Podcasts in Review

July 27, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Podcasts, Podcasts in Review, Regular Feature, Reviews, Star Wars | 2 Comments

Here is this week’s Podcasts in Review.

Blast Points: Episode 83 starts with news as they talk about Han Solo pics, the underwater X-wing, the prop display at San Diego Comic Con, other SDCC news, then they roll dice to pick which Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes they’ll discuss, which turns out to be season four’s “Kidnapped” and season five’s “Test of Strength.” Good episode.

Brews and Blasters: Episode 125 is their commentary on the Droids cartoon tv movie “The Great Heep.”

Brews and Blasters: Episode 127 starts with their Shark Tank pitch for the Oppo lifestyle. They they talk Grieco, Black Series figures, Force Friday planning, iTunes reviews and listener feedback. Good episode. Continue Reading Podcasts in Review…

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Databurst From the 501st

June 28, 2017 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Charity, Conventions, Databurst From the 501st, Star Wars | Leave a comment

Latest Databurst From the 501st covering 501st Legion event news from June 28 to July 4th. As always, be sure to mark your calendars and support your local garrisons.

June 28

  • Bast Alpha Garrison will be in Walker, LA for Bible School at Way Church of Livingston from June 28 to 30th.
  • Rancor Raiders Garrison will be in Olive Branch, MS for Camp B.U.I.L.D.

June 29

  • Central Garrison will be in Sioux Falls, SD for Star Wars Science Camp at Washington Pavilion.
  • Northern Darkness Garrison will be in Hammond, IN for Re-Imagining the World Gala at the Indiana Welcome Center from 5:30 to 8:30 PM.

June 30

  • 70th Explorers Garrison will be in Wichita, KS for the Shortest Parade at the LakePoint Wichita Retirement Community.
  • Garrison Carida will be in Allison Park, PA for Winchester Thurston Summer Camps, and in Latrobe, PA for the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival from June 30 to July 2nd.
  • Mountain Garrison will be in Denver, CO for Denver Comic Con from June 30 to July 2nd.
  • New England Garrison will be in Hubbardston, MA for Ron Burton Training Village.
  • Northern Darkness Garrison will be in Lakewood, NJ for Star Wars Night with the Lakewood BlueClaws from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
  • Ohio Garrison will be in Miamisburg, OH for Movie Night at The Park at Austin Landing from 9:15 PM to 12:15 AM.
  • Star Garrison will be in Houston, TX for the Houston Social Media Day Conference.
  • UK Garrison will be in Bo’ness for the Bo’ness Children’s Festival at Douglas Park from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…

Databurst From the 501st

May 3, 2017 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Charity, Conventions, Databurst From the 501st, Events, Star Wars | Leave a comment

Latest Databurst From the 501st covering 501st Legion event news from May 3 to 9th. Lots of upcoming events for May the 4th Be With You and Free Comic Book Day. As always, be sure to mark your calendars and support your local garrisons.

May 3

  • 70th Explorers Garrison will be in Overland Park, KS for Star Wars Day at the Johnson County Community College from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
  • Alpine Garrison will be in Salt Lake City, UT for the Adam Bray book signing at The King’s English Bookshop from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.
  • Garrison Carida will be in Downingtown, PA for the West Bradford Music Concert from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.
  • Georgia Garrison will be in Augusta, GA for Super Awesome Star Wars Storytime from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.
  • Redback Garrison will be at Fairview Heights State School for Star Wars Day, and at Westfield Helensvale Star Wars Trivia Night.
  • Southern California Garrison will be in the John C. Fremont Library for the Star Wars Party from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.
  • Southern Cross Garrison will be in East Lismore, New South Wales for the May the 4th Celebration, and in Lambton Heights, New South Wales for the JHH visit.
  • Star Garrison will be at Chelsey’s 5K for Kids.

May 4

  • 70th Explorers Garrison will be in St. Louis, MO for the National Travel and Tourism Week at Busch II Infield (Ballpark Village) from 9:30 AM to noon, in Lawrence, KS for the Annual KU Star Wars Day at KU Memorial Union from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in St. Louis, MO for Schlafly Library Star Wars Day from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, in Kansas City, MO for Alzheimer Awareness at Villa Ventura Retirement Community from 5:30 to 8:00 PM, in St. Louis, MO for Star Wars Night at Hard Rock Cafe from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, and in Newton, KS for the Newton Library May the 4th Event from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.
  • Alpine Garrison will be in St. George, UT for May the 4th at Santa Clara Library from 3:30 to 4:30 PM, in Sunset, UT for the Lazer Zone fundraiser from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, in Tooele, UT for Utah State University 4H May the 4th event at Tooele Health Dept from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, and in Ogden, UT for The Light Side of Special Needs from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
  • Bast Alpha Garrison will be in New Orleans, LA for May the 4th at the Aquarium of the Americas from May 4 to 7th, in Biloxi, MS for Star Wars Day at the Biloxi Shuckers Baseball Game, and in Lafayette, LA for the Acadiana Human Society Fundraiser.
  • Carolina Garrison will be in Durham, NC for an event at Cambria Hotel & Suites from 7:00 to 8:30 AM, in Charlotte, NC for the Hemby Children’s Hospital visit, in Greenville, SC for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children visit, in Kingsport, TN for the Mountain States Health Alliance Awards Banquet from 4:30 to 7:00 PM, in Kitty Hawk, NC for the Autism Benefit at Barefoot Bernie’s Tropical Grill & Bar from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in Asheville, NC for Father/Son LEGO Night at Bricks 4 Kidz from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in Charleston, SC for the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry “Night at the Brewseum” from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, and in Charlotte, NC for Star Wars Knight with the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
  • Central Garrison will be in Worthington, MN for May the Fourth at Hy-Vee, in Ankeny, IA for Lazer Blaster Ball at Firetrucker Brewery, in Hiawatha, IA for GoDaddy May the Fourth Employee event, in St. Paul, MN for May the 4th Be With You at Red Balloon Bookshop, and in Fort Dodge, IA for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Fundraiser Fort Dodge, IA May the Fourth Gala at Fort Frenzy.
  • Central California Garrison will be in Sacramento, CA for May the 4th Be With You at Fairytale Town from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in Roseville, CA for May the 4th Be With You at Maidu Branch Library from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, in Modesto, CA for Star Wars Day Modesto from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, and in Fresno, CA for Project Wish Upon A Star’s May the 4th Be With You from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
  • Cloud City Garrison will be in Beaverton, OR for the Aloha Farmers’ Market Opening Day from 3:00 to 4:00 PM, in Oregon City, OR for May the Fourth at Oregon City Library from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in Eugene, OR for May the Fourth at Eugene Public Library from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, and in Lebanon, OR for May the Fourth at Lebanon Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
  • Fortresse Imperiale Garrison will be in Repentigny, QC for the Press Conference of Geekulture Lanaudière, in Westmount, QC for May the Fourth Be With You from 4:00 to 5:00 PM, and in Sherbrooke, QC for May the Fourth at the Sherbrooke Seminar from 12:30 to 4:00 PM.
  • Garrison Carida will be in Swarthmore, PA for CADES Star Wars Day from 10:00 AM to noon, in Pittsburgh, PA for MAKEnight (21+) May the 4th at the Children’s Museum from 6:30 to 9:00 PM, and in Dover, DE for May Fourth Star Wars Day at Kent County Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
  • Garrison Corellia will be in Charleston, WV for West Virginia Power Comic Con.
  • Garrison Excelsior will be in Albany, NY for a May the Fourth visit to St. Margaret’s Center, in Syracuse, NY for a May the Fourth visit to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, and in Binghamton, NY for the Binghamton Philharmonic’s Star Wars concert.
  • Garrison Titan will be in Seattle, WA for Star Wars Night with the Seattle Mariners.
  • Garrison Tyranus will be at the Big Brother Big Sister of Central Blue Ridge at 6:00 PM, at the Washington West Film Festival Fundraising Event at 6:15 PM, and in VSO Music of Star Wars at 7:30 PM.
  • Georgia Garrison will be in Augusta, GA for May the 4th Be With You Reading Event at the Augusta Public Library from 9:30 to 11:30 AM, in Savannah, GA for Star Wars Reads Day at Live Oaks Public Library from noon to 2:00 PM, in Stewart, GA for Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield Spring Carnival from 5:00 to 9:00 PM, in Woodstock, GA for May the Fourth Be With You Charity Event at Reformation Brewery from 5:30 to 8:00 PM, and in Columbus, GA for Star Wars Day from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.
  • Great Lakes Garrison will be in Grand Rapids, MI for the Devos Children’s Hospital visit, in Detroit, MI for Space Dive Episode III, in Grand Rapids, MI for May the 4th at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, in Grand Rapids, MI for May the 4th Tattoos and Beers at Mos Eisley’s Tattoos and Harmony Brewing Company, and in Canton, MI for May the 4th at the Canton Library.
  • Japanese Garrison will be in Miyagi Prefecture for the Yamamota Yume Farm Third Anniversary, and in Miyagi Prefecture for Children and Adults Play Together event.
  • Midsouth Garrison will be in Louisville, KY for the 2017 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, in Knoxville, TN for Bricks 4 Kids May the Fourth Be With You Celebration, and in Chattanooga, TN for the Lookouts Baseball game.
  • Midwest Garrison will be in Cherry Valley, IL for May The Fourth Be With You Star Wars Day at the Library.
  • Neon City Garrison will be in Las Vegas, NV for May Science Be With You at the Desert Research Institute from 4:00 to 8:00 PM.
  • New England Garrison will be at the Children’s Hospital for Star Wars Day.
  • Nordic Garrison will be at Iso Omena Library for the May the Fourth Troop, and at Sello Library for the May the Fourth Troop from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
  • Northeast Remnant Garrison will be in Toms River, NJ for Star Wars Day at Daruma Tattoo from noon to 4:00 PM.
  • Northern Darkness Garrison will be in Fort Wayne, IN for Indiana Tech Free Movie Night from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, and in South Bend, IN for Star Wars Night with the South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field.
  • Old Line Garrison will be in Catonsville, MD for YMCA Member Day from 9:00 to 11:00 AM, in Suitland, MD for NOAA May the 4th Be With You at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, in Bel Air, MD for May the 4th Be With You at Forest Hill Elementary School, in Frederick, MD for Star Wars Days at the Earth and Space Science Lab from 4:00 to 7:30 PM, in Washington D.C. for Star Wars or Spy Wars at the International Spy Museum from 5:00 to 9:00 PM, in Ellicott City, MD for May the 4th New Hours event at All Time Toys from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, in Glen Burnie, MD for Pack 887 May the Fourth event, and in Parkville, MD for Star Wars Characters Trivia Night at Markville-Carney Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
  • Redback Garrison will be at Royal George Hotel May the Fourth Night, and in Helensvale for Starlight Week at ZING & EB Games.
  • Southern California Garrison will be in Fullerton, CA for ASI Production Presents Rogue One at Cal State Fullerton from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, in Sherman Oaks, CA for May the 4th Celebration at The Sherman from May 4 to 5th, in Yucca Valley, CA for May the 4th Be With You Storytime at Yucca Valley Branch Library from 11:00 AM to noon, in Temecula, CA for Star Wars Science Night and Book Fair at Rancho Elementary from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, in Santa Barbara, CA for May the 4th Be With You at the MOXI Museum from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, in Palm Desert, CA for A Star Wars Celebration at Palm Desert Library from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, in Ontario, CA for May the 4th Day, in Ontario, CA for Celebrating for Charity, in Riverside, CA for May the 4th Day, in Hermosa Beach, CA for the 2nd Annual Star Wars Read A Thon from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, in Irvine, CA for May the Fourth Be With You at the Pretend City Children’s Museum from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in Los Angeles, CA for Star Wars Day on Battleship Iowa from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, in City of Industry, CA for TGIFridays City of Industry 3rd Annual Fan Family Charity Event from noon to 3:00 PM, in Orange, CA for the CHOC Hospital Child Life Services visit, in Santa Monica, CA for the Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia book launch and author signing from 3:45 to 4:45 PM, and in Los Angeles, CA for Star Wars Day at Skyspace LA from 8:00 to 10:00 PM.
  • Southern Cross Garrison will be in Killarney Vale East, New South Wales for May the 4th at Killarney Vale Public School, in Queanbeyan, New South Wales for Starlight Week at EB Games, in Randwick for a visit to Sydney Children’s Hospital, in Westmead, New South Wales for a visit to Sydney Children’s Hospital, in Canberra, ACT for Star Wars Trivia Night at Guild House, and in Charlestown, New South Wales for May the 4th Flash Tattoo Day.
  • Southern Dewback Garrison will be at W&C Hospital for the May the Fourth Celebration.
  • Star Garrison will be at Star Wars Day at Bakfish, in Lubbock, TX for the Alamo Drafthouse Galaxy Party, at STAAR Wars May the Scores Be With You, at Kickstart Kids Belt Ceremony, at Friendswood High School Academic Banquet, in Ft. Worth, TX for the Cook Children’s Hospital visit, at Star Wars Day: Finals Hangout, at the Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, at May 4th Day at Republic Harley Davidson, in Rowlett, TX for the Fine Arts Night at Back Elementary, at the May the Fourth Be With You Mixer and Elixir, in Burleson, TX for May the 4th City Event, and in Amarillo, TX for May the 4th.
  • Timberline Garrison will be in Meridian, ID for May the Fourth Scentsy Event from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
  • UK Garrison will be in Aylesbury for the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women’s Institutes Annual Meeting, in Reading for the Harley Davidson Product Launch, in Bluewater, Glasgow and London at the LEGO Store from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM from May 4 to 6th, and in Winsford for Star Wars Evening at Winsford Library from 3:00 to 6:00 PM.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…

Databurst From the 501st

November 11, 2015 at 12:00 am | Posted in 501st, Charity, Conventions, Databurst From the 501st, Events, Star Wars, Video Games | Leave a comment
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501stLogoLatest Databurst From the 501st covering 501st Legion event news from November 11 to 17th. Lots of midnight events coming up for the release of Star Wars: Battlefront. As always, be sure to mark your calendars and support your local garrisons.

November 11

  • Dutch Garrison will be in Noordwijk for TEDxESA Science Beyond Fiction.
  • Redback Garrison will be at the RSPCA adoption photoshoot event.
  • Southern California Garrison will be in Bakersfield, CA for the Veterans Day Parade from 10:00 AM to noon.

November 12

  • Alpine Garrison will be in Provo, UT for the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Prime Time and Food Drive from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
  • Southern California Garrison will be in Garden Grove, CA for the public blood drive at Pacifica High School from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
  • Star Garrison will be at the Kids in Motion event for Central Elementary.
  • UK Garrison will be in Doncaster for the Doncaster Xmas Lights Switch On from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

Continue Reading Databurst From the 501st…

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

  • Comicbook.com 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.

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