argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Thief - Artemis)
The new Thief game (Thiaf, Thief 4, Thief (2014), etc.) came out the end of February to mixed but overall mediocre reviews from what I've seen. I don't have any intention of buying or playing it, though I'll probably watch a Let's Play at some point. It's unfortunate Fen's had health problems the past few months; I hope he's been feeling better, but I do miss his frequent Thief Let's Plays and he made my favourite comment about the new Thief in his, thus far, only Thief 4 video: "Is this a parody?" I also eagerly await Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review, which should be out tomorrow.

The most bizarre thing about Thief 4 is that Square Enix (Thief 4's publisher) and Amazon are hosting a Thief Mod Competition. The catch? You have to mod using the Thief 1-3 level editors or The Dark Mod, a completely fan-built total conversion mod, because the new Thief isn't releasing a level editor. You also have to enter with videos of your mod, or an idea for a mod, as opposed to an actual fan mission for others to play. (Basically, you have to do a Let's Play for your own fan mission.) When I heard the news, I was sure it must be a hoax. But no, it is apparently legitimate. On one hand, it's a nice effort to reach out to the very mod-active Thief community, but how weird is it to have to rely on past games and fan efforts to promote your current game? The contest is also limited to US citizens, which is unfortunate given Thief's multinational - especially European - fanbase.

My current Thief kicks are part two of Grayman's William Steele series for The Dark Mod, which features lots of enjoyable rooftop exploration, and the hope that DrK will finally release part four of his phenomenal Night in Rocksburg series this year. I recently updated my Dark Mod mission list and there are more mission I haven't played than I realised, about 50. There's also the current 10 Rooms contest for Thief 2; sad to say I haven't played as many Thief 2 fan missions since The Dark Mod, though I downloaded all the missions.


At the end of last year, I started re-reading Stormwatch and The Authority from Warren Ellis' first Stormwatch issues. I'm currently at the end of the third Authority trade (Earth Inferno and Other Stories). To my surprise, I enjoyed the Stormwatch issues more than Ellis' Authority run. I never realised my first time through just how much Ellis focused on his own (future Authority) characters. I wonder how prior Stormwatch readers felt about that. That said, I think all the Stormwatch members Ellis retained had a chance to shine, and I still have a special fondness for Winter. It's unfortunate the series ended the way it did, and the last trade was my least favourite. (I also never cared much for the WildC.A.T.S. no matter how hard I tried.)

I disliked Mark Millar's Authority run even more than I did on prior readings and feel he negatively changed aspects of most of the characters, usually with throw-away snarky lines like Midnighter beating AIDS or Shen having a boob job. And, of course, there's the Doctor being a drug addict and general screw-up. Characters, especially antagonists, seem to have more knowledge than I feel like they should, even though The Authority interacting more with the media was a theme of Millar's run. Frank Quietly's art is not to my taste at all. One of the only redeeming factors of the third Authority trade is the excellent Angie one-shot story. The art on the first two issues of Earth Inferno is also pretty good, though it doesn't send my blood singing like Bryan Hitch's art.

I actually don't own the next Authority trade (Transfer of Power) as I hated the arc so much. I don't have any of the Robbie Morrison trades, either. His run was one of the first I read (a mistake) and I thought all but the Jenny Quantum story arc were garbage. (I still kind of want the second trade of his run just to re-read that story.)

After volume three, I've got a few single issues and Millar's Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority. After that, it's The Authority: Revolution by Ed Brubaker and Dustin Nguyen. I'm looking forward to this run as it's been a while since I've read it, but remember the writing, story, and character design being good, not to mention emotionally compelling.
argurotoxos: Midnighter and Apollo smiling and laughing (Midnighter/Apollo - laugh | by cassshan)
-I've set aside S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, The Dark Mod, and System Shock for now and am playing some of my enormous (300+ missions) backlog of Thief 2 fan missions with NewDark. My most recent was The Night Before Christmas by DarkShadow, a fun and beautiful Christmas mission.

-Still reading Loki/Thor fanfiction. I've become even fonder of Jotun!Loki AUs, especially stories with arranged marriages, intersex Loki, and/or lots of world building. The story I'm most looking forward to - and that happens to have everything I mentioned - is the next chapter of amberfox17's Wild Ambition Fortune's Ice Prefers.

-I hadn't looked at the Stormwatch preview pages in months when I heard the series is ending soon, and with it goes what little interest I had left in DC Comics. (And, of course, the last issue preview has the best Midnighter and Apollo art I've seen since the DC reboot started.) I still love Midnighter, Apollo, Jenny Sparks (and Quantum), Angie, Shen, the Doctor, and Jack, but never adjusted to their characterisation in the DC reboot, among other things. There are still a few older Authority issues I've never read, but other than that, it's just re-reading my favourite trades for me. Good times. RIP (again) Wildstorm.

(How weird is it that Apollo and Midnighter were married in the comics before same-sex marriage was legal anywhere in the US, but now that it's legal in over 15 states [including Utah of all places], they aren't married?)
argurotoxos: Midnighter and Apollo smiling and laughing (Midnighter/Apollo - laugh | by cassshan)
I recently had my hair trimmed for the first time since I began growing it long, which was about two years ago. I also dyed it red, but it's a bit too light for my tastes. Before I dyed it, however, I wanted to get any other cosplays with long blond hair done. I tried redoing Jeanette from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, but didn't like the way it came out, so instead I bring photos of Christine Trelane from Stormwatch. It's a closet cosplay because I only used what I had around; the main item I was missing was a proper vest.

Images. )



Stormwatch #4 preview with commentary. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
Con Report. )

Photos. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter and Apollo smiling and laughing (Midnighter/Apollo - laugh | by cassshan)
There are actually Midnighter and Apollo cosplayers! (Originally posted by [personal profile] triestine here.)

I love our tiny, tiny fandom that has my favouritest characters and pairing.

(In case you're wondering why Apollo's uniform design is different from the one in my icon, the red triangle with eye logo used by the cosplayer is from the Stormwatch era.)
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
Welcome to the last Midnighter post! This entry covers the final two story arcs, "Anthem" (#10-15) and "Assassin8" (#16-20), both written by Keith Giffen. Instead of scans with running commentary, I'll be presenting plot summaries with overall thoughts for these issues.

The creative team on the "Anthem" issues is composed of Chris Sprouse (#10), Chriscross (#11), Rafael Sandoval (#12), and Jon Buran (#13-15) on pencils; Karl Story (#10, 12), Troy Hubbs with Criscross (#11), and Rick Burchett (#13-15) on inks; Randy Mayor (#10-11), Mayor with Darlene Royer (#12, 14), just Royer (#13), and Pete Pantazis (#15) on colors; Travis Lanham (#10, 14), Pat Brosseau (#11), and Steve Wands (#12-13, 15) on letters; Chris Sprouse and Karl Story with Randy Mayor (#10-12, 14-15) and Sprouse with Brian Stelfreeze (#13) on cover art; and Scott Dunbier Scott Peterson on editing with Kristy Quinn as assistant editor. I actually have the trade for this story arc, which I bought when I just getting into The Authority and its related series. (For those not familiar with American comic book lingo, a trade is a collection of individual issues published with more durable binding.)

The "Assassin8" story arc is a different matter as I only have the first two issues; the eBay seller I bought my comics from didn't have #18-20. In any case, the creative team on the first two issues is Lee Garbett on pencils, Rick Burchett on inks, Randy Mayor with Darlene Royer (#16) and WildstormFX (#17) on colors, and Steve Wands on letters, with Scott Peterson as editor, Kristy Quinn as assistant editor, and covers by Garbett, Trevor Scott, and Mayor.

Midnighter #10-17. )




I'm ending this post on some holiday cheer with The Authority vs Lobo #1, "Jingle Hell!" The creative team on this issue features "Da Giff" on plot, "Da Biz" on art, "Da Grant" on dialog, "Da Ballsy" on letters, "Da Baron" on colors, and "Da Ben & Da Joan" on editing "with seasonal thanks to our spiritual and weapons advisors [sic]." As you might surmise from the credits, the mood of this issue is very irreverent, over the top, and tongue-in-cheek. I'm not very familiar with Lobo, an alien mercenary created by Giffen who, at least in Superman: The Animated Series, killed everyone on his planet for his school science project (he gave himself an 'A').

My thoughts on this issue were 'meh' as the writing and art are both too far out there for my tastes, but behold! I did scan part of one page because I'm a sucker for parental Apollo and it's a nice way to end this pre-Christmas entry.

Happy holidays!

The Authority vs Lobo #1. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
In last week's Midnighter recap edition, I said I'd cover issues #7, #9, and #10-17 next. However, I decided to move #10-17 back a week so could I have a chance to re-read all the issues before final thoughts. I still doubt I'll be posting any scans from those issues, though, so the first issue of The Authority vs Lobo, titled "Jingle Hell!", will also be featured for the holidays. As it so happens, all of these issues are written by Keith Giffen.

I'll be out of Midnighter issues after next week, but I'd like to continue the weekly comics posts next year, most likely with The Authority, Stormwatch, and the occasional old Batman issue or Vertigo/DC title.

Today's issues are both one-shots by two different creative teams. Moreover, they both guest-star Apollo! I'll say right now that even though the concept of #7 is neat, I much prefer #9, which is my second favourite Midnighter issue.

Midnighter #7, "Fait Accompli" (a French expression meaning "established fact"), is written by Brian K. Vaughan, author of Ex Machina, Runaways, and Y: The Last Man. The rest of the team is composed of Darick Robertson on pencils, Karl Story on inks, Randy Mayor and Jonny Rench on colors, Phil Balsman on letters, Kristy Quinn as assistant editor, Scott Dunbier as editor, and Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on the cover art. This is the only Midnighter mid-series one-shot that made it into a trade (Ennis' feudal Japan AU was also put in a trade).

Midnighter #7. )



Midnighter #9, "The Hercules Virus," features Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Brian Stelfreeze (art), Randy Mayor (colors), Phil Balsman (letters), Kristy Quinn (assistant editor), Scott Dunbier (editor), and Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on cover art.

Midnighter #9. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
This week's Midnighter post covers the first story arc, "Killing Machine," written by Garth Ennis. The main plot involves a Holocaust survivor kidnapping Midnighter and sending him back in time to assassinate Hitler. I'm pretty neutral about these issues as a whole, but there a few nice moments. As such, despite covering 100+ pages, I'm only posting nine scans. I also won't be doing a page-by-page summary or talking too much about the main plot at all.

The creative team on this arc is Garth Ennis (writer), Chris Sprouse (pencils), Karl Story (inks), Randy Mayor (colors), Phil Balsman (letters), Kristy Quinn (assistant editor), and Scott Dunbier (editor) with covers by Sprouse and Story. Variant covers were done by Michael Golden (#1), Arthur Adams and WS FX/Randy Mayor (#2), Jason Pearson (#3), and Glenn Fabry (#4). #3 had both Sprouse and Joe Phillips on pencils, Jasen Rodriguez, Scott Williams, and Saleem Crawford on inks alongside Story, colors by Wildstorm FX, and letters by DC. #4 featured Peter Snejbjerg on pencils instead of Sprouse. Finally, Ray Snyder did inks with Story for #5.

Midnighter #1-5. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
Last time, I presented a summary and scans of my favourite Midnighter issue. This week's issue is on the opposite end of the spectrum. I wouldn't exactly call it terrible, but it's full of WTFness and unintentional hilarity. It's also one of the few Midnighter issues to feature Apollo (yay!), but neither Midnighter or Apollo are very in-character, even by alternate universe standards.

What kind of alternate universe, you ask?

Feudal Japan.

The story title of this issue is "Flowers for the Sun," which isn't an entirely accurate description as will be seen below. On the creative team we have Garth Ennis (writer), Glenn Fabry (art), Randy Mayor (colors), Jonny Rench (colors), Phil Balsman (letters), Kristy Quinn (assistant editor), and Scott Dunbier (editor) with Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Brian Stelfreeze on the cover. This is actually the last issue that Ennis wrote for Midnighter, but I'll cover the others (#1-5) in a separate post. Finally, there's more blood and gore in this story than in #8, but none of the five or so shots of decapitated heads (the vast majority courtesy of AU!Japanese!Midnighter) made it into my selected scans.

Midnighter #6 recap and scans. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
Ever since someone on the old Scans Daily posted a picture of Midnighter being hugged by a little girl for finding her cat, I've wanted to read the story. Sadly, it wasn't collected in any of the trades and I couldn't find it my local comic shop.

Last week, I found someone on Ebay who was selling 16 of the 20-issue series. The four missing issues didn't bother me - I had one in a trade and the other three were part of a story arc I wasn't remotely interested in - so I bid.

Having read all of the issues except for the last three, I can now say that the Midnighter-finding-the-cat issue (#8) is definitely my favourite. Love the writing, love the art, and gets bonus points for showing a more human side of Midnighter and featuring antagonists that never once stoop to using homophobic slurs. Moreover, you don't have to be familiar with the Authority or Midnighter to enjoy it and it's a self-contained issue.

I liked it so much that I decided to scan in my favourite pages and recap it below. "Ordinary People" is the title of this story and the creative team is composed of Christos Gage (writer), John Paul Leon (art), Randy Mayor (colors), Phil Balsman (letters), Kristy Quinn (assistant editor), and Scott Dunbier (editor) with Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on the cover.

Midnighter #8 recap with select scans. )
argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
We had roughly ten trick-or-treaters just after 4 PM, but it's raining now and the streets are empty.

For the first time in at least five years - possibly ten - I carved a pumpkin. My first idea was Apollo (from The Authority); he's solar-powered and has a corona around his head, which I thought would look cool with a candle behind it, but then I remembered that I'm not the best at drawing full body anatomy. Next on my list was Scarecrow (the Batman villain), but none of the sketches worked out, so I settled on a Dave McKean-style (Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth) Batman in silhouette. As it happened, the pumpkin was rather cut up on one side when it was bought and the more I looked at the slash marks, the more I thought of Owlman (Batman's evil counterpart on several alternate Earths). And so the final product features a looming Batman on one of the pumpkin's clean sides and his villainous counterpart directly opposite him on the deteriorated side.

It's very geeky.

[More trick-or-treaters just stopped by: a big bad wolf, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Iron Man, and a Harley Davidson biker (who was an adorable little boy for such a 'tough guy' costume).]

Once the pumpkin dried out, the Batman side appeared even more stylized, but Owlman didn't work out so well; he has a less identifiable outline to begin with and the details began to warp after a few days.

[And more: another big bad wolf and a witch.]

I decided on The Authority's Jenny Quantum for my costume (who I wrote more about here), mainly using this sketch by Dustin Nguyen. All the materials I used I already had, some of the clothing obviously being a bit too big despite being size small; I did, however, put the triangle on the t-shirt with a stencil and a fabric marker and make some extremely fake cigarettes for props. With some adjustments, I might bring her to PortCon.

[And more, but I didn't recognize any of their characters.]

[Oooh! A Superman!]

Photos of the pumpkin and Jenny Q. )

[We just got a whole slew of trick-or-treaters that included a Batman and Batgirl candy-gathering together. ^^]

[Wonder Woman!]

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argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
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