Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Saga: the most scintillating space opera since Star Wars

There’s nothing like an interstellar war and a cast of dozens of memorable characters to get your imagination whirring. Saga, an ongoing monthly comic series published by Imagewritten by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, is one of those serials that grips you right from the start and simply does not let up.

The premise centres around Alana and Marko, members of different races on opposing sides of a lengthy galactic war, who fall in love and have a child together named Hazel. Both opposing regimes become aware of the child, and recognizing that Hazel is a dangerous symbol of unity compromising the conflict, send all manner of hired guns and trained assassins to attempt to destroy the new family.

The cast of characters is enormous. As Alana and Marko attempt to find a safe haven, they come across monitor-headed robotic royalty, a spectral babysitter, a bounty hunter with a conscience, a jilted fiancée, a drunk but subversive author and a vicious cat that can tell when someone is lying, to name a few.

Vaughan’s writing is energetic and vivid, dealing with themes such as magic vs. technology, the meaninglessness of war, as well as the normalization of love (and sex) across all divides. Coupled with Staples’ expressive and often erotic imagery, this series is truly a tour-de-force, and one meant strictly for adult audiences.
Saga Deluxe Edition Volume One, collecting the first 18 issues of the comic, is an absolute treasure for new readers and established fans alike. It contains informative bonus material, delving into the creative process of comic creation from concept to script to art, and is a real collector’s item.
Need an epic space fantasy fix until Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in December? Saga may be the droid you’re looking for.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Telltale crafts a truly authentic Game of Thrones experience

Game of Thrones The Lost Lords The Wall

For those of you anxiously pining for HBO’s Game of Thrones to return on April 13, it seems as if the long winter from George R. R. Martin’s fantasy universe is already upon us. Take solace in the Game of Thrones game by Telltale that not only captures the look and feel of the HBO universe, but also puts you in morally ambiguous situations that would make the novels’ procrastinating author proud.

Game of Thrones The Lost Lords Funeral
When you play the game of thrones, 
you win, or you die.

The game follows House Forrester, previously banner men to House Stark, who after the fall of Robb Stark and Lord Forrester during the infamous Red Wedding are thrust into one tragedy after another. As various members of House Forrester you navigate all manner of dubious alliances, sticky political intrigues, skullduggery and gory combat in an effort to win back your family’s strength and honour. Though like in the show and novels, it’s never a good idea to become too attached to your favourite characters.

If you’re not traditionally into video games you need not worry. Telltale specializes in narrative-driven games that focus on storytelling and the choices you make, which will then alter the direction the story takes as you progress. The game is also released episodically, with the first two of six episodes out now, so if you’re time-strapped you can play it in two to three hour chunks.

Game of Thrones The Lost Lords Kit Harington John Snow
Kit Harington adds his silky voice and likeness
to Telltale's Game of Thrones.

If that’s not enough, HBO series actors including Peter Dinklage, Natalie Dormer, Kit Harington, Lena Headey and Iwan Rheon have lent their voices and likenesses to the game, making this a truly immersive Game of Thrones experience. I highly recommend this one.

The game is available on Steam for PC and Mac, as well as PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.