The Caverns of Chaos Part 1

This is an adaptation of a Dungeon World gaming session I ran with my two older children (9 & 6) and wife. It isn’t a perfect accounting of the events, but it definitely is in the spirit of the adventure. I don’t pretend that this is well written or even well conceived. I’m not aiming for positive reviews or a career in writing speculative fiction. Just attempting to capture some of the essence of our antics.

Up to this point Hawke, July and Raven had been seeking adventure with absolutely nothing to show for it. All other attempts had been fruitless and no one in their right mind would hire adventures that didn’t have any experience. That is until they found someone who may not have been in their right mind. He hired them to retrieve a stolen item of his which he believed was held in the Caverns of Chaos. Their employer only described the item as “You’ll know it when you’ll see it.”

But before they made there way the Caverns of Chaos they managed to become surrounded by 5 Ekeks, which is a type of creepy Bird/Human hybrid.

Hawke, a human fighter, and July, a dwarven fighter, charged with their shields knocking aside the Ekeks. In the scuffle Hawke dropped his shield, but held onto his ancient sword. Raven, a ranger with an eagle companion named Ellie said, “Seriously, I always have to pick up your stuff.” Although, she didn’t actually pick up the shield. Instead she used the room the two fighters cleared for her, to loose an arrow at their attackers. But in the panic of the attack she missed. Close by she could see something enormous beneath the surface of the water. Something that seemed much more dangerous than their attackers.

Hawke and July continued their battles. Each slayed and an Ekek. But in the process the monster Raven had glimpsed started coming out of the water, one giant leg at a time, before the head of the beast emerged. Raven recognized it as a Dragon Turtle.

The three adventurers abandoned their struggle with the Ekek’s and turned their attention to this monster. Raven successfully struck the beast with an arrow. It slowed the beasts progress but it started breathing fire. Hawke, braved the flames to get into close proximity to strike with his sword, but he slipped and only struck the beasts toes.

One of the Ekeks went for reinforcements. Raven remembered hearing a rumor that the troll clans were meeting in the swamps to unite. At the time she had dismissed it but she felt more certain of it now.

Another Ekek attacked Hawke, who successfully injured the feathered monster but dropped his sword in the process.

Then it came to July, who unlike every other dwarf in the realm valued keeping his armor and weapons shiny. He charged the Dragon Turtle with his bright shiny sword and struck a deathblow to the terrible creature.

Hawke once again attacked an Ekek, but didn’t have any success. July learned the hard way that the swamp’s ground was not to be trusted as he fell waste deep into mud screaming , “Not my shiny armor!”

This distraction gave Raven and Ellie a chance to attack one of the Ekek’s together. Their attack wasn’t enough to stop him, but certainly it was enough to slow him down.

The odds were more even now. 2 Ekeks (one injured) against 3 adventurers. On reflection, Raven knew her fighters were not going to be as effective. One was practically immobile and the other hadn’t even picked up his sword or shield yet. It was up to her. But she needed some time to think.

Thanks for reading. Future installments of this adventure will be posted under the “Caverns of Chaos” tag. Well, we’ll see. My track record for doing anything consistent on this blog is not great. But you know what life is inconsistent, so I’m good with it.

 

 

 

First Dungeon World Gaming Session

Last post covered my interest in introducing my older children (ages 9 and 6) to role playing games as a way to gain a window into their imaginative play. After researching the RPG options (so many options) I landed on Dungeon World.

After two gaming sessions the results are in, and they are impressive. One of the primary reasons I chased this idea was to gain a window into my children’s “solitary imaginative play”. Not only did I get that window, but I also got to see their problem solving skills and for about 30 – 40 minutes there was no arguing, tears, whining… just smiles and laughing. Smiles and Laughter people!

One factor for this success is the game itself, which focuses more on collaborative storytelling by reducing the complexity of game mechanics of the more complicated RPGs. Most outcomes are on decided by a player rolling 2 six sided dice, or 2d6 in rpg terms. The outcomes are adjusted by a modifier which corresponds to an ability. The modified rolls are segmented into 3 categories describing the outcome:

  • Complete Success (10 or higher)
  • Partial Success (7 -9)
  • Failure (6 or lower)

That’s pretty much the game, everything else is there to guide the Game Master to setting the foundation of a good collaborative story…

…which is harder than it sounds.

Which became another motivator for me to research the art of being a Game Master and the potential anxiety that surrounds it. It really wasn’t anxious for me, worst case my kids would have been bored and I was out the $10 for the pdf of the rule book.

But there is some good advice out there, and the absolute best advice was to find out each player’s expectations. Here’s what I learned from my wife and 2 boys.

  • One wanted to fight trolls
  • Another wanted to be ‘a little man’
  • The third did not want any of the player characters to die

There is a lot more useful advise for new GM’s on the interwebs, but there is next to none for new GM’s running a game for young families. So here are a couple of things I found useful.

Have an Adult Player

I worked with everyone individually to build their character before our first gaming session. Both my boys also wanted to be fighters, and they loaded up their abilities on strength and constitution. Which you would expect for a fighter. So I advised my wife to play a ranger and be the brains of the group.

This was not the last time I would ask her to participate in a specific way. Like identifying other solutions rather than just hacking and slashing.

Every family is different. Some don’t have two adults and those that do might not be able to have them play. But I strongly encourage including an adult.

Early Challenges To Learn Game Mechanics

Originally, I had intended to create plotless scenarios to teach them game mechanics. My thought was to do this individually with each player.

But, one of the players really wanted to jump into a full game. So we didn’t get to do this, but I included it anyway because it’s an idea worth trying.

Set Ground Rules for Character Creation

The rules I implemented were:

  1. No magical characters.
  2. Characters must at least have a neutral alignment, and preferably aligned to good.

The game was going to be challenging enough for me to run, I didn’t want a wizard casting spells I wasn’t prepared for.

The alignment thing is really a way for me to remind the boys about their character’s inherent motivation. And so that their characters won’t fight each other.

Roll the Dice

A lot of the imaginative fun does not involve dice rolling. And in my family’s second session, we had a lot of fun with very little dice rolling. When it ended, my 6 year old went from having been all smiles to practically being in tears. All because he didn’t get to roll the dice. It was quickly resolved by promising  him he could ‘go first’ next time.

The lesson for me is that the kids need to roll the dice at least once a session. It might seem weird, but consider that our sessions are shorter than most. More on that later.

Let Them Be Silly

This one is important for me, because my motive is to see their imagination in action. If it doesn’t fit with my setup, so what. I’ll try to adapt it for next time.

Short Sessions

An RPG gaming session can be somewhere in the ballpark of 4 hours. That doesn’t work for our family. Our first one was 40 minutes and the second one was 30. We clearly communicated the amount of time we would have to play at the start. Shorter sessions allowed me to be on the spot less as GM.

It also allowed me to do a soft unnoticeable reset to the game early on. This is similar to how a sequel will retrace an earlier installment and add in a few details that weren’t there originally. Had we gone on for several hours, I don’t know if it would be as engaging without those extra details that I was able to come up with inbetween sessions.

My advice would be sessions from 40 to 60 minutes. 30 minutes resulted in one of the characters not rolling the dice.

You Will Miss Something…

…so make it right when you start the next game/session. I managed to miss that they were not marking experience points for all their failure rolls. When the second session started I granted everyone 2 experience points.

They Will Miss Something Too…

…so mention it when you start the next game/session. The first game has so much going on and new information that they are bound to forget a character move or special ability.

A Few More Tips, But Not Related To Children…

Print Character Sheets & Info Sheets on Card Stock

This was really useful in a subtle way. While playing the game the players are trying to think quickly. Thin copy paper can distract in a number of ways: having to find something to write on, reading bent over on the table, or hold it up carefully without creasing the paper.

That might not be how we consciously think, but some portion of the brain is dedicated to thinking that way. And that slows down the part that is trying to think about what ‘Leverage’ they may have to successfully ‘Parley’ with a Non Player Character.

You Only Think You Have a Plot

Maybe not a plot, but an objective with obstacles for the party engage in. Here’s the thing, I was unprepared for how few times the players rolled a complete success and how many times they rolled a failure. That lead to the large monster appearing before I had intended. Now as GM, my intentions aren’t really important, but my preparation is. And since I hadn’t intended for the big monster to appear so early, I was unprepared for what happened next. They started rolling complete success on their attacks against it, while still struggling with partial success or failure with the other creatures.

To be clear, the fact that they were able to slay such a huge monster early on was huge for them, and a worthwhile part of the experience. It just made it more challenging for me, since a big portion of what I had prepared was annihilated in the first 10 minutes of the game.

In the second session I created what I would call a ‘wider’ set up. Meaning, more Non Player Characters, locations and dynamics. It was broad enough that the players could interact with these story elements in any order and under favorable or unfavorable circumstances to advance towards their end goal.

Just like the first session, the characters behaved and had outcomes different from what I had expected. But I felt that I handled it better, because there wasn’t a sequential order that events needed to happen in for the game to ‘make sense’ as a story.

I’m still learning though, so I’m sure there is advice here that is less than optimal. But if I don’t write it down now, I may never get around to it.

 

 

Role Playing Games

Over the past several months my older son has been increasingly spending more time in what I call “solitary imaginative play.” People may disagree with me, but I believe it’s good creative fun.

The trouble here is logistics: it’s hard for him to find space where his younger brothers don’t intrude. And then there are the times I interrupt, however briefly, to ask about what he’s imagining. I don’t get much of a response, which is understandable. He just wants to continue on whatever adventure I had inadvertently pulled him out of. Believe it or not, I get it.

So really, I desire 3 things:

  • A chance for my oldest son to have awesome epic level adventures
  • Him to play with at least one of his younger brothers and genuinely enjoy it
  • A window for me to see into those epic imaginary adventures without distracting him.

Which is where the idea of introducing Role Playing Games started to come in. Then during this year’s Free Comic Book day, we visited a shop that had an extensive RPG section. This year the boys were more curious about the RPGs, but not so curious to ask me to explain it to them. Which is good, because I couldn’t. I participated in exactly 1 rpg session when I was 14 and I had to leave early. So clearly I know more than someone who has never sat down at a table to play, but less than someone who has stayed through one complete session (which may not even be the end of the adventure).

But hey, there’s the internet which makes anyone an expert. Even me. I watched a couple of youtube videos, and showed my two older boys (even though they didn’t ask to see them). And they were really excited about the idea. I was honestly not prepared for how much my six year old was excited for the game.

These Pathfinder videos and I eventually came to the conclusion that Pathfinder is awesome… for someone who knows what they are doing and is at least 13 with a high IQ. It is safe to say that you want someone who has played more than a fraction of 1 game 2 decades ago to be the Game Master.

Someday we’ll play and when we do, I will not be running the game.

So the quest was on (ugh! Dad pun) to find an RPG that met the 3 criterea from earlier, plus these two:

  • A six year old can understand it enough to enjoy it
  • Its level of complexity is one that I can manage

After less then 30 minutes of research, I landed on Dungeon World [Wikipedia]. It has several of the same elements as Pathfinder (and D&D), but is more focused on creating a collaborative story.

The boys were on board and all we needed was dice… the rule book… character sheets… pencils… and wait I have to prep this game? All of which I’ll get into next time. Maybe.

Featured Image came from OpenClipArt.Org

Bargain Bin: JLA

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I picked up 6 issues from a 50 cent bin at a used book store and won an auction of 10 issues for around $8. Lastly, I bought a single issue of the JLA at a comic book store for about $2. But it was accompanied by 3 free books from the 50 cent bin so, I view it as a 50 cent purchase.

So 17 issues for around $11.50 That’s around 70 cents an issue. On a good day $11.50 could be 3 new issues at the current prices.

I felt pretty good about the acquisition. Until I realized that the auction I won was for JLA Classified, which is different from JLA. Classified featured stories of the various iterations of the Justice League, but wasn’t tied directly to the 6 issues I had originally purchased. But since these were also acquired for about 70 cents an issue, I don’t feel too bad about my mistake.

Between the two JLA series the acquisition looked like this:JLA issues 17 – 26 (7 issues) and JLA Classified 1-10.

My Familiarity With the Title

I’ve read some digital editions of the Justice League, which is different. I didn’t recognize one of the characters (Zauriel) and didn’t recognize Superman in a few issues because he looked like he was a mutant smurf (this was one of the more radical costume changes for the character).

Grant Morrison and Mark Waid wrote the JLA issues (Waid was backup). From talks with other fans and perusing the internet, these two writers seem to be at their best when they write DC characters.

How were the Issues?

There was some great material in these issues, but there was also some stuff that didn’t sit right with me. I intended to read  the issues than loan them to a friend’s son. The friend does not read comics, so I looked with a critical eye.

The 7 JLA issues were fun, but I also think the phrase “far out” also applies. I feel like these are a great set of issues for someone new to comics to read, only because it has the potential to draw a very bright line on what someone finds appealing.

JLA Classified was also fun, but had a few moments that kind of soured it for me.

Classified had an arc that reintroduced Guy Gardner. I’m not really a fan of him, but I also haven’t read anything with him in it. In any case, his treatment of women was terrible. It seemed like it was intended to increase the “anti” part of his anti-hero role.

First he assaults Mary Marvel, while she is in her adult powered form, but still for all intents and purposes is a young teenager, if not a pre-teen. The actual touching part takes place off panel, but it is clear that there was contact and it was uninvited.

Now some might argue that it’s a situation that would be impossible to happen in real life because she’s a child in an adult body. True. Children don’t become super powered adults by using magic words. But there are adults with cognitive disabilities which have the mental capacity of a 10 – 12 year old child.

In short, not something I want my children thinking is acceptable, nor a friend’s child.

Mary eventually beats him up and he straight up apologizes. It did nothing for me as a reader. Stories with protagonists (anti-heroes) can be an intense and compelling read. But the way Guy Gardner is written doesn’t make him an anti-hero. It makes him a jerk who assaults women.

I thought I could get away with lending out the other issues from Classified, but in the next issue Guy Gardner is tempted to assault Power Girl… while she is asleep… and I’m pretty sure he was the one who magically knocked her out.

Both scenes were totally unnecessary. The plot would not have collapsed if these pages had been removed or included less disturbing content.

There was also a moment when Blue Beetle asks Booster Gold what his older wife sees in him. Nothing was said, but it was clear that it was physical. But it might not be clear to my friend’s 11 year old son. And I can only imagine him asking his Dad about it and then it just goes down hill from there.

I should point out that these issues were approved by the Comics Code Authority. It was towards the end of its existence and clearly long past it’s effectiveness.

Also, the books were not the greatest in bringing new readers up to speed on what was going on, which lead for a few moments of confusion.

Other than that (and I know that is a heavy bit of dissatisfaction), the books were good. The arc with Guy Gardner was actually pretty hilarious (absent the terrible things I just wrote about ).

Definitely worth the 70 cents an issue.

Will I read it to my children?

No surprises here. But I try not to over do it with censoring what they read. They’ll be able to read when they’re older and it will come with a conversation about what is wrong about how Guy Gardner was written.

 

 

Bargain Bin: Invincible Iron Man

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I had looked for Iron Man lots on ebay for several weeks, but each auction was going for about $2/issue. While I wouldn’t object to paying that much, I pursued other bargains.

And then came a local comic book and toy convention. One stand was selling 15 comics for $10 and there was a large run of Iron Man. I took the 15 oldest titles they had and called it a day.

Not quite the 50 cent per issue standard that I seem to have settled on, but the fact that I considered the market value to be $2/issue made me feel like it was a good purchase. Plus, its still under $1/issue which is respectable… in certain circles. There are plenty of people in plenty of circles who would think any amount on comic books is a waste.

The run of 15 issues was from 197 – 216, with only one issue gaps. With current comic book prices, I would have only gotten 2 issues by spending the same amount on brand new titles.

My Familiarity With the Title

Mostly through Avengers titles that I acquired in my bargain hunting. In the issues where he was present, Tony Stark had developed a drinking problem and someone else (I presumed Rhodey) was in the Iron Man armor.

How were the Issues?

First off, they physically stunk. The moment I cracked the plastic I realized why they sold at such a bargain. Fortunately, it wasn’t a cigarette stench. Just musty. Probably the result of a previous owner storing them in a basement. I researched how to get rid of the smell and was relieved that there were a few techniques. What ultimately wound up working is that I switched their bags & boards. (Note this wasn’t even a technique I had found in my research).

Onto the stories… they were kind of all over the place. The run had some of the elements I love about comic books and plenty of the elements that were marks of lazy storytelling. What was especially surprising was that one issue consolidated both those extremes into one issue. I’m looking at you #202! I’m hoping to detail that emotional roller coaster in a different post.

But then there was issues #216, the last one in the run and wow was it one to end on! I refer to this as the issue of “No Ways”, because each time I turned a page to another plot twist I said “No Way!”

Not only was I lucky that I ended at #216, but in order to enjoy it I was lucky to start where I did. My run covered almost a two year time span in terms of publishing, and many of the story elements that build to #216 began around #175 from what I can tell from my (very lazy) internet research.

I found myself thinking that to get the amazing finale in 216 when it was released someone would have had to read the title for 2+ years!? No wonder story arcs are so much shorter now. With single issues priced as high as they are right now, no one has that type of patience. Then again, issues were written to take into account that many of the readers did not read consecutive issues. So there is a reasonable amount of retracing the story (admirably, not using flashbacks or making such light use of them that I cannot recall them). That is generally something that is lacking in the writing styles of current issues.

Some of the things that I felt detracted from the storytelling were:

  • The amount of time it took to read an issue. While I wasn’t timing myself, these definitely were close to 30 minutes. That’s fine. But a 30 minute comic book read needs to be flawless, and that just wasn’t the case.
  • The way Tony’s alcoholism was referenced. The characters reference this self destructive phase a lot, but in weird ways. The one that comes to mind is something like “back when I was pickling my brain with my alcohol problem.” I think another one could have been “drowning in cuckoo juice” or something to that effect. The point is that it trivializes the problem. This was pretty common in 1980’s storytelling across several formats. Sit-coms frequently had one episode dedicated to where a main character dealt with the demons of alcoholism for all of one episode. In TV time that might have been a week (the exception being Cheers whose introduced it’s main character as an alcoholic who owned a bar). Iron Man also borrows the idea that alcoholism is similar to nicotine addiction. It’s not. Neither are good, but alcoholism is far more complicated.
  • The various dialects in Rhodey’s dialogue are inconsistent and frequently cringe worthy.

Ultimately, I’m not sure I’ll be reading these again or even keeping them.

Will I read it to my children?

I’ve offered, but they weren’t interested. Which is funny, because Iron Man is the favorite of at least one of my boys.

Favorite Panels

At some point in my bargain reading I started taking pictures of panels that I thought I could sneak into a Facebook comment or two and look totally hip. Here are the panels I’m saving for the right occasion. (but I’m leaving out one from issue from 216 because its a spoiler).

 

Bargain Bin: Midnight Society the Black Lake

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

All 4 issues of this stand alone mini-series published by Dark Horse was picked up at a used book store for 50 cents an issue! They have the standard $3.99 cover price, which would have been around $16 at full price. By only paying $2 I received a 88% discount! Compared to the trade paperback at $14.99 my acquisition was discounted by 86%.

I was more than happy.

My Familiarity With the Title

I had read an early review, which sounded promising. But I’ve learned not to trust reviews of comics before they are released to the public. In any event, I didn’t pick this up and I can’t remember the reason why. It’s possible my pull list was already too full or the comic book store didn’t order any copies.

I remember a few disappointing reviews after it was released. But they paid full price, I paid $2. Would that make a difference?

How were the Issues?

These issues were amazing, and I would have paid full price for them. The covers too are spectacular! The plot balances mystery with ethical dilemmas, which are two elements of story telling that I appreciate.

My original plan was to flip these, but I’ll be putting them in my “permanent” collection… which are my high quality favorites. They are only full runs and only about 10% of my collection.

Honestly, if there are follow up series I’ll add them to the pull list.

Will I read it to my children?

While this is probably considered part of the ‘horror’ genre it is light and won’t give nightmares. There are a lot of characters to track and dangling plot threads, but no kissy face stuff.

 

 

Bargain Bin: X-Men Volume 4

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

4 issues at 50 cents each in one trip to a comic book store. In comic book math I spent $2 for books that would have cost $16. The issues range from 4 to 18 so there is are some significant gaps.

My Familiarity With the Title

The more I read the Marvel X titles the less I understand. I was more familiar with Brian Wood the writer. I’ve found his historical fiction to be incredible (see recent bargain bin post for reviewing Black Road) , but was disappointed with his creator owned super hero series called Mara. The art on it was great, but the plot just … ugh.

In any case, some writers do great with their own characters while others do their best work on a company character.

I felt comfortable giving this a try for $2.

How were the Issues?

Decent. It’s an all woman team up and they weren’t in your face about it. It felt natural. The art was good, but I got the impression that this was drawn to appeal more to men than women.

I mostly understood the plot to each issue (someone is attacking! or we need to save people!). However, I didn’t understand the plot that connected the issues together, and 3 out of the 4 issues had a synopsis. That 4th one really had me confused.

Good superhero comics are great at getting the reader up to speed quickly. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get there.

I wouldn’t object to buying more, but I’m not likely to pay more than $1/per issue.

Will I read it to my children?

It is rated teen plus, but I’d be ok with them reading the issues before 13 if they are eager to read an all female team up comic.

 

 

Bargain Bin: Conan

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

This mostly came down to one lot obtained from ebay that had a variety of Conan titles from 2 different publishers, plus a few other Robert E Howard character based stories. Altogether there were 20 issues for a little over $12; around 60 cents per issue.

Normally, I share the range of issues I received, but that won’t do it for Conan because Conan has had multiple series with multiple publishers. Needless to say, the gaps in this lot were substantial.

At current prices (~$4 / issue) the same amount would have yielded just 3 issues.

After reading these I picked up 2 more at $1/issue at a local comic book store.

I felt pretty good about the purchase. If I didn’t like them I knew I could find them a good home, even if it meant giving them away.

My Familiarity With the Title

I knew the Conan as represented in pop culture. I was not familiar with the world that he traveled. I had also picked up a few of the more recent titles of “Conan the Slayer”. I enjoyed it, but didn’t connect it to the broader world.

How were the Issues?

Really enjoyable. Each issue was mostly a self contained story. By that I mean about 90% of the issue was a complete story and around 10% linked to a larger story line. In other words each story was a satisfying read, and the enourmous gaps in the issues didn’t matter. This was more

In fact I became fascinated at how the worlds were so consistently told, which lead me to some casual research on the character and the original author, Robert E Howard. And oh my, there was more there than I was prepared for.

I found this short documentary to be the most informative, but I don’t necessarily agree with every thing the contributor states or implies. Namely that the Marvel comics were a disservice to Howard’s work.

There is also a biography titled the “Blood & Thunder”. It generally receives favorable reviews from Howard fans because it put some serious research into print. I don’t think the favorable reviews are written by people who frequently read biographies.

This also lead me to watching the most recent Conan film, which I would love to review in a separate post… after I finish the first volume on short stories. Which I’ve started listening to via Audible.

And the final endorsement for how much I enjoyed these comics: there is another set of 15 Conan comics coming my way from a second Ebay auction. Those were won at a price of about 90 cents per issue. These are in sequential order and a more recent run.

These are definitely worth picking up from the bargain bins.

Will I read it to my children?

They like adventure, but I don’t think sword and sorcery is their genre. I won’t stop them from reading them, but I won’t be suggesting them.

Favorite Panels

At some point in my bargain reading I started taking pictures of panels that I thought I could sneak into a Facebook comment or two and look totally hip. Here are the panels I’m saving for the right occasion.

 

Bargain Bin: All-New X-Factor

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

I only have 3 titles, two of which were from a an auction that included other titles. The other one was from the 50 Cent bin at a store. I picked it up knowing I had recently acquired the other two.

I short, I sort of wound up with these issues.

My Familiarity With the Title

I can’t keep track of these X-titles.

I think one of the characters was from Alpha Flight, but that’s a guess because she has green hair and wears unusual glasses. I should also point out that I don’t know what Alpha Flight is other than it somehow involves Canada.

Gambit is in it too, but I only know him from the cartoon in the 90s. So I’m guessing he’s changed. After all it has been over 20 years.

Quicksilver is in it too. Every issue I’ve read that had Quicksilver in it had him as a minor character or his appearance was temporary. I’m guessing that is why he seems like 6 different characters to me. Which one will show up in this series?

All that said, these issues were written by Peter David who wrote the issues of the Incredible Hulk that I picked up.

How were the Issues?

These were fun. Which seems unusual and fresh for a series written in the last 5 years or so.

Will I read it to my children?

These might be the issues I suggest my children to read if (when) they show an interest in X-Men. I know it’s a different title but the themes and characters travel the same orbit.

Favorite Panels

Nothing really stuck out. But it is only 3 issues.

 

Bargain Bin: Black Road

Once I shied away from superhero titles, but now I’m on a quest to stretch my comic book budget further… (for a summary of that journey see this post.)

The Acquisition

Black Road is series by Brian Wood and published by Image. I purchased the first issue at full price when it came out. I liked it but, couldn’t justify adding it to my pull list to purchase each month.

Then on a random trip to a used book store, I found issues 2 – 5 in their comics section for $1.50. Cover price was $3.99, so these issues were more than half off. Most of the stuff I’ve been picking up have had significantly lower cover prices, so they haven’t been worth mentioning.

Overall I walked out of the store feeling pretty awesome that I was going to be able to read the series.

My Familiarity With the Title

I’m familiar with Brian Wood through the historical series Rebels which was set in the American revolution, and his super hero mini series Mara. They were published by Dark Horse and Image respectively.

I really enjoyed Rebels and did not enjoy Mara (although I remember the art was really great). I wound up selling Mara with a bunch of other comics to the same used book store, and it was not a sale that yielded much in terms of cash.

In any case, my conclusion was that Brian Wood wrote really good historical fiction, and anything else I needed to be cautious.

How were the Issues?

They were great! It had an interesting plot, engaging dialogue and spectacular art. These 5 issues only make up the first arc and the issues for the 2nd arc are currently being published.

Will I read it to my children?

Nope. Not a series for kids.