Databurst From the 501st

October 14, 2015 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Charity, Conventions, Databurst From the 501st, Events, Star Wars | Leave a comment

501stLogoLatest Databurst From the 501st covering 501st Legion event news from October 14 to 20th. As always, be sure to mark your calendars and support your local garrisons.

October 15

  • Japanese Garrison will be in Sapporo downtown Hokkaido for the Greenbird Volunteer Cleanup.
  • Old Line Garrison will be in Aberdeen, MD for Aberdeen Library Comic Con Author’s Night with Ian Doescher from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.

October 16

  • Badlands Garrison will be in Edmonton, AB for the St. Albert Amplify Festival from October 16 to 17th.
  • Bast Alpha Garrison will be in New Orleans, LA for the Audubon Boo at the Zoo from October 16 to 17, in Lafayette, LA for the CMA Spooktacular from October 16 to 17, and in Shreveport, LA for the Run with the Nuns Family Festival from 5:00 to 8:30 PM.
  • Central Garrison will be in St. Paul, MN for the Zoo Boo at Como Zoo.
  • Great Lakes Garrison will be in Grand Rapids, MI for Grand Rapids Comic Con.
  • Midwest Garrison will be in Burbank, IL for the Haunt for Hunger.
  • Old Line Garrison will be in Aberdeen, MD for Aberdeen Library Mini Comic-Con from noon to 5:00 PM.
  • Southern California Garrison will be in Sun Valley, CA for Homecoming at Haney Field from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, in Riverside, CA for the PTO Membership Drive, and in San Bernardino, CA for the Wilson School Fall Festival from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.
  • Star Garrison will be at Fan Days at the Irving Convention Center from October 16 to 18th.
  • UK Garrison will be in Birmingham for the Star Wars music concert at The I C C from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…


Around the Web

September 11, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in Around the Web, Books, Comic Books, Conventions, Events, Marvel, Regular Feature, Star Wars, Star Wars Books, Toys & Collectibles, Video Games | 2 Comments

Here is this week’s Around the Web news roundup of Star Wars and beyond.

Book News

  • Want to read all the new short stories for the upcoming collection Rise of the Empire? Then head on over to the product page and click on the “Look Inside” feature. The preview includes all of the new short stories.
  • Inquisitr has an interview with author Jason Fry on his latest book Weapon of a Jedi.
  • Little Golden Books has three new Star Wars books coming out and Jedi Bibliothek has a look at the covers.
  • Edelweiss also has a new listing for Star Wars Creatures of the Outer Rim. Release date is April 26, 2016, 240 page hardcover published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, “A 240-page book filled with short stories about favorite alien characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
  • Kevin Hearne is running a book giveaway contest to those who help donate to the United Nations Refugee Agency. He has a writeup on it on his blog that you can check out. The giveaway includes books from multiple authors including books by Kevin as well as Chuck Wendig.
  • The new versions of Paul S. Kemp‘s Egil & Nix novels are out: The Hammer and the Blade and A Discourse in Steel. They sport new covers and an excerpt for the third, upcoming book.

Comic News

  • has a preview for Star Wars #9.
  • IGN has a preview of Shattered Empire #2.
  • CBR has a preview of Lando #4.

Continue Reading Around the Web…

Podcasts in Review

February 27, 2014 at 12:00 am | Posted in Podcasts, Podcasts in Review, Regular Feature, Reviews, Star Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Television | Leave a comment
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Here is this week’s Podcasts in Review.

501st Cast: Episode 79 catches up on what the 501st Legion has been up to, gives a behind the scenes on the shooting of the Star Wars Mythbusters episode, some nice highlights of charities they’ve been able to help recently, and a cool interview with Jimmy Mac delving into the future of Star Wars.

Bombad Radio: Episode 127 has a real treat for Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans as they interview Brent Friedman, one of the writers for the show. They cover the start of his career with Dark Skies, Mortal Kombat and The Twilight Zone. Brent shares some interesting info on IMDB (Internet Movie Database) which I had no idea about. Then they dive into TCW. From working with George Lucas and Dave Filoni, to writing two more seasons that may never see the light of day, there’s a lot for Star Wars fans to enjoy.

Full of Sith: Episode LII features special guest Mark Newbold who talks about the odd and ends of running a Star Wars news site, and dives into a smorgasbord of topics. They cover Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6, Star Wars Rebels, the possibility of more Star Wars shows on Netflix and more. Continue Reading Podcasts in Review…

Five By Five 2: No Surrender

September 17, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in | Leave a comment

Five By Five 2: No Surrender is the anthology sequel to Five By Five. Both books collect together five novellas by five different authors with the common theme of military science fiction. The anthologies also have a strong Star Wars vibe going with the authors. In this collection, there are stories by Kevin J. Anderson, Aaron Allston and William C. Dietz, all of whom have written Star Wars books. Also in the lineup is Brad R. Torgersen and R.M. Meluch. The tales range from soldiers on future battlefields dealing with the unknown concept of peace, to tiny robotic revolutionaries struggling for their survival. It’s a nice mix of stories and styles that provides a lot of entertainment.

The first story in the anthology is “Legio Patria Nostra” (The Legion is Our Country) by William C. Dietz. Star Wars fans might recognize Dietz from the Dark Forces Trilogy, though he has written a ton of books outside the franchise. In this story, he explores a handful of characters in an intriguing sci-fi setting. The galaxy is split between warring factions such as the Hudathan Empire, the Confederacy of Sentient Beings and the Ramanthians. Amidst this war, there’s Captain Damien Chozick, a member of the Legion, and a soldier motivated by greed. On the other end of the spectrum is Captain Dean Smith, a religious man on the rebound with his faith and a soldier committed to his troops. These two men get into battles with cyborg warriors, alien bandits and ultimately each other. There is a lot of nice world building and character building to suck the reader in. It’s a good story and a fun read.

Next up is “Prisoner of War” by Kevin J. Anderson. The story takes place in the world created by The Outer Limits episode called “Soldier”. Fittingly, it stars two soldiers, Barto and Arviq, comrades in a never ending conflict that no longer has sides or reasons other than ‘kill the enemy.’ On desolate battlefields, they deal with lasers, mines and robots without question and without fear. That is until Barto and Arviq get farther than any attack has ever gotten before. Driving deep into enemy territory, they discover a bunker filled with beings unlike any they have ever seen. It is there, deep underground, far from the battlefields, that they discover something so foreign to their concept of life that they can’t quite understand it: peace. It was interesting to see a story that explored the idea of individuals who are literal prisoners to the life of war. All in all, this was a solid story.

From there, the tales move on to “Reardon’s Law” by Brad R. Torgersen. This story follows a female military cop named Kalliope ‘Kal’ Reardon who is sent into the Occupied Zone known as Oz. It’s an isolated area of space where a defeated army lies licking its wounds from a galactic war it lost. Hitech, prototype battle armor has been disappearing in Oz and it’s up to Kal to find out where it’s been going. As can be expected, things don’t go quite as planned. While it’s a neat concept and mostly a good story, it did have one flaw going against it. There are two story threads that are interwoven together. One is set in the near future, while the other is in the past. The result is that in one chapter you’ll see where the characters end up, and in the next, you’ll see how they got there. While this might work in some situations, here it just spoils the surprise and catapults you into action with characters you don’t know yet. It would have worked a lot better if the chapters were just told in order, thus building up and developing the characters, then plunging them into action. However, there was one other issue, and that’s the ending. Instead of resolving the story, it leaves everything hanging as a way to tease readers into reading the series the story is a part of. I don’t mind short stories and novellas trying to spur reader interest in a larger series, but leaving a story incomplete with no real ending and no resolution to conflict that was setup in the story is not the way to go about it. The ending really left my disappointed in the story.

Then there is “Dagger Team Seven” by R.M. Meluch. This story has a lot going for it. The world that is created is pretty awesome, the plot development generates a ton of interest in the story and characters, and the overall story is complete and satisfying. The premise is a future where humans discover a portal off in distant space that is funneling in an aggressive, hostile species nicknamed the Rutogs. The soldiers fight with semi-sentient spaceships called Daggers which are formed into elite teams very similar to SEAL teams. They are expected to deal out damage far in excess of their small numbers and they act well behind enemy lines. The main character, Zack Cade, is a part of Dagger Team Nine. He and his team are sent through the portal, known as The Intersection, to take out the Rutogs homeworld and end the war once and for all. But there’s a tantalizing mystery element that’s thrown in and really elevates the story. With the great hooks and story elements, this was a really good story.

Last, but certainly not least, is Aaron Allston’s “Coffee Black Sea”. The title is a play on an old Greek saying Wine-Dark Sea. The story is also a sequel to “Big Plush” which was in the first antholgoy, Five By Five (if you haven’t read it, Aaron’s story alone is worth the price of the eBook, combined with Kevin J. Anderson’s story and Stackpole’s, and it’s worth buying the physical book, too). Both stories have an extremely neat setting. The stars of the book are tiny, sentient machines called Dollgangers. They’re about nine inches tall and made by humans as laborers and entertainment devices. However, with the Dollgangers’ advancement in sentience, they begin to resent the ill treatment of their owners and gain a desire for freedom. In this story, the ‘ganger revolution continues with the adventures of Bow the Giant Slayer. Having helped secure a temporary freedom for his people on the planet Chiron, Bow sets his sights on a larger avenue of freedom that could secure their independence indefinitely. What ensues is his mission to get it. I’ll admit that the first story, “Big Plush” was better as this one is very focused on combat and missions and doesn’t allow a lot of time for character relationships, but it was still a fun story. Allston sneaks in some of his penchant for humor and even some fighter combat and ground operations that might make some people think of his Wraith Squadron stories. The uniqueness of the characters is especially appealing and allow for a lot of neat imagery. Definitely a story worth checking out.

With five novellas of different flavors and fancies, Five By Five 2: No Surrender is an anthology that delivers some good storytelling. It’s definitely worth the price of an eBook, and if you’ve plan on picking up both Five By Five and Five By Five 2, I’d be inclined to opt for the physical copies, but I’m a bit of collector. Regardless, this is an anthology Star Wars fans looking to broaden their horizons should give a try. For sci-fi fans, it’s a good anthology to get your dose of warfare, aliens, character and world building. I give it a four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4

July 17, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in | Leave a comment

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 (of 5)

Writer: Tim Siedell
Penciller: Stephen Thompson
Inkers: Mark Irwin, Drew Geraci, Jason Gorder
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Ariel Olivetti

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 takes a step toward The Twilight Zone as things get weird. The inhabitants of the Temple of the Headless Snake prove to be very strange, and their origins remain mysterious. They present Darth Vader with the offer of immense power: an incredible weapon, an army and the chance to rule the galaxy by himself. Will Vader remain loyal to the Empire? Will he take advantage of this opportunity to break free of his chains? Thankfully, this issue does not keep the reader hanging.

In the last issue, the assassin decided to let Vader venture into the temple by himself. It would appear that was a wise choice. The people who live in the temple are a rather odd lot. Their physical appearances are badly deformed, most likely due to the surging green beam of power that courses through their temple. They also seem to worship chaos and are eager to embrace the death of their fellow comrades. Whereas the Jedi believe in a balance of the Force, and the Sith believe in dominating it, the Temple of the Headless snake believes in chaos. They want someone who can fulfill their prophecy.

“One who can slay the Jedi snake. One who can destroy the Empire snake. One who can bring chaos to the galaxy at last.”

But their bizarre beliefs are just the tip of the iceberg. In order to receive the knowledge of their weapon, they make Vader go through a purification process. This involves an eerie green pool, creepy vines and an experience similar to the one Luke had on Dagaboh. But the Dark Lord doesn’t have visions of striking himself down or fighting his son, he sees his greatest foes: Obi-Wan and the Emperor. The scene is simultaneously cool and strange. It’s full of symbology. Yet it also raises many more questions.

At that point, Vader makes his choice.

Personally, I think he chose well and it wraps up the issue. As odd as this issue was, I liked the weirdness of it. It was a fun escape from the usual storylines that are done with Star Wars and a little reminiscent of some of the stories Paul S. Kemp and Troy Denning have been doing in the novels. This issue was definitely leaning toward the fantasy side of things instead of the sci-fi side.

The visuals in this issue were great looking and Stephen Thompson is back as the penciller. Vader is captured perfectly and gets some really awesome shots that are out of the ordinary during his vision. There is a definite nod to Ralph McQuarrie that creeps in there. The art team also does a great job of making the inhabitants of the temple look creepy, especially the high priests. My only teeny, tiny gripe is that the cover shows Vader fighting the monster from the last issue who has nothing to do with this one. It’s a cool looking cover and would have been great if it showed up on the previous one. Here, it just serves as a misrepresentation of what readers can expect.

With only one more issue to go, there’s still quite a bit that needs to be wrapped up. What will Vader do with his new gift? What will happen to the assassin? Will we actually see something unexpected? So far, this series has done a great job of doing the unexpected. This issue definitely captured it in full force. I’ll admit, it might be too weird for some Star Wars fans, but I liked it. A little variety helps spice up the EU and keeps the stories lively. I give Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 a five out of five metal bikinis. It dares to go places that others might hesitate to venture, and by doing so, tells a story that stands apart.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

Databurst From the 501st

June 5, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Charity, Conventions, Databurst From the 501st, Events, News, Star Wars, Star Wars News | Leave a comment

Latest Databurst From the 501st covering 501st Legion event news from June 5 through 11th. As always, be sure to mark your calendars and support your local garrisons.

June 5

  • Great Lakes Garrison will be in Rochester, MI for Cancer Survivor Day.
  • Old Line Garrison will be in Baltimore, MD for the Weird Al Yankovic concert at Ram’s Head from 6:00-11:00 PM.

June 6

  • Northern Darkness Garrison will be in Ft. Wayne, IN for the Jr. Achievement Golf Outing.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…

‘The Clone Wars’ Roundup

March 15, 2013 at 8:04 am | Posted in Interview, Television, The Clone Wars | Leave a comment
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With the recent end of season 5 of The Clone Wars and the announcement that there will be no season 6, there has been quite a bit of activity from the cast. In case you might have missed any, here’s a roundup of the various interviews, as well as James Arnold Taylor’s touching address to the fans.


James Arnold Taylor’s Letter to the Fans (in its entirety)

Last Friday was a red letter date for me as the actor that has had the honor of portraying and bringing voice to one of the most well known characters in not just Star Wars history, but film and televisions as well, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for well over a decade.  Red letter in a way that brought both happiness and great sadness. Continue Reading ‘The Clone Wars’ Roundup…

Databurst From the 501st

May 2, 2012 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Databurst From the 501st, Events | Leave a comment

Latest Databurst From the 501st covering event news from May 2nd to 8th. Tons of events for both May the 4th be with you! and Free Comic Book Day. Be sure to mark your calendars and show support for your local garrisons.

May 2

May 3

  • Central Garrison will be in Minneapolis, MN for the Weird Al Concert.
  • Great Lakes Garrison will be in Grand Rapids, MI for a Childrens Hospital visit.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…

March Solicitations for Dark Horse’s Star Wars Comics

December 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Art, Comic Books, Dark Horse, Star Wars News | Leave a comment
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Comics Continuum unveiled the March solicitations for Dark Horse Comics, including the following Star Wars issues.

Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #4 Continue Reading March Solicitations for Dark Horse’s Star Wars Comics…

Chicken Little Was Right – The Sky Really Is Falling – UARS

September 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Miscellaneous, Regular Feature, Science News | 1 Comment

Hey gang, here’s some fun news for Science Thursday this week. In fact, let me start the whole piece with a kind of a fun little riddle. Ready? Here we go.

What is 20 years old, weighs 6.5 tons, is the size of a school bus, and is going to fall out of the sky on Friday and instantly crush to death anyone unfortunate enough to be standing under it? If you said a space elephant, you were wrong. If you said the UARS satellite launched into orbit in 1991 by our friends at NASA, well then you get a gold star.

If the elephant is scared enough, you'll have plenty of warning.

What is the UARS? (You always ask the best questions) The UARS is the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. It was launched into orbit in 1991 on the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-48). It’s official mission was to study Earth’s atmosphere and the ozone layer but like all satellites launched in the late 80s and early 90s that had any kind of cameras aboard, it was likely that it was at least a part time spy satellite as well. Continue Reading Chicken Little Was Right – The Sky Really Is Falling – UARS…

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