Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why So Ratchet & Super Sketch Painter - Comics From The Basement

Click here for the video review!
Hello and Welcome to Comics From The Basement...

Earlier this month at Camden Comic Con, I picked up a number of comics and met several creators... a pair of whom was Suliman and Samad Onque. Suliman is one of these more charismatic person I've had the delight to meet. You can tell just by talking to the man that he was excited about talking about his creation, as well as his brother work, while Samad seemed more reserved and cerebral. And when talking to them briefly, and later reading their comics when I got home, it's so obvious how much their respective comics. I thought about reviewing them separately, but since both  are the writers and illustrators for their respective works, I figure why not do both at the same time.

So first, going to talk about Samad Onque's 'Why So Ratchet: An Urban Street Fable Featuring Ratchetman'

Plot:  Xavier Turner is meeting with his psychiatrist months after suddenly stopping attending their sessions...and he has a tale to tell... of a rebirth and awakening... but is it real... or just a dream?

Review: This is a psychological tale of a man who has a part of himself set free. Over the course of 20 pages, we see the main protagonist tell the tale of what happened to him and his other self, rescue a woman of a bit seedy nature from certain doom with a bit of a twist. It also serves as a solid look at the word 'ratchet' which has multiple definitions that are actually show cased within the story, in particular 'acting dysfunctional', 'being undistinguished' and 'having no class'.

The art work certainly matches the tone of story, with it being more cerebral in nature, the illustrations serve to enhance the story being told without being a distraction. In particular the aspect of if Xavier's story that he is telling being truth or not. I of course won't spoil it here... you'll have to check out the comic for yourself. That said, this is a self contained story, a nice one shot that sets up world of Xavier and his other-self perfectly.

Now onto Suliman Onque's 'Super Sketch Painter #1'

Plot: The final issue of 'Super Hero World', and 13 year-old Khalil Jenkins is excited to see what happens to his favorite hero, the incredible Hero Man! However...when the valiant hero is killed within the comic... it starts Khalil off on a journey to change the outcome and become a hero in his own right...

Review: In a day and age where characters are killed off with little to no-regard to the fans and readers... this comic represents something that all comic book fans would love to do. Who wouldn't want to go into 'Ultimatum' and save the Wasp from being eaten by The Blob? Or maybe save Panthra from being decapitated by Super-(CENSORED) Prime during Infinite Crisis...  I am getting myself off track... but the point is, there isn't a comic book fan alive that would not identify with the character of Khalil Jenkins. This particular issue introduces Khalil and his family, as well as starts off his origins to becoming 'Super Sketch Painter'... and it does everything right. It gives the readers a reason to care for the main protagonist, it lets every develop naturally (as a key part of Khalil's origin is encouragement form him father) .

The art work is very easy on the eyes and is easy to follow from panel to panel, plus there is a clear 'shift' from where it starts with Khalil in his room, looking more realistic, to where the comic ends with him battling a villain named Warcat... but this is only part one of the story... there is more... and this comic makes you want to read more. Again like a proper first issue should. Also, this comic takes place within the same universe as 'Why So Ratchet'... so I'm already wondering if there will be a crossover.

My Recommendation:  Both comics are great reads, and the Onque brothers are both very talented, but their styles and approaches are quite different (with Samad's tale being more 'grounded',  and looking like it would fit in with more grim styled tales like say Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, and Suliman's story being more fantastical would probably fit in with the likes of the Silver-age DC Universe). So obviously I'm recommending you all check them out.

In fact I'll tell you where you can get them, head over to www.slimsuliart.com and click where it says On-Q comics on the right hand side of the site.

Next Week... I think I'll go over something that involves Gods, Monsters and Wonder Woman



First Impressions: BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend



Hello and Welcome to The Basement... 


Taokaka is stealing the spotlight!
This is First Impressions, my 'review' series of video games that I do every so often... this time out, it's regarding  BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend, the third PC port (via Steam) of the hit 2D Fighter series. The first game in the series, (Calamity Trigger) was released in arcades way back in 2008... though I think that was only in Japan, cause good luck finding an arcade in the United States these days! If you want to see game-play footage from a live stream I did is at the bottom of this post!


Taokaka... is quite odd in victory...
Considering this is a fighting game, obviously the first thing to talk about is the controls and responsiveness... and while I've dabbled with fighting games from time to time, there are some universal concepts and commands that comes with these games: up to jump, down to duck, double forward to dash, and various buttons for punches and kicks.. Still I was going into this game blind, having last played the previous BlazBlue title (Continuum Shift Extend) in February of last year, so my skills were rather rusty. Thankfully, my best character was still on the roaster (That being Taokaka) and I managed to blunder my way through several battles in Arcade mode on the games default settings, which is more of a testament to the games controls being very responsive, and with 'practice' one could easily manhandle the game on it's default settings.
Got 'em in the corner!

So onto how does the game looks... well it looks gorgeous. As a 2D fighter, the amount of detail a game has in the background is plus without it being a distraction. The characters themselves are all rather colorful, if some of the human female characters look rather impractical with attire and proportions. But that's pretty standard with fighting games, and also one of the best things about them. Anyway as you can see, everything is laid out in a traditional format, with the Health Bars at the top and the 'power meters' down at the bottom of the screen.
Game has a rather large roster!

Onto the sound, and one of the great things about the BlazBlue series is the voice acting is very decent (if at times a bit repetitive, but I'm one to talk), the sound effects are solid with the impact they deliver. Then there is the music, which like a lot of songs for Anime adventure series, have a way of sounding epic and grand while not distracting the player. It blends in perfectly to the background, you know its there, you hear it, but it isn't drawing your attention away from the task at hand, which is playing the game and hoping for a win.
Carl's back... and as Harry Potter'y as ever

The game has a roster of 28 characters, so there is a lot of replay value for wanting to go through the story and arcade modes to see and unlock everything. Old favorites like Carl Clover, Noel Vermillion,and Bang Shishigami are back, plus new comers like Bullet, Azarel and Amane Nishiki help bring new challenges.

There is a score attack, online play and other secondary features that help keep this game at the forefront of 2D fighters on the PC until the next BlazBlue port comes around in a couple of years for Central Fiction

My recommendation: For $29.99 the price is pretty reasonable, because you are getting the complete game with all the DLC at once shot. So the value is there if you're looking for a 2D-Fighter from a 'franchise' for your PC collection.


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