COMIC TITLE: Major X #2 (2019)
Brent Peeples– Artist
Rob Liefeld–Writer
April 17, 2019
Marvel Comics

IMG_4127This week in my opinion wasn’t really a strong week in comics as far as new series was concerned, but it was a good week if you were continuing to read an existing series. That was definitely the case for me this week and that is why I have chosen the second issue of the six issue miniseries entitled Major X which is written by legendary Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld and this issue was illustrated by Brent Peeples (Captain Kid). In the previous issue, we see Major X and Hank McCoy (Beast) jump back into the past where they target Cable, but they are met with resistance until Major X is finally able to explain why he is there. He comes from a place where Mutants live in unity, but all of that is threatened when an evil force looks to destroy it. After being able to fend off his world’s version of Deadpool named Dreadpool. In the second issue, we actually see how things played out and we find out that Major X is actually Cable’s son (Alexander Nathaniel Summers) from the future. With Cable’s help, they go to his lab to try and see if they can figure out what happened, but they are immediately met with a threat that they should have seen coming.

IMG_4126I really loved the first issue of the comic because there was so much action happening every where and I loved the way they worked the comic as it jumped from past to present at different times. Now as far as the second issue is concerned, it wasn’t a bad issue, but it didn’t feature the same kind of action as the first one as this was the issue where they show you what actually happened and it helps establish the potential threat. So, I understand all of that and I even like that they are potentially setting something up that could include Namor eventually (I hope anyways), but you’ll have to read the comic to find out what I am talking about. The artwork is great and it’s a different take as Liefeld drew the first issue, but chose to have Peeples do the second and he does not disappoint me at all. I definitely think the artwork is the strong suit of the comic, but things look like they are about to pick up in issue three which is what has hooked me in. So, I think it’s definitely safe to say that I’ll be back for more, but I want some controversy or a I didn’t see that coming in the next issue. Check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

prequelleIf 2017 was a hectic year for Swedish metal band Ghost then 2018 was definitely the year of redemption for the mastermind behind it all in Tobias Forge. 2017 saw lawsuits from past Nameless Ghouls like Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubino, Martin Hjertstedt, and Henrik Palm all sued the singer over royalty disputes. Despite all of the outside noise, Ghost has soldiered on with a new album and a new character in 2018. On June 1, 2018, the band would release their fourth studio album Prequelle and for the first time ever, the band was not fronted by a Papa, but by Cardinal Copia. The album which is themed around Mideval times and the black plague was a huge success for the band upon it’s release as it debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200 selling 66,000 copies in it’s first week. Besides the US, the album would peak in the top five in eight different countries with it going number one in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and New Zealand. The album was also nominated for a Grammy (Best Rock Album) as well as a Grammis (The Swedish version) for best Hardrock and Metal album, but it failed to take home any awards. What it did win was the album of the year at the 8TH Annual Monster Entertainment Awards which is why I am covering it for this week.

prequelle back cover1. Ashes– The first track on the album is an intro track that features Tobias’s daughter Minou Forge singing the nursery rhyme Ring a Ring o’ Roses which is thought to have been written during the times of the plague. Its perfect for the album because it adds a creepiness to it. 5/5

2. Rats– The first track on the album and the first single with it’s Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads styled tempo and sound in this metaphorical track about the black plague and the spread of disease. 5/5

3. Faith-a doom metal styled track that touches on elements of Heavy Metal as well that just kicks ass about how people are always  afraid to adapt new ways even though we have to be a progressive society and that faith can get in the way. 5/5

4. See The Light– A very cool melancholic like track that some may believe has something to do with the plague, but I think this track is a shot at the bandmates that have sued him in the past. 5/5

5. Miasma-The first instrumental track on the album that is absolutely awesome and even features a saxaphone solo played by Gavin Fitzjohn. It’s the band flexing their prog rock muscle. 5/5

ghost-prequelle6. Dance Macabre-The pop metal disco like sounding track was the second single released off the album and is a track about people partying like they never have before because they know that they are going to die anyways so why not? 5/5

7. Pro Memoria-an interesting ballad that features Davide Rossi providing the orchestration for the track in this song about the devil constantly reminding you that he may have granted you power, but he can easily take it away from you as well. 5/5

8. Witch Image– An awesome track that is all about someone who used witch craft to avoid the plague and dying while others all around them are dying horrible deaths. 5/5

9. Helvetesfönster– The second instrumental track on the album that is absolutely beautiful in composition and features Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt playing the acoustic guitar parts. 5/5

10. Life Eternal– The last track on the album that sees Forge use the piano for the track  while asking the all important question of immortality. If you had the choice to live forever would you take it? 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Ghost has never disappointed me with any of their previous releases and they definitely raised the bar with this one in my opinion. The album shows that Tobias can write classic sounding tracks without making them seem to nostalgic to the point that it’s corny. I love the whole entire album which is why I am giving it five stars out of five for a final grade.

91Kh3SY8mwL._SL1500_During the voting process for the 8TH Annual Monster Entertainment Awards, one of the most highly contested contests was the Extreme Metal Album of the Year award which featured bands like Behemoth, Tribulation, Hate Eternal, and the actual winner of the award in Swedish Black Metal band Watain. In 2018, the band which features Erik Danielsson (Vocals/Bass), Håkan Jonsson (Drums), Pelle Forsberg (Guitar) with additional music provided by Alvaro Lillo and Set Teitan (who was fired from the band) released their sixth studio album Trident Wolf Eclipse (on the album as TRIDENT·WOLF·ECLIPSE·) which was produced by Tore Stjerna and released via Century Media. There is a significant change int he band’s sound from their previous album as the band chose to revisit their past and there’s a reason for it. Before the making of the album, the band had to bury one of it’s members in Selim Lemouchi who was a frequent collaborator. Frontman Erik Danielsson spoke to Decibel Magazine about the noticeable shift saying, “there’s no hiding the fact that in between The Wild Hunt and this album we had to bury one of our members and go to his funeral together. […] It perhaps underlines the gravity of the album and that this is not about fucking around. This is not a game. This is life and death. This is what Watain are about.” While the album did not chart in the US, it peaked at number three on the Sverigetopplistan Chart (the Swedish Charts).

119175637-21. Nuclear Alchemy– an intense, in your face, unforgiving track that is all about all out war on the heavens with nuclear alchemy. It could also be about the end of the world through nuclear war. 4.5/5

2. Sacred Damnation– Face melting guitars and machine gun drums lead this track forward in what appears to be a track about the devil reigning supreme. I’m not 100% positive on the meaning, but the track is bad ass. 5/5

3. Teufelsreich– or Devil Reich if you’re looking for the translation for this in your face, but technical at times track. The track seems to be about the search for the devil’s kingdom. 5/5

4. Furor Diabolicus-an intense track that is all out war as Satan tries to reclaim his place in a battle for the ages. 4.5/5

4062665. A Throne Below-a go for the throat track that is just punishing track about the depths of hell and the throne of the master. 4/5

6. Ultra (Pandemonic)– a track whose intensity matches that of the lyrics which is about a unholy beast that is pandemonium and is unleashed. I really dug the guitar solo on this track, I thought it was pretty killer. 4.5/5

7. Towards the Sanctuary– an all out metal assault that kicks ass in a track that is about the life of a satanist and what they do for their beliefs. 4/5

8. The Fire Of Power– The last track on the album that I believe is talking about Apollo, the Greek God who was also known as an archer. I could be wrong, but the track features some amazing moments where they mix some straight up metal with their black metal intensity. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– An intense album from beginning to end that is just relentless in spirit as the intensity never stops. My favorite tracks on the album are Sacred Damnation and Teufelsreich while I don’t dislike any of the tracks, I wish I knew a little more on the meaning of some of them. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

COMIC TITLE: Cold Blood Samurai #1 (2019)
Ludovica Ceregatti & Renato Stevanato– Artist
Massimo Rosi–Writer
April 10, 2019
Action Lab Comics

Cold-Blood-Samurai-1-Cover-1-675x1024Some of the greatest films ever made on the past of Japan and it’s Samurai culture was done by the legendary director Akira Kurosawa whose list of great films include The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo to name a few of them. I have also been fascinated by the stories and the culture of the Samurai and one of my favorite comic books has always been Usagi Yojimbo, which is about a Ronin Rabbit that roams Japan righting the wrongs. When I saw that Action Lab was putting out a comic called Cold Blood Samurai, I had to check it out as it peaked my interest. The comic was written by Massimo Rosi (The Blackening) and penciled by Ludovica Ceregatti (Hot Line Miami Wildlife) and colored by Renato Stevanato (The Blackening). In the comic book, Japan was protected by Samurai frogs who lived in peace until Lizards showed up baring weapons and a war broke out in Japan after the death of a generals son. With the landscape of Japan looking bleak over all the bloodshed, the frogs will turn to a salamander who is looking for the noble death, but will he help them? To read more about this comic book and more from Action Lab, just click here.

Cold-Blood-Samurai-1-Page-2-3-1024x783So before I had read more about the comic book and it’s background, I felt when I was reading it that it was playing out like Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai and to be honest they had me hooked right in. Massimo Rosi does an amazing job getting the story together, figuring out all the names like Swollen Cheeks, etc. I was also digging the types of animals they used for certain roles like the crabs were bandits and this lonely Salamander is the Gaijin or a foreigner to Japan, but he’s also the deadliest Ronin the country has ever seen or at least they are building it up that way. Their is a reason that I included Renato into the conversation and that is because with Ludovica, they brought this comic book to life and they made it feel authentic in the way that some of the drawings looked like they could be old Japanese drawings and I loved it. That was probably my favorite thing about the comic was the artwork and in comics isn’t that one of the most important factors besides the story? Overall, I was very happy with the final result and I am definitely coming back for more issues. Check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

COMIC TITLE: Rocko’s Modern Afterlife #1 (2019)
Mattia Di Meo– Artist
Anthony Burch–Writer
April 3, 2019
Boom! Studios

FEB191254Back in the 1990’s, there were a bunch of cartoons that had come out on the kids television network Nickelodeon like Doug, Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and my favorite of them all Rocko’s Modern Life which followed the adventures of an Australian Wallaby living in the US in a town called O-Town. A year or so ago, Boom! Studios brought back Rocko’s Modern Life for a limited run and now they have returned with a brand new adventure called Rocko’s Modern Afterlife which was written by Anthony Burch (Big Trouble In Little China: Old Man Jack) and it features artwork from Mattia Di Meo (The Amazing World Of Gumball). In the very first issue, something terrible is happening in O-Town as it’s residents are being bitten and turned into zombies. Where is Rocko during all of this? He has locked himself in his house which is safe for the time being, but something terrible has happened to a friend and it’s up to Rocko to figure out a way to stay safe and save him. For more information on the comic and anything else Boom! Studios related, just click here to go to the site.

RockosModernAfterlife_001_InteriorArt_003_PROMOThis was definitely a fun comic that adds a tiny bit of a horror feel to it with the zombie aspect, but it does a little bit more on the social side. The one thing that I loved about the comic and the previous series is that they set him in a modern day atmosphere with technology and everything that comes with it. Rocko is one of those guys that enjoys the simpler things in life while everyone else in O-Town has moved on. Heffer has his own Twitch account as he explains to Rocko how it works and how he makes money playing video games. In the beginning, Mr. Bighead makes fun of Rocko for not having the latest tech as far as phones were concerned and Rocko seems pretty happy to be disconnected from that world. Unfortunately, the stubbornness will come back to haunt him later on in the comic as you will see for yourself. The artwork is absolutely amazing and Mattia does a great job capturing the essence of why we grew up loving these shows as kids in the 1990’s. You’ll find out as we go on that if you are going to make a comic after a beloved cartoon then you better stay true and Mattia did just that. This is definitely a comic book to consider checking out especially if you are a fan like me and I certainly can not wait for the next issue. Check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

600x600bfWhen you think of the grunge scene from Seattle of the early 1990’s, one of the first bands that comes to mind for me was always Alice In Chains. They were always the heavier band of the scene and their songs just kicked ass. After Layne Staley’s death in 2002, the future of Alice In Chains looked as good as dead, but that all changed when Jerry Cantrell (Vocals/Lead Guitar), Mike Inez (Bass), and Sean Kinney (Drums) reunited with William DuVall (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) taking over Layne’s spot. In 2009, the band released Black Gives Way To Blue and they haven’t looked back since. We fast forward to 2018 and the band releases their sixth studio album Rainier Fog which was named after a Volcano that overlooks Seattle named Mount Rainier. The album also marked the first time the band had recorded an album in their hometown of Seattle since 1995’s self titled album (part of it was recorded in Seattle) and the album was once again produced by Nick Raskulinecz who produced the previous two. The album was voted Rock album of the year by you the readers at the 8TH Annual Monster Entertainment Awards and it’s no surprise because the album peaked at 12 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts as well as being the band’s first top ten hit in the UK and it debuted at number one on three different charts (Billboard’s Top Rock Albums, Alternative Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts). You guys loved it and here it is!

CS699271-01B-BIG1. The One You Know– Apparently the track was inspired by David Bowie’s hit track Fame as Cantrell had explained that he wrote the track around the time of his death so it could have been an underlying influence. You can definitely hear the influence in the main riff. 5/5

2. Rainier Fog– The track that was named after a volcano is the band’s tribute to the Seattle grunge scene that spawned Alice In Chains and bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, etc. Cantrell told Classic Rock Magazine that the lyrics, “Left me he so all alone, only for me to find. Hear your voice on waves we rode, echoes inside my mind. Disembodied just a trace of what it was like then. With you here we shared a space that’s always half-empty” are about Layne Staley and Mike Starr. 5/5

3. Red Giant– A vintage styled Alice In Chains track that has some amazing melodies provided by both Cantrell and DuVall in a track that is all about how stardom can get to a persons head. 4.5/5

4. Fly-a very melodic track that starts off lyrically like how it’s telling you that you are going to fall and fail, but it reminds you never to give up and rise up and fly from the ashes. The track has an amazing guitar solo from Cantrell. 4.5/5

5. Drone-a bad ass track on the album that has a very Sabbath like sound to it that kicks ass and it features former Queensrÿche  guitarist Chris DeGarmo who provides the guitar solo for the track that during the recording of it, Cantrell just could nail it. 5/5

IMG_35476. Deaf Ears Blind Eyes-a track that reminds us that while we are blinded by rage or the untruths that are told to us, we also ignore what really is important to us when we dwell. 4/5

7. Maybe– a very melancholic and melodic track that seems to be Jerry questioning why he still continues on with music as so many of his peers have fallen over the years. It’s a pretty deep track on the album. 4.5/5

8. So Far Under– “It’s about feeling completely up against it – outnumbered, surrounded, facing seemingly unbeatable odds and being really pissed off about it. It was inspired by personal circumstances, as well as events in the wider world.” is what Duvall explained was the meaning of the track as he also plays the guitar solo on the track. 5/5

9. Never Fade-My favorite track on the album that DuVall wrote about the passing of his Grandma and the death of Chris Cornell that their memories will never fade. The track was voted Rock Single Of The Year by you the fans as well. 5/5

10. All I Am– Rolling Stone Magazine described the track as, “a swirling hard-rock tune that takes a long look backward, with sweeping guitar and echoes of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.” and I can’t say that I blame them. It’s a deep track that explores in my belief a song about someone who is so disconnected from others that he is lost from even himself. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This was definitely a return to form for the band, but I have to say that they never really lost it to begin with. This album proves to us why Alice In Chains is needed in this world with so many amazing tracks on the album. Never Fade, So Far Under, Rainier Fog, The One You Know, and Drone are my favorites. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars for a final grade.

COMIC TITLE: Detective Comics #1000 (2019)
Alvaro Martinez, Joëlle Jones, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev, Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Steve Epting, Tony S. Daniel, Greg Capullo, Neal Adams, Doug Mahnke, Becky Cloonan, – Artist
Warren Ellis, Paul Dini, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Peter J. Tomasi, James T Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Christopher Priest, Dennis O’Neil, Geoff Johns–Writer
March 27, 2019
DC Comics

Detective-Comics-1000-DC-Comics-Bruce-Timm-1940s-Variant-CoverWhen you think about huge accomplishments in various arenas of entertainment, they are numbers that allow you to feel that you’ve had a successful career like 100 films acted in or if you’re Gene Simmons of Kiss then it’s the 10,000 women that you’ve slept with that is more important than 50 gold records. In the comic book world, if you can reach 100 issues then you’ve made it, but if you can make it to 1000 like Detective Comics then that is the most successful character of all time. That is where we are at this week with Detective Comics #1000 which was the comic book that introduced us to the caped crusader himself Batman back in March of 1927. It has been 91 years since the release of that comic book, but they’ve finally made it to 1000 and they brought the firepower with names like Jim Lee, Paul Dini, Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Capullo, Neal Adams, and even Kevin Smith a lifelong fan of Batman contributes to the comic. We check out some amazing stories that touches upon his past, present, and future with an appearance by the Arkham Knight and we even get to see a look at all the villains and all of the people that have worked with Batman over the years as well. For more information on the issue, please click here to go to DC’s site.

XlNpBzYwOne of my favorite stories in the comic features Bruce Wayne and the Penguin as old men and in the story Penguin is trying to convince Bruce that he’s always known his secret. One of the obvious other favorites is the one with every single Robin and anyone else that was involved with the caped crusader. The story was a little confusing at first as to why they were doing, but the artwork is just phenomenal in it. That is definitely one of the selling points is how amazing and unique the artwork is in this comic with all the different artists that are on board. Every single one has it’s own unique flare, but they are all Batman stories to the core. One of my favorite stories in the comic that was a little different was The Legend of Knute Brody which was written by Paul Dini and it’s this tale of the dumbest criminal in the history of Gotham, but somehow this guy gets rehired every single time. The last story definitely had me pumped up to want to read the next issue and you never know I just may. This was a strong week for comic book issues, but I just felt that this was a no brainer. Check out my grades below:

Grades:

Story/Plot: A+

Artwork: A+

Character Representation: A+

Entertainment Value: A+

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