Sunday, 23 November 2014

Uggie Apelino and the Ape Gang

"Judge Prince reporting. MAC give me all info on the Apes from the Jungle"

++Subject: The Jungle++

"The Jungle is located in Sector 51, this area was set aside for a small sub-population of genetically modified primates and was, at the time of its unveiling in 2080, a state-of-the-art City Block that was purpose-built for ape usage. Unfortunately, the residents were uninterested in civilization and retained a number of their less than human habits, turning Ape-town into one of the city's worst slums within its first year of existence. Humans are unwelcome, and the Judges leave the apes to their own so long as they stay within the borders.

++Subject: Jungle residents++

In the 21st Century, experiments (now forbidden) were carried out to increase the learning capabilities of apes. The more sophisticated the experiments got, the closer to human intelligence the apes got. Eventually they were Man's equals and were set free, allowed to live in their own Sector, which quickly became known as The Jungle. Mimicking their criminal neighbours they formed gangs, the most successful of which was that led by Don Uggie Apelino, with his henchmen Fast Eek and Joe Bananas. Together with sundry henchmen they set about fighting the might of the Mega-City mobsters and set up their own rackets, until Dredd and his team caught them red handed with a consignment of illegally imported tobacco. An attempt by Apelino to avoid The Law by claiming it was only for humans was foiled when Dredd imprisoned him and his gang in the Zoo!
With the outbreak of the Apocalypse War the fortunes of the criminal Ape and his henchapes were to deteriorate still further than even the dismal scenario of life behind bars whilst crowds of zoo goers watched their every move. Heavy fighting near the zoo breached the cages and the apes were on the loose, returning to hide out in the wasteland near to the Jungle.
However mutagens in the area were very high and the apes degenerated into a bestial form, far more vicious than the wild animals they were descended from but barely more intelligent. Joined by other apes from the Jungle the pack started hunting prey in and around the wasteland, bringing upon themselves the attention of Dredd himself. Trailing Fast Eek to the Ape's lair Dredd saw that they were beyond redemption and wiped out the entire group, with Don Uggie being the last to fall.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sector 102: Character Profile Wendy Go.

++ Sector House 102 Emergency Call ++
++ Subject: Wendy Go ++

"To any available Judges within the Dan Abnett block region. Reported Futsie down at the Happy Noodle Store, on the intersection of Keith Moon and Irvine Welsh Megways. Futsie is armed and dangerous, believed multiple wounded. Medics inbound."

++ Wendy Go Background ++

Wendy Go like many of the citizens from Dan Abnett Block, was full time unemployed. The only thing keeping her sane was her daily trip to the Happy Noodle to enjoy the Lunch Munce Special. But that all changed when she found out it had been removed due to containing real egg noodles. This was enough to flip Wendy Go over the edge. Finally the pressures of life in the City of Future proved to much. Wendy Go flipped into a psychosis where everyone else was now the enemy. 

++ Futsie background ++

Future Shock syndrome is a terrible condition which affects almost 7% of the population at some time or other. Quite simply, the pressure of life builds up so much the suffering citizen just flips his or her lid, and retreats into a fantasy world where everyone is the enemy. Futsies are immensely dangerous, for their sickness makes them intensely violent and erratic, though on the surface they may appear calm and all too normal. A typical Futsie will carefully and meticulously procure a weapon, plan out his actions, and then climb to a good vantage point and start shooting away at anyone or anything he sees. All Futsies seem to develop an irrepressible death wish, a desire to keep fighting until the last of their enemies is dead, and will never surrender to a Judge. Futsies present severe problems to the authorities, as it is the sickness which forces them to commit crimes, rather than any defect in their own personalities.  Futsies have to be treated in special psychiatric units, the Psycho Cubes, where they receive expert medical attention that may, with a great deal of luck, turn them back into useful members of society.

Stats

Judge Dredd Miniatures Game
Name: Wendy Go (Futsie)
Type: Infantry Minion
Weapons/Special Rules: Handgun, Completely Mad!!
Move: 5"
Agility: +1
Shoot: -1
Melee: +1
Melee Dice: 2D
Will: +3
Armour: 0
Hits: 2
Cost: 20 creds

Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game (Games Workshop)
Name: Wendy Go (Futsie)
S: 2
I: 20
CS: 18
DS: 8
TS: 6
SS: 15
MS: 2
PS: 1
Rules/Weapons: Never Surrender. Handgun, knife.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Book Review: Iron Warriors Omnibus by Graham McNeill

So it's time for another review. This time it's from the Black Library range. Iron Warriors Omnibus draws from characters and events made infamous in the Ultramarine series also written by Graham McNeill. This omnibus contains the following stories: Storm of Iron, The Enemy of My Enemy, The Heraclitus Effect, The Skull Harvest, Iron Warrior, The Iron Without and The Beast of Calth.


Now as most of you are aware I've enjoyed 40k since the 90s and remember the inital release of Storm of Iron fondly. So when I managed to get my hands on the omnibus I was slightly excited. Add to this that I had a two week lazy holiday in Greece and I was set up for an epic reading session. What to say though, first up I feel has to said is it was brillant. Once I started reading, I found it almost impossible to put down. McNeill's writing has aways managed to capture my  imagination and as far as 40k stories are concerned he comes second only to Dan Abnett.

The first story is Storm of Iron, which contains one of the most detailed and imagined siege battles I have so far read. Each section of the book is represented by the progression of the siege parallels. This creeping advance of the siege and the story being told from both sides. Combine to absolutely absorb you into the battle happening around. Now I hate spoilers like everyone else, but this is a review, so if you don't wish to know the plot then stop reading now and just get the book already! The characters of the series are well thought out on both sides. But it's best to remember that it's a story about villians, so the loyalist characters rarely survive. But back to Storm of Iron. This is when we get introduced to the main villain Honsou, of the Iron Warriors. Who later becomes a major player in the Ultramarine series. The whole point of this book, is to show Honsou's progression from a Champion to a Warsmith. All the while set in the super descriptive seige. Which shows us titans clashing, deamonic engines rampaging and fortresses falling. This is a fast pace tale, that has you rooting for characters on both sides. Rarely for me have I managed to complete a book so quickly, so praise must be given to the author for his captivating writing.

Following on from this epic, we are treated to a trio of short stories. The first tale is called The Enemy of My Enemy. This short story actually follows the fate of some of the loyalist characters. Who managed to survive the seige. Now captured by the Iron Warriors they are like cattle, working in a hell forge within the Eye of Terror. It also introduces us to some renegade marines working for the Red Corsair. The main character of this group is Vaanes, a former Raven Guard who we get to know better in later stories. This story though short is very fast paced and easy to read in one sitting. Also it's one of the stories only available in this book. In the time line compared to the Ultramarine saga, it is set just before Dead Sky, Black Sun. At this point I suggest reading that book, as the next story is set after it.

The Heraclitus Effect, as mentioned follows on from the Ultramarine book. We find out that the fall out of that adventure, has left Honsou wanting revenge on Ventris and his precious Ultramarines. This tale continues the fast pace of book so far. Humiliated by the Ultramarines and wanting revenge Honus gathers around him his remaining allies and does what all great villians do.....he destroys a world. Once again we get to see Honsou at his best and is one of personal favourite stories of the book.

The saga continues with Skull Harvest. Here we find Honsou riding proud after destroying an Imperium World. On top of this Honsou is now attempting to raise an army to invade the Ultramar system (the invasion is written from the Ultramrine side in The Chapters Due). The story mainly follows Honsou, Vaanes, Grendel and the Newborn as they go through the Skull Harvest trials to gain an army. It's during this period that the Newborn, comes to realise what it means to be a Chaos Space Marine. I enjoyed this story the most as I'm a huge Huron Blackheart and Red Corsair fan.

Following on from Skull Harvest, is Iron Warrior, once available as a limited edition novella. Set during the invasion of the Ultramar system. A star fortress travelling through deep space, contains inside it's core lurking a deamon. Trapped and guarded by a company of Ultramarines, the Deamon's only chance of freedom is to be rescued by Honsou. This is an action paced boarding action/siege. Best part for me is the Ultramarines being lead by a Venerable Dreadnought. This is a brutal, fast paced, enjoyable and action packed tale.

The final two tales can be merged into one. The Iron Without and The Beast of Calth, both take place within the Ultramar system on Calth. The first tale is set during the inital invasion and the second is set after the failed attempt. It's hard to review these without giving away to much of the story arc. But it shows just how calculating and malicious a Chaos Space Marine can be. And rounds off the omnibus perfectly.

So what score to give this great book. Well for me I struggled to put this down and when I finally did I found myself dreaming up 40k army ideas and wanted to read more Graham McNeill books (eyeing up the Ultramarine series now). I could happily pick this up and read it again. So I will give it 4.5 out 5.

Thanks for reading this. If you are interested in reading this book I'm selling my copy at the cost of P&P. So if you want to read it drop me a comment below and we will sort something out.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

More for sale.

Sorry for all these for sale posts. It's just a case of wanting to clear space for newer shiny figures and projects. Also to make it easier it is a link to my ebay profile. As always all items are open to offers. Thanks for reading.

Ebay Fallen Princes

Coming up next some Iron Warrior book reviews.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Comic Review: Predator vs Dredd vs Aliens

Well it's time for another comic review. This time it's Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens. Yes you did read that correctly,  two of cinemas most scary sci-fi aliens have come to Mega-City One. And only Dredd stands between them and the unprepared citizens. The book comes in a roughly A4 size format with a beautiful dust jacket, portraying the three antagonists. Whilst under the jacket is the matt black hard cover, with Red Font writing which reminds me of the original Predator font from the movies. See pictures below and let me know your thoughts.



So the first strip in the book is Judge Dredd vs Predator. The story begins in the outskirts of Mega-City One in the Cursed Earth. A lonely scrap prospector named Gomer and his robot assistant Ben, see what they believe to be a shooting star. Thinking that a fortune of precious metals has just crashed over the hill, Gomer goes off to investigate. Instead of finding his weight in precious metals, Gomer finds an alien spaceship! Unfortunately for poor Gomer the owner of said ship is still around. In the last panel of this section the scene is zoomed out, showing the glowing lights of Mega-City One in the distance. Whilst in the big Meg it's business as usual for the Judges, chasing down two gangs fighting over turf. But soon the Judges are ambushed by an invisible assailant,  pinned down and injured they call for back up and Dredd responds. Arriving at the scene, Dredd's bionic eyes pick up on the invisible assailant. Opening fire, Dredd uses hi-ex to drive away the Predator and gives chase to the xeno into an empty Zoomline Shed alone (not his best idea).  Finally coming face to face with the Ultimate Game Hunter. Dredd and the Predator slug it out, resulting with Dredd losing and being knocked out cold by a fall. But before backup can arrive the Predator makes good it's escape. Dredd is rushed to the medical wing of Justice central, where he spends the next five hours in a rapid heal pod. Slow a recovered Dredd comes too and discovers that the body count is rising. More shockingly is that the alien seems to be only targeting Judges!


The Justice Department hasn't been idle though. They have formed a task force to located and contain the threat. Dredd in his usually lovely manner takes control of the task force, and immediately pisses of the PSI auxiliary Schaefer. Schaefer is in fact the Great, great, grand daughter of the late Dutch Schaefer (ref. first predator movie). The sole survivor from a previous Predator encounter back in the 20th century. Schaefer attempts to locate the alien using her psi abilities and the blood of the injured Predator. But as results are slow coming Dredd and Schaefer have an argument about her claimed abilities. Schaefer storms off with the blood sample and speeds away in her car. With her mind elsewhere Schaefer loses control and crashes the car. Accidentally ingesting a sample of the xenos blood (gross!). In this moment Schaefer gets a flash of the aliens nest and a captured Judge near by. Realising this is the break they are after, Schaefer consumes the rest of the blood and forms a psi bond with the alien hunter. Now finally with a target, Dredd leads the task force along with support from two Wardroids against the Predators nest. But it's never that simple and soon the Predator has tallied up an impressive kill ratio on the Judges. Now alone Dredd faces off against the ultimate Game Hunter, in a burning down building. This time though the lawman of the future is triumphant and leaves the fallen body of the xeno to burn with the body.

This was a great story and I wouldn't expect anything less from a Wagner written piece. But I felt that Schaefer as a character, didn't really add anything to the story and could have been any old psi within the department. Would have liked to have seen more enough put into her, to make a more well rounded persona. Also if I had been Tech-Judge, I would be so pissed off at Dredd for burning the aliens tech, though I'm sure the lawman wouldn't care. But a good start to the book.

The second strip involves Wagners script writing skills again, but this time the artist is Henry Flint. Flint is one of my favourite Dredd artists. So I'm extremely excited to get into this story. Straight of this story is set later than the Predator story. How can I tell...well in the Predator story Dredd was armed with the MKI lawgiver, whilst in the Alien story Dredd has the MKII. The story begins with Dredd on crowd control in a Southern Sector of MC-1. The crowd are protesting the building of a new power tower and who could blame them after the last one became an active volcano. With the sectors road grinding to a halt, we come across a very sweaty and sick looking Jimmy Godber. Who is trying to get to the Eisenhower Hospital. But Godber is not alone. He is being chased by two armed assailants. Soon gunfire is echoing in front of the Hospital, which gains Dredds aggressive response. With the assailants dealt with, Dredd takes the sick Godber into the hospial.
Within moments of reaching the medical staff, Godber begins to suffer fits. As the Judges struggle to restrain Godber, his chest brusts open in a fountain of gore! From within the injury appears a worm like creature that escapes into the hospital vents. Dredd unsure what exactly he had seen immediately quarantines the hospital and calls in the Justice Departments specialists.  The elite team called 'Verminators' specialised in pest control of the future. Equipped with the best armour and weapons the team were expected to clear out pest from rad roaches all the way upto nest of albino sewer gators. The 'Verminators' team consists of Packer, Butterman, Wilson, Maier, Marinello, Fisk, Millar, Orson and Shook. Straight away Packer orders all the wards into lockdown to restrict movement in the hospital. And launches a hover camera into the vents. Feeling this situation is under control Dredd heads off with Giant and Sanchez to investigate Godber's background.
Soon it becomes apparent that they are dealing with an off world creature and the death toll starts rising rapidly. Not wanting to give to much away. All I can say is the next few pages are classic Alien movie scenes, as the teams findout the hard way about these aliens. There's gore, blood, acid, missing body parts, acid, confined spaces and did I mention acid? There is even a fight scene of Dredd versus Alien on top of a moving Zoom train, which is epic! But as the case unravels we findout the real mastermind behind this infestation, is Mr. Bones. A mutant banished to the Cursed Earth as a child and forced into becoming a space pirate. During his time as a freebooter Mr. Bones' hatred for the justice department grew. Then one day he came across the aliens and had the answer for his revenge. Harvesting the eggs Mr. Bones and his mutant band of merry men, transported the eggs to the undercity and set about growing a hive, under Justice Central! With fear of the law coming down on them, Mr. Bones brings his plans forward. Blasting a hole into the basement levels of Justice Central, the aliens swarm in. Dredd and Giant find themselves swamped by the xenos threat. Imagine epic last stands, a judge death toll unheard of since the Apocalypse war, a recuse mission and coming face to face with a Queen! These last fifteen odd pages are so action packed, that if I went into any real detail you would still be reading for another week. But rest assured our future lawman deals with the bugs in an unforgiving way.

This story was epic! I have no other way to describe it. It was full on action packed from the first page to last. The suspense had me on a knifes edge and couldn't help but grimace when the explosives got used on a bug...Oh the acid blood led to some great artwork by Flint. This story is now one of my all time favourites.
Well now to the final review. But how to review this book. I will spilit it into likes and dislikes.

First of the things I liked;

  • Wagner, he knows how to tell a tale.
  • Henry Flint one of my all time favourite Dredd artists (wish he had done both strips).
  • Aliens and Predators oh my! Best scifi-horror villians of the 20th century.
  • Actioned packed, both strips especially the Alien one, had me gripped from start to finish.
  • The Acid, oh how it burned!
Dislikes;

  • Schaefer, didn't feel like a real character and seemed rushed.
  • Reusing the name Gomer in both strips. Not sure why they used the name twice. After a bit of googling I found the name Gomer Andres, who made a movie called Alien Predator. But not sure if it's the missing link to this.
  • How Dredd deals with the Aliens/Predators. He destroys all traces of them. Which seems unrealistic to me as I'm sure Justice Central would love to experiment on them both. But I guess it also makes sense as they don't want these stories becoming main cannon in the Dredd time lines.
Overall this book was an amazing read and well worth it. I know I want to re-read already, which is a good sign. So with all considered this book scores a 4 out of 5.
As always let me know what you think. Do you like cross over tales, do you hate them, would you change them? What cross over would you like to see happen? Drop me a comment below and until next time. Thanks.