Recommended #18

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #15 (Caped-Joel review video)

Venom #11 (Caped-Joel review video)

Miles Morales Spider-Man #3 (Caped-Joel review video)

YouTube Videos

JAZZA INVADES ART WEBSITES to UNITE THEM against T-SERIES by Draw with Jazza

Jason Inman on Kickstarter marketing by Dreamer Comics Highlights

Movies & Shows

Fire Force Teaser Trailer (Soul Eater Creator)-English Sub by IGN

Project Blue Book History Channel

Books

Wolf, the explorer #0.5 (Karabas in Old Turkey) by Leen Lefebre

Recommended #12

Some more recommendations you might enjoy. The following are my opinion and do not reflect any organization or person.

DC Comics

Young Justice #2

The Adventures of the Super Sons #6

Action Comics #1007

Justice League Annual (2019) #1

Heroes In Crisis #5

Justice League #16

Justice League #17

These are available wherever DC Comics books are sold, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon. If you’re looking for reviews of these and many others comic stories, you can check out the Caped-Joel YouTube channel.

Lights Out|Side Quest

Zzzttt-wah-MMMmmm…

One by one the lights went off. Within minutes the city went dark. Everything started to shut down from the holo-boards advertising the new diet soda to the residential holo-screens playing the sixtieth season of The North Wilbertons. The VirtNet and Internet went down in seconds. A few moments later, vehicles started to shut down…except for one ion-mag lev commuter train…that one was just running out of control.

I needed to take care of the runaway quick—not just because there was a group of citizens aboard or that the train would soon derail and destroy a couple city blocks but because I needed to get to the power station and put a stop to the one behind this power out.

Luckily, my Dog Toys (aka gadgets) operate on a different system, so the Dogfighter was still operational. I positioned the advanced fighter jet ahead of the runaway.

“Dogboy,” Brain said via the Dog Whistle communication system. “SPOT just scanned the train; it was hacked. This is a distraction.”

“Well, it’s a pretty good one,” I said. I flipped a switch. The Dogfighter sprayed a foam-like substance along the tracks. It would slow the train while also keeping it from derailing.

A second after I finished coating the tracks, the train ran over the foam. The train itself, thanks to magnetic levitation, hovers over the tracks. The foam is designed to lessen that connection so that the train slows but not cause it fall to the ground. The train jerked and moaned like someone who’d been at the gym too long. It slowed some, but I could tell it wouldn’t be enough.

I flew the jet ahead of the oncoming train and jumped out. I landed with a heroic thud. I braced for impact with the train while holding my paw-like hands out in front of me.

WHAM!

The claws on my paw-like feet dug into the rails. Sparks jumped around me as the claws tried to find purchase in the rails. My purple cape folded around me like a cocoon as I pushed against the train. Two handprints began to form in the train’s front. I pushed against the train, pouring on my telekinetic power. I could feel the phantasmic energy flowing out of me and down through the train. I groaned.

Finally, the train began to slow.

Thanks to the foam and my push, the train finally came to rest. I panted, my tongue almost reaching the ground. The passengers and workers shouted out thanks as the Dogfighter angled to pick me up. With a leap, I soon was back in the cockpit.

“Now for Terabyte,” I said.

***

When I arrived, Terabyte was having a fun time blasting transformers. Machine bits sprayed everywhere and plumes of fire reached high into the sky. I jumped down behind the cybernetic villain.

Without turning, the villain in yellow, said, “Well, well, well. Look who’s here. Next time I’ll sabotage two trains.”

“End this now, Terabyte, before someone gets hurt,” I demanded with a swipe of my arm.

He turned slowly towards me. His body crackled and glowed with energy. “But, Dogboy…that’s the whole point. Humanity’s time is over. It is time for the Digitrons to rule. It is only natural: the son always replaces the father. Humanity created us; now we will rule.” Terabyte spread his fingers. Arcs of electricity danced between his fingers. “Besides, it serves them right for imprisoning me.”

“Then I’ll stop you.” I thrust out my hand, launching a blast of telekinetic power at him.

Nothing happened.

“Uh-oh,” said Terabyte with a sneer. “Someone’s running on empty.” Terabyte moved his hand before him like some Tai Chi student. A lightning ball began to form in his hand. “Fortunately…I just ate.” He lobbed the ball at me.

ZZZzzttt…BOOOM!

I spiraled through the air like a toy shot out of a cannon. I crash landed into the side of a transformer with my back. I left a small dent. As I tried to stand, electrical wires wrapped around me.

I fruitlessly struggled against the wires. Terabyte laughed mercilessly as he hovered into the air. Electricity shot all around us.

“With you out of the way,” Terabyte monologued, “this city will be helpless against my army.”

“What makes you think I’ll be ‘out of the way’?”

“Because you have no power to stop me.”

“Really?” I relaxed my arms and chest. Earlier as the wires wrapped around me, I puffed up my chest and arms in order to be larger than I was. By relaxing, the wires loosened enough for me to use my claws to cut myself free.

Terabyte yelled in frustration before firing a lightning bolt at me. I managed to dodge and summon one of my Dog Toy gadgets. It looked like a tennis ball but was really an explosive.

I tossed the ball at Terabyte. He, of course, blasted it in order to make it explode early. He was momentarily blinded by the flash and by the resulting smoke. In that moment, I summoned another tennis bomb from my belt and tossed it. This one did connect and Terabyte fell to the earth. While he was recovering, I ordered my belt to print up a superpower suppression dog collar. Just as Terabyte was standing, I jumped at his chest, knocking us to the ground. After a brief struggle, I snapped the collar around his neck and his powers faded.

With Terabyte under control, the workers were able to move on the scene and began repair work. Within a matter of minutes, power was restored to the city. Not long after that the authorities arrived for Terabyte.

“You can’t stop us!” shouted Terabyte. “One day this world will belong to us!”

I rolled my eyes. “Super-villains.”

________________

Joe Rover eBooks are available at most online retailers.

Does Whatever a Review Can|Spider-Man PS4

I finally got my copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4. And now that I’ve been able to actually put it down…for about ten minutes, I can give you an initial review–because boy is it going to take a while to finish it. I played it for like three hours and only have 10 percent completion…but that’s probably because I keep getting distracted by all the collectables and crimes in the city.

So, let’s address the white elephant in the room first (or I could say white spider). You know the first thing people want to know about: the graphics. All I can say is, “Yes, the graphics are good.” The city looks like a city and the lighting is excellent; it looks like they somehow digitized New York and put it into the video game. (New York City is still there, isn’t it? I mean, no super-villain has come along and zapped the city into the digital world, right?)

img_2674My problem with the graphics is that the people look a little weird. It was like they were good and the developers spent time on them but they still look odd somehow. But, what I did like is how every scene so far (remember I’ve only completed 10 percent) looks lived in. Birds and helicopters share the sky with our web-swinging wonder. The inside of the buildings are just as good. The lab Peter works in has notes everywhere and machine parts scattered across the desks; it looks like a lab that has people in it.

So with graphics out of the way, let’s again address the real white spider in the room: the new costume. I was a bit ‘eh’ about it and still am, but what I do like is that you can change the costume, so you can wear the new one or the OG costume or one of the others you unlock. I like how the costumes unlock as you level up and not by finding some random code or doing a certain amount of “X” things. Also, I like how the suit powers work on any of the costumes–once you unlock that power of course. For example, with the original Spidey costume you get a power called “Web Blossom,” but you can equip that to the new suit or you can equip the new suit’s power to the original suit. (My favorite suit power so far is the one that let’s you make hologram copies of yourself.)

The suit mods also work like the suit powers. They work across all suits so you can customize your Spidey as you like.

I do have to add here that sometimes the game had weird camera and response issues. Sometimes Spidey would get stuck on an object; like when a henchman was about to hit him with a rocket, Spidey kept running forward against the railing and wouldn’t move. But for the most part, it’s been very successful.

Finally, the collectables. I really like how the collectables mean something in the game. If you find one, such as take a landmark photo, you get a token. The tokens then can be used to craft new suits, mods, and gear. I really like how this game focuses more on Peter’s science know-how. You get to see him use that mind of his and there are mini-games that involve crafting and technology. I like how they show that the Spider-Man suit is machine-like, that it isn’t just spandex that it has circuitry and technology in it.

At this time, I’d have to give Spider-Man a 4.8/5. Now if you’ll excuse me, Spidey’s got some vent crawling to do.

If you’re looking for more reviews (for instance my next Spider-Man post), you can subscribe to my Patreon account. There, depending on how much you wish to spend a month, you can have access to my reviews, short stories, and webcomic–along with other posts.

Atom’s Bite-Sized Punch

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Here be Spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Since the subatomic superhero Atom was added to the Injustice 2 roster, I decided to give him a try.

First, I like to say how I enjoy it when game developers, or movie/show developers, take an underdog/unappreciated character, such as Atom, and make them interesting. It shows a lot of creativity. Instead of just saying “Oh he’s too lame” or “He’s abilities wouldn’t work in this situation,” they came up with ways of making the character fit, and did so without forcing it.

The developers were able to make it so Atom could stand his own with the others in the roster but also not make him ridiculous or seem like they were stretching his powers. I liked the addition of him being able to lift heavy environmental objects by growing the size of his arms enough to give him “super strength.”

I enjoyed the visual appearance of Atom’s attacks, making him look like a glowing dot. Also, his character move (shrinking and attacking) recharged fairly quickly. When the timer run out, Atom was vulnerable to attack as he tries to fix his short-circuiting bio-belt. This added some humor and believability as this version of Atom is a newbie.

I enjoyed such attacks as when he buzzes around the opponent while the foe tries to swat at him (or is just staggered). I also enjoyed his grab attack where he shrinks down and goes in the opponent’s head. The game sound even becomes muffled like you are walking around in a head.

With Atom’s super-move, even if the opponent dodges, he comes back around for a second try. The series of attacks are visually enjoyable as it shifts from a scene of “dot” Atom knocking the foe around followed by a series of close-ups as Atom attacks. He then goes giant to finish the move. The move goes through various sizes and camera angles, making it almost movie-like.

My main problem with Atom was when I fought fast characters such as Flash or Sub-Zero. They moved so fast I had trouble landing a hit. I also had trouble with higher level fights because the gear drop for Atom was so small at first. I’d have no gear but had to fight a stronger foe. This caused some frustration until better gear finally did drop.

Atom’s Battle Simulator “ending scene” brought a nice touch of humanity to the game. It brought some “street-level” motivation. Atom didn’t use Brainiac’s technology to take over the world or fix things or travel the universe; Atom just wanted to find his friend, Ray Palmer (the original Atom).

And on a final note, Atom is one of the few characters I’ve taken the time to level him up to at least level 10.

All in all, Atom makes a good addition to the team and I’m looking forward to the other releases.

 

Homecooked Fluff

Though not completely inspired by the writing prompt “Fluff” from The Daily Post, it did help to “make better” the beginnings of my new work on Wattpad titled “Homecooked.” I’d planned on starting the story on November 1 but couldn’t resist the word “fluff.”

Ace has seen many strange things in his time as a hero but this morning’s was the strangest. He woke up back home. He’s supposed to be at his cabin near Neo-Geo Mountain. But it just gets stranger as he is greeted by his father; the same one that disappeared years before. How’d he get back home? Why is his father back? You’ll just have to read the ongoing Thanksgiving special.

I’m hoping that the story will be complete before the end of November, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving, but the holidays being what they are…

So here’s a preview of “Homecooked.” And be sure to thank your local fluff provider (like clouds or kittens) for this sneak peek.


“Ace,” said a distant voice. “Ace.”

My head was full of fluff and cotton. I felt drugged and dragged.

“Ace,” the voice repeated.

“Leave me alone, John.” I slapped at the voice like I was trying to turn off an alarm clock.

“Who’s John?”

Sighing with surrender, I forced open my eyes. “You…are not him.”

The man before me looked like a slightly older version of me. He had the same black hair as me, but some gray around the temples. His face sported a couple scars but the medium length beard covered most of that up. His smile seemed to light up the room. “That seems obvious, Son.”

“Son?” I said in a daze. “Dad?”

“That’s my name.” He put a hand on his hip and used his other to stroke his beard. “Technically it’s Samuel, but let’s not get hooked up on technicalities.”

“Dad!” I sat up faster than a bolt of lightning and embraced him a great, big hug. All my fears and worries melted away in that hug. I felt like a little kid again.

He laughed, a jolly almost Santa Claus-like, laugh. “Nice to see you too.” I hugged him tighter. “Teenagers are so weird,” he groaned in response to the “death-hug.” After a couple more seconds, he said, “I’m running out of air.”

I finally let go, but it wasn’t easy. I feared that he would vanish like a dream if I let go. “But-but what are you doig here?” A quick glance around the room told me I was no longer in the cabin Glen and I shared. I was in my room. I was home.

Could Watermark have finally kept his word and found my father?

“You overslept and today is an important day.” He stood taller and his eyes shined with pride. “Today’s the day you and the other heroes of tomorrow graduate from Trans-High and join the International League of Super-Transbeings.” His smile got bigger. “I’m so glad you decided to follow in my footsteps and use your powers to protect the innocent.”

“What about E Ops?”

His face bunched up in confusion. “That old agency?” His expression, for a moment, changed to concern. “How’d you find out about them?” He then shifted back to his jolly self. “Thanks to the work Emil and I did, E Ops was repurposed as PAWS. A lot of house cleaning was done back in those days.” He sighed for a moment. “Some of the agents were corrupt. They tortured or imprisoned transbeings. The worst was John Watermark.”

Dad’s head shook slowly. (Kind of odd that he didn’t connect me calling him “John” and then him talking about John Watermark.) Dad seemed frozen for a moment like he was searching through files of acceptable responses. He then became excited again. “In the 18 years since Emil and I uncovered the mystery of Neo-Geo, humanity has changed greatly. Now we don’t have to fear the Prophecy of 2012. Or even the Xacians.”

“The Prophecy? The Xacians?” Those aliens responsible for creating the transbeing race?

“We destroyed their empire. Dingo and his followers have been vanquished.” I half expected trumpets to play as Dad put his hands on his hips and striked a pose. After another awkward pause, he placed his hand on my face. “All you need to worry about is becoming the best hero you can.” He raised a fist into the air. Now I was sure I heard some kind of cheesy, heroic music playing. “One day, you will join me. And together we will protect the galaxy as father and son.” He turned back to me. “But first, you better get downstairs for breakfast.” Dad then dashed out of the room with a “love ya, son.”

Aside from the creepy Star Wars reference, things seemed pretty great. I went to the window and swooshed open the curtains. A bright and sunny day beamed into my room. My clothes were clean and wrinkle free, unlike the normal dirt-caked clothes from Neo-Geo. And even though the day was sunny, it didn’t have the oppressive heat that Neo-Geo provides.

Our street was busy with the movings and socializing of the neighborhood. People waved, cars passed, kids headed for the bus and tried to exchanged carrots or candy, and Mr. Watson mowed his lawn. I opened the window and let the sounds of birds drift in. I took a deep breath and exhaled sweet bliss. It seemed like ages since I’d last listened to the birds or watched the lazy, puffy clouds drift by.

“Ace,” came the soft voice of my mother. “Your eggs are getting cold.”

I could almost taste her fluffy scrambled eggs as I practically hopped down the stairs.


The rest will be posted here.

Where’s the riot?

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Here be Spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Riot by Pat Shand has our spacefaring heroes taking a shipment of medicine to a plant people planet (try saying that three times fast) who are suffering from a plague. Once the Guardians arrive at the star system, they find it to be blocked by a force field. They need to get permission to pass. After some creepy feelings and subtle threats, they are allowed to leave. Once on the plant planet, they soon find that the plague was not a plague but an invasion. The Guardians are soon on the run from an at least two planet strong army.

The use of having each chapter told by a different character is nothing new, but what I enjoyed is that they sounded like that character. The Star-Lord chapters sounded as if Star-Lord was speaking, that he’d written that chapter.

I found the Drax chapters a little harder to find his voice. The Drax chapters sounded more like the author speaking than Drax. But to be fair, Drax has a different short of character. He doesn’t really have the internal dialogue like the others and he’s more literal. I did notice that once Drax began to have a personal conflict, involving a crush on someone (and I mean a love-crush not a smash-crush like Drax thought “having a crush” meant), the Drax chapters did seem to change.

When I saw that each chapter would be “narrated” by a different Guardian, I hoped that there would be a Groot chapter. I wondered how Shand would do that. Would it be six pages of “I am Groot”? I was surprised to see that not only was there a Groot chapter but it delve into the mind of Groot. You get to see how he feels about not being able to communicate with anyone other than Rocket. You get to see a version of Groot that is quite smart. Some stories show Groot as being stupid or naïve; this Groot is wiser and observant.

I also enjoyed how the individual chapters allowed the reader to see more of the characters’ motives and backgrounds. You learn a lot about why the characters act the way they do.

Shand’s description of the Thandrid was excellent. I got a clear image of what they looked like. Maybe too clear. I kept getting an image of a insect that looked similar to a xenomorph from the Alien movies. But this might’ve been on purpose because of how the Thandrid invade. Much like the xenomorphs, the Thandrid burst out from their host’s body (except it’s the head instead of the chest).

I was surprised and not surprised when the first head-bursting happened. Since I had the xenomorph image in my head (no pun intended), I was not surprised to see it happen. In other words, the clues had been there since the beginning. I didn’t feel like this was some cheap scare that came out of nowhere. Nonetheless, it still shocked me because I wasn’t waiting for it, and the description of the baby Thandrid crawling around creeped me out. It wasn’t like a mystery book where you solve the murder in the first chapter and then are waiting till the end to have your guess confirmed.

My main problem with the book is I kept asking, “Where’s the riot?” The book was called Space Riot and yet there was no riot. There was war and fighting and explosions, but not much of a riot. I guess you could call it a riot because the Incarnadinians, the other planet marked for invasion, and the Guardians rebelled against the Thandrid. Also, all the people of the system were held prisoner by the force field, so it was more like the rebel “prisoners” were rioting against the Thandrid “guards.” The war was very one sided. The Thandrid had the numbers and the technology, so it was more of a riot. But the riot idea really came into play when the Guardians and rebels crashed into the Thandrid prison allowing all the prisoners to escape. It then turned into a literal riot and they attacked the Thandrid.

I have to give Space Riot a 4.6 out of 5. The writing was excellent, the book was short enough that I could finish it in a timely manner but still long enough that I felt like I got my money’s worth, and the book kept making me want to continue. It wasn’t boring at all. It seemed like we were always moving forward. Sometimes the forward motion was a little slower but we were still moving forward. But, it didn’t have the same…silliness of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It seemed like these Guardians were ones that had more experience or were more mature. They still had the same characteristics, but just different.

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