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Feralia.net blog. episode 96: Review – X-Men: Road to Onslaught

Last on my X-Men Reading Project I featured the mega event Age of Apocalypse. The next major event chronologically is Onslaught, and this 3 volume collection bridges the gap between the two.

I’ve been collecting the Trade Paperbacks on my reading journey, and unfortunately the prices I found on Amazon for these collections were pretty high. I found mine for really good deals on eBay. The alternative would be to grab the digital editions which are also way cheaper, if you don’t mind reading on a device.

Volume 1 is ISBN 978-0785188254 and collects X-Men Prime, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #322-326, X-Men (1991) #42-45 & Annual ’95 and X-Men Unlimited (1993) #8.

Volume 2 is ISBN 978-0785188308 and collects X-Men/Clandestine #1-2, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #327-328 & Annual ’95, X-Men (1991) #46-49, X-Men Unlimited (1993) #9 and Sabretooth (1995) #1.

And lastly, Volume 3 is ISBN 978-0785190059 and collects Uncanny X-Men 329-332, Archangel #1, X-Men/Brood #1-2, X-Men Unlimited (1993) #10, X-Men #50-52, Wolverine (1988) #101, and the Xavier Institute Alumni Yearbook.

For easy reference, the collection covers X-Men #42-52 and Uncanny X-Men #322-332 along with most of the other stuff going on at the time with the main teams.

The books themselves are really nice quality, the stories and art good. I think my favorite thing about this run is that it’s nice to get back to “normal” after the crazy Age of Apocalypse. I always loved seeing the daily lives of the characters.

While the content is very good, I can’t recommend these three volumes at the prices they currently go for on Amazon, and would instead do digital or eBay, as mentioned above.

Like other “span-the-gap” collections (such as Dissolution & Rebirth, for example), this one goes much the same as far as recommendations: if you’re only reading major storylines to catch up quickly, I’d say that these volumes aren’t critical and could be skipped. On the other hand, if you’re looking to keep up with the teams on a closer, more day to day level, you’ll enjoy them.

3/5

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 95: Sowing the Seeds of Tomorrow… an… X-Men gardening blog??

So last year when I picked up the first issue of Marvel’s House of X (part of a major X-Men event along side Powers of X, which are really good, by the way), I was given a packet of seeds. I forgot about them for a while, but finally made a point to get them out this year.
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So this past Saturday, my daughter and I decided to make an activity out of it and plant our Krakoa Seeds!
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They’re actually a flower called Bachelor’s Buttons. While we do have a small garden, I’m not big into plants outside of that, so this was the first I’d heard of them.
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It was a cool father/daughter activity and we had a really nice time!
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Hopefully the seeds will be fine after sitting so long. I’ll post updates once/if they start to grow. We’re looking forward to growing our very own Krakoa Seeds!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 94: Review – X-Men: Age of Apocalypse


So in my X-Men Reading Project I finally came to the mega event Age of Apocalypse. This was really interesting because it was around this time in the 90’s that I started falling away from American comics as a kid, in large part to these huge crossovers which were so big that I couldn’t afford to collect them all. Age of Apocalypse was probably the biggest of these for me. Not only did all of the X-Books change names as part of the AoA for 4 issues, but there were other important stand alone issues as well.

AoA is available in a super nice (but expensive) hardback collection. I went the cheaper route and was able to find the Age of Apocalypse Complete Epic (parts 1-4 pictured above) for a really good deal. It’s five volumes. I reviewed the Prelude separately because it was so different than the rest of the story. I’m not going to get into the ISBN’s and issues collected this time because that in itself is a bit of a chore, and info on the collection can be found pretty easily.

As far as how critical this story is if you’re catching up on all of the major X-Men storylines, I’d say that it’s actually pretty important despite being an alternate timeline story, especially if you’re going to read the next big event, Onslaught, since there are ramifications that carry over into the real world of our favorite merry mutants. So, if you don’t want to drop a bunch of money on this collection, I would at least read a detailed synopsis so that certain things make sense later on.

Personally I found the story to be much the same as I remembered it as a kid: overwhelmingly BIG. The 4 main story issues of the AoA Complete Epic are over 1300 pages together! And that’s not including the 237 pages of the Prelude. So reading it was a big undertaking. I’m normally not nearly as into alternate tales, reboots, or other such things, preferring to stay with the history of the characters I know and love, so I wasn’t really into the AoA myself. That being said, it is a major epic that is well planned and executed. It’s just that there are large sections of story (Generation Next, the 4 issues of Generation X in the AoA, in particular) which just felt so long and drawn out.

In conclusion, I’d definitely at least read up on it in detail if you don’t want to make the big time and cost commitment.

3/5

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 93: Jackie Chan Triple Play, part 3/3: My Top 5 Jackie Chan Movies!

For the final part in my series, I’ve saved the best for last: the movies. There are a ton, and it was hard to pick, but these are my favorites. (I had to leave a lot of notable films out, Project A for example.) Each one perfectly meshes hilarious comedy with stunts (Jackie doing his own, of course) which are exciting, very dangerous and just exhilarating to watch. These may not be everyone’s favorites, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

#5. Operation Condor 2
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I won’t spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen it, but the absolutely insane stunts come early and often in this fun adventure.

4. Rush Hour
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The lone American-produced movie on this list successfully brought Jackie’s brand of action comedy to Hollywood. It’s also a great buddy movie – the Jackie and Chris Tucker are hilarious together. My fondest memory of this movie is seeing it opening weekend while on vacation in Florida with my Grandma, who is also a big Jackie Chan fan.

3. Mister Nice Guy
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If you’ve ever wondered what Jackie Chan is like when pushed to the point that he’s really, really mad, then this movie is for you. This film features, in my opinion, one of the most awesome, amazing, funny and destructive endings in any movie period. Bam. It’s over. Stopping abruptly, hilariously and satisfactorily.

#2. Rumble in the Bronx
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I remember the commercial for the US release being my first exposure to Jackie Chan, and thinking how crazy the movie looked. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s full of the usual amazing choreography, but really takes the comedy to off the wall places in a unique way that only Asian entertainment can seem to create. It’s lovable and weird at times, and just all around awesome.

#1. Jackie Chan’s First Strike
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Known in Hong Kong as Police Story 4: First Strike, for me personally, this is the benchmark Jackie Chan movie. The action and locations are surprisingly varied and everything is executed as flawlessly as any of his films. What pushes it to the top for me, however, is how well it brings the warmth and wholesomeness of Jackie out. You can’t help but love his good-natured innocence and great humor.

Well, that’s it. My favorites. One thing that I can’t forget to make mention are the awesome outtakes at the end of all of these movies, as well as the theme songs sung by Jackie during the credits of many of them as well.

So those are my favorites. But I did have to leave many out. What are yours??

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 92: Jackie Chan Triple Play, part 2/3: Recommended Album: Jackie Chan (Sing Lung)

Jackie Album
When you hear the name Jackie Chan, the first things that naturally come to mind for most are stunts and action-comedy, and rightly so. What you may not know is that Jackie is also an accomplished singer as well. Today I wanted to feature the album Sing Lung (which is his Cantonese artist name). It’s actually a collection of mostly his older Japanese songs, with new lyrics in Cantonese. (Credit goes to to this page for the translations and harder to find info!) While there are better quality recordings of some of these songs, I picked this album for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s currently available on Amazon Prime Music, making it more easily accessible than most of his music. Second, I feel like it’s a nice collection of Jackie’s songs up to that point which really captures a fun mood which represents the overall tone of his music well, and hearing them in a different language is pretty cool – a good place to start for those who are new to his music or perhaps only familiar with his movie themes, like I was.

I also loved that a couple of my favorites were included: Track 4, Flight of the Dragon (theme from Armour of God films, or as they’re known in the US, Operation Condor) and Track 10, Hero Story (theme from Police Story).

So, who would I recommend this album for?

  • Fans of Jackie in general. His music captures the sort of wholesome warmth we feel from him on screen.
  • Fans of the ending themes from Jackie’s movies. Many of the ending credits to Jackie Chan movies feature songs by Jackie himself. If you enjoyed those, this collection is a great place to discover more!
  • Fans of J-Pop and J-Rock. While this album is in Cantonese, I feel like fans of Japanese rock and pop will appreciate it. There are times when I’m reminded (at least musically, if not vocally) Megumi Hayashibara, one of my favorite Japanese singers.
  • Fans of anime and anime soundtracks. Especially those of us who fondly remember 80’s and 90’s anime and the music that went along with it. There are moments on this album that feel reminiscent of opening and closing themes from that era, and even a couple that remind me background music from newer anime. (One in particular makes me picture Naruto taking a leisurely and happy stroll through the Hidden Leaf Village) 😉
  • Fans of 80’s music. Like a lot of 80’s music, it’s quirky and weird, making it all the more lovable.
  • Anyone tired of the radio. If you’re like me and quickly tire of hearing the same song every 30 minutes on a pop station, or the same 90’s rock hits every single day, try something new and exciting! There’s a whole world of great international music out there!

Join me tomorrow for the final part of my features: my top 5 Jackie Chan movies!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 91: Jackie Chan Triple Play, part 1/3: I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action

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“I am standing in the sky on the roof of a glass and steel office tower in Rotterdam, Holland. There are twenty-one floors of air between me and the concrete pavement below. I am about to do what I do best. I am about to jump.”

For day one of my Jackie Chan features I wanted to feature the book I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action, written by Jackie Chan with Jeff Yang. First off, I must say that if you decide to pick up this book on audio, do not get an abridged version. The audio version I originally got cuts out a ton of (and in my opinion some of the very best) material.

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My well-loved and yellowed mass market media paperback copy from my young adulthood. This version can be picked up for pretty cheap!

I remember getting my copy from a book store in the 90’s after getting really into Jackie’s movies. And to this day, I don’t know if I’ve enjoyed a book so much. Never has a book made me laugh so much, even out loud several times. It’s really a wonderful life story which chronicles Jackie’s early life and career, and the struggles that came along with them.

My favorite parts, however, are the tales of mischief Jackie and his classmates would get into as youths. I felt like I was watching a great action comedy featuring him as a child. I was often surprised, sometimes holding my breath and wondering how on earth he would manage to escape big trouble.

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The mass media paperback even includes a section in the middle of nice black & white pictures on a higher quality paper.

Highly recommended for fans of Jackie, and just readers in general who would like to experience a warm and happy tale.

5/5

-Clint

Jackie My Life in Action Rear Cover

The rear cover has some great color pictures as well!

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This week: my Jackie Chan triple play!

Jackie Chan from Book Cover
Most of my close friends in real life know that I’m a big fan of Jackie Chan – he’s one of my favorite people in the world. Join me over the next 3 days, starting tomorrow, for recommendations featuring Jackie! I’ll be sharing my favorite movies, books and even music.

Check it out here on the blog starting tomorrow!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 90: Blog Expansion!

Back when I blogged a lot on 1Up (I miss that community!) and Blogger/Blogspot I pretty much wrote about anything, especially video games and music. Since moving things over to Feralia.net I’ve tried to stay focused on writing, books, comics and anything fantasy related. While I’ll still keep those things first and foremost overall, I’d like to jump back into other stuff as well. So from here on out I’ll be including lots of other stuff – primarily games (video mostly, but other kinds as well), music, fun stuff that may stray out of the fantasy realm and into other genres, and maybe even some more random daily life stuff as well!

Is there anything you’d like to see here on the blog? Let me know?

Have a great day & stay safe out there!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 89: Review: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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As a big fan of the previous Animal Crossing games I’d been both anticipating and dreading the release of New Horizons… anticipating because of the excitement, and dread because of the countless hours of my life which were sure to be wonderfully sucked away. Unless you’ve been living under a conch (or perhaps a cowrie) the past few weeks, you’ve surely heard the buzz about it by now. But does it live up to the previous AC titles?

The good: New Horizons is bigger than the other games, with so much to do! This time you’ll settle on a deserted island, which is a departure from previous games, but soon you’ll be living the usual town life: living surrounded by cute animals while paying off your mortgage to the notorious Tom Nook to expand and decorate your home. Earning bells to make payments is a breeze, with the usual fishing, fruit and bug collecting being just a few of the activities to earn from. It plays just as well, with just as much to do if not more than ever. (I’m not even getting into the fashion aspects, for example.) While there a few minor elements missing from previous games, I have a feeling they could be later added with either updates or dlc. In short, all the same charm and more is here. Animal Crossing has always had sort of a comforting warmth to it, a chill yet addicting vibe. I think that both veteran AC players and newcomers will immediately and easily pick it up and have hours and hours of fun. As with the other AC games, time passes as it does in real life, for for night and day, and seasons as well.

One other aspect that should be mentioned is that the new online play on the Nintendo Switch not only works better than ever, but has really brought players together in a fun and cooperative way. Traveling to other islands to visit your friends is always exciting, and having visitors is, too. It’s been awesome seeing the gaming community coming together while we’ve been shut in during the pandemic. Personally I feel like it’s breathed new life and energy into online gaming. Watching everyone help each other and be so giving has been really cool and great to see.

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It’s me – hi guys!

Personally I’ve enjoyed New Horizons more than any other AC game already because it’s been such a bonding experience with my family. All of us pitched tents on our shared island and have been helping one another and working toward goals together. Whether it’s been saving bells to help pay mortgages, saving and gifting items that family members would love or contributing resources to craft recipes, it’s really brought us together even more, witch is a perfect addition during this unprecedented time of shutdown and social distancing.

The bad: Really, New Horizons leaves little to complain about. I only have 2 minor gripes. The first is, much like the Mayor position of AC: New Leaf, the Resident Representative (the first player on your system to play the game and get your island going, in our case our daughter) takes on the responsibility of major decisions that advance the game and grow the island. There are decisions that must be made, and certain events initiated, only by her. So my wife and I aren’t able to do certain important things. It’s not a huge deal, however, as we can log into our daughter’s account or help her with things that are more complicated to get those things rolling.

My second, and bigger disappointment (though still nothing that effects the overall greatness) is the music. As a big game music nerd (I love to listen to and collect soundtracks), I was disappointed to find that the music is far more limited in New Horizons. In previous games, there is a different theme played each hour of the day, with variations on each for snowy and rainy times. Now there are only a couple songs. The songs themselves are nice – calm and very fitting to the experience – but the soundtracks of the earlier games were beloved by players because they were so quirky, odd and fun. I truly miss the silly mood they created. Edit:  Upon getting a bit further into the game and upgrading the Resident Services area from a tent to a building, my island now has the familiar clock chime on the hour with a change in music! I look forward to getting to know these new songs!

In conclusion, I feel like New Horizons is the best Animal Crossing yet. There are a few missing elements from times past, but with Nintendo’s online service being better than ever, I have a feeling they’ll in time more than make up for it. While it’s still an amazing single player experience, it’s already been perhaps the most enjoyable game my family has experienced together (yes, right up there with Mario Kart) and brought the community together like no game before it. Not into video games? This one is the perfect place to start a new and rewarding hobby.

5/5

-Clint

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