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Showing posts from September, 2020

Review: Assimilation² - Doctor Who / Star Trek crossover

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  I have seen a T-shirt online that I simply have to have. It is a picture of a Dalek with the words " OMG it's R2D2, I loved him in Star Trek!" The joke here is that "fans" are supposed to be loyal to one franchise and sneer at others, so a stab at offending as many of them as possible simultaneously is naughty in the extreme. But in reality, of course, many fans are not faithful to one story only, they are free to love many at once. For them, the idea of crossovers is simply double the fun. Assimilation² is the meeting of probably the two grandest, most well-loved science fiction legends ever. The paths of two absolute giants of TV sci-fi - one British, one American - cross in this two-part epic adventure from writers Scott and David Tipton, with art by J.K. Woodward. The Federation world Delta IV (you know the Deltans, the bald lady in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979?) comes under sudden attack by the Borg. Or does it?  No call for surrender to assimilati

Review: Home is a Distant Wish

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A group of smugglers take in a mysterious traveller and find that they got more than they bargained for. How will they deal when things don't go as planned... Home is a Distant Wish by Jurinova on Webtoons is a tangled tale of mystery upon mystery, layered one atop the other like the delicate petals on an exotic flower. Nkapu is a half human, half alien smuggler, operating with a mixed crew of humans, aliens and an android, ferrying an enigmatic recluse and a cargo full of contraband... As if life was not complicated enough for these intrepid individuals, a pink-haired fugitive stows away on board, bringing even more complications into an already convoluted mix. It soon becomes very obvious that absolutely nobody here is at all what they seem; the only thing they all seem to have in common, if nothing else, is that they all have secrets. And if you are of an impatient disposition, well, tough ... the author is in no hurry whatsoever to part any of the veils. The story proceeds

Review: The Chronicles of Mary Jane: Post Apocalyptic Bounty Hunter

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Mary Jane the Bounty Hunter wanders the Post Apocalyptic Wasteland seeking Justice, Vengeance, and Retribution. She was born into a world that was re-forged by atomic fire. No one remembers how or why judgment day started, only the remnants of earth’s lost civilizations can be found in its scorched ruins.  Written by Dan Gordon, art by Ted Lody, The Chronicles Of Mary Jane Post Apocalyptic Bounty Hunter opens with our heroine - athletic, buxom and sporting a bold magenta Mohican - driving her armoured car through the wasteland. Accompanied by her green-haired psychic side-kick Siobhan, they zero in on MJ's current target who is located somewhere within a walled-in compound called the Freehold of Folly. A little Jedi mind trick gets them past the guard and then it's a descent into madness... Why is everyone wearing a Purge-reminiscent creepy clown mask?  Where is the elusive Hendricks?  It seems our fearless female must take the plunge into an even more frightening world than th

Review: E-Stella The Star Girl

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E-Stella The Star Girl is a 150 page graphic novel by author/artist Marcus Doidge. Our heroine, the titular (sorry, couldn't resist!) E-Stella, is a buxom and curvaceous explorer who loves to float around in microgravity, preferably naked or with her clothing set to transparent (for example, when stretching out on the hull of her stolen ship to do a bit of starbathing)... She is also fond of steamy showers with the whole ship set to invisible cloak mode so that she can see the stars, even though this would make her visible to anyone outside... Luckily, deep space is the absolute definition of secluded! Yes, it's far from PC, but I don't think many will be offended by the artist's love for drawing heavenly bodies. The sexy spacechick trope is a longstanding favourite, harking back to Jane Fonda's Barbarella in 1969. Why shouldn't a spacesuit be figure-hugging?  Why can't space boots have high heels?  This is harmless  titillation without being crude, and t

Review: Black Panther: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda

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Comixology recently made an exceptional decision. In the wake of the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman all Black Panther comics are available to download for FREE. What could be better than free comics? Free sci-fi c omics, of course! Here at the Nexus we prefer space warriors to superheroes, but in the Marvel universe the line between these genres is often blurred, and this is one such occasion. First, a little background for those not familiar with the history of this particular title...  The hero Black Panther was created by Marvel's Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, first appearing in 1966. This was the first black superhero in a mainstream comic, a bold move at a time when it was uncertain how this would be received by the readership. The Civil Rights movement was ongoing at this time. To put this in context, this was one year before Loving v. Virginia , the US Supreme Court's ruling that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Lee and Kirby wanted to make their c

Review: Tangled River

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  Tangled River by writer and artist Snowshadow is a running saga on Webcomics, each page updated every Wednesday and (at the time of writing this review) running to more than 280, having started in 2014. Teenager Tanya and her mother live in a village on a planet settled several years ago by people from the colony ship Terra Nova . Her friends include the boisterous Elika ( aka “Licorice“) whose close friend is a native boy called Kobei. The original colonists (the adult “Alphas”) have rules for the youngsters (“Betas”) but - pubescent rebelliousness being a universal constant - these are blithely flouted. The settlers live a simplified existence, thanks to the mysterious failure of all their technology soon after their arrival. Their level of subsistence is about that of the natives, who resemble Plains Indians (including their use of bows and arrows). Luckily the planet is very Earth-like and the humans can eat the indigenous flora and fauna. There are several scattered settlemen

Review: The Ascension Chronicles

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  The Ascension Chronicles is a high-tech – in more ways than one – space opera from Robotech and Nightbane RPG author Irvin L. Jackson, free to read on the website and on Webtoons. Rookie fighter pilot Hanzo Midori joins the crew of the Intrepid during humanity’s war with the alien Imperial Consortium (sinister green humanoids who appear from nowhere one day, shattering the idyllic existence of the Terran Protectorate. Young Midori has a personal stake; his two mothers were victims of the very first assault by the enemy and he was forced to abandon them to their fate. His ship is sent on a mission to a planet of archaeological interest. The colonists must be safely evacuated, but what is the strategic importance of the ancient artefacts beneath the surface? And there are other secrets buried within the story to be uncovered… So far, so formulaic, you might think, and there is definitely more than a touch of new Battlestar Gallactica influence here, but this tale has its own scope. Th

Review: Tales From The Dead Astronaut

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Tales From The Dead Astronaut   from  Space Station Zed  (writer Jonathan Thompson and artist Jorge Luis Gabotto) is a small psychedelic gem: four otherworldly stories framed by our free-floating narrator, the corpse of a spaceman, his visor shattered, his umbilicus severed, drifting all alone in the void but for a family of hungry tardigrades who strip him down to the bone... None of which gets in the way of his storytelling purpose. "... seen some crazy stuff ..." Another World  - the tree sails through the universe in search of new homes for its passengers, fresh soil to put down roots... The Sta r - a jaded musician suffers the barrage of inane questions from a press conference of the mediocre media, but only up to a point... Prince of Steel  - metalsmith transforms himself into the ultimate unstoppable killing machine... SEEK REPAIR  - a robot digs through a junkyard to make himself whole... There are no epic plot arcs or high-concept navel-gazing here, just a fistful of

Review: Bear Serum

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  Bear Serum   by author/artist Kyle Fleischhacker is a surreal tale of interspecies war on a world "colonised" by  refugees from Earth. Driven from their homeworld by aggressive Martians, the people of Earth  settle on a planet they call 'Earth 2', building underground levels to live in, away from the  hostile native atmosphere.  Also hostile are the native inhabitants - the jawtings - who wage a mostly ineffective guerrilla  warfare against the invaders. Young soldier Taran arrives on the planet and soon finds that dodging jawting patrols is not the  only threat to the fragile subterranean Utopia. His superior, General Pine, has an interest in  unethical experimentation, his goal the creation of super soldiers. One such method is 'bear  serum' which turns the human subject into a great hulking beast... The style of  Bear Serum  is very much on the alternative side, the artwork sketchy and  expressionistic, bordering on the abstract at times. The pages are mo

Review: CruZader

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  CruZader: Agent of the Vatican (2014) is the creation of writer Omar Morales and artist Joel Cotejar of The Force Media . Not strictly sci-fi, this tale straddles several genres, but does so seamlessly: the Vatican's top secret hit-man battles extremists, demons and evil shape-shifting reptilian aliens, armed with an array of weaponised Christian relics. His boss, none other of course than the Pope himself, sends our hero off on missions around the world in his hi-tech jet the Black Dove. Our tale blends action, drama, religion and science fiction, joyfully incorporating the zaniest of conspiracy theories as grist for the mill. And don't be put off by the blatant religious theme; yes the work in steeped in Christian values but it in a totally irreverent spirit that does nothing to spoil your enjoyment of the narrative. The philosophical elements in fact add some pleasing depth to the story. Here we have one upon whom greatness has been thrust, not some hero by choice, who nev

Review: Moongirl

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  Moon Girl  by author Omar Morales and artist Joel Cotejar is a slice of comedy drama that kicks off in a future Utopia inside the Moon. Inevitably, there is trouble in Paradise... This peaceful society has eliminated war by eliminating the cause of war:  Men!  Now here is a trope that does not get explored that often, yet it is a very old one (ever since John Wyndham's 1956 novella  Consider Her Ways ). Maybe the challenge of writing a story with no male protagonists is too much to ask of most authors?  Or too much to expect their readers to  become invested in?  Either way it is a shame because it raises some interesting questions, such as: Get rid of all the men and have you got rid of all the social evils perpetrated mostly by men?  Or will the ladies turn out to be no angels? But we are not delving into this particular minefield in this particular piece; the setting is just a novel plot device. The woman-only Moon city is a veritable sea of tranquility... But now a rogue scie

Review: Meta6

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  Meta6  is the creation of young Nigerian artist/author Harrison Prime of Cosmic Land Studios, available on Amazon Kindle and Comixology (Issues 1 & 2 out now). Set in Lagos, 2037, our story concerns 'Spectre', a kick-ass, bad-ass feisty female, sporting guns and swords and battling evil homicidal cyborgs on the streets and rooftops of the glittering dystopian African city. A shadowy organisation is abducting people and turning them into killing machines for a private army. The authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to their activities, and so must be involved in the conspiracy.  Spectre is looking for her brother who is one of the victims, and has no choice but to wage a one-woman war against the perpetrators. She certainly has the qualities: finely-honed combat skills and a fearless determination to get to the truth. Luckily she soon gains allies; the mysterious powerful blue humanoid Worgan and the recently converted cyborg Damilola who has managed to hold onto the

Review: HIRO - Blood of Patriots

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Let's talk taboos... Reanimated corpses dealing bloody mayhem? There may once have been a time when that was considered shocking as a form of entertainment but, by and large, that sensibility seems almost quaint today... With the current glut of zombies on TV and movies we do seem to be up to our gouged eyeballs in gore-splattered, decomposing, cannibalistic monstrosities. And comics are certainly no strangers to graphic depictions of violence. But there are more taboos at play in  HIRO Blood of Patriots , by artist Jason Williams and writer Dan Lucas of Atomic Elbow comics. Here we have the desecration of not just any corpses but the bodies of soldiers slain in battle. A violation of the memories of those revered as heroes... What were these guys thinking? Can't they see how offensive some people might find this? Well, actually, the story is this: HIRO is a patriotic tale that very much respects the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces. The US is waging a war against

Review: HIRO Zero (Free!)

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America needs soldiers and death is no excuse. The world is at war. Russia's Red Threat is closing in. With limited options, the US delves into the black science of reanimation. But when the experimental technology is stolen by a psychotic warlord, it's up to an unlikely team, and an Undead super soldier to stop him. Enter HIRO. Will it be America’s salvation or its greatest sin?  HIRO (Hardware Integrated Reanimation Ordnance) from Atomic Elbow comics is the creation of artist @MuttMan and writer @MachoDano , a crowdfunded project that has recently reached its goal and gone into production with the 48 page edition Blood of Patriots. As a taster they have also released a FREE prequel comic Issue Zero, which you can view HERE. The story opens in a secret military laboratory. Buzz-cut aggressive General Marsh is breathing impatiently down the neck of Dr Krupin, inventor of a robotic device that operates by welding itself to the body and brain of a recently deceased soldier and

Review: Grain

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  Grain arrives at the cliffs of Dover, England, 1945, in the final moments of World War Two. With his trusty bubble, he must learn why he's here and what his purpose is. Grain #1 is the self-published creation of writer Mark Verma and artist Roma Gewska of BamZap comics. It's a colourful glossy 24 pages of surreal, poetic mystery. A cute little humanoid in an iridescent bubble floats around the ravaged landscape of a war-struck English town, not knowing who he is or why he is there. Searching for answers he is haunted and mocked by manifestations of the evils of human conflict. There are lots of questions and very few answers in this first issue, but gradually a vague image starts to crystallise... Themes of personal transformation, a shattering trauma that leaves a childhood in scattered pieces. Does our hero have the skill to fit the pieces back together again? And if he does, what picture will they reveal? After reading this I was in two minds about writing a review becaus