Saturday, 13 February 2016

Bookshelf: Comic Review- Judge Anderson The PSI Files Volume 1

So time for another review. This time Judge Dredd's occasional partner Judge Anderson. So these stories come from 2000ad Annuals 1984 and Progs 416-427, 468-478, 520-531, 607-609, 612-622, 635-647, 657-659, 669-670, 712-717 and 758-763, plus additional story of Judge Corey from 2000ad Special 1989)

So as you can tell from the above info, these stories are collected over a large period of Dredd time. So whilst your reading this please keep in mind the timeline; because if we were doing the books in sequence it would slot in at around the complete case files number 8.
It collects all of Anderson's tales from 1984 to 1991. Anderson was a very popular supporting character in Dredd's stories. So it was only a matter of time before she got her own strip. As you will come to notice, Anderson is almost a direct opposite to Dredd and shows emotion, even empathy towards victims and preps. Which makes a nice change to Dredd's totalitarian out view.

But now on to the stories.  


Story: Four Dark Judges- Judge Anderson is conned into travelling back to Dead World. Were she unleashes the 4 Dark Judges. Now it's a race against time to stop them and save herself from a one way trip too Titan.
Highlight: The Dark Judges! Can't beat the fearsome foursome on a killing spree.

Story: The Possessed- A cult has kidnapped a Juve in hopes of opening a gateway to a demonic world. Can Anderson save the kid and close the gateway or will she have to resort to hard ass tactics.
Highlight: The Mega City cultists. I found them to have a comical presence as well as for-filling the classic horror movie get up.
Story: Hour of the Wolf- An East-Meg Psi hit squad has critically injured Anderson. Whilst the pre-cog is in medbay she is plagued by vision of a wolf destroying the city. But who is the wolf...
Highlight: There is only one really highlight of this tale, but if I tell you then it will ruin the story.

Story: Contact- Anderson is out in deep space and making first contact with an alien race.
Highlight: Poison Man eating mutant alien maggots!

Story: Beyond the Void- Abbot Costello the great Mahatma has sort out Nirvana and crossed over into the void. But someone or something is waiting for him.
Highlight: Judge Death is still chilling out in limbo. The right mix of creepy and comedy.

Story: Helios- Dr Helios is out for revenge and once more party girl Anderson is on the scene.
Highlight: Mutated psi slaves full of rage and murder!

Story: Judge Corey: Leviathan's Farewell- Judge Corey is an empath and feels the pain and suffering of others. Her case leads her out to sea where she meets the last of the humpback whales. The experience is all to much for Corey. And this is her last story.
Highlight: Judge Corey, originally a side kick for Anderson. It's nice to see her getting some love and a fuller back story. 

Story: Triad- Three Juves are all linked by their dreams, but someone is manipulating them to commit acts of psi-terror on MC-1. 
Highlight: The Blockness monster arriving in a block park lake.

Story: The Prophet- Call me Bill is the Prophet of the end of the fleshy ones...But Bill might not be all him seems. Can Anderson solve the case before all fleshly ones come to pass.
Highlight: A women pretending to be a TV!

Story: The Random Man- In a city of little choice how much damage can fate and a dice cause?
Highlight: The artist of this strip Carlos Ezquerra is by far my favourite Mega-City artist.

Story: The Screaming Skull- Eb is being haunted by his past mistakes and is indeed of help.
Highlight: Kalvin King- A fun underwear sales rep.

Story: Engram- Whilst out in the Cursed Earth Anderson suffers a fall and experiences a moment which will alter her future.
Highlight: Anderson beating up Judge Tutors

Story: Bonus Strip: The Haunting- Dr Levin has been possessed by the Demon Dahak. So it's now up to Anderson to go in and clean house.
Highlight: Anderson's psi image entering Levin's mind.


Really enjoyed the Anderson Psi Files. Having only read about her via Dredd. It's nice to see how the PSI department actually operates and runs in the city. I also like how they have transplanted Orlock into her stories and making him into her arch nemesis. I'm excited to get the next book and start reading as they are all new and fresh to me. So how to rate a new series and how it made me feel.....Well it's easy in this case 4 out of 5!
Could have been 5 out of 5 but I felt some of these earlier stories were rushed or not fully fleshed out as they could have been.

S102. Case File Angles McManus, Pancakes Clydes and the game of Shuggy.

Welcome to another S102 update. This time we are venturing to shady back alleys and visiting the local Shuggy Hall 'Angles'. Enjoy and drop me a comment below.

Accessing B.A.R.N.E.Y..........Subject: Shuggy Mega City One...... Specialising on Sector 102.

+++Location: Angles+++
+++Host: Angles McManus+++
+++Beginning play back+++

"Welcome friends to Angles. The best damn Shuggy Hall this side of Sector 13. All the big time players have played here, even that pin-stripe freak Max Normal. Once saw that guy do the Booglariser.....Whatcha mean you don't know what that is....Guess we best start with the basics...."

Angles and his trusty Shuggy cue.
Shuggy 101: The Basics

The game of shuggy is played on an eight by four foot table with two cues, a lot of skill and 18 balls of varying colours-

Eight White balls - Worth 8 points each
Four Blue balls - Worth 10 points each
Three Green balls - Worth 12 points each
Two Yellow balls - Worth 14 points each
One Purple ball- Worth 15 points.

The object of the game is relatively simple: score as many points as possible by sinking the balls into the pockets. Each table has ten pockets of various heights, making shuggy an easy game to play but a difficult one to master.

Only artwork I could find
Pro-Shuggy and Crime

Shuggy is a very popular pastime in Mega-City One and like most popular pastimes, there are those who will use it for nefarious ends. Gambling is strictly prohibited in the city and, as such, the outcome of a match cannot be bet on or any other form of a wager placed. But this is Mega-City One and as a result billions of credits pass hands across the city on results of this game.

It is a well known fact that crime and shuggy go hand in hand. And it is a rare night that a shuggy hall won't be visited by Jays (Judges) at least once. Along side the obvious gambling crimes, there are other illegal activities that stem from shuggy  and shuggy meeting places. Number running and loan sharking are two common forms of crimes happening in the darkened halls, and many a would be champion has wound up in Resyk thanks to a shark demanding payment. Mobs also are a frequent problem within the Shuggy system. Using them as a legitimate front for their illegal activities, with behind-the-scenes dealing going on that would land all present a long stretch in the cubes. Protection, prostitution and counterfeiting are common arrests for Judges in and around shuggy halls, with slab walkers out to make some easy creds from punters outside the halls, to those heavies who wish to offer that extra little incentive to those who have won big on the tables.
Many halls also have side rooms designed to hold illegal games of cards and bingo. But in some of the more seedier halls, down in the basement can be found Bite Pits. With custom sound dampening and scan-negating equipment installed. These Pits are scenes of pure carnage, as bite fighters will attempt to literally rip into each other with their razor sharp teeth. Naturally once found out, the law stamps down hard and shuggy halls disappear over night as Judges arrests all involve and demolish the building completely,

Even bears can play.
Special Terms

Ten Commandments- The Player will pot a ball in every pocket without missing a single one. This is a high scoring shot and many
The Booglariser- The hardest shot in the game to make, the Booglariser consists of potting every single ball on the table with a single shot. It is a very rare event when a shuggy player can pull off this incredible shot.
Angles and Pancakes
Shuggy World-Wide

Brit-Cit- Shuggy is very popular in both Brit-Cit and on Luna colony and both have provided world champions. The professional shuggy player can stand to make a vast amount of wealth if they are good at the sport, with the chance to win huge amounts of credits and trophies. Each year in Brit-Cit the Chalice is held. A major event sponsored by most of the leading shuggy table and equipment manufactures, the Chalice is the holy grail of shuggy and to win is to become wealthy.

Texas City- One of a number of shuggy variants is know as Southern Rules and originates from Texas City. Here the game is played on a slightly longer table and has 26 pockets instead of the normal ten. Each pocket is colour coded and numbered. With the highest numbered pocket being the most elevated one in the center of the table. But these rules are unpopular with the rest of the world and rarely played outside of Texas City.

Luna- The folks on the moon love their shuggy. But they have some strange ways of playing it. On Luna it is not uncommon for the shuggy hall owners to be involved with the Luna Mafia, or some other underworld society. The Luna Mafia controls almost every aspect of life on the Moon, and has sunk it's hooks into everything, from air and power supply to the Luna Justice Department itself. Luna shuggy is played much the same as regular shuggy but with a few distinct differences. the rules on Luna differ by each player getting only one shot on the table, no matter how many balls they sink. Needless to say, Luna players strive for excellence and mastery over their sport and will endeavor to out rank those from Earth and the other colonies.

Lenny Zero and Max Normal at the Shuggy Hall
Character Files: Angles McManus and Pancakes Clyde

Name: Jimmy McManus
Alias: Angles
Age: 71
Gender: Male
Race: Human
History: Hailing from Cal-Hab, Angles rose through the Shuggy Halls of the Northern Wastes. After turning professional Angles traveled to Brit-Cit and started climbing up the World Rankings. His career highlight (as he reached retirement) came when Angles faced off against Max Normal in the Hondo Open Finals. Angles ended up losing but with the winnings he retired and bought a Shuggy Hall in Sector 102. With 'Angles' open, the new Shuggy hall started attracting all the big names including Max Normal, whom has over the years become firm friends with Angles McManus.

Angles McManus Lvl.1 Hero

Move: 5"
Agility: +2
Shoot: +0
Melee: +1
Melee Dice: 2D
Will: +1
Armour: +3
Hits: 2
Equipment: Pool Cue (Club). Handgun, Leathers.
Talents: Luck of Grud, Agile.
Credit: 90 Creds

Name: Pancakes Clydes
Job Title: Shuggy Hall Manager
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Race: Gorilla
History: After a brief period of running with the local Ape Gangs, Pancakes wanted a better life and got hired as a bouncer for 'Angles'. Pancake slowly proved his worth and was soon working the bar inside. As Angles McManus grew older he slowly relied more and more on Pancakes until he finally decided to make Pancakes the manager. Under Pancakes rule the Shuggy Hall has prospered, with a mixed clientele of Apes and Humans 'Angles' is viewed as the most open minded bar in MC-1.

Move: 5"
Agility: +0
Shoot: +0
Melee: 3D
Will: +0
Armour: +0
Equipment: Crowbar (Club), Handgun
Credits: 75 Creds.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Beers with Peps: Brews Review- Amsterdam Framboise

Framboise's scare me, I've had a few great ones in my time (like Hornbeer springs to mind), but I have also had some true howlers as well. Fingers crossed this Amsterdam Brewery Framboise is a good one. Quick bit of background for you all, Framboise mean Raspberry, so it's a raspberry beer; simple.
For my own personal taste a Framboise needs to taste like jam and have the perfect mix of sweetness and tartness. Get one element wrong and you can end up with a poor tasting lip balm and an undrinkable beer.

Name: Framboise
Brewery: AmsterdamBrewery
Country: Canada
Price: $10.95
ABV: 6.5%
Commercial Fluff:
"Brewed with un-malted wheat and aged on Canadian raspberries with an intense fruit flavor and brilliant ruby red colour"

Own Opinion

Sight: A deep red colour with a light foamy pink head, looks inviting.
Aroma: Raspberries (no surprise), slight sourness which is what I'm hoping for.
Taste: Raspberries, tart, slight sourness, sweet with a syrupy mouth feel. Easy drinking
Would I buy it again? Yes.

Now for the buy it again, I did said yes. Though I have to be honest and say fruit beers aren't my preferred choice (Stout/Porters all the way). If I felt the need to have a fruit beer, this would be my first choice for a local brew. I enjoyed the tart raspberry of the beer, along with the fuller mouth feel given by the wheat. This brewery hails from Toronto and no lie next chance I get to visit there, I am heading to their brewery.

As always leave a comment of what you think. Even better remember to follow even via blogger or google+, so that I know people are reading these. Thanks and remember drink local.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Canon Power Shot Elph 160 test run.

So I've finally bit the bullet and treated myself to a new camera. A canon power shot ELPH 160, which happened to be sale locally here in Ottawa. Now having only had a little play with it, I am happy to report that it is so much better than the old camera. So I thought I'd show you the results. In the past I have used adobe to help clean up pictures, make objects sharper etc. But with the following pictures no photo editing has been done. The camera was set to auto focus and was handheld.

As you can see it picks up details nice and cleanly, very sharp and dealt with the kitchen lights too. I am really impressed with this camera. It is super light and compact. It's about the size of my palm, it came with a rechargeable battery so no more AA's and also has a video function.

So with that I hope to start getting more content on YouTube, but especially on here. So exciting times a head, drop me a comment below with your thoughts and as always thanks for reading.

Bookshelf: Comic Reviews- Dredd Ma Ma and Underbelly

John here and today the snow is falling outside and lighting conditions are too poor to paint. But never fear it just means more time for more comics.

Today I'm going to review two comics in one post. The main reason being they are quite short, one being only 12 pages long. But the other reason being they share a theme- Dredd the Movie. The first comic is Dredd- Top of the World, Ma Ma; an exclusive prologue to the major motion picture. Whilst the second is Dredd- Underbelly; the comic-book sequel to the critically acclaimed movies. Now lucky for us readers both comics are free to download over on the 2000 AD Website (so go treat yourself).

Lets get started:

Story: Dredd- Top of the World, Ma- Ma.
Script: Matt Smith
Art: Henry Flint
Cover Artwork by Greg Staples
So this comic is all about the fall of Madeline and the rise of Ma-Ma. For those who haven't seen the movie I highly recommend watching it. But basically Ma-Ma is the main villain of the movie, controlling the MA-MA Clan and running a huge drug ring from their Block called Peach Tree.
As the comic begins we are introduce to Madeline, a drug abusing, alcoholic, working girl. For her life seems to pass by in slow motion, living in a run down slum house, working for an abusive pimp. Madeline had no chance of escape, but that seemed to be changing, ever since she'd met Eric. Eric was a drug technician and had just created a new form of Narcotics- Slow-mo. Cheap to produce and highly addictive, this was to be their ticket out and the start of a new life for them both. Unfortunately for them Madeline's pimp Lester found out about them and paid Eric a visit.
After walking in on Lester killing Eric, Madeline's resolve finally broke. The city her pushed her too far and all she could do was fight back. After giving Lester a dose of Eric's slow-mo, Madeline asks him to call her Ma-Ma, before castrating him with her teeth and publicly dumping his body.
Sadly this is were the story ends. I could really have done with another 20-30 pages of stories. I would of love to have seen how she rose to power and took down rival gangs. But I guess that will be left to our imaginations. The story it was quick and east to read and had a great pace, without feeling rushed. The artwork was fitting and matched the feel of the movie. So overall a great quick 5 minute read.
Lena Headey brings Ma-Ma to life on the big screen.

4 out of 5

Then watch Dredd the Movie, Rotten Tomato's give it 78% rating whilst Audiences gave it a 74%.

Review for this movie will appear in the near future. But rest assured that I loved it!

Story: Dredd- Underbelly
Script: Arthur Wyatt
Art: Henry Flint

The story opens on the Cursed Earth. We watch as a group of muties get smuggled into the city, inside a false bottomed truck. As they finally arrive at their destination, all their hopes and dreams are dashed; as they are soon informed the smugglers rates have risen and gained interest and the only way to pay it off is to become apart of a slave workforce, producing a new kind of drug. Slowly the realization of their position sinks in and as fear creeps over the group, the warehouse is raided by the Justice Department. A score of perps and muties are killed in the exchanging gunfire, with the survivors being processed and lead away. At this point we see how poorly treated the muties are, as a lot of the Judges simply don't care about them. One mutie pleads to a disinterested Judge for help finding her son, but only receives a cold shoulder. It's at this point Anderson appears and questions a mutie about their missing child.
The tale rapidly progresses with Dredd arrival and he agrees to aid Anderson in her quest to find the child and shut down this mutant trafficking ring. The story ends as most do, with a big gun battle and a happy ever after finish.
Artwork was great as you would expect from Flint. The story had good pacing, but lacked on the background. I felt the villains lacked depth and focus, whilst another drugs related story seemed a bit of a cop out. I would of maybe preferred some sort of other theme for the trafficking victims, maybe household slave or illegal fight pits. But it was nice to see the city and it's outskirts broaden. I feel this is the last of these stories in this alternate MC-1, which is a shame as I would really like to see a progression.

3.5 out of 5

Well thank you for sticking with me for another review. I promise some more miniatures will be appearing soon. I might even attempt a Ma-Ma gang in the near future. As always drop me a comment below to say hi. And let me know if you've read these comics yet.

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