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Is Role Lock Killing Overwatch?

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A Summary of Role Lock

Anyone who’s been playing Overwatch for any amount of time knows the basics of Role Lock. Role Lock is a new queueing method introduced into the game at the beginning of September. It forces anyone who’s playing Quick Play or Competitive to select the role they wish to play before the match beings. The system then pairs them with other people based on their role selection and rank. It ensures that there will always be two tanks, two damage dealers, and two supports on each team.

Role Lock also changed how rankings work in Competitive. Instead of playing ten matches and earning an SR, players alternatively complete five games for each class. They’ll then receive separate SR for each of the three roles which will later average out to one final rank. Other than these changes and some hero balancing, Overwatch has pretty much stayed the same.

Is Role Lock Affecting the Game?

Yes. Honestly, what else would you expect? They wouldn’t have made such a drastic change to the game if they didn’t want it to make a difference. For one, you don’t see as ridiculous team compositions anymore. Gone are the days of five support and a Reinhardt, unless you’re playing Classic 6v6 or No Limits in the arcade. There, you can do what you want. Instead, the game consists of relatively successful team compositions. It’s a significant change from the original Overwatch I remember where Quick Play was essentially No Limits, and everyone did whatever they wanted. Is it a good change, though? That’s a little harder to say.

Former Overwatch League player for the San Francisco Shock, André “iddqd” Dahlström thinks that Role Lock is killing the game. His issue is that the new queue keeps him from being able to play DPS, his favored role. It takes time to queue as a DPS player now. Even in Quick Play, the queue times for DPS have been around eight minutes for me. This time can jump up to hours for people in the highest ranks, which can keep people like iddqd from streaming or even playing the game.

iddqd Courtesy of The Game Haus

Switching Roles

Queue times aren’t the only problem with Role Lock. I think, if the developers want to utilize this system, they should make it possible to switch roles in-game. Maybe you’re on a map that requires a strong Zarya player and neither of your tanks are comfortable with her, or perhaps neither of the DPS are dealing with the Pharah. I think you should be able to send a request to switch roles, which the other player could then accept or decline. I’m not entirely sure how a system like this would work mid-game, but it should be possible to implement it during character selection screens. If this worked, people would be able to play who they are most comfortable with and ensure the best chance at victory.

Role Queue has a lot of benefits, but it could also be improved. While I think this system generally makes games more balanced, it also has the potential to destroy the fun of Overwatch. I guess the only thing we can do is sit back and see where it goes from here.

Supernatural Season 15 Release Date and Teased Images

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Supernatural -- "Back and to the Future" -- Image Number: SN1502b_0176r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jared Padalecki as Sam and Jensen Ackles as Dean -- Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Even Good Things Must Come to and End – THE END

*Spoilers ahead for Season 14 of Supernatural – If you’re not caught up, read at your own risk*

In the infamous words of Chuck – AKA God – it is “the end,” of not only the world, but Supernatural. Season 15 will be the last season for this long-running show. The way things are looking, season 15 could be the most ambitious story yet.

The Winchester boys have fought many apocalypses, but none triggered directly by God himself. We were left at the end of season 14 with God and Sam injured, God disappearing, day suddenly becoming night, and of course, the death of Jack the nephilim. If that wasn’t bad enough, Sam, Dean, and Cass are up against a horde of zombies. To put it lightly, things aren’t looking good for the Winchesters.

Image result for supernatural 15 poster
The season 15 official poster. Image courtesy of the CW.

Where We Left Off

According to the teased images, we’ll get a direct continuation of the last scenes of season 14. Many of the images show the Winchesters up against the zombie horde Chuck sicked on them.

Image courtesy of Shane Harvey/The CW.
Image courtesy of Shane Harvey/The CW.

There is a curious absence of Jack in these images even though he is pictured in the final season poster. We know Jack probably isn’t out of the game completely, seeing as we caught a glimpse of him in the Empty after he died at the hands of God.

Another curious detail is that even though God plunged the day into darkness, some of the pictures show clear daylight. They also seem to be from after the fight with the zombies since they are patching Sam up in one. Castiel, who would be the most affected by Jack’s death, looks distraught.

Image courtesy of Shane Harvey/The CW.

Can the Almighty Chuck Be Defeated?

It is interesting that Sam doesn’t appear to be bleeding in the image showing his wound. This picture is either a while after the zombie fight, or is an indication of the state of God. It leads me to believe that the Equalizer weapon that Chuck gave him didn’t do any real damage to Chuck himself. If Amara is any indication, God is going to be hard to beat.

Image courtesy of Shane Harvey/The CW.

How, then, can he be defeated? Though it came from God’s own mouth (and judging from the end of season 14 he’s not very trustworthy), in season 11 Chuck gave us insight into his possible demise. If he was destroyed then all of creation (AKA Earth and all it’s inhabitants) would be destroyed too, he said. Likewise, if Amara was destroyed, reality would be thrown out of balance.

So what does that mean? It’s possible that Chuck could be trapped, much like Amara, the Darkness, was. But he’ll probably see that coming.

The Supernatural Season 15 Trailer Reveals All

If I was planning the end of a show, I’d try and bring as many characters into the final battle as possible. The writers of Supernatural seem to have the same idea, with the implied return of every monster Sam and Dean ever killed. With hell’s gates opened wide, the boy’s will have their hands full. “You and me versus every soul in hell,” Dean says in the trailer. “I like those odds.”

With the dead rising, perhaps long-lost hunters like Jo, Ellen, Bobby, and Rufus could be back on the playing field. If hell’s doors are open, why not heaven’s? Or even the Empty? In the fight against the light, perhaps the Darkness will return to stand with Dean, who she has feelings for. Perhaps even Lucifer, trapped in the Empty, will return with the help of his son, Jack, or vice versa. And what of the Empty itself? Or Death? There’s even rumors that Adam (you remember, stuck-in-the-cage Adam?) will be coming back.

Here’s hoping that when the road finally ends, it will be spectacular and lasting.

Supernatural Season 15 airs on October 10th 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. Episodes will be streamable for free on the CW website.

How would you defeat Chuck? Let us know in the comments below!

Who’s that Pokemon? New Sword and Shield Pokemon Teased

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Sword and Shield, image courtesy of Nintendo/Game Freak.

It’s a…Blurrémon?

Sword and Shield, the upcoming Pokemon game featuring a UK-esque region, has the gaming community buzzing with theories after the official website released a teaser image of a new Pokemon.

The image, however, is heavily blurred and leaves much to the imagination. The glitching gif looks corrupted, and the name and some of the description is redacted. Faithful to the name of the game, this new Pokemon seems to have a sword of some sort. But other than that, the design is up to interpretation, and fans have run rampant with their own interpretations.

Some stats accompany the blurred Pokemon. The type is fighting and the ability is steadfast. For a quick refresher, steadfast means that the Pokemon gains speed each time they flinch. It does seem to imply a warrior-like tone, unflinching in the face of danger like the “blurred sword” implies. The fighting type also supports this theory, but Game Freak has not confirmed any fan theories.

The Internet Runs Wild with Theories on the New Sword and Shield Pokemon

The most popular theory floating around the internet is that the new pokemon is an evolution or region-specific Farfetch’d. Farfetch’d is a Gen 1 Pokemon with no special evolutions or variations, even after the introduction of mega evolutions. Quite frankly it’s time that this bird got an upgrade.

Turning the image sideways one can imagine a duck holding a sword and a shield. Myself, with the image as presented I see a Cubone, but the likelihood of another variation of that Pokemon is unlikely.

For now, this new blurry Pokemon has been playfully named “Sirfetch’d” by fans. We should know closer to the release of Sword and Shield. The game releases on November 15, 2019.

What do you think this new Pokemon is? Is it a new Pokemon or a variation of one? Let us know in the comments below!

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 9/11/19

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All right! I love Tigersharks!

COMIC CREATORS WORK ALL YEAR, AND SO DO WE!

When it’s Wednesday, I salivate a bit more. That’s because there’s new comic books to devour!

ghost rider absolute carnage
Marvel Comics

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: SYMBIOTE OF VENGEANCE #1
Marvel Comics

Writers: Ed Brisson
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Cover Price:  $4.99

The Absolute Carnage event is getting strong reviews. Does this tie-in stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it?

Ed Brisson is a good writer who has put out some memorable stories. This doesn’t feel like one of them. There isn’t much of a drive behind most of the characters in this special. Three different Ghost Riders in this comic all complain a lot and don’t live up to their potential. Meanwhile, Carnage is still being shown as a preeminent threat across Marvel. Even with the death in this comic, the pace is slow and the resolution is very unsatisfying.

ghost rider marvel comic
Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance #1 – Marvel Comics

Juan Frigeri is doing good work in Symbiote of Vengeance. There is a lot of flow between panels. Meanwhile, his use of detail is careful not to overload the reader. Actually, his backgrounds are above average, as well. Most of the characters in this comic don’t have standard faces. However, his human characters have decent expressiveness. Frigeri could use a touch more exaggeration in the faces to really push the emotion in them, though.

After Extermination, I had high hopes for Brisson’s work here. All in all, I was let down.

postal top cow
Top Cow Comics

POSTAL: DELIVERANCE #3
Top Cow Comics

Writers: Bryan Hill
Artist: Raffaele Ienco
Cover Price:  $3.99

I have never read a Postal comic before. No time like the present!

Although I have no knowledge of Postal, Bryan Hill’s writing has pulled me in with both hands. I haven’t seen these characters before. I am not familiar with Eden. How things work are a mystery to me. However, the script managed to make me very, very curious after a few pages. The characters can be a bit heavy in dialogue. It is somewhere between a dramatic show and Dynasty in terms of prose.

Postal top cow comic
Postal: Deliverance #3 – Top Cow Comics

Raffaele Ienco’s art is scratchy. He uses a lot of small lines to make detail and it makes the images gritty. However, it is perfect for the story. His art matches the tone and it helps the writing transcend. Meanwhile, the character expressions can be a bit stilted and strange. This could be because Ienco uses a lot of deep angles on characters. Every panel has this strange foreboding sense to it. It is as if any character can be maimed at any moment. It’s strangely enticing.

I do not know this story and am not altogether sure what his happening. I must have more!

comic gotham city monsters
DC Comics

GOTHAM CITY MONSTERS #1
DC Comics

Writers: Steve Orlando
Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan
Cover Price:  $3.99

A group of monsters has settled in Gotham and, for once, they DON’T want to fight Batman. What are the odds?!

The writing is a big double-edged sword in this first issue. Steve Orlando does a decent job in the exposition. While these DC characters are largely new to me, I feel like understand them fairly well by the end of the issue. Moreover, the threat is laid out very plainly. The dialogue in particular was rough for me. Frankenstein’s Monster and Andrew Bennett both spoke like slightly updated versions of 1950’s movie monsters. Meanwhile, two truly enigmatic characters had no dialogue whatsoever. Additionally, the pace of this comic zips between its five characters so fast, I am not sure I have a full picture of who any of the stars are.

dc gotham city monsters
Gotham City Monsters #1 – DC Comics

On the other side of this comic, Amancay Nahuelpan has a strong start in this issue. Given that most of these characters are inhuman, there is a lot of nuance in their expressions and different looks. Orca is hulking and sleek. Lady Clay’s look has an uneven texture. Bennett is sleek and Frankenstein’s Monster is broad and veiny. The action in this comic is also as shocking and over-the-top as you would expect from its cast. There are a couple of monsters that look odd to me depending on the angle. However, it is a first issue. There’s time to see Nahuelpan settle into these characters.

I do want to know more about these characters, although I am not certain I can say this is a good series. It will take a couple more issues to get a complete picture of who they will be.

riddler dc
DC Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
RIDDLER – YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1
DC Comics

Writers: Mark Russell
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Cover Price:  $4.99

This one-shot surpasses the Sinestro one-shot as far as growth.

Mark Russell deserves a lot of credit for his writing in this issue. Somehow, this story fits well into DC’s normal storytelling while honoring the hammy past of Batman in multimedia. There were times I expected Adam West to jump out of the background with a beaming grin! Meanwhile, the dialogue of the Riddler and King Tut carefully balance each other with cynicism and optimism over being career criminals. Their frustration over the “single best-prepared-for-violence man in the world” is genius.

riddler batman dc
Riddler: Year of the Villain #1 – DC Comics

The art is by Scott Golewski. I try not to be negative, although I would call the art “servicable.” The line work is mostly thin, except for broad outer lines. The detail is very thin and somewhat lacking. Moreover, While characters are recognizable, they come across as flat. However, the action scenes have a good flow. In those moments, Golewski seems to come alive. The problem is that the Riddler is not known as a physical character. This may be a case of the wrong artist on the right comic.

Despite my complaints, this is an outstanding issue. It is self-aware and pushes The Riddler to be something beyond what he has been since Frank Gorshin. Additionally, Russell’s story makes the Riddler into a future mystery. Is this a re-invention or will Nygma find a new path that makes him more dangerous? Or possibly a path that takes him away from a sociopath in a bat outfit?

riddler dc comic
Riddler: Year of the Villain #1 – DC Comics

I love this comic. My only complaint is that it is a one-shot. What happens next would be a terrific mini-series, if not an ongoing series.

Which character has grown a lot since you’ve started reading comics? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, we have added a link to our comic book podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!

Hero Nerfs and Overwatch Competitive Season 18

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 9/4/19

Part-Time Henchmen – Ep. 59 – The Kane’s Coffee Job

Hero Nerfs and Overwatch Competitive Season 18

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Competitive Changes

Overwatch’s competitive Season 18 started on August 31, and since then we’ve seen a ton of changes compared to previous seasons. The most significant change is the enforced 2 – 2 – 2 role lock. With this new queueing method, players select their class before the queue begins. They’ll then match with players of similar rank in a team composition that consists of two tanks, two DPS, and two support. Instead of earning one rank, players have different SR based on each class, which then dictates their overall SR. It’s different than previous season’s hero select free for all, where players could choose any character they wanted.

While the queue itself has seen some drastic changes, the meta has also shifted. Now that these specific roles have to be filled in the 2 – 2 – 2 role lock, we’ve seen some characters shine more than others, specifically shield characters.

The Strongest Heroes

After the first week of Season 18, three heroes are dominating the winrates. Sigma, Zarya, and Symmetra are player’s favorites when it comes to competitive, which isn’t that surprising.

Competitive Season 18 Top Heroes by Winrate Courtesy of owlimbo on Reddit

Sigma’s been strong since release. He was crucial in Overwatch League matches due to shield mobility and crowd control abilities. He’s a dominant tank across all levels of competitive play.

Zarya is an excellent frontline tank, and almost always has been. Her ability to absorb damage and convert it to her own makes her on par with some damage dealers. The more damage she absorbs, the bigger her beam grows, and the easier it is to track opponents.

Symmetra’s stronger than ever before. Her turrets affect player movement and can tear through a low health pool no problem. Her teleporter is now indefinite, making it much easier to get back to the point on control point and hybrid maps. It’s easy to hit players with her beam, and she does an insane amount of damage once it’s built up. Lastly, her ultimate, a map-wide shield, is incredibly strong in the current shield meta.

The Nerfs

Luckily, it appears as if their reign will soon be ending. Currently, both Symmetra and Zarya have seen decreased beam width on the Overwatch test server. This change means it will be slightly more difficult for both of them to track their opponents. Sigma’s overall damage has been decreased as well to make him a more balanced hero. Though I don’t think this is going to change their pick rate, perhaps it’ll make them a little weaker when matched against other players.

World of Warcraft Classic and Retail Hit By DDoS Attacks

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WoW Classic
World of Warcraft Classic

World of Warcraft Classic and other Blizzard games went down recently.

Over the past week, World of Warcraft has been hit by a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks have affected both the classic and retail versions of the game. A Twitter account called @UKDrillas claimed responsibility for the attack. The individual or group has also claimed responsibility for carrying out DDoS attacks on Wikipedia.

WoW Classic UKDrillas

Since carrying out a DDoS attack is illegal, Twitter has suspended the account. Since everyone is enjoying World of Warcraft Classic right now, it was a prime target. It is unknown at the time of writing if they will be back again.

Service for both Classic and retail was up and down for a few hours but ultimately restored in that time frame. Some forum users have said that @UKDrillas were trying to gain notoriety by attacking popular streamers such as Asmongold and that bringing down World of Warcraft was not the main goal.

The DDoS attacks had a mixed reaction.

Other players went as far as to demand compensation from Blizzard. While Blizzard has offered compensation in the past, it looked very unlikely that the company would hand out any compensation. One poster on the Classic forums said, “Based off the tweets it’s clear that if the people from that page are responsible, it’s for notoriety. Wiki, Twitch, and Blizzard are big names so being able to effectively put them at a standstill is seemingly impressive. It’s only when you realize that essentially anyone can do this that the party’s responsible go from these all mighty powerful hackers to just some poor sad fellows looking for attention. Notoriety will come from how long it takes to get caught,” one poster said.

How has your Classic experience been? Let us know in the comments below!

Newest Meta in Overwatch?

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Old Overwatch Metas

Overwatch is a game based on team composition and meta. Players have to work together and pick heroes that will get them the best possible outcome. Individual skill always helps these odds, but if a team isn’t revolving around itself, they’re not likely to get any momentum and win the match. That’s how team games work, in a fundamental sense.

Because of this team synchronization, and the need to counter certain heroes, we tend to see metas arise. Famous examples of this in Overwatch are Dive and GOATS. In a Dive composition, players use mobile heroes, such as Winston, Tracer, and Genji, to ideally jump the supports and snowball the rest of the fight. It’s a team solely based on its ability to move in and out of the playing field. GOATS, whose objective is almost identical, relies more on soaking up damage and killing the supports in an up-close battle. This team composition consists of three tanks and three supports and completely negates the need for damage dealers. The recent 2 – 2 – 2 role queue has put an end to metas like this one.

Another less popular meta is the Bunker composition. A team running this comp has an Orisa, Bastion, and Baptiste sitting at an easily defendable part of the point. They’ll do an insane amount of damage output while the rest of the team protects them. It’s not fun, and it’s not pretty, but it gets the job done more often than not.

Bunker Meta Courtesy of Dexerto

Variation of the Bunker Comp

Metas change as the game changes. Certain heroes are more or less viable due to nerfs or buffs, and the natural progression makes it difficult to play one meta for too long. These changes don’t mean we won’t ever see a specific composition again. It also doesn’t mean we won’t find a better variation of that meta.

A recent meta that seems to be poking its head again is the Bunker composition, but there are a few changes this time around. My friends and I have affectionately dubbed it the Sybastion comp for one reason; it’s centered around Symmetra and Bastion.

Symmetra has recently seen a lot more playtime due to the 2 – 2 – 2 role queue and her teleporter changes. Her teleporter range increased an extra five feet, and it lasts indefinitely, or until destroyed. Because of this, Symmetra can teleport her team farther distances or make it easier to return to the point after being killed.

These simple changes have made her a more viable character, and she’s almost become a team staple at this point. Combining her teleporter mobility with a shield hero, be it Reinhardt, Sigma, or Orisa, and a Bastion has revamped the Bunker comp. Combine this with stellar supports, and you’re good to go.

How to Counter

Just like any meta, the trick is finding a way to counter it. Team compositions like this aren’t invincible; they take an equally strong team to beat it. My advice if you run into this Sybastion comp in-game is to run a Mei. Mei has seen more playtime recently after the introduction of 2 – 2 – 2 role queue, and she’s a simple counter to this pesky problem. Because this team comp relies heavily on sticking together, being able to separate them with a well-placed ice wall or freeze them with an ultimate can easily mean victory for your team. That being said, make sure your team destroys Symmetra’s teleporter first. There’s nothing more painful than landing a perfect ultimate only to see the team teleport right out of it.

Mei Courtesy of PC Gamer

I’m not sure if this strategy is going to stick. Maybe Sybastion is merely a passing phase and will fade out as quickly as some other attempted team compositions. If that’s the case, good riddance. If you do see this composition in-game though, perhaps you’ll be a bit more prepared. Kill the Symmetra, that’s all I’m saying.

Sinatraa Wins 2019 Overwatch League MVP

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Sinatraa and the Shock’s Season

San Francisco Shock has had an impressive season of Overwatch thus far. They participated in every Stage Playoff, won the Stage 2 Playoffs, and had a 28-map winning streak in Stage 2. That streak is the longest in Overwatch League history. On top of these achievements, the Shock’s Jay “Sinatraa” Won was recently awarded the most valuable player of the Overwatch League 2019 Season.

Jay “Sinatraa” Won

Sinatraa signed with the Shock during Season 1, when he was only 17 and not yet eligible to take the stage. This decision occurred after his stellar DPS performance in the 2017 Overwatch World Cup. He reportedly signed onto the team with a $150,000 contract, making him the highest-paid pro in the League.

While the Shock didn’t have an overwhelming first season, they’ve bounced back during Season 2, no small thanks to Sinatraa. He thrives on damage dealing characters like Doomfist and Tracer, and GOATS was a snap because of his Zarya skills.

Not only is Sinatraa a skilled player, but he’s also shown tremendous growth during this season. He admits to initially being a toxic and selfish player, but due to the coaching staff, has bettered himself as a person.

MVP Finalists

While Sinatraa won MVP for the 2019 Overwatch League Season, earning a majority of the 600,000 fan votes cast, he was up against some worthy competition. The other finalists were his Shock teammate Matthew “Super” DeLisi, the Vancouver Titans’ Choi “JJANU” Hyeon-woo and Lee “Twilight” Joo-seok, and Xu “Guxue” Qiulin of the Hangzhou Spark.

2019 Overwatch League MVP Finalists Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Last year, Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeo won the MVP trophy. JjoNak recently received an in-game Zenyatta skin to commemorate his achievement. While it hasn’t been confirmed, fans are expecting an in-game Zarya skin for Sinatraa.

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Professional players aren’t going to win every game, and they make silly mistakes, just like the rest of us. In a recent stream, Sinatraa attempted a play as Doomfist that resulted in the death of his team. While this doesn’t diminish his accomplishments, it’s nice to know that even professionals fail every once and awhile.

COMIC REVIEWS FOR 9/4/19

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battlepug comic
Not helpful!

LABOR DAY WON’T STOP NEW COMICS OR NEW COMIC REVIEWS!

Hopefully, you have enjoyed your holiday weekend as much as we have! We have fresh reviews of Halo Outpost Destination and Long Beach Comic-Con! In the meantime… MORE COMICS!

harley quinn poison ivy
DC Comics

HARLEY QUINN & POISON IVY #1
DC Comics

Writers: Jody Houser
Artist: Adriana Melo
Cover Price:  $3.99

This issue is dangerously close to being my Pick of the Week.

Jody Houser’s characterizations are top notch. She carefully balances Harley’s poor impulse control with her desperation to help Poison Ivy regain her humanity after Heroes In Crisis. Moreover, this is the closest to rational I have ever seen Quinn outside of her pre-Joker days, while that is still very wacky. I did get swept up in the crossroads Quinn and Ivy find themselves at. Their dialogue is good, although Ivy’s is purposefully stiff and distant. My lone complaint story-wise is that it seems to cut off rather abruptly at the end.

harley poison ivy dc
Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #1 – DC Comics

Meanwhile, the art by Adriana Melo is a good compliment to Houser’s writing. She has a good flow between panels. However, the little bits of action in this series can use a bit more of a sense of motion. Meanwhile, the title characters have good proportions. Their emotions are easily conveyed in their faces. There is a problem though. From what I can see, both characters look the same. Their bodies and faces are so similar, if this was black and white, you may have a problem telling them apart. It is a first issue, though. Perhaps Melo can add more distinct touches to Quinn and Ivy over the course of this mini-series.

This isn’t a home run, however it is good. Most aspects of the story are laid out well and the art is lively. I’m willing to see if the entire mini is this good.

battlepug comic
Image Comics

BATTLEPUG #1
Image Comics

Writers: Mike Norton
Artist: Allen Passalaqua
Cover Price:  $3.99

This is the most adorable battle mount I have ever seen!

Mike Norton created this story as a web comic years ago and he isn’t waiting for people to catch up! He drops some small pieces of exposition in the very beginning. Although, from there, this story goes full speed ahead. The characters are hilarious versions of different parts of pop-culture who are, on a scale of 1 to 10, are at about a 12 on the absurdity scale. The dialogue goes some way in establishing the characters for new readers. Moreover, the dialogue is very close to laugh-out-loud funny!

Battlepug image comic
Battlepug #1 – Image Comics

Allen Passalaqua is the perfect foil to Norton’s over-the-top writing. His art is cartoonish with little detail. However, it mirrors the story with characters that are almost unbelievable. The central characters themselves are different characterizations of you standard sword and sorcery archetypes. Meanwhile, there is a wild energy in the art. The flow and action are the best I have seen this week.

After reading this comic, I want to read the Compugdium and see how all of this started, as well as every issue that comes out. Between this and Rat Queens, I love Image’s ridiculous fantasy comics.

black widow marvel
Marvel Comics

WEB OF BLACK WIDOW #1 (of 5)
Marvel Comics

Writers: Jody Houser
Artist: Stephen Mooney
Cover Price:  $3.99

What are the odds that Jody House writes two good issues for two different companies in one week? Better than you’d think…

This makes twice Houser has surprised me with superb characterization. Her version of Black Widow has determination, calmness, vulnerability, and foresight with a sheen of confidence. She makes Natasha into a character with depth few other writers seem to attempt. Moreover, the scenario is thought provoking. It is a combination of existentialism and wondering if the Widow is even in her right mind. In addition, she may end up at odds with some of Marvel’s Avengers before this mini-series ends. The story is downright enticing.

natasha romanoff marvel
The Web of Black Widow #1 – Marvel Comics

The artwork is by Stephen Moody and it is the subtleties that make it great. The characters are more than expressive enough. The detail is sparing although effective. The line work is very clean. Where the art shines, however, is in the action and the tone. The action is laid out very clearly and has a weighty flow. The punches have no onomatopoeia, except because of the art, I can hear the hits land. Meanwhile, the tone has a noir-ish quality that fits the espionage nature of the story and characters. Additionally, it adds to the internal darkness of Romanoff and where her mind is.

I thought I wouldn’t like this comic, but I do! I’m adding this series to my pull list and I’m anxious to see how it develops.

supergirl comic
DC Comics

PICK OF THE WEEK
SUPERGIRL #33
DC Comics

Writers: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Kevin Maguire
Cover Price:  $3.99

This is the best issue of Supergirl I have read since the Being Super mini-series.

Marc Andreyko’s writing shows a Supergirl that may have exorcised her personal demons to become a different person. In other words, Supergirl has had a longer personal arc that has taken her to a new place and has given her the possibility for a new set of stories. The different characters in this series are projecting big personalities without screaming. There is almost no exposition. Moreover, this comic summarizes Supergirl’s current status in easy-reading fashion. This is a terrific jump-in point for readers.

Supergirl dc comic
Supergirl #33 – DC Comics

Meanwhile, Kevin Maguire keeps things light visually. His art has a lot of pop and an extremely fluid style. I do note that he is very sparing on detail, using it only when absolutely necessary to create depth and shape. However, that isn’t to say his art is non-distinct. The proportions are sharp and the backgrounds do add a lot of visual and scene depth. I have a couple of minor complaints. First, some deep angles can make Maguire’s character faces look flat. And second, he has a bit of a problem with Supergirl’s eyes. They’re always wide open and don’t have any details past her irises.

supergirl superman
Supergirl #33 – DC Comics

While I prefer Joelle Jones’ version, Andreyko’s Kara has a lot going for her. She is making a lot of independent decisions that make her more than “Superman’s cousin.” This issue and arc has Supergirl being her own character and ready for a new path. It is rare that an ongoing series has a jump-in point with so much potential, especially with the current story keeping Superman off Earth for a bit. Perhaps Supergirl is about to get her Captain Marvel-like moment and a chance to be a more engaged hero?

After reading this comic, I have renewed interest in Kara’s future in DC Comics! I seriously hope DC Editorial capitalizes on this opportunity!

Which comic is your version of a perfect jump-in point? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, we have added a link to our comic book podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!

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Part Time-Henchmen – Ep. 58