50

Welcome back, Sonic fans. 
This is it, after months of build up and two years after issue 25 as well as over a few decades after Archie Sonic reached it's 50th issue, IDW Sonic has reached its 50th issue and it is big.

Was the pay-off worth it, especially with the plot around Surge, Kit, Doctor Starline, their plan and the looming battle with Sonic and Tails that unfolded?

In many ways, yes. 

While it didn't change the status quo, it was epic and engaging if not just satisfying to boot. IDW Sonic issue 50 was well written and had great action scenes throughout, especially with the fight between Doctor Eggman and Doctor Starline. Its so nice when storylines often live up to the hype, you don't want disappointment and this issue does not disappoint anyone.

IDW Sonic has done a very good job throughout its four year run, telling engaging stories and showing respect to the characters we know well. It also appears to serve as a satisfying (and unexpected) conclusion to Doctor Starline's story. How does it conclude? With Starline beaten by Eggman and reduced to a maddened state while rubble falls on him.

That's right, this issue 50 of a Sonic comic sees someone die. But this time, instead of an established villain like Doctor Ivo Robotnik, its the comic original character Doctor Starline. 

It is impressive that the writers can get away with whatever they want to get away with in regards to the original comic-exclusive characters, the game characters have to be untouched and in character. SEGA standards after all, you don't want to tick them off at all...

My final score for this issue is... a 10, Ian Flynn pulled off the near impossible once again and the art is so beautiful, just beautiful.

Now, we await the next issue and promise to continue following this wonderous journey.
Farewell, fans, for now...

-James M

James M's double review of IDW Sonic FCBD 2022 & Imposter Syndrome issue 4


Salutations once again, Sonic fans. I'm back... WITH A DOUBLE REVIEW!

First up, we have IDW SONIC FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022 with a new story. So, what's that about?

Well, the story involves Sonic and Tails going to Angel Island and teaming up with Knuckles to assist him with an issue and they end up battling Eggman, who is stirring up trouble. This comic story was well-done, just like the others. 

Don't you just love great Sonic comic stories, no matter who writes them? 

I'll tell ya now, it was Ian Flynn who wrote it. That's write, the main story's an Ian Flynn story and it was also written by IDW editor David Mariotte. I gladly give the story "Deep Trouble" (and FCBD 2022) a nicely deserved 8.5 out of 10.

As for Imposter Syndrome issue 4?

That was an intense, amazing and almost mind-blowing issue. It wrapped up the miniseries excellently and set the stage for issue 50. 

Doctor Starline, Surge and Kit took Eggman's city and Starline successfully took over the Eggman Empire, ousting Doctor Eggman (for now anyway), while Surge took down Metal Sonic with Kit's help and the two continue planning to kill Starline when the time is right. The writing in this was beyond incredible to a point where I'm gonna read it again. 

Ian Flynn, you knocked it outta the park real good, you and the writing team deserve a good salute from me. 10/10.

Well, that's all, folks. See ya next time, ya'll.

-James M

James M's review of IDW Sonic issue 49


Greetings to all of you, sorry for the long delay, but its time to review IDW SONIC ISSUE 49. We're coming up on issue 50 and its gonna be big, but not as big as Archie Sonic, mind you.
So, what's the story?

Well, its about Badniks, good Badniks, Belle and something connected to Mister Tinker. 

After the heroes met Motobud, a good Moto Bug that helped the girls during a perilous and fiery situation, Sonic, Tails and the crew decided to experiment with some Eggman robots. So they reprogrammed a pair and Sonic revealed himself from under some tarp, testing to see if the robots would attack. The test was a success when the robots did not.

That night, the robots started acting strange and began leaving the workshop, responding to a rogue signal coming from Eggman's base in Eggtropolis. Belle briefly complied with the signal until Sonic and Tails made her snap out of it, then they shut off Motobud, who was following the signal, and found a note inside that was from Belle's creator Mr. Tinker before he turned back into Doctor Eggman.

You gotta feel sorry for the poor puppet robot, even though having Eggman as the main villain of the Sonic franchise is too important. Unless there was a way to bring him back, Tinker's gone for good, but at least you'll have his belated daughter. 

IDW Sonic issue 49 here was a great issue, nice set up for issue 50 and very nicely written. Sonic comics have never been better, this is beyond stellar and is unforgettable to the max. See you next time, fellow Sonic fans of every age. 10/10.
-James M

BW18: April Reading Wrap Up


It's book week 18 in our 52 books quest and this month is all about historical mysteries.  

Since we're saying goodbye to April, it's time for a reading wrap up.  I finished eight books in April; all of which were dusty books except for The Bone Shard Daughter.  I cheated once, and broke my buying ban in February for Bone Shards Daughter, which was so worth it.  However, I've been good since then and haven't added any new books to my stacks. My wish list though is growing ever longer.  One more month.... maybe. 

Bone Shard Daughter - Andrea Stewart (Historical Fantasy)

Ice Hunt - James Rollins (Thriller, reread)

Klara and the Sun - Kazuo Ishiguro (Dystopian Fiction)

Library of the Unwritten (#1 Hell's Library) - A.J.Hackwith (Fantasy, e)

A Cold Day for Murder (#1 Kate Shugak) - Dana Stabenow (Mystery, e)

The Round House - Louise Erdrich (Native American mystery)

City of Dark Magic  (#1 Dark Magic) - Magnus Flyte (Fantasy, Prague, e)

Reliquary (#2 Pendergast) - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Thriller, e)

Stats wise: 

4 physical books with 1782 pages and 4 ebooks with 1506 virtual pages for a total of 3288 pages.  I noticed that although it hasn't been my intention, I read the same number of ebooks as the number of the month. Interesting.  We'll see what next month brings.  Genre wise, three fantasies and one dystopian fiction, along with two thrillers, and two mysteries. I seem be to be sticking with fantasy, sci fi, and mystery genres. Six are new to me authors.  

I'm still sipping on George Eliot's Middlemarch, one chapter at a time in the mornings with breakfast. My current chunkster is Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings which is really good.  I'm currently on page 732 out of 1200+ pages but enjoying the heck out of it. 

I'm taking a mini break at the moment for our May historical mysteries reading month to read dusty book And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander which has been on my virtual shelves since 2014.  

BW17: Sci Fi and Fantasy and History, oh my!


It's book week 17 in our 52 books quest and this week is all about the world of Larry Niven. He celebrates his 84th birthday on the 30th.  He's written over 400 stories since he published his first book in 1964, alone and in collaboration with Jerry Pournelle, Steven Barnes, and Gregory Benford.  I discovered Niven back in the 70's and enjoyed reading His Ringworld series, along with many of his other books, including The Mote in God's Eye.  He is currently working with Jerry Pournelle on Burning Mountain, the sequel to Burning City and Burning Tower.

“They do not use lasers, they do not use radio, they do not use hyperwave. What are they using for communication? Telepathy? Written messages? Big mirrors?"

 "Parrots," Louis suggested. He got up to join them at the door to the control room. "Huge parrots, specially bred for their oversized lungs. They're too big to fly. They just sit on hilltops and scream at each other.”  ~Larry Niven, Ringworld

Ring World and the Mote in God's Eye are buried somewhere in the garage and tempted as it may be to buy the ebook, I don't want to break my buying ban.  One of these days.....

I took a break from Middlemarch and The Way of the King to read Reliquary, #2 in the Relic series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  Something or someone scary is living underground in the tunnels of New York and preying on the hidden homeless. Margo and the rest of the cast from the first book are back to resolve the mystery of the murders and if it’s related to the previous predator in the museum. Thrilling, chilling, and scary and full of twists you didn't see coming.

We watched The Batman with Robert Pattinson. Three hour movie full of twists and turns and drama. So very good. And I thought he couldn’t act. Because, you know, Twilight. I was wrong.

James M's review of Archie Sonic Online -Knuckles: Endangered Species #2


Hullo again, Sonic fans.

The crew of Archie Sonic Online has posted another ASO-related comic, it is none other than Knuckles: Endangered Species #2. Funny enough, this was actually posted around the time of April Fools' Day and it wasn't an April Fools' joke. Also, I didn't get around to reading it right away until recently. But now, I've read it and its time for a review.

And yes, I did read issue 1, the crew did a good job writing it. Issue 2 is beyond wild and intense, you have Remington teaming up with Lien-Da in an uneasy alliance against the Tasmanian Devils and Thrash, of course, is in the picture. The issue even ends on a cliffhanger with Knuckles, Julie Su and, obviously, Thrash winding up in some underground place beneath Albion's ruins. 

Having read the comic, I enjoyed this and I love Archie Sonic Online even more. The writers and the artists have so much love for the Archie Sonic comics, which is fantastic and Sonic's fanbase can't get any more passionate than this. May the legacy of Sonic fanworks be as strong as ever.

While fanmade content and fan continuations aren't entirely official, its great to know of their existance and good to know there are passionate fans who will work hard to help preserve the legacy of soon-to-be forgotten stories and characters that are gone. Archie Sonic and its legacy is no exception, ASO has been going strong since it started a couple years back and there is no sign of it slowing down.

I look forward to what the ASO crew will put out again soon, Knuckles: Endangered Species issue 2 gets a solid ten out of ten. Thank you, Sonic fandom, thank you for your hard work. Now, I say adieu. Peace out, friends...

-James M

BW16: It's all about the RE words this week


Happy Sunday. It's week 16 in our 52 books quest and it's all about the re words this week: Renew, rebirth,  recharge, restore, resurrection, rejoice, renaissance, and of course, read and reread. 

 I'm 12 chapters in on Middlemarch and it's a slow read as the writing takes some getting used to but enjoying it.  

Also about a 6th of the way in on Sanderson's The Way of Kings  which is so very different from Wheel of Time but has a whole slew of characters I'm getting used to and enjoying it so far. Both are chunky books so going to take me a while. 

“Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them…”

Took a reading break to watch Tick Tick Boom which is amazing. Damn, Andrew Garfield (Yes, the amazing spiderman) can sing. Neither of my guys like musicals so watched by myself.  Jonathan Larson is the songwriter who wrote the Broadway play Rent and died from an aortic aneurism right before it was released.  The movie starts 5 years before he died and takes place in New York during the height of the aids epidemic so friends are dying, others are becoming more successful, while Larson struggles to make a name for himself.  The movie is deep, and funny, dramatic, and heartwarming and will make you laugh, make you cry, make you sing. All the singers were amazing.  I need to get the soundtrack or watch the movie several dozen times. It was that good.

James M's short review of Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds (2017)


Welcome back, ya'll. Look at that, I got my hands on the second Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover story "Stranger Worlds", set after the events of the first story. Here are my thoughts on this fantastical sci-fi crossover of incredible insanity.

Having gotten the graphic novel and read it all, Stranger Worlds is really dang good for a follow-up to the first story, which involved the crew of the Enterprise partnering with The Lanterns to fight the enemy who destroyed their world. Now, they have to deal with Sinestro and Khan. Lemme tell you, this comic is dang good from start to finish. If any of you read the first story, you'd love it all. 

The writing's beyond fantastic, absolutely amazing, and the visuals are so breathtaking past the point where you can't stop reading this comic and want to read it all. Well, I read it all, that's how so good this comic book is and graphic novels are a great collection of comics to help read an entire series or story arc in its entirety if you don't have the time to get comics as they come out.

After reading the whole thing, I am craving a third Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover entry, if there really is one out there somewhere. Its possible there will be one day or maybe there is, but until then, its best to enjoy what we got. Thank you IDW and DC for making this a reality for us fans.

My score is a solid ten, now, I sign off.

-James M

Star Trek/Green Lantern: Spectrum War -My Review


Greetings, fellow humans. I have returned with a crossover where no one in Star Trek has ever gone before, it is one of cosmic proportions, one of the green type. Its the Spectrum War, the first ever STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN IDW/DC crossover event.

Just like with the Batman/TMNT graphic novels, I got this at my local comic shop and read this. Its amazing, I tell you. This crossover absolutely rocks and it works in nearly every way!!! The crew of the Enterprise, its allies and enemies and the Lanterns all play off of each other very well, the writing is just beautiful and the artwork is fine comic quality.

Heck, if Paramount and Warner wanted to collaborate on a crossover film, this comic should be turned into a movie. The first ever comic book sci-fi crossover movie, a DC/Star Trek crossover film should happen at some point since some Star Trek actors have appeared in comic book movies. For example, 2009 Star Trek's Chris Pine appears in the 2017 Wonder Woman as Steve Trevor.

As for the main villain of this one, he is one of the many comic book personifications of Death himself and is terrifying. He may not be Thanos or Darkseid, but this guy is terrifying. He destroyed Green Lantern Hal Jordan's universe and had the potential to destroy the Star Trek universe had the crew of the Enterprise and the Lanterns not stopped him in the end.

The end of the crossover was a nice touch, especially with Green Lantern becoming a leader in the Galactic Federation with him somewhat captaining the Enterprise instead of Captain Kirk, who is still a captain. You gotta love crossovers that end with both universes somewhat unified with one hero from the other world staying and being friends with the hero of the universe he's in. If there are any DC fans who like Star Trek and want to see a Star Trek/DC crossover, I would suggest this comic.

Star Trek/Green Lantern: Spectrum War gets a 9.5, such amazing work from IDW and DC. Farewell for now everybody.

-James M

BW15: Ishiguro, Erdrich, Hackwith, and Stabenow


Artist Georgiana Chitac: "ABSENCE

It's book week 15 in our 52 Books Quest and the theme this week is Rebellion.  I finished four books this week and I think my books are in rebellion because none of them ended on a happy note.  They all left me with a sense of loss and wishing better things for the characters. 

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, narrated by Klara, a robot.  She is an artificial friend, is made stronger by the sun and very observant. She is picked to be the companion to Josie, an ailing child, and goes to live with her and the mom. Klara sees the Sun as some sort of God and comes to believe that if she manages to destroy a "Cootings" machine (I think it's an asphalt paver) which spreads dark foggy pollution and blocks the sun, the Sun will save Josie's life.  Filtered through the eyes of Robot it doesn't  seem like an emotional story, but more philosophical. The humans around her aren't sure of some of the things she does, but go along, hoping she will make things better.  I really didn't like the ending because when she was no longer useful, the humans in her life, treated her like an appliance. 

(Dystopian Fiction, New to me author, 320)

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith was an interesting read. The narrators are Claire who is a librarian for unwritten books in Hell. Ramiel, a fallen angel a watcher relegated to processing the departed at Heaven's gates. Leto, half demon, half man who finds himself with no memory, and Brevity, a muse helping Claire.  While they are trying to return a runaway character to his book, enemies and allies are thrown together in a quest to find and destroy the devil's bible in order to prevent a war between Heaven and Hell. In the meantime God evidently has disappeared and Uriel, an archangel is in charge in Heaven. She's not a nice angel and wants to destroy Claire and all those involved with finding the dark bible. It's an intriguing concept, but quite a dark story with bits of humor thrown in.  I really didn't know who to root for. I didn't dislike the story, but again I didn't love it as I found it hard to root for any of the characters. 

(Dusty, Fantasy, e)

A Cold Dark Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow is quite good and I look forward to reading more of the series. Our heroine is Kate Shugak, an Alaskan Aleut, a retired investigator who lives alone in the Alaska National Park, but near her family in the tiny village of Niniltna. She's asked to find two men who have disappeared and during the course of her investigation, she is drawn back into the life and problems of family and friends. The theme of man against nature and man against man with plenty of action with murder, angst, betrayal, grief, as well as humor throughout the story.  I liked Kate, her byplay with different characters and hope she finds her happily ever after.  

(Dusty, mystery, new to me author, 173, e)

The Round House by Louise Erdrich is told from the viewpoint of thirteen year old Joe, with some asides from when he was an adult,  and it is easy to forget his age as he is put through the ringer with the assault on his mother and trying to figure out who the culprit was and do something about it.  The characters live on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota and provide the reader with an enriching background of Native American culture, history, myths and laws.  The story goes from dark to light to dark again. It's a story rooted in taking care of family,  grief, loss, hope, betrayal, strength, and the consequences of action.  Once you get used to Erdrich's lack of punctuation for the dialogue,  the story  will capture and hold you to the page.

(Native American Fiction, Literary, 368)