Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Swords, Sorcery, Superheroes, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Sci-fi, Smeg, and Silliness

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nightwing: The Series - Episode One [Deathstroke]

Two Great Flavours, One Great Taste...


The team-up you never knew you wanted so badly and never dreamed could happen - the twinning of Star Trek: The Original Series with Planet Of The Apes - explodes in comic book format in December, thanks to the co-operation of IDW and Boom! Studios.

The five-issue mini-series, entitled The Primate Directive (do you see what they did there?), will be penned by IDW's Star Trek stalwarts, Scott and David Tipton.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Olivia Cooke Is My Next Keira Knightley...


Ouija looks your run-of-the-mill "kids do something they shouldn't and pay the price" schlock horror, but I'll probably be picking it up on Blu-Ray for one very good reason: it stars the talented and gorgeous Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, The Quiet Ones). I predict she will be this generation's Keira Knightley. You heard it here first!

Teaser For Banshee Season Three...


Banshee remains one of my favourite shows on television and I can't wait for the third season.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Invictus...

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

The Walking Zed...


The Asylum - the people who brought us the glorious Sharknado franchise - have teamed up with their long-time partners-in-crime, the SyFy Channel, to produce their own take on The Walking Dead.

And it doesn't matter how much SyFy & The Asylum try and deny it, anyone who watches Z Nation will be comparing it to The Walking Dead.

That said, Z Nation looks half-decent - although apparently nothing original - from the trailer and I always loves me some good zombie action, so I'll be glued to the TV when it finally lumbers over this side of The Pond.

And the cast does include Supernatural's DJ Qualls (as a DJ!) and Lost's Harold Perrineau, so there's some hope...

Star Wars Rebels: Timeline TV Spot...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Sky's The Limit For The Flash...


The trailers have started on Sky TV (in the UK) for The Flash, although no official start date for the show. Hopefully not too long after its Stateside début early next month.

Judge Dredd - The Bod TV Special...


This won't mean much to anyone outside of both the UK and my generation, but for me this wins the Internet!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Fleamarket Friday: Can Never Have Too Many Zombies...


This weekend, Studio Miniatures - those excellent crafters of zombie (and 'survivors') miniatures for wargames and RPGs - is launching a Kickstarter to fund a new line of miniatures.

The campaign, Z-Clipz: Outbreak, will offer "more 28mm zombies, survivors, 3D resin terrain, downloadable colour artwork, free miniatures and hopefully lots more..."

Currently scheduled to begin on Sunday, keep an eye on Studio Miniatures' Facebook page for the official launch and the link to the Kickstarter campaign.

We Are All Servants Of Queen Alice!


Alice has only been with us a few weeks, but from the moment she arrived she had Rachel and I twisted around her little paw and now we serve at her beck and call.

Having been a life-long 'cat' person, I can't believe how quickly this ball of hyper-energetic fur has melted my heart.

For those dog-lovers among you who'd like to see more pictures of our beautiful puppy (and videos of some of her antics) we've set up a Facebook page for her (so we don't bore all our friends with an avalanche of puppy pictures in our normal news feeds).

It can be found here. So if it's the sort of thing that interests you then pop over and "like" her!

Best Of Friends: Alice & Barney get on very well...
Alice likes a nap...

Thursday, 11 September 2014

One Week Until The Return Of Defiance...

I STILL Blame Charles Rutledge...


Check out this back cover blurb for Arctic Kill above - volume 429 in the never-ending series of novels involving Don Pendleton's The Executioner.

A secret society established between the wars, a mythical paradise, looming apocalypse... if ever there was a Mack Bolan novel to draw me back into the fold it was this one, written (under the house name of Don Pendleton) by a friend of my Facebook compadre Charles Rutledge.

Having only just finished Dan Abnett's novel, I'm only a chapter in to Arctic Kill and already one of the bad guys has mentioned "Vril". If someone name drops the "Hollow Earth" in the upcoming chapters I think my geeky head will explode from the pulp-fuelled excitement.

Sucker For Crappy Horror Flicks...


One of my least secret guilty pleasures is rambling horror movie franchises, from Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th through to Final Destination, Hellraiser and the delights presented here in the latest outing from the Wrong Turn team.

No matter what dreadful reviews it may garner on its direct-to-video release, Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort shall be mine!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Book Of The Month: Rocket & Groot Steal The Galaxy


Dan Abnett channels Douglas Adams in his original Guardians Of The Galaxy prose novel: Rocket & Groot Steal The Galaxy.

There are scenes, lines and environments that are pure Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy within this book. And we're talking the good stuff, the original two radio serials from the late 1970s, not the spin-off books or the later radio shows that were just based on Adams' ideas.

Our heroes' primary foil in Rocket & Groot Steal The Galaxy - outside of sundry marvellous Marvel alien races - is Rocket's old employers Timely Inc (a play on Marvel Comics' predecessor, Timely Comics) and the scenes in the Timely boardroom are totally Dolmansaxlil Show Corporation-meets-Sirius Cybernetics Corporation-and-Megadodo Publications. The chapter when we first visit Timely is priceless in its satire of corporate culture and comes with a great pay-off.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot find themselves entangled in the life of an errant Recorder droid who is being sought by numerous parties because of the information he contains (although he doesn't know what that is).

Coming out of Abnett's glorious stint on the Guardians Of The Galaxy comic (rather than the slightly dreary, Avengers-centric nonsense being churned out by Brian Michael Bendis at present), the Guardians are on a "hiatus" and so one of the parties hunting down Rocket, Groot and the Recorder turns out to be Gamora... who, with a little persuasion, ditches her job and joins them in their fun and frolics around the Marvel universe.

Obviously released to tie-in to the Guardians movie, the book is a great reminder of the heights of cosmic excellence scaled by the Abnett & Lanning writing duo during their seminal run on the comics.

However, one thing in particular it does far better than the film is really stress Gamora's nomme de guerre as The Deadliest Woman In The Universe (and I'm actually surprised more comic book fans didn't really pick up on that in their critiques of the movie).

The writing style takes a bit of getting used to as the narrator switches in some chapters. Most are delivered by the Recorder in the present tense, which I wasn't a fan of to start with but quickly got into the flow of, while the remainder - those taking place outside of the Recorder's sight - come from the more usual, third person omnipotent narrator in the past tense.

If you are a fan of Rocket, Groot and Gamora and are looking for a slightly different take than the movie but still a top-notch blend of Star Wars-esque action and clever humour then you could do a lot worse than checking out this excellent tome - which, for my money, is a strong contender for the title of "my book of the year".

Monday, 8 September 2014

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

All Roads Lead To D&S Gaming...

A quick photoshoot using some DandS Gaming roads,
some of my vehicles and a selection of zombies...

I was saying, just the other day, to my figure painter, Neil, that my dream, once I've cleared the clutter on my gaming gaming, is to construct a semi-permanent post-apocalyptic setting that could then be used for zombie games, Mars Attacks etc

A central feature of this lay-out will be these wonderful roads I discovered on eBay, hand-crafted by Dale at Dragon & Serpent Gaming - on eBay under DandS Gaming. Available in a variety of designs, they are ready to use right out of the (careful) packaging and are perfect for tearing up in true Mad Max-stylee.

Budget cuts meant the county police department was unable to paint its patrol cars...

As you will see in my quickly mocked-up photoshoot here, the roads are themed to an urban environment, but I currently only have grassland gaming boards - so (eventually) I will be acquiring some boards that better suit the roads (and the sundry ruined buildings I'm planning).

Also it's worth pointing out, in the last picture (although my police car is unpainted) note how well the different road segments fit together.

Map-A-Monday: Victorian Lunatic Asylum...

Click to embiggen

One for Victorian era gamers (such as Space 1889, Cthulhu by Gaslight etc).

For more information about the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum (Hanwell) visit the Victorian London website.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

[HOW] The Dranning Militia Stand Firm, Despite The Knights Taking A Battering...


The Lords, Ladies and militia of Dranning - the region our heroes live in in my Heroes & Other Worlds campaign- have arrived, courtesy of my tireless paintmeister, Neil Wilson of Wilson's Miniatures Wargames Figure Painting And Scenery Service.

Most of these will probably stay in reserve until The Tuesday Knights make it to the capitol (Dranning), maybe to meet The Duke whose Sheriff (and tax collector) Sir Browyrd has tasked them with tracking down the elusive bandit Margesh Blackblood.


This latest shipment was a mixture of resin men-at-arms (notice the slanting two-bar cross of Dranning on the shields and flags) and a number of heavy, multi-part, metal figures from an old jousting set - mounted and foot knights, stewards, pages, heralds and ladies.

Unfortunately, despite some top quality packing by Neil, the weight of the figures and the jostling of their journey through the postal system caused a number of these latter figures to fall apart (one of the resin pole arms snapped as well), so I'll be breaking out the superglue (when Alice isn't around) and conducting some field surgery on those pieces.

First Trailer For Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two...


Here's hoping Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. can maintain the quality and momentum of the end of its first season in this new clutch of episodes (that - fingers crossed - should be making landfall in the UK as soon after its Stateside début as possible).

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

[HOW] Chapter Eight: The Vault Of Viktor Volkov (aka The Hunt For Margesh Blackblood, part two)

In This Week's Thrilling Episode: Our Heroes Face A Pair Of Animated Stone Statues...

[After an extended break, gaming resumed for the Tuesday Knights yesterday with the return of Clare to our table for the first time since the birth of baby Bettany]

Picking up from the end of the last session, Pete's character, Kirchin the healer, had gained the confidence of Jerron, Margesh's number two, who offered him a chance to 'prove himself' by running a little job for the gang.

Jerron told him of a little "honeypot" his men had found in the Huldre Forest but hadn't had time to explore. He gave Kirchin directions to the old mausoleum and suggested he get a group of friends to help him haul out any treasure they found there.

The loot would be split 50/50 with Jerron, then Jerron would introduce him to Margesh who would have the final say over whether he could join the gang.

When Kirchin met up with his travelling companions - Harry Cobblethwaite (Simon), Davian Battlebeard (Kevin) and Imogen (Meredith) - to tell them about the job, he discovered they had found Imogen's friend Marigold Meaver (Clare), assistant to their old pal, Peter Entwhistle, the wizard of Bendwyn.

Following the directions they had been given, the group entered the forest and soon became engulfed in a strange smelling mist which stirred vivid memories in most of them (Kirchin recalled an incident from his time with the army, Davian a flooding incident from his days as a young miner, Harry remembered the time he turned his back on his father to follow his musical dreams and Marigold recovered a repressed memory about Syrius, the sage of Horst).

[By improvising these stories at the drop of a hat, the players earned 'cards' - thank you, Paizo for the Plot Twist: Flashbacks cards - that gave them a one-off bonus for use at a later time of their choosing]

Before reaching the entrance to the "dungeon", the group had a passive encounter with a wandering brown bear and came upon a tree with strange carvings on that only Marigold could read.

She couldn't quite make out all the letters, but Harry had a vague idea that it might be a word from an old song.

Finally arriving at the door of the mausoleum, the adventurers cautiously entered, discovering - and disarming - a number of traps before finding themselves in a tomb being attacked by a pair of animated statues. Incredibly - using teamwork [and a bit of the 'reality-altering' bonus gained from the Flashback cards] - they managed to push both the statues back into a pit and contain them there.

The party then opened the sarcophagus and found a skeleton clutching a shiny sword, which Kirchin went to pick up and was zapped with the memories of its former owner: a virtuous paladin called Viktor Volkov, who had been part of a team responsible for sealing a gateway to Hell.

Exploring further into the tomb the group found a closed door with fanciful engravings depicting horned demons carrying human souls down to Hell (seeing a theme here our heroes decided to shy away from that door for the moment), but while checking another section of the corridor the team of Harry and Imogen (the group's two "thieves") discovered a concealed doorway.

Behind this door was a short passage with a strange chest in it. The heavy chest - which turned out to be made of silver - had three movable handles on top. Harry realised it was trapped and although the trap kept resetting after he "defused" it, he methodically ran through all the combinations before Imogen pointed out there was a concealed keyhole on the back of the chest.

Harry picked the lock and the team were delighted to find it full of silver ingots.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

DVD Of The Week: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


The kindest thing you can say about the mess that is Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that it is better than the first entry into this franchise. But then that really isn't saying much.

The special effects - particularly Spider-man swinging through New York - are undeniably spectacular and there are a couple of stand-out scenes - the reunion between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and childhood chum Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan); and a certain spoilerific death scene - but generally the screenplay from Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner is totally forgettable.

And, a particular bugbear of mine, the Sony marketing team needs to be shot for making Rhino (Paul Giamatti) such a key-player in their promotional material for the movie.

The character only appears, for a couple of minutes, right at the end as a kind of bridge to the planned Sinister Six movie. Even his civilian identity - as Russian mobster Aleksei Sytsevich - is little more than a generic goon (with a cartoon accent) in an earlier car chase, and certainly not an integral part of the plot.

Peter Parker is enjoying life as Spider-Man, even though he is haunted by visions of Gwen Stacey's late father (Denis Leary) and knows he should break the relationship off with her before anything happens to endanger her, but he's so in love with Gwen (Emma Stone).

However, the threat level rises when nerdy Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is transformed into the supervillain Electro by an industrial accident at Oscorp, the sinister megacorporation that has recently been inherited by Peter's old friend Harry, following the death of his father, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper).

The passing of the family business to Harry annoys the board of Oscorp and an internal coup is staged which drives Harry to team up with Electro and raid the company's top secret "Special Projects" vault.

All the time Electro's powers are snowballing until ultimately he has almost Doctor Manhattan-like powers for his final showdown with Spidey.

One of the problems with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that its story is all over the place and takes forever to get anywhere, bogged down as it is my countless, pointless sub-plots. The film is two hours and 20 minutes and manages to feel a lot longer.

Then you have hideously drawn characters like Foxx's Max Dillon, a cringe-worthy portrayal that's several decades past its sell-by date or the arch prison psychiatrist Dr. Ashley Kafka (Marton Csokas) who is one moustache-twirl away from a pantomime villain.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a mediocre jumble of rambling plot threads, clearly written by committee, and directed by someone whose main qualification for the role is a surname of Webb (Marc Webb).

This is just a quick overview of some of the film's shortcomings, to give you an idea of why this is the lowest-grossing of the five major Spider-Man films in America since Sam Raimi first brought the character to the big screen with such style in 2002.

Come on, Sony, just sell the rights to Spider-Man - and his universe - back to Marvel, so people who actually understand the character can start making moves with him (and he can join The Avengers!)

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)

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