Saturday, 30 April 2016

S102: Character Fact Files- Benny the Bat


++ Attention all Judges! ++
++ Be on the lookout for Perp using Bat Gliding equipment ++
++ Possibly linked to a spike in Burglaries ++


Benny the Bat started life as a low life burglar. But this was all going to change following the latest craze Batting! Barney info- "Batting is a popular, if  a somewhat restricted activity in Mega-City One. Around blocks where it is permitted, citizens can be seen soaring the heights with rocket-assisted bat wings."
An enterprising Benny took this new craze to heart. With his new lightweight gear, Benny is now able to access apartments on the highest blocks to sneak in through the exterior windows, which rarely have the same level of security as the block's interior doors.


Benny the Bat - Bat Burglar


Credits: 80
Type: Infantry Minion

Equipment: Bat Glider, Handgun.
Move: 5" Agility: +1 Shoot: +0 Melee: -1 Melee Dice: 2D Will: +0 Armour: +0 Hits: 1



Friday, 29 April 2016

S102: Fluff- A beginners Guide to the Emerald Isle and Murphyville

Welcome Dreddheads, time for a Sector 102 update. This time we travel the waves and visit the Emerald Isle's and Murphyville. Then I will introduce Judge Fergus Killkenny an Exchange Judge visiting MC-1.
Lets begin with some background info:

Murphyville

Murphyville is the main urban settlement on Emerald Isle (formerly Ireland), spanning the south-east coast. It is independent to Brit-Cit but highly 'influenced' by it. The main export of Murphyville is entertainment. There was 20 million inhabitants on the island in 2113.

History


Ireland's potato crops died out in 2052. For the sake of the tourist trade, they secretly mashed up rice to look like potatoes. It remained neutral during the Atomic War of 2070 but that didn't protect it from extensive radiation damage. It was only reclaimed in 2095 due to Brit-Cit aid and in return, Brit corporations have a major hold on the Isle's government. The country was turned into a gigantic theme park based around stereotypes of traditional Irish life. Stereotyped rural villages like the Charles Haughey Memorial Village were set up in the countryside, catering for the tourists (and only serving potatoes). Insulting promotional ads were fronted by a cartoon leprechaun called Seamus O'Tuber. Murphyville itself became increasingly urbanised but sometimes bit off more than it can chew: the Black Atlantic tunnel to the island ends in the Atlantic Bridge as they ran out of cash to complete the tunnel itself.

At some point, the Emerald Isle Militia became a semi-formal Judge force. They created the spud gun at a time when they were unable to afford bullets and tried using the fake potatoes instead. Discontent with patronising tourists and the need to cater to them grew. Young nationalists had formed the Sons of Erin terror group in the 2110s. Many of the Judges sympathised and the Sons rarely did anything serious, until Sons leader Frank Neeson hired a mob blitzer called Donny Staples (mistaking him for a war veteran) to help them in 2113. They first executed the ambassador to Mega-City One, then were steered by Staples into the "Bloody Monday Morn" massacre on May 12: hitting Murphyville International Airport, Riverside Travel Centre, Justice Central Station, Telemurph, the docks, and various hab villags and spudatoriums. A visiting Dredd helped Joyce and the Judge Militia wipe out the Sons of Erin but the tourist trade was still crippled. 

In 2114, Judge-Sergeant Joyce uncovered human body parts in Fingal Pie Factory pies. This turned out to be a gang of Trinity College medical students who thought it was a laugh to smuggle human bodies into food. 2114 was also the year that Murphyville finally signed the Judicial Charter with Mega-City One after years of diplomatic wrangling. In the same year, Murphyville faced zombie attacks on Judgement Day. Murphyville still had graveyards rather than [resyk]] and zombies poured out of them, with airstrikes on graves written off as the Church would never buy it. Chief Judge Maginty was present at the Hondo conference on the crisis.
Murphyville was one of the many megacities trying to get the head of Judge Eckhart in 2117. Judge Patrick Wilde was actually a double agent for Vatican City but failed to secure the head.
In 2126, the city was under Chief Judge Krilly. He visited Mega-City One for the Global Justice Summit and got into a fight with Euro-City's Chief Judge Boltstern (who dismissed him and city as irrelevant unless they wanted to hear about potatoes) when he came to the defence of an Oz Judge. 
After Chaos Day, an unknown number of Irish Judges were sent to Mega-City One to replenish its numbers.
The Judges
The Judge Militia used to be poor, hence the need for the spud gun, and their bikes were still less advanced than the Lawmaster by 2114. They were more like the traditional Garda than most Judges, rarely using the same level of violence and being more integrated in the local community; Judges were allowed to drink, even on duty, and can have families. Bloody Monday Morn was a severe shock to the Militia.
The uniforms are highly distinctive, with the top being a "trenchcoat" rather than the biker leathers of most forces. The green and white colouring (with orange bits) is based around the Irish flag. Large sidearms were in use by the 2110s (apparently without the multiple rounds of other Judge forces). The force operates out of Justice Central Station while criminals are locked up in Kilmainham Iso-cubes.
Under the Judicial Charter, Murphyville Judges can pursue criminals to Mega-City One and receive assistance, and vice versa.

+++ Current List of Exchange Program Judges +++
+++ .........accessing.........Sector 102 records........ +++
+++ .........one Judge currently active......Murphyville Judge.......Judge Fergus Kilkenny......+++
+++ Data Upload Complete +++
Visiting Judge Fergus Kilkenny
Judge Kilkenny hails from the Southern regions of Murphyville near the Black Atlantic Bridge. He was granted access to Mega-City One following a killing spree committed by The Summer Hall Gang. A gang with strong ties to Murphyville. Chief Judge Heresy felt it only fitting that they help clean up the mess their fellow Irishmen had created.
Judge Kilkenny is a light hearted fellow, who enjoys a good drink. Since coming to Mega-City One, Kilkenny has enjoyed the lights and sounds of the Big Meg. He can be found most of the time in Angles and has become a great Shuggy player.
Credits: 125 Type: Infantry Hero Lvl 2 Equipment: Daystick, Handgun, Lightweight Armour.
Move: 5" Agility: +0 Shoot: +3 
Melee: +0 Melee Dice: 2D Will: +0 
Armour: +4 Hits:
Talents: Accurate, Crack Shot, Wild Shooting, 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Bookshelf: Comic Review- Judge Anderson PSI Files Volume 3


Morning everyone and welcome to another Comic review. We return this time to the Judge Anderson PSI files saga today. If you have let to read the reviews of Volume One and two then follow these handy links-

Like the other PSI Files the Anderson stories cover a larger time frame compared to the Dredd stories. The tales come from the following 2000ad Progs 1045-1061, 1076, 1087-1089, 1090, 1102-1103. Judge Dredd the Magazine 2.74-2.80, 3.01-3.07, 3.14. 2000ad Annual 1988, 2000ad Winter Special 1988, 2000ad Annual 1990, Judge Dredd Annual 1991. So that's the facts out of the way let us get into the stories:

Recap

In the last PSI files; Anderson suffered some large emotional loses and as a way of coping with the pain she found relief in religion. But during an altercation which ended with her striking Judge Goon, she found her newly formed beliefs destroyed and debunked. Anderson reeling from all this, quits the Justice Force and decides to explore the galaxy and find herself again. On one remote world Anderson rediscovered her own Hope and headed back to a cold welcome home in Mega-City one.

The Strips
  • Something Wicked- Anderson is getting re-assessed for active service, by Dredd himself. It won't be easy, as Dredd feels betrayed by how easily Anderson turn her back on the Law. During the re-assessment Anderson receives psi flashes leading her and Dredd to chase down Something Wicked.
  • Zoltan the Prophet- A sideshow crystal ball reader is predicting a meteor will hit Mega-City One. So with the aid of a multi billionaire Zoltan, they hope to lead there followers to nuTopia, a paradise world. But it seems their heads are full of demons.
Satan- An asteroid code named Icarus, has collided with the newly launched nuTopia ship (see Zoltan the Prophet), sending it straight on a crash course with The Cursed Earth. But was it an accident or on purpose and what else could be hiding out on Icarus? Can Anderson be the Champion of Mega-City One and stand before the might of Satan!
Real Highlight: Has to be the artwork. It is truly amazing and detailed. Satan looks imposing without being comical. Great work that really helps the story along.

The ProtestPeople are committing acts of self immolation across the city and it's up to the newly reinstated Anderson to work out why? I really enjoyed the way Judge Volt dealt with the problem by lifting the law against owning a Goldfish. Allowing each household to own a single fish without a permit. Such a Mega City One solution.
  • WonderwallAnderson has been back on the job for one week and unfortunately for her she reconnects with Judge Goon. Goon is process of dishing out his style of street justice on a gang of  Juves. But hidden among the Juve is a girl called Layla. An abused and mentally broken child, Anderson has to enter her mind if she is to have any chance of saving the other children. Highlight: The inside of Layla's mind is protected by the stories of Alice in Wonderland. My favourite page has to the full page spread of the White Rabbit tied up and gutted. Completely brutal but great image! 
  • CrusadeStill reeling from the effects of the Alice Case, Anderson is struggling to believe how poorly the kids of Mega City One are being treated. But salvation for the MC-1 kids is at hand. When from the Cursed Earth a PSI force is released, showing images of Golden Angels above the city; the Juve crime drops by 80%! Kids are becoming pure again and Anderson starts to fear the worst and she is right to do so. Soon the kids are rising up and heading off into the Cursed Earth in search of salvation and love. As is the justice department's way they over react to the scenario and seen a hit team lead by Judge Goon to deal with the problem. Ultimately Goon and his team are killed, but not before he has caused more pain and suffering.

Danse Macabre- We are back on the streets with Anderson as she chases down a perp called Deek Chewsits. Deek chooses to hide out in the Danse Macabre Discotek Memorial. The artwork was too Manga for me, for the artist let down the strip in my opinion. For example, Anderson had massive over the rop eyes in this tale, like something from sailor moon and considering how deep and meaningful the last two stories were, this was a bit of a let down. Even if it is only a filler tale it could have been done with a bit more thought.                                                                                                               Witch- Anderson visits the Home for Retired PSI's to celebrate her old tutors 40th birthday. But what she didn't realize was that the two of them would help a witch die with grace 500 years ago in the past. Back to great artwork again which I'm thankful for. Highlight of this tale for me is Anderson's mentor Mishka Wallace. Having served her city during the Apocalypse War, she is now treated like an outcast and with utter contempt by the citizens she tried to help. Shows a sad lonely existence for PSI's and opens Anderson's eyes to her own future.
  • The Great Debate- Wrestling meets Philosophy in this all new TV show. Only problem is it is highly illegal to produce or watch as it is a fight to the death! Judge Anderson is using her PSI abilities to track them down and finally shut down this blood thirsty sport. I really enjoyed the character 'Big Daddy Plato'-Philosopher supreme whose values underpin all Earthly Civilisation. Winner of Thirteen straight fights and user of a laser sword. He is a massive fat guy with a white beard, in a toga (it just makes me laugh and I'm of making him for the mini game).
  • Lawless- During the annual 'A Dress the Citizens speech', Chief Judge Volt and his entourage are covered in what appears to be blood! It's up to Anderson to track down the protester known only simply as Lawless before he can pull anymore stunts. I quite enjoyed the scene when Lawless uses a sound system and holographic device, to bring alive the Eagle of Justice and make it proclaim: 'I am a symbol of Fascist oppression!' Great stuff.

Bonus Strips
  • Dear DiaryA written account from Anderson's diary. About how a criminal attempts to get revenge on Anderson. Though the story itself was fun and interesting, it sadly lack artwork and what artwork we did get was painful to look at and too child like. I understand what the artist was attempting, but I think I would have preferred just a good old script.
  • Confessions of a She Devil- Anderson is haunted by a dream of a Man-Pig. Following her hunches, she heads to a Male only club. Where the embodiment of Mother Earth is raining down vengeance on all of MANkind. The idea of male only clubs in the city of the future, seems amazingly outdated. But I guess in a World of no jobs, people get bored and revert to bad ideals and self serving beliefs. Interesting tale, but not one you'll remember in a hour.
  • Exorcise Duty- In this we strip we get to experience a different branch of the PSI department. As Anderson joins a team of exorcise Judges and attempts to stop a demonic summoning. It great to see Exorcists in action, I found them intriguing as a branch of the Justice Department and just wish there was more tales about.

So with that last tale we come to a close with Volume 3. 

Overview

Overall a great addition to the Anderson story line. The Satan stories were hands down the best strip in this edition. Made even better by the great artwork. I also enjoyed the whole Children arc and how it has affected Anderson and look forward to seeing how that progress. On the negative side, I feel like a couple of the single tales lacked depth and were quite forgettable sadly.
Satan, Wonderwall and Crusade are the real highlights of this volume and are worth the cover price alone.

So for this volume I give it 3 out of 5. If the other tales had of had more depth then we could have been looking at a 4/5.




Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Beers with Peps: Brews Review- Big Rig Release the Hounds Black IPA.


Welcome drinkers for a sampling of a local beverage. Not only is local but it's also award winning! Big Rig Brewery's Release the Hounds took home the Gold Medals at both the Ontario and Canadian Brewing Awards of 2014. The first thing that will strike you is the can art. From a distance it just looks like a black can with a gold sheep on it, nothing that special. But wait, as you get closer you realize there is a hidden Wolf motif eyeing up our golden sheep. The details on the wolf are great and this is still one of my cans of 2015. Warning: I've attempted to capture the can art the best I can, which still doesn't give you the full effect.

Details

Name: Release the Hounds
Style: Black IPA
Brewery: Big Rig (http://www.bigrigbrew.com/)
Country: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Price: $2.75 CAD.
ABV: 6.2%
Commercial Fluff:
"This Canadian Brewing Awards gold medal winner is crafted with multiple pitchings of aromatic and bittering hops. Its deep black colour is complemented with loads of bitterness and aroma, dry hopped for full hop flavour."

Own Opinion

Sight: Pours a deep brown almost black in colour, settling with a nice creamy tan head. Pours the same consistency from can and growler which is nice to see.
Aroma: Burnt toast springs to mind with a little bit of chocolate and raisins. Almost fruitcake but more bread in my opinion.
Taste: Bold chocolate mouthfeel. With a good amount of coffee and a slight hint of ash. It finishes with a hoppy bitterness that isn't too in your face but helps to round out the drink. Quite a light beer overall with good carbonation that leaves your mouth feeling clean.
Would I buy it again? Yes.

This beer can be drunk from a can, a growler, a bottle and from tap. I've been lucky and enjoyed every serving style it comes in and have not seen or tasted any difference between them.Which is rare as I know other breweries struggle now again with quality across different serving styles. This is an award winning beer and I couldn't agree more. It has the flavours I enjoy from a stout but has the freshness and bite of an IPA. So if you are ever in Ottawa, Ontario go treat yourself to lunch or dinner at their brewpub down at the Iris location. You won't be disappointed and it's easy to find as it's behind a massive IKEA.
With Iris being the brewpub not only can you eat and drink there, but you can see brew equipment and if lucky they may give you tour. Then on way out you can grab brewery swag like hats, tees, glassware along with cans and growlers of their beers. So well worth the visit.
As always if you enjoyed reading please click follow or the +1 and thanks again!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Bookshelf: Comic Review- Judge Dredd Meg 203


Welcome back Dredd heads to March 2003 and Meg 203. The cover for this issue has a real valentine day theme to it. Even though it was released a month after. Along the top of the meg we see a mini Dredd as a Quepid type, shooting dead the real quepid with an arrow! 
Once you've stopped laughing at that strange scenario, you'll notice that the main piece is of a Judge Death Jimp (an impersonator) getting married. The quote of the cover is 'Til Death do us part', I so hope there is a Judge Death themed tale this month..fingers crossed.

The Meg
  • Judge Dredd The Marriage Game- Script John Wagner Art Ian Gibson

This tale is a spoof of the old Classic 80/90's Blind Date tv show (a very bad UK programme). But nothing is that simple in the Dredd verse. Judge Dredd and a team of Judges are using the show to capture wanted perps with outstanding warrants. Inviting them backstage as a prize and then arresting them. But whilst the Judges are concerned about back stage, the real crime is unfolding on the main stage!

Good opening tale, light hearted and full of Mega-City One quirkiness. Plus Walter the Wobot stars in it too. I like these sort of tales as to the epic story arcs, as Dredd can't always being saving the city, sometimes he needs to fight crime too.
  • Black Siddha Bad Karma Part 2- Script Pat Mills Art Simon Davis

In this episode we find out a bit more about the Black Siddha's past, part of that past was extremely dark and moody. So dark in fact that the Hindu Gods want to put Rohan on trial for the crimes of his past life. Can Rohan regain his senses in time to realise just how much trouble he is in or will be become a victim to his past life?.

This series is really shaping into a good tale. I can see that Rohan is ultimately going to assume the mantle of the Black Siddha and fight to right the wrongs of his past lives.
  • Family Part 3- Script Rob Williams Art Simon Fraser

The internal politics of the 'Family' come out to play in this episode. With 'Family' members arguing over who should be next in line for the top spot.  With tensions running high, the mysterious exploding man is back and seems to want to start a turf war.

I'm still enjoying the strip but I do worry it will become just another superpower comic strip. I want to see more of the criminal organization and the cops, rather than these superpowered men.
  • Juliet November Phoenix Falling- Script Alan Grant Art Graham Manley

Juliet's awkward date continues at an awkward pace, following the murder at the theatre. Fearing arrest by the Judges, the murders attempt to keep everyone hostage. Is this the chance Juliet has waited for to use her powers for good or will she get stage fright?

Pretty average strip, quite underwhelming and causing me to lose interest in this tale. Highlight of the strip was the last image, showing Dredd standing on top of a pile of beaten up monkeys!
  • Devlin Waugh Ride Tide Part 2- Script John Smith Art Colin Macneil

The lights are going out all over the ship and Vampires have boarded and killed most of the crew! Lucky for Devlin he is handy with wooden chairs and an axe. As Devlin and Larry locate Lilith, it soon becomes apparent their only choice is to die on the boat or to die at sea!

This strip is a real saving grace for the meg, I'm enjoying the way the story is growing and I look forward to seeing more. The fish vampires are nuts and I can't see how Devlin will escape this time. Colin Macneil's artwork is a treat to the eyes and really absorbs me into the tale.  
  • Sinister Dexter Dead Famous- Script Dan Abnett Art Steve Roberts

Another cheeky one page strip from this comical hitman duo. In this episode the pair hunt down a dead rock and roll legend and make sure his back catalogue stays dead.

I enjoy these one shots. I just wish they would give them more than just a page once a month. I was big fan of the strips back in 2000ad. And with such an impressive backdrop for tales, I just want to see more!

2000ad Gold

They continue this section as they long back into the past and show of their writers and artists earlier works. First up:
  • Slaine- Script Pat Mills Art David Pug

Slaine's fight against the Cythrons continue in this tale. And that all I will write. I just can't get into this tale. He now has a leyser shield, to match his leyser gun (WTF!), this is becoming more sci-fi than fantasy and it's causing me to really struggle with tale and I will now most likely be skipping this tale in future. Real shame.
  • Darkies Mob- Script John Wagner Art Mike Western

After surviving a trail by mob, Darkie leads the unwilling men even deeper into the jungle. Here they destroy a platoon of Japanese soldiers, by setting them on fire. Before Darkie then leads them onto a number of daring raids destroying a train line and capturing a fortress.

I'm enjoying this series, it's pretty far fetched that this one unit can cause so much trouble. But I like how the characters are progressing and I'm keen to find out more about Darkie. He seems like a british Rambo, but I fear he has a dark past.
  • Tharg's Future Shock- The Collector Script k. Gosnell Art I. Kennedy

Set during the Vietnam war; a fighter ace by the name of Major Jones, tracks down a mysterious black fighter jet that has bested many of his friends. After following it to a recluse runway, Jones confronts the plane's pilot. It's at this point, that Major Jones discovers that the pilot is know as the Collector: aka the Devil himself. To make matters worst Jones has landed in Airbase Hell!

Pretty short tale with a good twist at the end. The Devil character artwork reminded me of the original master from Dr. Who. Which isn't a bad thing.


Review

Not to sure on this issue. Out of the nine strips only three strips (Black Siddha, Devlin Waugh and Darkies Mob) stood out, whilst the rest was average or in the case of slaine piss poor! So with that in mind and can only score it a 2 out of 5. I hope it returns to a better score in the next issue. As always drop me your thoughts below and see you for more.

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