Comic Review: Leaders of the Free World #1

A world blessed with advanced technology and arcane arts thanks to some extra-terrestrial visitors, some seriously cool heroes protecting it from all sorts of weird and wacky threats and a kid with the powers of an ancient monkey king past onto him. All the ingredients are there in Leaders of the Free World #1 but I think this dish needs to be left in a little longer with a comic thats feels so excited to show itself off to you all at once it can come across as a little overwhelming and jarring.

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Plot

Leaders of the Free World #1 is written by Corey Pruitt, with artwork from Elijah Isaiah Johnson, Ross Hughes, and Toben Racicot and it doesn’t exactly ease you into its story but rather sets you off at 100 MPH from the start. There’s so much to take in with Leaders of the Free World it did at times feel over-the-top and in your face. One minute we’re getting a very fast recap on the Godsends and their arrival on earth to then talking about ancient Monkey King powers to then talking about wrestling and alien invasions. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty to pick apart and appreciate in Leaders of the Free World but be prepared to strap yourself in for one hell of a ride as the issues pacing might be a slight turn-off for some. When Leaders of the Free World works however it works great. This futuristic blend between science and the arcane is fascinating and results in some wonderful characters and fantastic action. What did stand out to me was the little details such as holographic signs in school corridors which would totally fit in a world where science has improved ten-fold. It’s those small additions that really went a long way to making the world feel fleshed out and in a strange sense real. Well, as real as one can get when it has a flying dog in it and aliens from outer-space. Our main character Cong was also one of the issues biggest strong points. Despite the whole ancient Monkey King powers thing he was surprisingly relatable and serves as a good window for the audience to look through into his crazy world. Like I previously mentioned the issue spends most of its time setting up the world and introducing us to its characters, and it has its hands full but a pretty interesting ending lends itself well to set up its following issues.

There is a good amount to love about Leaders of the free world and its worth the small bit of digging you have to do to uncover it.

Characters

As you can probably tell by the issues cover art, its characters are easily the best part of the whole story. The whole issue has this Guardian’s of the Galaxy feel to it but if they were turned up to 11. A healthy dose of gags and lighthearted humor sprinkled throughout goes a long way to making these characters very likable. We’ll start with Cong, who is easily the issue best asset. He’s enjoyable when he’s around, relatable, has a very interesting backstory and best of all has a wicked tail and can fly around on clouds. Tell me that doesn’t sound cool. Despite all his extraordinary attributes he is a nice anchor point for the audience to come back to if the rest of the comic ever gets a bit OTT. Congs friend “Cage” was a nice source of comic relief and I really bought into his and Cains friendship. Reminded almost of Peter and Ned’s friendship from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Both friends bond over a common hero of theirs; Brotha Nature. Godsend descendant and professional wrestler. If you couldn’t tell by his name he is a dab-hand at manipulating the powers of nature and does so to great effect in a truly epic wrestling match. Brotha Nature was humanized quite a bit when we see his relationship with his mum but I’d hope to see his more human side expressed in-depth in future issues.

We get a small look at a couple other leaders of the free world near the end with some epic action involving Tech-No a hero who utilize advanced technology and appears to have a problem with the Archetypes who are people with powers passed down from Godsends. Moonshine, who despite kicking some major ass definitely lives up to her name, and finally the adorable Doohickey, the flying dog who can turn into any weapon on demand. Still would pet. All of these look really cool and are what intrigue me the most for the next issue. At first, I was a little disappointed we didn’t see all the heroes shown off on the cover but there just inst enough space to fit them in, in this already crowded issue so it was a fine compromise.

Artwork

I mentioned earlier how Leaders of the Free World had a Guardians of the Galaxy feel to it and it isn’t just the cast of characters that create that. The whole issue pops with bright, vibrant, neon colors. At first, I thought it would be too much but it, to my surprise, just works, especially with the completely over-the-top ideas for some of the characters and their powers. It gives the whole comic this energetic life behind it which does contribute the issues ludicrous speed but also makes it look damn good as it flies past.

Leaders of the Free World feels like a real back to basics comic. Over-the-top action and characters, with dazzling colors and a good helping of humor, mixed in. It did suffer from some pacing issues at least for me but if you can look past that, Leaders of the Free World is at its core a really fun ride.

 

 

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Apex Legends Hits Over 25 Million Players In Just One Week

Apex Legends has not only surpassed 25 million players in just one week of release but also boasts an impressive 2 million plus concurrent players despite its lack of publicity or hype prior to its launch.

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Apex Legends was hot out of the gate with impressive day one numbers of around 2.5 million players and close too 600,000 concurrent. A few days later the game steam-rolled past 10,000,000 players and 1,000,000 concurrents. One week later and Apex Legends shows absolutely no sign of slowing down according to Respawn founder Vince Zampella who states the game has now “hit 25 million players” and “well over two million concurrent players” at its peak.

Zampella went on to state in an update “Since we launched Apex Legends last week on Monday we’ve seen the creation of an Apex Legends community that is excited, thriving, and full of great feedback and ideas. Our goal is to build this game with you, our community, so keep giving us your feedback because we really are listening.”

He also hinted at the games near future including the start of the games first season, which will introduce new characters, weapons, and loot as well as the games battle pass which we know very little of right now and the upcoming Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge which will pit 48 of Twitch’s biggest names against each over for a massive $200,000 prize pool spread across two events on February 12 and 19. Fans can also expect Valentine’s Day-themed loot will also be made available for a limited time beginning later this week.

Despite Apex Legends many new developments over the past few days there have been no confirmations for solo, duo, and ranked games which fans have expressed interest in. Hopefully, we’ll see those in the near future.  Have you been playing Apex Legends since its surprise launch? Let us know over on Twitter and be sure to follow us for the latest updates surrounding Apex Legends in the future.

 

Mobile Mondays: Hero Hunters

This Mobile Mondays star is a great cover-based shooter with some surprisingly solid gameplay mechanics which feel just as fleshed out and finished as some AAA releases of the same genre and as the name would suggest Hero Hunters has a huge cast of characters for you to unlock and upgrade all with unique looks and abilities to use in battle. Where Hero Hunters falters, however, is its unfortunate performance issues which disrupt the flow of gameplay and some graphical hiccups which stand out from the overwise excellent looking game.

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Gameplay

Hero Hunter’s core gameplay is pretty simple. On the right side of the screen swipe left, and right to move from cover to cover, swipe up to view your targets and down to duck back behind cover. Use the left side of the screen to look around and when you poke up above cover hold down the fire button to shoot at your targets until you automatically reload. You assemble a team of 5 heroes, play as one at a time and can switch between them on the fly whilst the AI handles the 4 characters you currently aren’t playing as. Little features like the automatic reload or the AI controlled teammates make Hero Hunters very easy to get to grips with. Gameplay is, for the most part, smooth and so combat feels fast-paced and flows easily. The various heroes all feel unique with different special abilities and different approaches to combat. Snipers will naturally stay back unless moved forward by you whereas tanks will move to the front lines and take the brunt of the attack. When Hero Hunters works it’s responsive, fast and really fun. When it doesn’t work it can be extremely frustrating and disrupting. Multiple times the game locked up, froze and paused for up to 15 or 20 seconds at a time during battles before getting back into the swing of things. This was never enough to lose me any games but was enough to break up the overwise consistent gameplay.

There are two types of battles. Story missions and PVP missions. Story missions introduce you to and pit you against AI enemies and characters whilst PVP matches put your team of heroes up against another players team in real-time battles. Story missions are never really challenging if you keep on top of your hero’s levels and PVP is extremely fun although its matchmaking may have some issues. You are either up against a team you can steam-roll or up against a team you have no chance against.  Either way, PVP is a nice change from the same old same old story missions.

Story

Hero Hunters does have a narrative which was surprising considering games like this on mobile usually skip that out. What wasn’t surprising was how uninspired the story was. You are part of an elite task force who have to track down an oppressive dictator to liberate the people under his rule. Unfortunately, with most games like this, it quickly devolves into playing through story missions to unlock gear for your characters rather than for the actual story itself. You play this game in the long term to build up the strongest team possible and for the PVP arenas rather than for the story which is a real shame.

Graphics and Sound 

For the most part, Hero Hunters looks and sounds great. Some decent music and the chaotic sound of constant gunfire does make each battle feel more intense. During battles, both the characters and maps look great, with bright vibrant colors that give the whole game a cartoonish style to it that really works. What I don’t understand is why those high-res character models aren’t used when you inspect individual heroes. Instead, they are blocky low-res models which don’t do the characters any justice. This is unfortunate especially because most of Hero Hunter’s heroes have some fantastic designs behind them which you don’t get to appreciate up close. At least the characters look good enough when it comes to the actual gameplay.

Progression

Obviously, you’ve got your standard stuff like story missions, PVP missions, and PVP events but the real long term objective is the unlocking and upgrading of heroes. There are 3 ways to increase your heroes powers. Levels them up using character XP gained from winning battles. Each hero can only be as high as the overall team level. Increase how many stars that character has by unlocking shards for them, and finally promoting their grade up through bronze, silver, and gold etc…by equipping them with the gear you either find or craft. Again, pretty standard stuff we’ve seen in-games like injustice 2 mobile and the like. Paying will speed this process up as you buy chests but it seems very possible to play as a free-to-play player especially with hard story missions giving you character shards as a reward. It’s nice to have the option to pay if thats your thing but still have the game be perfectly playable without spending a penny.

If you can look past a few small blemishes Hero Hunter is a fantastic mobile game with addicting gameplay, some really interesting and cool characters and plenty to keep you playing after your first few hours. If you’re after a really good story Hero Hunters might let you down but if you’re all about the intense action it may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Comic Review: Resurrected #5

Resurrected is back for its fifth installment which yet again explored new and interesting ideas resulting in the issue having its fair share of twists and turns all whilst wrapping up the story with a satisfying conclusion and still somehow finding room for some gripping action with the first half of the issue having a spy-thriller type vibe to it. The issue ends with the same core characters it began with which has its benefits and drawbacks but ultimately resulted in yet another great issue to round off this fantastic comic.

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Plot

Resurrected #5, written by Christian Carnouche with artwork by Crizam Zamora, Salvatore Aiala, and Cardinal Rae wastes no time getting straight into the action after issue #4’s strong setup. Cain, Yindi, and the rest of the rebels mount a rescue mission to save Pam and the rest of the prisoners and put an end to the Drexler corporations schemes. The first half of this issue was a nice change of pace from the chaotic, action-packed scenes of the last issue. Don’t get me wrong it was still gritty and intense but at a slightly slower pace which gave time for some strong emotional story moments and some pretty epic reveals which blew the previous issues twists out of the water. I won’t spoil any here but they seriously shook me. The second half of the issue falls more in line with the generic 3rd act of an action film. Evil villain holds the hero’s hostage whilst he explains his evil plan until the heroes get an opportunity to escape. Normally this wouldn’t excite me but it was the intent of the villain that caught me by surprise and presented an interesting thought. Most of us would bring our family back people we love from the dead given the chance right? But what if they didn’t want to come back. The entire second half really humanized the issues main antagonist and made him more than just and “evil businessman or puppet master” In true resurrected style it really got me thinking about what the world would be like if this was a reality. Resurrected #5 carries on the same core ideas and themes that the previous issues have all sheared whilst also turning the dial up to an 11 for an epic conclusion.

Characters

Resurrected #5 is a mixed bag for me in terms of characters. It mainly focuses’ on the core characters that have been here since the start those being Cain, Yindi, and Pam. Whilst I enjoyed that because I love those characters It did, unfortunately, push some of those newer characters we met in issue #4 to the side. They’re still present throughout the issue but I just found myself not really caring for them as much as the others. I wish that those characters would have been pushed to the front a little bit more to stand next to the likes of Cain and Yindi rather than behind them. Overall, however, the stars of the show were fantastic here and did not disappoint.

We’ll start with Cain who I’ve come to love throughout Resurrected. We finally see his full transformation from brooding inspector to rebel freedom fighter and its great. He finally has his family back even if it’s not the one he was expecting. He’s naturally grown into a stronger and more likable character over Resurrected’s 5 issues and he is the best here he has ever been. Also having the issue end with some sentimental words from Cain himself was a lovely touch. Yindi was virtually the same as she’s always been in this issue, bar a small part right at the end which showed a nice innocent side to her. She caused a great bit of action throughout the issue, including a pretty epic standoff and some funny insults in-between her punches. Next, we have Pam who not only showed off more of his kickass action which was what initially drew me into his character in this issue but also demonstrated some major character development shifting to a more considerate and merciful leader rather than a brutish murderer. It was a nice decision that reflected on the heroes and villains as a whole and made pam easily one of the best standouts of the whole issue.

As for the villains, I’ll keep them anonymous as to avoid spoilers but like I mentioned previously they were humanized in a fantastic way that really made me understand and even sympathize to an extent with what they were doing and why they were doing it. We also saw some actual instances of the Drexler Corporation being a heartless business that is only focused on results which were cool to see and added some nice tension to our heroes already high-stakes mission.

Overall Resurrected #5 felt to me like the culmination of all the previous issues combined. It had the heart and soul behind its leading characters, it had the gritty and intense action and it put forward those really intriguing questions which were what first grabbed my attention when I initially started reading the series. It served as a fantastic and satisfying conclusion to what has been a great story. Resurrected #5 releases in March but in the meantime why not catch up on everything Resurrected by checking out the previous issues reviews and keep it here at GeekVibesNation for the latest news and reviews.

Comic Review: Honor and Curse #1

The tale of a lost orphan, Genshi, who was taken in by his old mentor Nishiro after witnessing the death of his parent’s, he must now train to eventually become his clan’s Shinobi and lead them…Sounds hard enough already right? Well throw in some night terrors due to an evil spirit that haunts Genshi, a complicated relationship, and an impending battle and it looks like Genshi’s got a hard time ahead. On the plus side, we have ourselves an epic story in the form of Honor and Curse.

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Plot

Mad Cave Studios are back with yet another epic comic; Honor and Curse written by Mark London with artwork from Nicolas Salamanca, Tekino, Miguel Angel Zapata, and edited by Giovanna T. Orozco which follows Genshi, who after being made an orphan and took in by his mentor Nishiro is to be trained as a Shinobi and eventually lead the Iga clan. Honor and Curse reminded me of those old classic Samurai films you’d watch as a kid, only instead of just sticking around for the cool fight scenes because you would never understand the story, here Honor and Curse has an intoxicating tale to tell which sucks you right in from the start. Full of mystery and intrigue Honor and Curse does keep you in the dark but never makes you feel lost keeping you invested with likable and relatable characters and a story which on the surface at least appears straightforward enough but is hiding some deeper themes and ideas underneath. There’s plenty of twists and turns throughout which keep you on your toes and some genuinely jaw-dropping moments which really caught me off guard.

The story can be funny when it wants to be, romantic when it wants to be, mysterious or even serious when it wants to be and thats mainly down to the dialogue between the characters which all feels completely natural and real. These characters feel like real people and that goes a long way to making your story connect with its readers. and thats exactly what Honor and Curse does.

Characters

Honor and Curse’s main star Genshi is easily one of the main reason’s I enjoyed the issue so much. Not only is he a total badass with a blade but he’s surprisingly relatable. He’s flawed, makes mistakes, and most importantly feels human. You automatically feel for Genshi after the opening of the issue and it doesn’t exactly get any easier for him as the story goes on but I enjoyed Genshi in this issue and am looking forward to seeing more of him. Lady Akemi was a character that I underestimated. The quite princess who longs for adventure but never takes the chance and simply does as she’s told. That perception was shattered after seeing her with Genshi when surprisingly she felt like the more forward out of the two. I genuinely bought both their friendship and relationship and she felt like a perfect match for him. Out of all the characters in Honor and Curse, Akemi is the one I’m most looking forward to seeing more of. Genshi’s close friend who trains with him throughout the issue was also a really enjoyable character mainly for the comic relief he sprinkled throughout the issue which didn’t feel out of place or forced. His jokes hit and similar to Akemi he felt like a perfect pairing for Genshi who is understandably more serious and stone-faced. As for the remaining main characters, Lord Haruki, and Master Nishiro both were intriguing in this issue but ultimately pushed to the side a little in favor of Genshi and Akemi.

Artwork

Honor and Curse looks absolutely stunning. It both captures the grace and serenity of ancient Japan and the speed and ferocity in its action sequences. The entire comic is bright and vibrant with some seriously cool artistic choices towards the start and one major mix-up in relation to Genshi’s nightmare which actually stunned me on my first read through. Battles are graphic but never too much, just enough to once again sell how grounded in reality this world is. This may well be some of Mad cave Studios best work yet so avid readers of their previous stories will know what to expect.

Honor and Curse is a fantastic new story, which is gripping, mysterious, action-packed and heartfelt. The first issue does just enough to set up this world but leave enough to the imagination to make you want to read on for answers. Honor and Curse will be released March 2019 but in the meantime why not check out their other series and keep it here and GeekvibesNation for more upcoming comic reviews and news.

 

 

Every Mortal Kombat 11 Fighter Revealed So Far

NetherRealm Studios is continuing its Mortal Kombat 11 build up as they tease fans with yet more character reveals to fill up the games growing roster. New as well as returning fighters have been revealed thus far and all of them look absolutely stunning. Don’t worry if your favorite isn’t on this list however as more characters are sure to be announced in the coming weeks before the game eventual launch.

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In the meantime, let’s take a look at those who will definitely be throwing down come April. 

Scorpion

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What would a Mortal Kombat game be without Scorpion?

Sub-Zero

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Scorpion’s arguably cooler, (terrible pun fully intended) foe Sub-Zero is obviously making his appearance. Nice call back to his infamous MKII fatality there as well.

Raiden

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Raiden’s joining the fight, showing off that awesome red paint job for his powers.

Geras

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A heavy brawler with some killer sand sculptures, Geras is a fairly new addition first shown off at the games Reveal event.

Baraka

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Baraka’s and his many thousands of teeth will be joining the fray as well, promising some of the goriest fatalities in the entire game.

Skarlet

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Skarlet will be returning for the first time since MK 9 demonstrating some impressive blood manipulation magic in her gameplay.

Sonya Blade

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Sonya Blade is back ready to dish out the beat down and voiced by none other than WWE star Ronda Rousey

Liu Kang

A very small appearance for eagle-eyed viewers Liu Kang does show up in the gameplay reveal trailer doing…not so good against Raiden.

D’Vorah

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Half insect half alien? Either way D’Vorak is back and looking freakier than ever…in a beautiful 4K kind of way.

Kabal

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Recently shown off in a live stream by NetherRealm MK 3’s anti-hero is back to play again.

Kano

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Not a huge surprise for most fans, Kano, his huge muscles, and his acquired taste of a personality is back to kick your ass and he’ll mock you as he does it.

Shao Kahn

Yep, one of gaming’s most famous, or rather infamous bosses Shao Kahn is back and is a preorder bonus no less!

As for some yet to be confirmed but pretty safe guesses we have Cassie Cage, Kung Lao, and Kronika who have all showed up in the reveal trailers and such but we have no confirmation from NetherRealm themselves as of yet regarding the 3.
We’ll be sure to keep you up to date with the latest Mortal Kombat 11 news and roster reveals.

Comic Review: Ax-Man #1

In a world plagued with sickness, disease, and danger, it’s down to Jason, one of many Ax-Men, a group of skilled hitmen,  who swaps his doctor’s coat and scalpel for a holster and body armor who is tasked with hunting down and eliminating anyone unfortunate enough to be infected with a mysterious deadly virus in an attempt to stop its spread and save what remains of humanity. An interesting take on the whole “Virus outbreak” story which doesn’t exactly go full on Zombie apocalypse but is full of emotional weight and interesting dilemmas.

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Story

The first issue of Ax-Man, written by Ryan Little, with artwork from Briane Andan, Yuri Pinzon, Nikki Powers, and edited by Cody Coulombe does a pretty good job of introducing our main character Jason despite him not being named or even explained for most of the issue. As for the overarching story, however, it only really comes into play in the last couple of scenes when we discover what this new strain of virus could be used for in the wrong hands. I would have liked to see this and the world in general built up a little more but despite being left with way more questions than answers I do appreciate the sense of mystery Ax-Man has around it. Speaking of that virus that is what interests me the most about Ax-Man. It doesn’t seem to turn people into Zombies but rather just disfigure them in some utterly grotesque and brutal ways which don’t seem to have a cure. Keeping the infected people’s humanity intact creates a unique moral dilemma for Jason as he is killing what are more like sick patients rather than the undead.  Seeing him deal with his line of work and seeing different stages of the virus in this issue was really interesting and set up a nice mystery for future issues to explain.

Characters

Unfortunately, Ax-Man is a little low on the character front. Jason is the only real character given any depth. Luckily Jason is a very interesting character who is a little more than your generic super soldier or action hero. Seeing him first as a nameless, faceless soldier just doing his job to then later learn more about him including his history as a doctor was a really clever way of adding a whole other layer to his story.  Watching as he moves through the hospital, where the majority of this issue is set, almost like an emotionless android dealing with any infected he comes across without hesitation was a very effective way of certifying Jason as a total badass. That mixed with his later comments about him being a doctor and wanting to cure people rather than kill them was really cool and mixed nicely with the overarching moral dilemma I mentioned earlier. He does what he does to protect those who are still left but is there a better way to cure the infected people rather than eradicate them? An interesting question that normally isn’t asked in stories such as this and so I respect Ax-Man for having the guts to tackle it.

As for the other characters in Ax-Man, we see Jason’s Doctor friend, along with Ian and his business partner discussing how powerful such a virus could be if the wrong people got hold of it. Thats literally it other than a few unnamed infected we see along the way. A little disappointing that these characters weren’t explored a little more but Jason is Ax-Man’s star and it shows with how much time is dedicated to him. As cool as he is I really hope to see more time given to some of the other characters in the future.

Artwork

I absolutely love Ax-Mans overall artistic style. The comic is always very dark with deep blacks, reds, and greys making up its color pallet which really help sell how dark and dirty this plague-ridden world is but also how dark Jason’s job is. The comic also has a very angular design to it from the actual shape of the comic strips to the sharp and jagged style of the effects the virus has on the mutated patients. It’s gory, gruesome, and fantastic. As for the action, Which the first issue has its fair share of, it is once again very graphic but never over the top or annoying but instead stylized.

Overall I really enjoy Ax-Mans main Ax-Man, as well as its unique attempt on the, tried and tested ‘deadly virus causes apocalypse’ storyline. A nice break from the generic zombie outbreak story. I would have appreciated a little more world building and learning more about the rest of Ax-Mans cast of characters would have been cool but Ax-Mans debut issue introduces just enough to intrigue me in this universe and leaves me hungry for answers which we’ll hopefully discover in future issues. If you are interested in learning more on Ax-Man check out the lead writers Twitter @mrryancomics for more information and updates on publishing.