Loki: Agent of Asgard #3

This issue takes a break from the view of the new young (still kind of the old) Loki and follows the older (but possibly younger?) Loki. Loki is doing laps around the space/time continuum. We follow the aged trickster back in time to him greeting a young (and still prince) Odin. Loki gets the future king (and his adoptive father) into a heap of trouble after he takes out a shape changing man from a nearby town.

Side note: Odin’s all “That large beaver meant us no harm” but the both of them a clearly wearing leathers and eat meat. Both of these things involve killing animals that more than likely meant no one any harm. Loki just happened to kill a man in the form of a man-sized otter.

 

Jenny Frison cover = Old Man Loki +reflective riches Loki front and center conveying his self centeredness.

Jenny Frison cover = Old Man Loki +reflective riches Loki front and center conveying his self centeredness.

Anyway, they stop in to a pub and order some mead, but Odin picks up on that another patron is waiting for his son who was hunting supper. Dun dun… his son was the otter. One brother demands blood, the other demands retribution in the form of gold. Loki (the hardened old man Loki) shoots a fish with a bazooka to collect a treasure. Well, not exactly, he shoots a dwarf who can turn into a fish (his name is Andvari and this is a Norse folktale that is weaved in) The gold is cursed. And the character Regin behaves about the way he was written to traditionally. Andvari’ gold exemplifies the traits of each man who keeps it, Regin turns vengeful and Fafnir turns greedy (and into a dragon, he refused to leave the treasure and his body became deprived of food and water and survived off of spells and magic in the air and it transformed him… which is a very interesting idea). Sigurd, the first hero of Asgard, some years later, comes into the same tavern, he is served by Regin who has forged a mighty sword (Gram, the sword young Loki gets in Point NOW) to exact revenge, he gives it to Sigurd. IF Sigurd will slay (the now dragon) Fafnir and bring him his heart.

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Sigurd, being a legendary hero, does this mightily and then returns to Regin (who tries to stab him in the back. Literally). Sigurd keeps Gram. And some years later discards it. King Bor dies later still, and the still prince Odin finds it. Old Loki arrives and tells Odin to hide the sword in a box with 5 keys and save it… for this young Loki…

What does that mean?!

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, Sigurd in the PRESENT goes in search of his sword, finds that Loki already got there and vows to steal it back.

This series is so utterly and consistently good. I can’t begin to imagine why the haggard old man Loki has set this all into motion, but when he looks in on his other self (with Verity!) and says, “What a precious little girl child I am.” it poked fun at the taunts that Loki looked like “he’s from Twilight” or whatever crazy crap my friends thought about this. It’s a great story, about wanting redeption but knowing that you don’t really deserve it, and that you won’t really get it. But striving on anyway. The older Loki still considers himself the God of Evil… so why has he lead this Loki that seeks redemption to the ultimate weapon? What’s the end game?!

Well, I’m unsure… but I am exorbitantly intrigued.

Lee Garbett’s drawing and Nolan Woodard’s art suit this tale perfectly shadowy but still crisp, undertones of red, gold and green illuminate the pages. The toothy dragon is larger than life, his heart is larger than a man. The fight scenes are detailed. Loki is hardened and wrinkled, a stark contrast next to the goofy young Odin.

And Sigurd: the first hero of Asgard is Black. I love Marvel.

Sigurd +(young appearing) Loki in #4!

Sigurd +(young appearing) Loki in #4!

Anime Review- Legend of the Legendary Heroes

This incredibly enjoyable series begins with the adventurers oh an unlikely duo, Ferris Eris and Ryner Lute. They are sent to collect Hero Artifacts by Sion, the King of Roland. The leaders of a neighboring country called Estabul are also on the hunt for artifacts. Ryner is cursed with “magic eyes” demonic powers that come forth in the form of red pentagrams through his eyes. Through their early missions they are confronted by magical knights from the neighboring territory ..and Milk Calloud, part of the taboo breaker squad who works for King Sion, but doesn’t know about the mission. Milk is the captain of her squad, she’s also got a big time crush on Ryner and thinks that ferris must be enticing him to break the rules. Milk is giddy and girlie. She is very capable, but has childish ways of getting herself out of trouble (usually yelling that she has to use the bathroom). From the beginning Ferris is fierce, great with a sword, constantly teasing Ryner and obsessed with food.

Particularly tea and dango

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Ferris is a really fun and interesting character. She’s not above violence, but she disdains killing, she’s a loyal warrior. Although she constantly picks at Ryner -calling him a pervert who corrupts virgins and their mothers with a wolfish grin although this is completely untrue- she teases him for his laziness and incompetence, but she is a true friend.

Ryner is incredibly lazy, in the beginning episodes we see him lounging his way through military school, even when tasked with the important mission retrieving artifacts he is unmotivated and unimpressed. He constantly takes naps and complains about any work to be done. He laments at the end of each episode about how everything sucks. It’s whiny and annoying. He’s “cursed” but as someone who consumes a lot of fantasy genre media, it’s heard demi-god power defined as a curse before. I’m not buying. However, as we get deeper into his history, learning that part of his memories are missing, that he was raised in an orphanage that his childhood friends were killed right in front of him (which was the first time the Alpha Stigma was truly unleashed). He killed many people and sees himself as a monster. Most Alpha Stigmas never reach their full potential because they go crazy young. This all reaches a head in episode 10, when he and Ferris meet up with two pink haired travellers who have already claimed 4 Hero Artifacts that are working for Sion’s enemy Gastark. They fight, Ferris is thrown by the smaller female wielding an ice scythe leaving Ryner to abandon his fight to catch her, she remarks, “Is my beauty so distracting to you?” and he says, “What the hell is your problem?” The male of the antagonist duo calls forth Ryner’s Alpha Stigma, the demon voice attempts to convince him that he should burn everything, that destruction would be more enjoyable than trying to fit in and play hero with humans who don’t accept him. He nearly loses himself and attacks Ferris. Ferris hurls insults at him and then tells him that there’s no way he could be a monster, she doesn’t believe he’s really trying to kill her. She overcomes his magic and he collapses in a heap in front of her. He thinks that now that she’s seen him for what he is that she’ll leave. He tells her he’s too dangerous. Ferris plainly says that there will be no telling her where to go and that besides that they had a date for tea. He starts to cry and she doesn’t coddle him, but makes it clear she won’t leave him. I’m a total sucker for scenes like that and to be honest I have no idea what to do with someone over the age of 12 who is crying, hugging and making sarcastic comments is likely. So I found Ferris’s actions endearing. But by now the audience understands that Ryner isn’t a lazy goofball, he’s clinically depressed and nothing seems worthwhile.

For the most part, nothing much changes in their relationship, although they both internally reflect back on that day. One act of acceptance does not cure Ryner of his depression. It’s a handful of episodes more before we get more backstory on Ferris who is nobility and well trained to be a warrior from a young age, her parents considered her a failure and decided she was only useful as a vessel to carry on her family’s bloodline so her father attacks her, her father is then killed by her very powerful and protective brother. The showing is brief and isn’t very graphic. It provides insight as to why she is so protective of her younger sister and why she sees Ryner as a pervert. It’s likely she sees all men as perverts. Her snarky attitude is cover for her sadness the way that Ryner’s laziness is cover for his.

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Throughout the series they encounter new enemies, either trying to beat them to the Hero Artifacts or just enemies set on vanquishing Alpha Stigma monsters. Ryner makes it his goal to save any Alpha Stigma kids before they kill and become corrupted. The story also follows Milk, and another love interest of Ryner’s, Kiefer, who belongs to Gastark’s kingdom. King Sion is a complex character himself, he abhors violence, believing that all life matters and people all have a place in this world but with those in his kingdom afraid of those bearing the Alpha Stigma he is forced to take precaution against Ryner. He’s also collecting artifacts that carry god-like powers which seems akin to political tactics like “peacekeeping through superior firepower”. He’s also harboring some big secrets. Towards the end Ryner meets others “cursed” like him and he sees that they are not all monstrous killing machines.. secret origins get revealed.. There’s a lot going on here.

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An amazing story, great animation, masterfully executed, humorous, full of action and high fantasy. It’s lush and gorgeous. It’s funny and sweet and exciting. 

Based on light novels by Takaya Kagami originally illustrated by Saori Toyota.

Tomb Raider #1

I always like origin stories. There’s always that point where the character needs to choose what they’re going to do with themselves. The same story could make you the villain, could make you vengeful distrustful, hard and cold; it could make you catatonic; or, it could make you something bigger, something better. 

This picks up where the videogame reboot did. When Lara Croft, driven in pursuit of adventure, for academic reasons and to solve a mystery, things go bad. Real bad. They try to find the island of Yamatai. But the ship sinks, people die. For 21 year old Lara Croft, that’s too much. When she’s called by another of the trip’s survivors, Jonah, he starts ranting that they have to break the circle and the stole gold before a tidal wave overtakes the desert and leaves her stranded. After all they went through, they haven’t really escaped.

I don’t really know exactly what I am doing with this series, I haven’t played Tomb Raider since Tomb Raider: Legend for GameCube.

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Also, all the promos I’ve seen for the new game reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. This comic book reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. Which is not a bad thing, per se. Also, I know I’m wrong and people are actually going to show up and tell me that I’m an asshat for comparing Tomb Raider with the Hunger Games, but I don’t even care. Bring it.

This picks up where the new game left off, so your enjoyment will increase with your appreciation of that game. I’ll give whatever Gail Simone is doing a fair shot, when I saw this issue was titled Survivor’s Guilt! I instantly thought of Annisia from Red Sonja, and how survivor’s guilt made her the bad guy. Who we become under duress isn’t a calculated choice, if this is to fill the gap in between the new reboot and a possible sequel, I wanna see how LC grows up.

 

Sleepy Hollow Episode 5

A boy is playful teased by a young girl and he chases her through the woods, until he is chased him self by a man on the horse. He has a head and looks like Attila the Hun. The boy runs away and into modern day Sleepy Hollow. Lieutenant Mills, who has moved Ichabod into Corbin’s cabin, is called when they boy turns up unconscious, Ichabod invites himself along. The boy awakens briefly and begins speaking middle English.

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Ichabod studied Middle English at Oxford (I mean, of course!) and tells Irving and Mills that the boy said “Evil Girl” The boy has “blackening veins” and the quarantine him. Ichabod goes and Skype’s in middle English. Abbie is still holding out the idea that the boy is modern and was being held by some freak show who taught him a dead language so he couldn’t ask for help.

They believe the boy is from Roanoke.. no no, not Virginia, the Lost colony. That’s a real thing by the way. First English Settlement in established in 1585. It vanished. BUT Middle English was only a thang until 1470… then they would have been speaking Early Modern English.. whatever.

Abbie: “Who was more sarcastic? Jefferson or Adams?”

The boy has never been vaccinated against anything, go figure. Others affected as a result of coming into contact with the contagion get black veins and die quickly complete with visions of the horseman (with the head).

Because he’s Pestilence, amirite?

Abbie and Ichabod hike through the woods and they find water deeper than it should be… so they walk on water… on a small island they find the colony. People are all sick with black veins, but they are well. It also has not changed at all in 400 years. On the island the illness is in stasis, but outside people become sick. They are protected by a spell. 

Ichabod become infected and on the brink of death, he sees Katrina. 

Morales (Abbie’s ex) is checking up on Ichabods credentials… which check out, somehow. What? Not that he should be checking, it’s none of your business, Morales!

Abbie prays to figure out what to do with Ichabod. And hides from Morales. Abbie decides that the spring water at the colony can save Crane and the boy… and, you know, the rest of the town. Abbie divulges the details to Irving and he gives her the go ahead to try it out.

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Meanwhile Katrina is telling Ichabod that she is being held captive by Morlock. That she’s in purgatory. Tearful reunion and such. But Abbie wakes him (and Thomas) up and they are shaking and on the verge of collapse. Abbie says she won’t go without Ichabod and she gives him an adrenaline shot. Soon after they are on the run from Attila and they rush in just in time to submerge themselves in the spring and save the colony from the horseman and the afflicted from the illness. Then the colony disappears (Thomas was lured into their world by the “evil girl”) and everyone affected by the sickness returns to health… well, that doesn’t make that much sense… but sure.

The pacing in this episode was much better than it has been, the selective use of historical trivia is interesting, Abbie saved the day and Morales sets himself up to be the Doakes. I like it.

“I have officers retracing the trail as we speak” Is Ichabod an officer? umm….. no

in 3 weeks the horseman returns. Templar Knights, Walter Bishop, John Cho comes bach and Ichabod sacrificing himself?? Say what?! Can’t wait!

Book Review #25- Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Oh man, this book was so good. It’s one of those series that every one recommends and I’m all “Yeah, yeah, I know the type.” Powerful girl working for magical law enforcement type establishment meets handsome and vicious shapeshifter dude and they both do and don’t hit it off and meanwhile a bunch of absurdly fucked up shit goes on and she tries to juggle her life as a badass with wanting a normal human life…

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Ummm…. the thing is, it’s actually really good. The world in which this takes place is in the future, but magic was unleashed so there’s no advances in technology that would make it seem futuristic, but it’s far enough in the future that all magical things are accepted as reality. Technology and magic alternate so everyone drives weird cars (like Kate’s Karmelion) or rides horses, because machines don’t work when the magic hits. Vampires are ugly and disgusting and have to be controlled by a navigator, Masters of the Dead. Shapeshifters are gross and horrible and drool and smell (and of course they are paranoid and territorial, blah blah woof woof). There are many unique elements. 

Kate Daniels has a magic sword, Slayer, that can cut through undead flesh like buttah, she goes out in search of her guardian’s killer and confronts all manner of weirdness with confidence. She’s not perfect, but she’s pretty awesome. She’s bored by ceremonial pretenses, doesn’t care about looking hot at the cost of being a bad ass (except she keeps her hair long, her concession to conventional beauty standards). She meets a handsome doctor on her quest and that goes as it usually does. Everyone thinks a crazy vampire controlling lady, Olathe, is responsible and that goes about the same as you’d expect. Everyone resumes business as usual thinking the big bad whatever is gone… But then stuff gets really crazy. I won’t spoil it, but there’s a zombie dragon. I mean, that’s just wonderful.

It’s slightly more high fantasy than most urban fantasy type stuff. I’m glad Kate doesn’t appear to be clinging to this “What would it be like to come home from a normal job and have my husband waiting for me and drink a cup of tea?” blah blah (you’d be bored, that’s why we’re all here reading books about YOUR life, Kate) because that’s boring as all hell. Ditch that crap and hang out with the Beast Lord.

I definitely recommend. I will be reading more of this series for sure!

5 bottles of Boone’s Farm

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PS I was going to count this as Team Vampire, but the a Zombie Dragon showed up. That’s both for the Vamps Vs Zombies challenge/bloghop! Oh snap! 

New Obsession

As much as I paint myself as a book junkie, I am really a TV addict.

I’ve been on a Merlin binge the past few days. 

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Check out Morgana. She’s beauuuuuutiful, always stands up for what’s right and shows up Arthur of Camelot himself with a sword. 

Season 1 episode 10 Arthur tells the women that it’s too dangerous for them to stay and fight, that this is the business for men. Morgana and Guinevere will hear none of it. The ladies always come through in a pinch. Heroic knights vanquishing foes may be a boys club, Arthur and Merlin would be lost without these two.

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Arthur is so cute, but he’s such a knucklehead. These ladies are the whole package. No seriously, he’s always getting cursed or poisoned or acting like a braggart and an ass and everyone has to bail him out it’s insufferable.

Have a Netflix marathon of your own &/or check out some behind the scenes footage.