Hey everyone! It’s the first week of November! I can tell that not simply because I have learned how to read a calendar but because I am exhausted. Between National Novel Writing Month and the ExtraLife video game fundraiser, I’m getting spread a little thin. I still wanted to talk about some of my favourite things from the past week, though, so here are a few pellet-sized reviews highlighting the best of the best.
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COMICS: Yes, Karnak #1 came out two weeks ago but I’ve read it three times since then and I’m excited by it every time. It’s one of those “Warren Ellis comes in to revamp an underrated Marvel character for the latest company-wide relaunch and knocks it out of the park” comic books in the same vein as 2014’s Moon Knight series. In the first issue, Ellis and artist Gerardo Zeffino re-establish Karnak, the Inhuman whose power was to find the weak point in everything, as a philosopher monk/teacher/nihilist who is summoned from his Tower of Wisdom by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help them track own a missing Inhuman. This version of Karnak is a surly, mean person who sees human emotions only as more weak points to exploit, an interesting change but one that’s fitting with someone who has recently returned from the dead. It’s generally a slow-paced and meditative issue, but one with a lot of intelligence and style, and it is punctuated by a couple of brutal scenes that are so visually stunning they made my jaw drop. Zeffino’s art is moody and rough-edged, like the book’s protagonist, and he has a great sense of scale and perspective. It’s always a pleasure when Ellis takes on an assignment like this because he’ll find something interesting at the heart of it that makes it worth reading; in this case, it’s a combination of philosophy and commentary on Western storytelling, wrapped up in an extremely readable superhero comic. Definitely worth catching up on before issue #2 comes out next month.
ROLEPLAYING GAMES: RPG fans that are in the market for a short, fun, creative horror-themed game should definitely check out Killer Thriller from TimeOut Diversions. It’s basically a horror B-movie in game form, where the GM creates a murderer and setting and the players create three different characters each, with three simple stats: “Unluck,” “Unwise,” and “Undone.” As the characters wander through the setting doing all the stupid things horror movie characters do in these situations, they get killed off by the (for now) immortal murderer, and it’s only when each player has one surviving character that the murderer appears and becomes vulnerable. It’s a lot of fun trying to create a fun yet gruesome story with a group of like-minded friends, and the game is designed to reward creative character choices and interesting death scenes. Plus, it’s a three dollar .PDF download, which is excellent value for one’s gaming dollar.
MUSIC: I haven’t stopped listening to The Bad Plus Joshua Redman entirely, but I’ve added two more records to the rotation: El-P’s Cancer For Cure and Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music, both from 2012 (and both produced by El-P). El-P and Killer Mike make up the powerhouse rap duo Run The Jewels, which I am an unabashed fan of, but for some reason I hadn’t gone back to fill in their solo back catalogues until last week. Both albums are loud, angry, and powerful, with insightful and brutal rhymes that cut right into my soul.
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That’s it for me this week. Until next time, relax and take care of yourself. (Someone has to!) I’ll see you in seven days.