A Review From Jeremy Miller
When it comes to video games, the big thing right now is “Battle Royales”. Whether you prefer to play solo or with a squad, there is no shortage of options. Fortnite and PUBG have been two of the most popular for well over a year, and the bigger developers have taken notice and even came out with their own versions of the popular genre. Respawn Entertainment, the creators of the Titanfall game franchise, have created a BR called ‘Apex Legends’. It feels as if all I have played in the last year are “Battle Royales”, so I was a little skeptical when I first played it, thinking that it would feel the same as the others with just with different cosmetics. Man was I wrong, and I’m glad I was.
‘Apex Legends’ is a class based shooter, meaning each character has abilities and specials that only they can use. For instance, Lifeline is a Combat Medic. She can deploy a healing drone and drop a care package for her team to get defensive and healing supplies. Bangalore is a combat specialist, or DPS, character. She can throw out smoke grenades and when her special is ready, can drop Rolling Thunder, an artillery strike. With each character having their own strengths and abilities, the game kinda forces players to play with a team first mentality, rather than running off on your own. And that alone separates ‘Apex Legends’ from the other BR games at the moment.
‘Apex Legends’ is a beautiful game. The graphics are amazing and if it weren’t for other players trying to shoot my head off, I’d probably have time to snap more screenshots. The only game mode is Trios, meaning that if you don’t have a friend or two in your party, the game will match you with randoms. The game will randomly select who picks their character first, then second and third. The other new thing that was added, is called a Jumpmaster, who is also selected at random. The Jumpmaster is the one who can select a spot and jump out of the flying vehicle to land at that position. The game does give the option for a player to break away from the group and go off on their own. Once your team has landed, the mission to survive begins. There is plenty of loot laying around for everyone to have 2 weapons of their choice with a couple of attachments. Which in turn makes it extremely interesting if there are other groups that landed with you.
Not only is Apex Legends a beautiful designed game with great mechanics, it’s also free on PC, XBox and PlayStation. I can’t wait to see what new characters Respawn has in store for us. I have yet been able to secure a victory, but that doesn’t matter. I like to play games because I have fun, especially if it’s with friends. But I would be lying if I told you I don’t have a competitive side. I will get that win one day. And I’ll brag about it to my cat.
Overall I would have to rate this game a solid 9/10.
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That Important Spider-Man Story Everyone Should Read
By Rafa Encinas
With the recent interest in Spider-Man at an all time high, especially after the popularity of Insomniac’s Spider-Man video game, the success of the Into The Spider-Verse movie, and the insanity of the Spider-Geddon comic event, I think it is time for new fans and old fans alike to venture into some of the quintessential stories that got us to this point. That is why I highly recommend J. Michael Straczynski’s “Coming Home” (2001) story from his run of The Amazing Spider-Man (issues #30-35).
First and foremost, this is super hero storytelling at its finest. When I first picked it up, I was expecting just another flashy Spider-Man story. Something that would be fun, but overall probably forgettable. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those stories that hit hard, and ultimately actually set up a lot for future stories. We get the introduction of the enigmatic Ezekiel and the unstoppable Morlun, the concept of totems and the supernatural, as well as a huge reveal as the story comes to a close.
This adventure hits hard because the action is nonstop. If you are looking for some Spider-Man action fights, then this is the story for you. The inner monologue and desperation that comes from Peter as he trades blows with Morlun feels important and showcases the internal grit and perseverance that the Spider-Man character embodies. There are actual stakes to this battle, and you see the inner turmoil and despair Peter is facing. You do not get the usual banter. It feels serious. This is also expertly complimented by Romita Jr.’s art style which always seems to work best for the Spider-Man character.
But besides the superhero slugfest that this comic details, there is also real heart in Peter’s personal life. The reader gets to see him create something for himself. He pays it forward by becoming a high school teacher. He attempts to do more than just be a superhero. The high school sequences are endearing and actually produces a powerful sequence in which there is a school shooting; something that is unfortunately very familiar for our current times. And this is important because Spider-Man always feels relevant. This story further solidifies it.
And that is why it is with great pride that I recommend this story to all fans of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It feels important, and it showcases exactly why Peter Parker is such an endearing character. It accurately portrays the magic in being responsible and in holding oneself to a higher standard. And luckily, Spider-Man can reach those higher stands. It helps when you have the agility and web slinging prowess of a spider.
A Review From Hidai Moya
With ‘Forza Horizon 4’, Microsoft/Xbox continues to prove that it owns the flagship car/racing series of the 8th generation. Not only does it breathe new life into this decades old genre but it also takes a racing game to unprecedented heights it’s literally never been to before.
The developers had the ingenious idea of introducing a dynamic open world whose environment would change with every annual season. Allowing players to have a fully shared open world with other drivers is also a gleefully whimsical feature that ensures a unique experience every time you play.
On a technical level this game also looks impeccable in native 4K & on the XBox One X.
As of launch, it has also become the highest rated AAA racing game of the last 14 years.
The Boys Are Back in Town: A Return to Form in Uncanny X-Men #11 (2019)
A review from Rafael Encinas
When you think of iconic partnerships in comic books, what comes to mind? For me, personally, I’ve always been partial to the dynamic of the Cyclops/Wolverine relationship. Two leaders; two heroes; two generals of a dying species. There are few as iconic as these two X-Men; two characters with so much rich history. This is why it is unfortunate that so many casual fans only think about the Scott, Logan, Jean love triangle, especially when there is so much more to these characters.
For the past forty-plus years, we have had some wild events with these two at the epicenter. Moments of apocalypse, onslaughts, and decimations, these two have had some incredible highs. But unfortunately, their complex bromance hit some lows, especially with an all-time low with the forced “Schism” event in 2011, and then they both died… eventually.
But with the release of yesterday’s Uncanny X-Men #11 (2019), consider me hype for a new chapter in their rocky relationship. Hold onto your hats because THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN! And they are not messing around.
It is hard to put into words the amount of nuanced emotion and complexity in the return of the Last Two X-Men. If you haven’t been reading Uncanny X-Men… the recently resurrected Cyclops and Wolverine have come back to a world in where all the X-Men are gone. Mutants are on the verge of extinction once again. Please check out Chris’ Comic Book Corner for additional details about issue 11.
But basically, Cyclops is back facing a hostile world where all his allies are nowhere to be found. As he searches for his fallen comrades and dispersed people, the issue culminates into a big confrontation between Cyclops and the who’s who of mutant hate groups.
This scene plays out with a heightened sense of intensity because you know the fight is about to go down. But it is one man, Scott Summers, who we all know if no slouch when it comes to confrontation or impossible odds, but it still feels tense, and you feel the danger and peril for Cyclops mounting. We get a wise crack from Reaver commander, Donald Pierce who basically laments at the death of all mutants and mockingly states, “What’s it like knowing your friends all died, the world doesn’t care, and that you’re going to die all alone?”
These are powerful words. And the tension is palpable. Cyclops was about to go down in a blaze of glory, and if only there was someone to help him. And then the greatest moment in recent comic book history occurs:
There are no words to express my feelings of elation to see Wolverine come back from the dead and to join forces with Cyclops once again after so many years of mutant politics and hostile estrangement. After the conflict of the mutant schism and the disaster of the Avenger/Mutant conflict, and the heightened tensions over Cyclops’ Mutant Revolution, we see the personal strife, turmoil, and anger these two X-men had for one another come to a head in an act of mutual understanding and Mutant cooperation. They realize there is something more important than their petty ideologies and imagined slights. We see two titans come together for the greater good. A reunion. A return to form. Best Friends Once Again! Reunited And It Feels So Good!
And this is the power of comics. Moments like these that make you feel emotional payoff and impact that comes from years of reading these fictional allegories to very real issues and narratives. This reunion made me nostalgic for all the moments Cyclops and Wolverine fought side by side. And this is important because I am not the only one to feel this way. Comics transcend one’s own thoughts and opinions. It becomes a medium for people to connect and realize their shared love and joy for fictional characters.
In reading Uncanny X-Men #11, it was in this moment that I remembered a comment I saw on Reddit a while back from user bigkr88. The reddit user talked about the bond that both Scott and Logan shared; a bond of brotherhood, and the gravity that that title holds for both men. More so than any other pair of heroes, I would argue these two have the strongest brotherly bond out of most Marvel Comic Book characters. I mean they fought together, side by side, for decades in a world that did not thank them and wanted them dead.
At the end of the day, Scott and Logan were brothers. The term “friends” does not do their complex relationship justice. I mean, brothers fight. Brothers argue. Brothers hate each other. Brothers stop talking to one another, but when it really counts and things go down, brothers will come together no matter how far they have drifted apart. The relationship between these two icons is more than just a simple friendship. Dealing with the end of the world and the end of their species on a day to day basis really puts things into perspective. And doing this together for so many years is meaningful.
And this isn’t just fan conjecture. We can see similar lamentations in the pages of the comics themselves.
Wolverine himself contemplates in X-Men: Prelude to Schism #4: “I’ve been to the end of the universe with you. Been your rival. Been Your friend. We’ve seen some rough times and had a few good ones.”
Cyclops reciprocates these feelings when he thinks back in the Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan #1: “Despite our differences over the years, we share one thing in common: We were there… for all of it. We lost friends. Buried sons. But we never stopped… until I broke things.”
Though these two iconic X-Men would be too proud to say these word out loud to one another, which can be frustrating (JUST HUG EACH OTHER ALREADY), one can see the mutual respect they have for one another that is earned on the battlefield. I mean these two faced so many extinction level events for the safety of their people. Fellow redditer bigkr88 really puts this into powerful words:
“They fought, they suffered the same losses, they watched the same friends and loved ones die sometimes repeatedly, and in the end, it was always these two standing there on the remains of the battlefield. They’re brothers in arms in a way that the word “friend” doesn’t BEGIN to describe what they were, and quite frankly after one died, it was only a matter of time before the other did. Wolverine was just a hypocritical killing machine without Cyclops to measure his morality against, and Cyclops was just an authoritarian rebel with a dying cause without Wolverine to show him what the dark side of their conflict could become.”
Ultimately, both characters are at their best when they are together, fighting the monsters that want to see them dead. Therefore, to have them come back together and not miss a beat; to take on the oppressors that systematically eliminated their people feels good. It feels right. And they would think so too. We are witnessing comic greatness at its finest. We are witnessing a significant moment in the mutant and marvel ethos. Cyclops and Wolverine are back. They are not pulling punches. They are back with a vengeance to remind the world that the mutant species will not go out with a whimper, but with a bang.
A Review From Christopher Franey
Every X-Men story is the same…except this one is better. Of course I have a bias since I’m a Cyclops fan from days of future past. Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, and the rest of the team created a great issue coming from the fallout of Disassembled and the X-Men presumed dead. I love how this issue has three stories in it and how they connect and we see the three different viewpoints of Scott, Logan, and Ruth Aldine (Blindfold). Now this issue will have heavy emotions and ramifications so be ready for it.
The first story is from Scott’s view and how he is now dealing with a world that is accepting that the Mutants are dead and if there are any left that a “cure” will make sure they don’t stay that way or the children won’t become a Mutant either. I like how Scott handles the hatred that he encounters and tries to turn the other cheek, but when he sees Blindfold being attacked it becomes another thing and he won’t stand for it. She is of course very cryptic and revealing since she is “seeing” everything past, present, and future. I would highly that you read her words a couple of times…I’ll admit it confused me. After that Scott goes to Ben Urich to try and get his message out, but Ben tells him that it wouldn’t be a good idea in the modern situation, with even less Mutants. So Scott drinks this revelation away but by his can shooting he attracted the attention of Multiple Man, who does play a big part in the issue as well. Scott gets the cold shoulder from the Morlocks, Captain America, and, worst of all, the people. This causes Scott to be attacked and then make a proclamation to get the surviving Mutants together, where it all began. This of course attracts the attention of the Reavers, the Purifiers, and Sapien League to finish off the last X-Men…just to wind up doubling their troubles as Logan is back. Scott and Logan do what they do best right here, and it has been a long time coming.
The second story, Wolverine Returns is up next…with art by John McCrea finally gives us the Logan we’ve been wanting, with the X-Men. The story shows that Logan has been keeping some tabs on Scott and seems to be one step behind Scott in locations, but the interactions are totally different as both characters left the Mutants in different ways, either a hero or villain. Most seem receptive to Wolverine and especially Blindfold and Cable as they want to make sure that Wolverine protects Cyclops. Of course Wolverine is the best at what he does so Scott is safe. The issue ends with the finally fight of Cyclops vs. everyone.
The final story is the Last Blindfold Story and this is the one that will be hard to read. Imagine having an ability to see past, present, and future but the curse of not knowing when it is happening, and then being a Mutant in a world that hates and fears you? That is the harshness that Ruth has to face every day in her life. Juanan Ramirez does an amazing job of painting Ruth’s side of the interactions with Scott, Logan, and the rest of the world along with showing us the visions that plague Ruth. We see that this young girl has had a lot thrust upon her and the hard thing to accept is knowing that people might just take advantage of you all the while calling you an abomination. This story really did a great job of showing what Mutants in the Marvel Universe are going through with their gifts (as we see them). I feel like Matthew Rosenberg put a lot into this character piece and it really shows. This will be one of those strong moments that help us to remember why we need the X-Men.
This was a great issue and I am looking forward to seeing how Scott’s new team will come together and what they will do…will it be a mission of peace or war? Will they just want to stop the bad guys? Will they rebuild Human/Mutant relations? I’m just glad to see Cyclops and Wolverine back with the X-Men. I give this issue (more like three) a high praise and it rates five out of five ruby quartz visors with me. I know it comes with a high price tag, but it is well worth it for the stories that you’ll be treated to, as always read on and Excelsior!