TV Show Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 13-22)

Hello everybody, this is the final review for the last ten episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One. So, let us begin.

COMMANDER, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS AHEAD. ENTER AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

Jedi Crash: Anakin is gravely injured

Episode 13: Jedi Crash: Anakin and Ahsoka go to help a Jedi named Sakura who is currently in a fleet battle with Separatists. As Anakin is fighting droids on Sakura’s ship, the Separatists fire all weapons to destroy the cruiser. Anakin, using the force tries to stop the destruction but ends up being severally injured. After crashing on the planet, Maridun, Ahsoka and the clones meet the Lurmen, a neutral race that want to stay as far away from the war as possible, even so far as to not help the Jedi as it might risk their neutrality. Their elder, Tee Watt Kaa, sees no difference between the Republic and the Separatists.

This episode was okay, it was interesting seeing a race so willing to stand up for its beliefs even against two major super powers. It took a lot of courage for the Lurmen to say no. The battle at the start of the episode was pretty cool and exciting. The episode was okay but there wasn’t a lot to say about it other then it was a political episode about the aspects of neutrality against such impossible odds and at such drastic times and could neutrality survive in that type of environment. Overall an okay episode. 5/10.

Defenders of Peace: Anakin and crew defend the Lurmen

Episode 14: Defenders of Peace: Anakin wants the Lurmen to join the Republic but Tee Watt Kaa wants to keep the peace. The Separatists land and tell the Lurmen that they are in command now. Due to the Lurmen being pacifists there is no resistance. The Separatist commander wants to use the Lurmen as test subjects for his new weapon the Defoliator, a weapon that can destroy all organic life in it’s target. Anakin and his crew attempt to defend the Lurmen, even with the protest of the elder. A small group of Lurmen eventually help the Republic to push back the droids and eventually beat them.

There was one awesome aspect about this episode and that was the fact the George Takei was playing the Separatist leader, Lok Durd. It was great hearing him being involved in the Star Wars universe in some way and he has such a distinct voice. Apparently he was meant to be a recurring villain but alas, it never came to pass. I thought the Separatist Defoliator weapon was ingenious! A tank that fires shells that ONLY damage organic material? Perfect for the droid armies. On the flip side I thought the Lurmen elder was an idiot. I get it he wants to be neutral and a pacifist but his whole race was going to be destroyed. No ifs, maybes or buts, they were going to be wiped out! And what was his response when confronted?

“If it’s out destiny to be destroyed in your war so be it!”

WHAT?! Great idea just sit there and die, perfect! Who the hell elected him to be tribal leader. I understand the neutrality and the pacifism, but if your culture, race and everyone you ever knew and loved were going to be slaughtered, then I believe you should fight, but that is only my two cents on the issue. Lastly, here we go again with the plot armour! Three Separatist tanks and an entire army of droids went up against three Jedi and two clone troopers…and lost. This annoys me, it’s not that I want the heroes to die, I just want it to be believable, some element of danger or excitement. To be honest it was a very weak episode. 3/10.

Trespass: Clone snowtroopers

Episode 15: Trespass: Kenobi and Anakin are sent to Orto Plutonia to find missing clone troopers. They are with some clones, Pantorans and the Senator from Pantora, Riyo Chuchi and Chairman of Pantora Chi Cho, which due to his position of chairman has command over the mission. They find the missing clones, dead. Later they find an indigenous species on the planet, but Chi Cho wants them wiped out. Chi Cho is killed and Riyo steps up to be the leader that is needed and brokers a peace between the Pantorans and the indigenous species.

This episode was pretty good. It has a lot of action and some tense scenes. It was pretty dark seeing all the clone heads on pikes at the start of the episode, even though they were helmeted. I like when Star Wars rubs up against more adult/darker themes and realises they are doing a show about a war and war is hell. I liked seeing another issue that had nothing really to do with the Clone Wars and more about an indigenous species fighting for it’s right to remain on the planet that it is indigenous too. Brian George and Jennifer Hale were the guest stars in this episode as Chi Cho and Riyo Chuchi respectively and they done a great job, especially Chi Cho. I have to say that whoever wrote for Chi Cho was having a bad day because he was a dick. It was interesting seeing that Jedi and clones had to take orders from Chi Cho even though they completely disagreed with him. Overall a pretty good episode. 7/10.

The Hidden Enemy: Clone Interrogations

Episode 16: The Hidden Enemy: Kenobi and Anakin attempt to ambush a Separatist force in a city but they themselves get ambushed. Everyone believes that there is a traitor amongst the clone ranks. They find some information that leads them to a particular barracks commanded by a clone trooper named Slick. After interrogating Slick’s men, Slick is found to be the traitor. After trying to escape and destroying a lot of the Republic’s vehicles and gunships he eventually gets captured. Slick explains that the clones are no more than slaves to the Republic and that he wants more for himself and his brothers.

This was an excellent episode and for me one of the best in the season. I loved the battle at the start and how it showed an even battle between the Republic and Separatists. It gets boring watching the clones win every single battle with the Jedi. In saying that there is a really great lightsaber battle between Anakin, Kenobi and Ventress. The writing of the episode was top class. I loved the interrogation of the clones and even though it was an animation you could tell how much it hurt the clones to know that there was a traitor amongst their ranks. This was something that was utterly unthinkable, a free thinking clone? It was definitely a foreshadowing for events that would come later and having clones questioning the morality and ethical implications of creating “people” for one purpose and that purpose is to fight a war and die. 9/10.

Blue Shadow Virus: A terrible fate to those who are infected

Episode 17: Blue Shadow Virus: Padme finds out that there is secret Separatist laboratory on Naboo and the Separatists are using it to create a biological weapon to attack Naboo. Sharks are dying in the water which leads Padme and Jar Jar to the laboratory. They get captured by Doctor Nuvo Vindi and he tells them about the Blue Shadow Virus and how it was a virus that was wiped from the galaxy years ago. He hopes to make it airbourne. Meanwhile, Anakin sends Ahsoka to find Padme and Jar Jar. Anakin, Kenobi and Captain Rex with some clones go to the bunker to stop and apprehend Vindi. Vindi has bombs set up all over the compound and if they go off the Blue Shadow Virus will be spread across Naboo. Kenobi and a bomb squad deactivate all the bombs and they apprehend Vindi.

This was another Jar Jar episode and his ridiculous dumb luck! I still refuse to say that Jar Jar is force sensitive, not in my Star Wars he’s not. Really the character should not even exist and to add him into an episode shows absolutely lazy writing because no matter what happens to Jar Jar, he will win out because nothing can happen to poor Jar Jar. Apart from Binks, the idea was good with the blue shadow virus and the doctor was interesting. I thought the concept of a biological weapon was quite a dark theme. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Mystery of a thousand moons: Good guy droid army

Episode 18: Mystery of a Thousand Moons: In the Blue Shadow Virus bunker it is discovered that all the bombs weren’t actually found and there is still one left. A droid sets off the bomb and releases the Virus into the compound. Ahsoka, Jar Jar, Padme and some clones make it to a safe room as the compound is sealed to prevent it’s release into Naboo. A bit of the virus made it into the safe room and affected some clones and Ahsoka as Jar Jar and Padme were wearing protective gear. Anakin tries to get the cure from Vindi but he says there is no cure. Captain Typho of the Naboo Theed guard tells Anakin that there may be one cure, but its on a planet called Lego (I know) in Separatist controlled space. Anakin and Kenobi make it there and they see a graveyard of ships above the planet. They make it to the planet surface and see a lot of repurposed B-1 battle droids that are friendly. They find a child who reprogrammed all the droids and tells them that no one can leave Lego as a warlord named Drol wont let any ship leave. Anakin and Kenobi find the antidote and find out that it is actually a Separatist energy field that prevents anyone leaving Lego. They destory the field, leave the planet and make it back to cure everyone just in time.

I thought the idea of reprogrammed droids was extremely interesting, Realistically if the republic just captured the droids or even collected them after battle they could just reprogram them to fight for the Republic, or at least it’s a possibility. I mean surely if a child could do it the Republic could. I didn’t like the child, Jaybo. I don’t get get this trope of having a child genius who can fix anything or make anything, I don’t get why writers go down this route. I’ve seen it in various other media and to me it just doesn’t gel. Another example is Tiny Tina from the Borderlands video game series, a thirteen year old girl who is a demolitions expert…what? I know some people like this, I don’t, it’s just a personal preference. Jar Jar with all his bumbling around ends up getting Padme infected with the blue shadow virus and do they get rid of him? No. They still keep him around to see what else he can mess up in the future. Lastly it shows Anakin’s first taste of the dark side, in the show at least. When Anakin and Kenobi first land on Lego they are greeted by the droids but Anakin goes straight to slaughtering them out of anger which Kenobi had to snap him out of. Anakin losing control is showing how he is starting to slip down on his dark side path. Subtle but effective. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Storm over Ryloth: Disaster for the Republic

Episode 19: Storm Over Ryloth: In a disastrous fleet battle, the Republic lose a lot of ships and admiral Yularen is injured, partially caused by Ahsoka’s refusal to follow orders and return to the fleet with her fighters like she should have. Kenobi and Mace Windu give Anakin some time to get his forces together and attempt another attack, but they only give him very little time or they will postpone the invasion of Ryloth. Anakin realises this can’t happen as the people of Ryloth are suffering under the Separatists. Anakin comes up with an idea to crash one of the badly damaged Republic cruisers into the Separatist capital ship and Ahsoka would turn the last remaining cruiser sideways and use it as a shield while sending out fighters to attack the Separatist fleet. This idea works and the Republic win the space battle for Ryloth.

Okay, so fair enough Ahsoka disobeys orders and gets in trouble with Anakin. Does she take her lashing? Nope, instead she’s cheeky and argumentative and keeps using the fact that “WeLl YoU aLwAyS dIsObEy OrDeRs MaStEr” to justify herself to Anakin. Was does Anakin do? Apologise. I’m sorry her little antics got five clone pilots killed and Admiral Yularen injured and she doesn’t get reprimanded? Ridiculous. Oh and here is probably the worst plot armour in this season. So in the beginning space battle and a few space battles in other episodes, Republic cruisers get destroyed pretty easily. Remember that, it is important. So Anakin has two cruisers left, one badly damaged and the other still okay. So he begins his plan to ram the Separatist capital ship and the Separatists catch onto this. They begin firing at the badly damaged cruiser but even though two Separatist frigates and the capital ship are firing at Anakin’s BADLY DAMAGED cruiser do you think they could destroy it? No way, how could they, that cruiser has the strongest armour in the universe, plot armour. Then the capital ship blows up and all six Separatist frigates fire on Ahsoka’s one cruiser and again they can’t destroy it. If it was a normal cruiser with no main characters that cruiser would have ripped like paper and it was proven in various episodes. Rubbish plot armour. The episode was mediocre at best. 5/10.

Innocents of Ryloth: Prisoners on their own world

Episode 20: Innocents of Ryloth: The Republic realise that they can’t use a mass attack to assault the Separatists as the Separatists are use the Twi’lek (Twil-ek) as “human” shields. Kenobi realises they can only use standard blasters and droid poppers, grenades that only work on droids. The clones engage the droids and take out some. Kenobi sends some clones ahead to scout out a town. Two clones, Boil and Waxer find a Twi’lek orphan named Numa. The two clones are attacked by starved Gutkurrs which are giant creatures with big teeth. Numa leads the clones to safety in an underground tunnel. The droids send the Gutkurrs after the main clone force but the clones win. Boil, Waxer and Numa meet with the rest of the force and Numa explains that she will show the clones an underground way to the prisoners. Commander Cody creates a diversion while Kenobi goes to get the prisoners out, which he does. The Twi’leks help the clones and they defeat the droid forces.

This was an interesting episode. The fighting and action was good in it but I want to focus more on what was happening in the background of the episode and the fact that it showed how the Separatists act as an occupying force and how cruel they can be to the people in invaded. I liked seeing the relationship between the two clone troopers Waxer and Boil and how in some ways it felt like watching two American soldiers going around a village in Iraq during the Iraq war more than it felt like Star Wars. They also came up with derogatory names for the Twi’leks, Tailheads which showed the lack of sympathy or respect they had for the Twi’lek’s in their plight. It showed how the war was affecting people and how innocent lives were being destroyed and that this was one planet of many being attacked by the Separatists. It gave a more human outlook on the clones and in some ways how they were separate from droids, even though they were both made in a factory. A good episode. 7/10.

Liberty on Ryloth: The attack on Lessu

Episode 21: Liberty on Ryloth: The Republic must attack the Ryloth capital Lessu and remove the Separatists once and for all. The leader of the Separatist defence is a Skakoan called Wat Tambor. Tambor refuses to leave Ryloth saying that the Republic doesn’t have the forces to take Lessu. Tambor orders the main bulk of his force to defend the only bridge into Lessu. Windu knows he needs the help of the Twi’lek resistance force under the leadership of Cham Syndulla. Syndulla has been classed as a radical by the Republic and that he only wants power. Windu finds Syndulla and other Twi’leks attacking Separatist forces but Syndulla does not want to help Windu or the Republic. After some Twi’lek villages get bombed by the Separatists, Cham then agrees to help the Republic. Tambor is loading his ship with Twi’lek treasures but he was waiting for two more vehicles with some treasure. Windu and Syndulla see the vehicles and ambush them and use the cover of the vehicles to get across the bridge to the city. After a tense battle in the city, Windu and his clone troopers arrest Tambor and take back Lessu.

Again this episode stayed on the same course as the last showing the brutality in the clone war more than just how cool the action is. The Separatist forces called for a complete and utter bombing of civilian Twi’lek targets and they followed through destroying the homes of all the Twi’leks. I thought this was quite shocking especially in a children’s orientated show but I commend them on showing the horror that war is and it’s not all kick ass clone troopers with big guns. The droids arse around way too much, I know some of them are meant to be comic relief and I understand that, but when they clearly see a Jedi or someone that shouldn’t be there, their first thought isn’t shoot its saying stupid phrases like:

“You’re under arrest”

“You’re not authorised to be here”

I mean come on, the Jedi won’t let you arrest them and of course they’re not authorised to be there, you don’t have to tell the world that, THEY ARE THE ENEMY. Stop messing around and get shooting. Also Wat Tambor is an idiot. He had plenty of chances to leave Lessu, but he wanted to stay and take their treasures instead. Who hires these commanders? A good episode. 7/10.

Hostage Crisis: Cad Bane and his retinue

Episode 22: Hostage Crisis: A bounty hunter named Cad Bane and his entourage break into the Republic senate and take the senators hostage. Anakin wants to take Padme, his wife, on a holiday to a place where no one would know them and they could be themselves, as it is forbidden for a Jedi to marry. Padme refuses but Anakin gives her his lightsaber in an attempt to show how much he loves her. C-3P0 and R2 come into the room so Anakin has to hide. Cad Bane is demanding that Chancellor Palpatine releases Ziro the Hutt from Republic custody. After some time and a few attempts at helping the hostages by Anakin, which failed, Palpatine plays ball and allows Ziro to be taken by Cad Bane. Bane releases Ziro and they both escape.

A fantastic episode. Cad Bane is a wonderful addition to the show and you can believe that he is a bounty hunter. There is no messing around with him, hell he even executes a senator because the senator tries to walk away from him. Everything is precise with Bane and he is absolutely on the ball in terms of knowing what to do. I love how ruthless he is and he committed he is to getting the job done. A very well written and believable episode and one of the best in the series. 9/10.

Overall opinion on the season:

A good start with some bumps and most of them being Jar Jar Binks. It has a lot of good action, good storytelling and the lightsaber battles are just cool. It is interesting getting to know the clone troopers a lot more and seeing some actual battles that gave some of the clones their stripes. The exploration of the galaxy and the lore around some of the other races and factions are a nice treat to Star Wars fans that like the universe to be expanded. There are a lot less silly moments then I would have thought looking at the show and the show seems to take itself quite serious which is good. If you are a Star Wars fan and you are on the ropes about watching this show I would say give the first season a try. It will give you a taste of what the rest of the show will be like. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One (2008)

6 – Good, worth a watch!

5 – Okay, but I’m glad it’s over!

4 – Bearable

3 – Baaaaaaad!

2 – Who spent time making this?

1 – Travesty, they should never go near a film set again!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Gaea

“Gaea sings with the voice of nature rampant: a thousand howls, chitters and cries, and none of them can be ignored.” – Gaea’s Herald

Gaea’s Herald

Hello everybody, today I will be talking about Gaea, the mysterious nature goddess from the realm of Dominaria in the Magic the Gathering universe. Gaea was around from the beginning but as the game and the universe grew so did her impact. Originally Gaea was a term that the designers put on the MTG cards to denote something that was extremely natural, but over time they grew the term into an actual character and made her a goddess of the plane.

As the lore grew, Gaea was made out to be not only Dominaria’s protector but the creator of the entire plane. She personally has never showed herself in the MTG universe but there are fifteen cards that have her name in them and there are another fifteen cards that reference her in some way. She is a goddess to a lot of the fey folk in Dominaria so the likes of Elves and Druids pay respects and worship her in their own ways. It is said that the Elves and Druids of the plane can actually hear their goddess and that Gaea directly created the Elves of the plane. During the Phyrexian Invasion, it is believed by many that Gaea had a hand in protecting the plane of Dominaria from the invading Phyrexian forces that sought to ruin her plane.

Not much is known about the goddess, Gaea but she has been in the game in her own way from 1993 and still has cards made about her in the modern era with cards such as Gaea’s Blessing released in the Dominaria set in 2018. I believe there is a lot more to see of Gaea yet and I hope one day we get to see the actual goddess, as MTG have been releasing God cards since the Theros block in 2013-2014.

A short lore this week, but none the less important to the universe of Magic the Gathering. It is interesting to see how characters, planes and stories developed over time and in Gaea’s case it went from something that sounded cool and natural to a fully fledged goddess.

I hope you enjoyed and as always, thanks for reading!

Film Review: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Title: Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

Genre: Animated Adventure

Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama (Pokemon: The First Movie, Pokemon: The Movie 2000)

Age Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)

Run Time: 112 mins (1hr 52mins)

Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2017 movie, Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! This movie is the 20th movie in the Pokemon film series and was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama whose work mostly involves Pokemon, even directing the first Pokemon movie in 1998. The story takes us right back to when Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town first meets the electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu.

I CHOOSE YOU TO REALISE THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU WANT TO BE A TRUE POKEMON MASTER, DO NOT CONTINUE…unless you want spoilers.

The plot at the start of the film is basically the exact same as how Ash obtained Pikachu. He woke up late on the his tenth birthday to choose his very first Pokemon from Professor Oak. Because Ash got there late, he only had one choice left and that was Pikachu. Pikachu was very disobedient and he had no time for Ash. Ash found a Pidgey and was trying to catch it, but Pikachu would not help him. So Ash threw a rock and missed Pidgey but hit another Pokemon, Spearow. A flock of Spearow arrived and started to attack Ash and Pikachu and left Pikachu quite injured. After falling, Ash told Pikachu not to worry that he would protect Pikachu. Pikachu watched as Ash challenged the Spearow and told them to leave Pikachu alone and attack him instead. Pikachu built up enough strength to leap into the air and use a tremendous thunderbolt to drive all the Spearow away. As the sky clears, a legendary Pokemon named Ho-oh flies past and a feather drops down to Ash.

We later see Ash on his Pokemon adventure, challenging people to Pokemon battles and winning. He overhears that there is a legendary Pokemon called Entei in the area, along with all the other trainers. The trainers go and find Entei in the forest but they all lose trying to catch it. Ash meets a trainer called Verity and they don’t get on at all. Ash also meets another trainer called Sorrel. As it starts to rain they go to find shelter but on the way they run into a Charmander, a fire Pokemon with a flame on its tail, if the flame goes out, Charmander dies. Charmander was abandoned in the wilderness by his trainer, Cross because Cross thinks that Charmander is too weak. Ash nurses Charmander back to health while Sorrel tells Ash about the legend of the rainbow hero and that Ho-oh drops a feather to a person that it thinks will be the rainbow hero who is destined to fight the Ho-oh.

Cross returns to fight Ash and his newly evolved Charmeleon, but Cross makes quick work of them both. Ash distraught goes into a forest alone and another Pokemon named Misdreavous puts Ash asleep and gives him a nightmare where there are no Pokemon. The rainbow feather loses all colour, but in the dream Ash realises this is all wrong and wakes up to see that the feather has regained it’s colour. The team continue on their journey up Mt. Tensei to battle the Ho-oh. As they are about to make it to their destination, Cross returns and challenges Ash to another Pokemon battle, which Ash accepts. Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and beats Cross’s Pokemon. Cross in his annoyance steals the rainbow feather and puts it into a beam of light, meant to summon Ho-oh. When Cross places the feather, the beam turns dark and all the Pokemon in the area turn bad and attack the group. Ash managed to save Pikachu by getting him into a Pokeball but Ash starts to disappear. Pikachu brings himself out of the Pokeball to see Ash start to fade away and in his sadness lets out a mighty thunderbolt which stops all the Pokemon from fighting.

Ash wakes up to see that all the colour is drained and he is left in a grey world. But Ash doesn’t give up and as he starts to walk towards Pikachu he is transported to different areas of nature and colour. Ash starts to run through these areas which creates a sort of portal in front of Pikachu, until Pikachu realises that it’s Ash and they hug each other and Ash turns to colour again…If you’re confused, I don’t blame you, but it happens. Ash takes the rainbow feather and places it on the beam, calling Ho-oh down to fight, which they do, but you don’t get to see. Cross realises his mistakes and makes up with Ash and everyone goes on their own journey and separate. That is the end.

So onto the movie and what I thought of it.

Story wise I thought it was interesting that they went back to when Ash first got Pikachu. I felt that it was a retelling for people who might not have been old enough to experience that when the Pokemon TV show first aired and I thought it was a nice throwback. My personal issue is that, I was around when the TV show first aired, so the first third of the film is absolutely wasted on me because they done nothing new or different with it, it was almost the exact same. They could have just shown the first episode of Pokemon for the first half an hour and it would have had the same effect. That said, it does explain why Ash sees the mythical bird from the TV show and explains why Ho-oh appears to Ash all those years ago. There are also many storylines that again are not only taken from the first season of the show, but play out almost exactly as they happen in the show. Ash finding Charmander and Cross leaving him? In the show that was a character called Damien that left Charmander and for the same reason. Butterfree leaving Ash to go mate with another pink Butterfree, yep.

They do go into some Pokemon and explain how their origins, such as Entei. I thought his story was cool but sad. Apparently a building with Pokemon in it burned down and killed the Pokemon, but Ho-oh took pity on them and brought them back to life as three legendary Pokemon, Entei, Raikou and Suicune. I enjoyed learning their lore as I am a lore freak! Another sad story was about Sorrel and the reason he kept away from Pokemon. As a child he got lost from his home and his family Pokemon, Luxray stayed with him. A blizzard occurred and Luxray covered Sorrel to keep him warm. Sorrel was found but Luxray froze to death. It was a sad story and not one you encounter much in the world of Pokemon, death.

A big problem I have with the story are Team Rocket. If anyone knows their Pokemon they know exactly who the dastardly trio are, but to anyone new, Team Rocket are members of an evil organisation trying to take over the world using Pokemon. In the show they always come up with shenanigans to help accomplish their schemes but they get defeated in the end and usually get blasted into the air with their classic catchphrase “Team Rocket are blasting off again!”. In this movie they show up about three or four times and don’t actually do anything and just keep blasting off into the air repeating the catchphrase. They are utterly pointless in this movie and should not have been added.

Lastly, on the story, my biggest problem: Why the hell did they skip over the fight between Ho-oh and Pikachu, you know THE WHOLE POINT OF THE MOVIE! I sat through an almost two hour movie, much of which I have seen before years ago and the big build up, the penultimate moment, the payoff…is nothing. No epic Pokemon battle between Pikachu and a legendary Pokemon, nothing. Even worse, it’s not even mentioned, we don’t know if Ash lost or if he caught Ho-oh or won and let it go, nothing. I felt like it was a complete waste of time in some ways. Why build up this epic rainbow hero story, the destined Pokemon trainer to fight Ho-oh and then not only not show it, but don’t even mention it again.

The artwork of the movie was beautiful and some of the scenes, especially when Pikachu let off the tremendous thunderbolts were absolutely astounding. The movie uses a mix of 2-D and 3-D graphics throughout and the transition between both is seamless. The Pokemon battles were brought to life, especially the battles between Incineroar vs. Charmeleon and Incineroar vs. Charizard. If you are anyway into Pokemon you will love those battles. The soundtrack was very good and enjoyable and worked with the movie.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but boy did it have it’s flaws. The story was the biggest problem with it as the Pokemon battles, artwork, graphics, soundtrack and voice acting were all pretty good. The biggest question for me would be would I watch this again and I think the answer is a big no. If I wanted to watch Ash’s and Pikachu’s story I would just watch the show again, but it does explain a bit more. It’s an okay movie, enjoyable enough and I’m glad I watched it, but I won’t watch it again.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good

6 – Good, worth a watch! – Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You! (2017)

5 – Okay, but I’m glad it’s over!

4 – Bearable

3 – Baaaaaaad!

2 – Who spent time making this?

1 – Travesty, they should never go near a film set again!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Album Review: “Agent Orange” (1989) by Sodom

Band/Artist: Sodom (Vocals/Bass: Tom Angelripper, Guitar: Frank Blackfire, Drums: Chris Witchhunter)

Album: Agent Orange (1989)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Label: Steamhammer, SPV

This is my review of the 1989 album ‘Agent Orange’ by German thrash metal band, Sodom. Agent Orange was the third studio album by the band and it was a commercial breakthrough for the band, selling over 100,000 copies in Germany alone. The album has a Vietnam war theme to it with some songs directly referencing things from the Vietnam war due to the lead singers fascination with the Vietnam war, such as Agent Orange. So let’s get into the songs.

1. Agent Orange – Agent Orange starts off heavy, with a headbangingly good riff and kick ass drums. The song then slows and builds up to this awesome thrash song that would get any thrash lover going. The songs named is taken from the chemical weapon used during the Vietnam war to destroy much of Vietnam. I feel with the meaning behind the song and the intensity of how hard it hits, it is definitely one of the most memorable thrash songs in history. An excellent song with a fantastic riff, heavy drumming, raw singing and a great solo.

2. Tired and Red – This track immediately starts heavy as all hell and had me headbanging. The lyrics are all about warfare and how horrifying it all really is. The riff is absolutely fantastic but then about halfway through it slows down into this beautiful melodic piece of music that reminds me of the soundtrack from the video game Diablo II (2000) and then we’re not finished yet, oh no my friends. The song builds into this heavy metal solo that absolutely does nothing but rock before travelling you back to the heavy thrash again! An amazing song and one of my favourite on the album.

3. Incest – Okay lets deal with the elephant in the room, the song is about wanting to have sex with your sister and how she is enticing you to have sex with her. A very strange subject and I have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Apart from that the song is very heavy and another hard hitting thrash song which gets me to move my head up and down. In saying that there is nothing that really stands out for me in this song. It’s good but not great, I mean it’s heavy and the riff is pretty good and the drums are banging as ever, it’s just sort of a generic thrash song.

4. Remember the Fallen – A slower and more heavy metal orientated song which there is nothing wrong with. The song is about the fallen soldiers of war and how patronising it is to honour these men and women who are just treated as cannon fodder and how they die in senseless wars and how much of a waste it is. The song is raw and heavy and one of the more technical songs on the album. A very enjoyable song and a nice break from the constant headbanging from the last three songs cause you’ll do yourself a neck injury with all that headbanging. I feel it shows their talent a lot more when they vary the metal that is being used.

5. Magic Dragon – The song starts with some superb guitar work which I thoroughly enjoyed. The song itself is about Duc Lap Camp, a US military camp in Vietnam that was attacked by the Vietcong and resulted in the death of 366 people, on both sides of the conflict. It speaks about the chaos that is going on as the attack is happening. The Magic Dragon itself is actually an aircraft called the Douglas AC-47 Spooky which was an aircraft that provided ground support to the US military. The song itself is pretty good, but not amazing or that memorable to me. I mean it works and it rocks hard but to me it’s only pretty good. Would I listen to it again? Sure of course, but it wouldn’t be in my top ten songs list let’s just say that.

6. Exhibition Bout – This song is interesting in the subject that it talks about, Bull fighting and how horrific the “sport” is. It also talks about how people actually pay money to watch something so cruel happening to these animals. The song is pretty good, a decent thrash song but nothing that really stands out to me, well apart from the kick ass solo, that is pretty awesome. Another good song but not a great one.

7. Ausgebombt – The drums! My lordy lordy lord, the drums are great! From the first moment I was headbanging to the drums. The theme of the song is an anti war song and telling people to stop trading in war and weapons and death which to this guy being me is a pretty good statement. Another good song with a decent guitar riff and singing but the king of this song is by far the drums for me.

8. Baptism of Fire – This song hits you like a ton of bricks from the get go and it continues to do it throughout the entire song. One of the heaviest songs on the album and one that I absolutely had a great time listening to. The song slows down to another guitar shredding solo and one that makes me want to turn up the volume. A pretty bad ass song that will be in my play list for a long time.

9. Don’t Walk Away – This song is a cover of British heavy metal band’s Tank song of the same name. I think Sodom done a great job with it. They stayed true to the original but they also made it their own and made it just that bit heavier. The band is absolutely on point and in turn are playing some top class heavy metal. An excellent cover to a pretty good song.

Final thoughts:

I first heard of Sodom from some crappy thrash compilation album I bought in HMV (RIP) about fifteen years ago. It was a five cd thrash compilation album from various artists, some good, most were bad, but one of the good ones was Sodom. After hearing the song Agent Orange from that collection I had to find the album and I did and I listened to it again and again and I loved it. Agent Orange is to me a supreme thrash album that is up there with the likes of Reign in Blood (1986) from Slayer or Among the Living (1987) by Anthrax. It is a fantastic album with a lot of headbanging tracks but just enough to not get same ol’ same ol’. The band knows when to mix it up and keep you interested and I didn’t find one song boring or annoying. I would say if you’re a fan of thrash or heavy metal then give this album a listen, but I would say it would suit thrash fans more.

My favourite song on the album: Tired and Red

8/10

TV Show Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 7-12)

Hello everybody, this is the continuation of my review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1. Today we will be doing episodes 7-12, so let’s begin.

THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, MATEYS! YARRRRRRRGH!

Duel of the Droids – R2-D2 vs R3-S6

Episode 7: Duel of the Droids: R2 is still missing and it is up to Anakin, Ahsoka and the clones to get him back. They find R2’s signal on a Separatist Battle Sphere above a moon and travel there to take him back. Meanwhile, it is revealed that R3-S6 was a Separatist spy all along and that the droid was intentionally trying to get Anakin and the rest of the crew hurt all those times it had “accidents”. Anakin tells the clones to destroy the Battle Sphere with previously planted explosives, even though they are still inside. Grievous escapes and R2 and R3 have a “battle” of sorts on a platform high in the atmosphere. Eventually R2 beats R3, letting the droid fall to it’s death.

The episode itself is pretty good. I thought that Grievous killing Gha Nachkt out right when he asked for more credits really sealed it on how ruthless Grievous can be. I feel he has absolutely no time for people trying to double cross him or blackmail him and that he would crush any enemy that would attempt to do so. I like the angle of R3-S6 being a double agent. It is interesting because you never see it and even though it would be the last thing that you would expect to betray you, it makes a lot of sense as the astromech droids in Star Wars are quite handy and they can do a hell of a lot of things. The fact that a droid alone could compromise so much for the Republic forces shows how much they really need to pay attention on who their friends and enemies really are. I thought the droid duel was a nice tough as you don’t really get to see the friendly droids do a whole lot of fighting in the Star Wars universe and it showed that R2 could hold his own. A good episode. 7.5/10

Bombad Jedi – Padme betrayed

Episode 8: Bombad Jedi: Senator Padme Amadala must meet Onaconda Farr on the planet Rodia to get the Rodians to honour their commitment to the Republic. There she finds that the people of Rodia are starving and that the Republic have paid little attention to them and their plights. Because of the Onaconda pledges the allegiance of Rodia to the Separatists and allows Padme to be arrested by droids. Jar Jar Binks and C-3P0 came with Padme but Padme told them to stay with the ship. Droids come to arrest Binks and C-3P0 but because of Binks bumbling around he destroys the droids and the senator’s ship. Binks puts on a cloak and he suddenly looks like a Jedi, well to the Separatist forces anyway. Through more Jar Jar bumbling, he destroys a lot of droids and C-3P0 manages to get a message to Republic forces. Nute Gunray comes to collect Padme but he is thwarted by Jar Jar. Onaconda realises he made a big mistake siding with the Separatists and Padme allows him to say that this was all an elaborate trap to catch Gunray and allows Onaconda and the Rodians to rejoin the Republic. Chancellor Palpatine sends a message saying that supplies will be on the way to the Rodians.

This episode was meh at best. It was good seeing that because of the war, planets are being forgotten about and that it is not only the frontlines that need supplies. I thought it was interesting seeing the affect the war had on smaller planets that wouldn’t have a lot to give to the war effort and how they are really just pawns in a game. Jar Jar as a Jedi? No. Nope. Doesn’t work for me. I am not just jumping on the Jar Jar hate wagon here for no reason, I genuinely think that Jar Jar Binks is one of the worst characters ever created in the Star Wars universe and anytime they try to legitimise him throughout Star Wars media it is a big mistake and a hark back to a time not so long ago when Star Wars media was bad. Jar Jar is a terrible character and I’m saying that from every stand point I can in terms of from when I was a child I didn’t like him and I definitely do not like him now. Personally I think Star Wars should cut their loses and get rid of the character, but that is just me. Not a good episode. 4/10

Cloak of Darkness – Ventress vs Luminara

Episode 9: Cloak of Darkness: Nute Gunray is to be transported back to Coruscant to face trials for his war crimes. Ahsoka, Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and a handful of Senate Commandos including Captain Faro Argyus. Darth Sidious tells Dooku that Gunray needs to be silenced. Dooku sends Ventress to kill or rescue Gunray. Ventress and a droid force attack the ship and while Ventress is planting explosives in the generator room she is attacked by Unduli. Unduli eventually loses and is trapped under some ship debris before being rescued by Ahsoka. Captain Argyus betrays the Republic and sets Nute Gunray free. They all escape, but as Argyus is gloating about the escape he himself is betrayed by Ventress and stabbed in the back.

Aesthetically I thought the Senate Commandos were awesome. I loved the blue armour and the more formal looking uniforms. Aseej Ventress’s lightsaber skills are fabulous to watch, even if the Jedi do call her sloppy and amateur. The problem with Ventress is she is too emotional when she fights and she lets her anger guide her a little too much, but apart from that she is a deadly fighter and a vicious assassin. Which leads me on to her lightsaber duel with Master Unduli. I believe it is one of the first major lightsaber duels in the show and it is a really vivid one to start off with. The animators really knew how to make the duels engaging and exciting and they knew it was a show, a show that deserves to be enjoyed and I very much enjoyed this one. Lastly from a story point of view, I thought it was very interesting that a senate commando betrayed the Republic. The senate commandos are not made up of clones as far as I’m aware so they wouldn’t have the same conditioning or natural loyalty to the Republic. In saying that, the be a senate commando, I’m sure you had to be the best of the best and demonstrated your loyalty to the Republic on a number of occasions which made the fall of the Captain so much more worrying. If someone who is meant to give their life to protect the senate could fall to the Separatists, how far does this conspiracy go. Overall, an enjoyable episode. 8/10

Lair of Grievous – Grievous vs Fisto and Vebb

Episode 10: Lair of Grievous: Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his Padawan Nahdar Vebb follow the tracking beacon on Nute Gunray’s ship to attempt to recapture him. They find the ship but no one is inside. They enter a castle that is on the planet. Master Fisto is contacted by Dooku telling him that he won’t give up Gunray but he will allow the Jedi to capture Grievous. Fisto realises he is in the Lair of Grievous. Dooku sets up a trap telling Grievous to go to the planet. Fisto sets up an ambush to hopefully capture the General. Fisto gets the jump on Grievous and Grievous’s legs get cut off. Grievous escapes but kills some clones on the way. The clones attempt to contact the Republic fleet to send reinforcements but the droids destroy the clone transport. Fisto tells his astromech to pilot his ship out of danger and contact the fleet. Fisto finds Grievous’s control room, but Vebb in his anger tries to attack Grievous. Grievous’s droid cuts off Fisto from Vebb and Vebb ends up killed by Grievous. Fisto escapes on his starship back to Coruscant. Grievous tells Dooku that he killed a Jedi, but Dooku isn’t impressed saying that Grievous only killed a Padawan, angering Grievous.

A very good episode. The opening was very eerie and strange. There was an Aliens (1986) feeling to it as the squad of clones were making their way through these tight, dark corridors looking for the enemy. I loved the fact that their was a little more backstory on General Grievous as there is not much known about the Separatist General. It was great just to see where and how he lived even, I love backstory and lore so the more, the better. Another very cool lightsaber battle like the last episode. Seeing Grievous in a lightsaber battle is a treat for me personally and I very much enjoyed this one. I loved the ominous and dreadful atmosphere that was persistent throughout this episode. It gave me a feeling that I can only describe in two words…Oh, no! A great episode and a little different from the norm in terms of atmosphere. 8.5/10

Dooku Captured – Hondo with the Jedi

Episode 11: Dooku Captured: While thinking he caught Anakin Skywalker, Count Dooku was duped as it was a trap by Kenobi and Anakin instead. While trying to escape he leaves his capital ship on his own personal ship. Anakin and Kenobi pursue him and fire on Dooku’s ship, damaging it. Dooku lands his ship but Kenobi and Anakin get shot down by a droid fighter. They continue to pursue Dooku into a cave, but they were tricked and Dooku collapses the cave roof on their heads. Dooku escapes but is captured by the pirate captain Hondo Ohnaka and his pirate gang and he will be ransomed off to either the Separatists or the Republic. Hondo contacts the Republic and tells them that he has Dooku and is willing to ransom him. So Anakin and Kenobi go and verify if the pirates do indeed have Dooku. The Jedi confirm that Dooku is in the pirates custody, so the Republic send Senator Kharrus and….Jar Jar Binks….with the credits to go and get Dooku. While waiting, Anakin and Kenobi have a drink with the pirates, who attempt to give the Jedi spiked drinks. The Jedi switch their drinks with two pirates and the pirates pass out.

Overall an okay episode. Hondo is a very good pirate captain and a character that even though he is a villain, you can’t help but be charmed by him. It was good to see a Kenobi and Anakin only episode as a lot of that is lost during the Clone Wars and it is mostly Anakin and Ahsoka, so I definitely enjoyed seeing the master and apprentice together again. A good episode but not a lot to say on it, more of a filler episode I would say. 7/10

The Gungan General – Binks and the clone troopers

Episode 12: The Gungan General: Anakin and Kenobi did turn out to be drugged after all even though they were careful. They wake up in a cell in the pirates care and to make matters worse, they are with Dooku and to make matters EVER worse they are all tied together. Binks and Kharrus are on the way but one of Hondo’s pirate crew attempts to betray Hondo and take the ransom himself by shooting down Binks’s ship. Kharrus is dead leaving Jar Jar in charge of the clones. The Jedi and Dooku attempt to escape together but they end up re-captured. Turk, Hondo’s betrayer goes to get the ransom from the crash site but his men are killed by the clones. Turk returns to Hondo telling him that the Republic have sent an army, which they didn’t which convinces Hondo to send his tanks after the clones. The tanks arrive but they get destroyed when Jar Jar takes one over and rams it into another tank and shuts down the power for the pirates. With this, Dooku and the Jedi escape. Dooku kills Turk and takes his ship and the Jedi capture Hondo though Kenobi tells Anakin to set him free as they have no problem with pirates. Hondo tells Kenobi that he is honorable but Kenobi warns that Dooku won’t be so forgiving.

It was an odd moment to see the Jedi and Dooku becoming allies of convenience for short while to get themselves out of a sticky situation. Not something you see that much in the Star Wars universe, but I think it’s quite cool when it happens. At least they’re smart enough to put their differences aside when it benefits them both, no matter how different their ideologies are. Jar Jar…Oh Jar Jar. In this episode his antics stop being “funny”. The reason senator Kharrus was killed was because Jar Jar was messing around on the ship as they were being attacked by the pirates and Kharrus has to get up and strap Jar Jar in like a child. Because of this, Kharrus’s safety harness was not attached properly and he ended up dying when their ship got hit by the pirates. Jar Jar is dangerous and I don’t like the fact that no one else sees it…well no one bar the clones. They know exactly what Jar Jar is like. Hondo lived up to being a decent enough villain and I liked the fact that they left it open on whether we would see Hondo again with Kenobi telling Hondo that Dooku won’t forgive what happened. A fairly action packed episode and pretty fun throughout. 6.5/10

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Benalia

“My people swore to protect Benalia to the end. It is battered, but yet stands, as do we.”Benalish Calvary

Benalia

Hello everybody, today I am talking about the nation state of Benalia on the continent of Aerona on the plane of Dominaria. Benalia is a major location in the world of Magic the Gathering and has shown up all throughout MTG’s history on a whole lot of cards, but where did the state come from and what is it all about? Well I am here to explain all of that.

Dominaria as a whole

Before we speak about Benalia, we must talk about what came before it, the mighty Sheoltun Empire. At the end of the Brother’s war between planeswalkers, Urza and Mishra, who I will be talking about in a later blog, the world was plunged into an Ice Age that lasted for almost two and a half thousand years. After the Ice Age, the Sheoltun Empire was formed with it’s capital being Benfosa. The Sheoltun Empire was a military state that ruled with an iron fist and before long it conquered a lot of central Aerona. One of the most famous Sheoltun residents was an advisor named Tobias Andrion. Tobias was instrumental is wiping out the pirates that surrounded the shores of Sheoltun, but while he was successful in driving them out of Aerona, he got caught up in a thirty year war against the pirates of the Spice Isles. The Spice Isles was a location where sailors could rest before continuing on a long journey, the only problem was it was ruled by pirates. Tobias eventually won, but died by what is widely reported a magical lightning bolt. They say that Tobias is still under the water and dancing on the crew of his fleet for the rest of time. With Tobias’s death, the Sheoltun Empire started to decline. The final nail in the coffin was a revolt by a region called Epityr. Epityr was a region that was flourishing for about three hundred years until the Sheoltun Empire conquered it. The Sheoltun Empire imposed it’s will on the people of Epityr and for forty years they had to adapt their culture to that of the Sheoltun’s. The people of Epityr had enough and revolted and a mage by the name of Thabit of Almaaz summoned Serra Angels, mighty warrior angels to help the Epityr cause. The Sheoltun Empire was beaten and with that came the collapse of the once powerful empire.

The next chapter in the Benalish story begins in a region to the Northeast of the Hurloon mountains called, Wrenna. Not much is known about Wrenna other than it had an order called the Knights of Jenges. An evil sorcerer came to Wrenna and seized it’s throne and corrupted the knights, but one fled south named, Torsten Von Urses. Von Urses came upon the ruins of Benfosa and from here he decided to create a new empire called, Benalia. Von Urses chose the name Benalia as it means ‘Aspiration’.

“Some aspire to climb the mountains of honor. The Benalish are born upon it’s peak, and from there ascend among the stars” – Benalish Marshall

Torsten Von Urses

Benalia was ruled by Von Urses, but he had seven lieutenants from seven great and noble houses which were the ruling families in Benalia. The seven houses are as follows:

  • House Capashen – The wealthiest and strongest houses of the seven. The Capashens rule the north of Benalia. Their leader is Aron Capashen. Their house sigil is a tower with seven windows.
  • House Avenant – The Avenant are a matriarchal house that rule the Isle of Avenant. Their leaders name is Cerise D’Avenant and their house sigil is a pattern of seven arrows.
  • House Croger – A house that is full of expansionists and individualists. They rule Eastern Benalia and they still very much worship the church of the Angelfire. Their leader is Eadith Croger and their sigil is a wolf’s head with seven teeth.
  • House Rosecot – A militaristic house that protects all the grain fields of Benalia to the south east of the country. Their leader is Alvan Rosecot and their sigil is a rose with seven thorns.
  • House Tarmula – A house of wizards and scholars, they rule in and around central Benalia. Their leader is Rache Tarmula and their sigil is a seven pointed star.
  • House Deniz – The house of the great traders, merchants and naval traders of Benalia. They rule along the west coast of Benalia and their leader is Jerek Deniz. Their sigil is a conical shell with seven twists.
  • House Joryev – And finally, not much is known about this house only that it might have possible ties to an organisation called the Cabal. Their leader is Aveya Joryev and their sigil is a ring with seven keys attached.

The mentioning of the seven houses leads on to the Lost Edict. Von Urses wanted to dominate his realm before he died and he did do most of what he wanted in terms of that. At the age of seventy two, Von Urses passed away leaving the leadership of Benalia in question. Von Urses left behind instructions detailing the fact that he didn’t want any of the houses becoming the soul leader of Benalia, but the seven of them ruling together, each taking on a different part of the running of Benalia as a whole.

Benalia became a military state with a lot of religious backing from Gabriel Angelfire and the churches of Serra. Gabriel Angelfire was an extraordinary warrior angel who was worshipped through the churches of the Angelfire. A strange thing that is not primarily seen in the MTG universe is that, Gabriel was a male angel, where most other angels are female.

Then came a dark time in Domiaria’s world, The Phyrexian Invasion. I won’t speak too much on the Phyrexian invasion today as it is a MASSIVE storyline in the MTG universe, but basically the Phyrexian invasion is the invasion of the plane of Dominaria from the artificially created plane of Phyrexia that brought a lot of death, destruction and chaos in it’s wake and a lot of heroes fell trying to stem the tides of the invasion. How does Benalia fit into all this? Benalia was the first region on Dominaria that was attacked and it was utterly destroyed. The goal of the Phyrexians was they wanted to destroy the Capashen house bloodline as it was prophesied that they would be the downfall of Phyrexia.

Phyrexian invasion

After the collapse of Benalia and the disaster that was the Phyrexian Invasion, Benalia’s woes were not finished yet. Next came the Years of Salt. What was left of Benalia devolved into warring states. Time rifts started open around which is part of another massive MTG arc which I won’t be discussing today. Benalia was riddled with natural disasters and then came the Slivers, horrible creatures with claws and tentacles that operate under a hive mind working towards a singular purpose, whatever their brood leader wants.

Lastly came the Mending, which was when the time rifts closed and the plane started to truly heal again. The descendants of the houses established the seven great houses again and rebuilt Benalia. The capital was rebuilt as New Benalia and a new way of governing Benalia was created called the Compact of the Seven Pillars which brought in The Ranking in which every year the leader of the council of seven would drop to the lowest ranking and the second highest ranking would be the leader and the rest would move up a rank. It gave each house a chance to rule. There were stained glass images and statues built to the fallen heroes and a new race joined Benalia, the Aven, flying humanoid creatures. Benalia also adopted the church of Serra as its official religion.

Stain glass honouring the heroes of Benalia

Benalia has a very interesting story in the MTG universe and one that is far from finished. It has been a part of the MTG universe since the beginning and I can definitely see it being there in terms of the game and the lore right up until the end. I hope you enjoyed my write up of the history and lore of Benalia and I will continue next week.

New Benalia

I hope you enjoyed and as always, thanks for reading!

Warhammer Lore: The Emperor of Mankind

The glorious Emperor of Mankind

Hello everybody! This is a new segment where I will discuss Warhammer and other Games Workshop games lore. Today we will be begin by very briefly talking about probably the most famous figure from Warhammer 40,000: The Emperor of Mankind.

The Emperor was formed through the powers of all the shamans of Earth, the first people with psychic powers or psykers. The Emperor is thought to be created around the 8th Millennium B.C. While the Emperor was in his mother’s womb, through his sheer psychic power he made himself immortal and unable to be attacked by demons. Not a lot is known about the Emperor’s previous life before the Unification wars on Terra other then the fact that he travelled around the world, helping his fellow man and stepping in as a leader when it was needed. Terra became a wasteland eventually. Technobarbarians, cruel and ruthless warlords controlled Terra and had merciless, bloody wars. The Emperor then stepped up and revealed himself and through his leadership he unified the forces of Terra using his Thunder Warriors to destroy the armies of the Technobarbarians with a bitter civil war that went on from a few centuries to a full millennium, to become the Imperium of Mankind. The Emperor’s mission was to unite all of humanity under one banner, his, and to reject the ideas of religion and gods and superstition and to focus on science and the advancement of humanity, he called this concept ‘The Imperial Truth’. To do this, the Emperor raised twenty…eighteen…legions of his amazing warriors, the Space Marines or Adeptus Astartes.

Each Space Marine was led by a leader called a primarch. The primarchs were created using the Emperor’s DNA or geneseed, basically becoming the Emperor’s sons. But disaster struck, while the primarchs were infants a warp storm took the primarchs and launched them to every corner of the galaxy. The Emperor set forth on a crusade to find his missing children and finally unite humanity. One by one the Emperor found his children and put them at the head of their respective legions. For 200 years, humanity was in a golden age. Conquering previously held regions of space, finding lost colonies and unifying humanity…but the lure of the forces of Chaos was too much.

The Emperor leading his crusade

The Emperor had to go back to Terra to look after an extremely important project that would have greatly helped humanity, the webway project. I will be speaking more about this as time goes on. He appointed his favourite and first found son, Horus Lupercal, primarch of the XVIth legion, the Luna Wolves, as his general and representative on the front. He dubbed him, Warmaster Horus. Under Horus’s guidance, the crusade continued to thrive. But the Chaos gods had other plans and tempted Horus and eight of his brothers to side against the Emperor and cause a galactic civil war, known as the Horus Heresy. The Horus Heresy ripped the galaxy apart and for seven long years, brother fought brother until Horus finally made it to Terra.

Horus launched an attack on Terra and the Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor, and invaded with everything he had. For fifty five days, the Imperium seen some of the most brutal fighting it had ever known. Horus stayed on his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. The Emperor along with a retinue of Terminators, elite warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, Legio Custodes, his personal bodyguards and Rogal Dorn and Sanguinus, the primarchs of the Imperial Fists and Blood Angels legions respectively, teleported to the Vengeful Spirit. It is here that Sanguinus was slain by Horus, but dealt a chink of damage to his armour. The Emperor came upon his two sons, one dead and lying at the feet of his former favourite son. The Emperor fought Horus and even though his power was great, Horus, powered by the four chaos gods found greater strength. The Emperor eventually defeated Horus using the damage that Sanguinus inflicted on his brother, but he himself was mortally wounded. Rogal Dorn found the Emperor, near death and brought him back to the Imperial Palace on Terra. Here, ten thousand years later, the Emperor is trapped inside the Golden Throne, a life support machine that keeps him in a state of undying.

The Emperor facing Horus with Sanguinus dead.

The Emperor is still a shining light to all those who travel the warp, an area of space where ships can travel faster than light but it is also where warp entities such as demons and vile gods reside. The Emperor’s mighty psychic power is used as a “lighthouse” called the Astronomicon. psykers can see this light and know where they are in relation to Terra. Without this, thousands of ships would be lost in the warp along with millions or even billions of lives. The Emperor is also holding back the true power of Chaos by fighting them psychically in the warp. Without the Emperor shielding the galaxy from the powers of Chaos, Chaos would flood the galaxy with everything they had and there would be no doubt at all that all life would extinguish and be consumed by Chaos. But this power does not come cheap, the Emperor must eat a thousand psyker souls a day to feed his power and keep the Astronomicon lighting and Chaos at bay.

The Emperor’s Golden Throne

These days the Emperor is revered as a god, the one thing he wanted to stamp out. He is now referred to mostly as the God-Emperor by the Ecclesiarchy, the religious sect of the Imperium who make sure that the citizens of the Imperium worship and pray to the Emperor everyday through a brutal regime. The Imperium returned to the days of religious zealousness, superstition and intolerance and in turn stopped advancing technologically which went against everything the Emperor taught his people. This is enforced by ‘The Imperial Creed’, a religious doctrine, issued by the Ecclesiarchy and upheld by the Inquisition, much to the annoyance of most Adeptus Astartes who do not see the Emperor as a god being.

There is so much more to the Emperor of Mankind, but I thought I would keep this brief and not overload you in the beginning. I will touch on more aspects of the Emperor’s life and his role in the Imperium nowadays.

I hope you enjoy and as always, thanks for reading!

Album Review: “Bleach” (1989) by Nirvana

Band/Artist: Nirvana (Vocals/Guitar: Kurt Cobain, Bass Guitar: Krist Novoselic, Drums: Chad Channing)

Album: Bleach (1989)

Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock, Hard Rock, Indie Rock

Label: Subpop

Hello everybody, this my review of the album Bleach by grunge rockers, Nirvana. Bleach was the first studio album by the Seattle band and boy does it rock hard. The album is made up of eleven tracks and I will be speaking about each of them individually and then the album as a whole. Bleach did not chart on it’s initial release but the critics were impressed by it. Before Nevermind was released in 1991, Bleach sold 40,000 copies in North America alone. After Nevermind came out though and Nirvana became the one of the most popular bands of the nineties, Bleach became certified Platinum by the RIAA and has went on to sell 1.9 Million copies and that’s only the United States. Now this review may be a little bias as Nirvana are my favourite band of all time and Kurt Cobain was an inspiration to me growing up. Funnily enough, Bleach was the last Nirvana album I purchased after Nevermind and In Utero. So here is my run down on each of the songs:

  1. Blew – Blew comes in with a very strong start for the album. That initial bass line really gets you into the song and then the rest of the band kicks in with the hard drumming and dirty, grimy guitar playing. Kurt Cobain’s singing is on point in this song, but for me the bass line has to be the winner. Overall a fantastic song!
  2. Floyd the Barber – Another grimy and very raw song that is more about feeling then technical work. The drums are very vibrant and raw and make you head bang and along with that guitar it is a match made in heaven and then it suddenly gets to the chorus and you can hear the talent from all three members of the band, But Cobain’s singing really steals the show at the chorus.
  3. About a Girl – One of the more technical songs on the album, it is not a hard song to play, but boy it is fun. The band seems to really come together and they make something really special. Chad Channing’s soft drumming throughout the verses for it to come alive during the solo really adds to it. The bass line by Krist Novoselic is superb in the background and Cobain’s guitar playing and vocals are absolutely top notch. Definitely one of my favourite Nirvana songs.
  4. School – One of the more raw and grungier songs on the album. This song gives me the feeling that you are only meant to rock out to it instead of really listening to it. The hard pounding of the drums to the roar of the guitar during the chorus really gets you in the groove. Cobain’s voice in really good and it really gives you the angst vibe you usually get with Grunge.
  5. Love Buzz – This is a cover of a Dutch band called Shocking Blue and Nirvana really made it their own. The bass is absolutely fantastic, not overly crazy but it definitely adds to the charm of the song. This was the song that was released on Nirvana’s first EP and it released as their debut song. Truly I feel like everything is secondary to the bass line in this song, not that everything else is bad, god no! But the bass line is so good that it just makes me bop my head back and forth. Excellent song.
  6. Paper Cuts – One of the best songs on the album. The tone of the song is so raw and dirty and grimy and one of the hardest hitting songs on the album! Cobain’s voice blew me away on this. There is something about the shout at the end of every line of the verse. I feel like the band were pulling out all the stops for this song and it really shows. A true grunge song.
  7. Negative Creep – This song will definitely get the crowd going. The pace is faster than other songs on the album but none of the instruments hit any less and Cobain sings a lot fiercer. There seems to be a lot of feeling and emotion to this song and you can feel it from each band member doing their job and doing it well. Amazing song!
  8. Scoff – Another technically impressive song. There is a lot to this song, from the boppy verses to the droning chorus, its a song that has a lot of parts and each of them work well as a whole. My personal choice for the bits that stand out have to be the drums though. The drumming throughout is absolutely fantastic and definitely makes the song.
  9. Swap Meet – From the awesome guitar to the excellent singing from Cobain, Swap Meet is a very fun song from start to finish. The chorus is where is stands out though. It really ties the song together from a sort of monotony to a chorus that really bites. A very fun song and one of my favourite on the album.
  10. Mr. Moustache – Personally I am not a big fan of this song. It is okay, I feel if they slowed it down a tad it could have worked better. Nirvana were still finding their feet in terms of the punk scene so some of the songs lean more towards that. The thing is I like punk but I just feel that this song is a bit messy. Not a bad song, but not great.
  11. Sifting – A fantastic song! Really atmospheric and ticks all the right boxes for me. Another very raw song with a lot of angst attached to it. Cobain’s voice is absolutely on point in this song. The band compliment each other and you can really hear the contribution from each member of the band. For me the chorus is the best part, it is an absolutely awesome track and a strong ending to a tremendous album.

Final thoughts:

A remarkable debut album that really added to the grunge scene in Seattle and abroad. While the album didn’t make Nirvana a household name yet and launch them into the stratosphere of stardom that would come down the road, this album really laid the foundations of what would become their magnum opus, being Nevermind a few years later. For those who want a raw, emotion filled, dirty grunge album, but at the same time has some technically impressive work filled with a lot of talent, then Bleach is definitely one to add to your collection. Almost every song has it’s own story to tell and it’s own way of telling it and no two songs sound similar. A real work of art and an album that is a joy to listen to straight out of the gate.

My favourite song on the album: Negative Creep

9/10

TV Series Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 1-6)

Hello everybody! This is a new segment in which I review tv shows. Some of the shows have a lot of episodes per season, so I will be splitting them into a few parts. Today I will be starting with the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars animated series is set after Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and before Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and it mainly deals with the clone wars in which the clone armies backed by the Republic must fight the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. The animated series came out in 2008, two months after the tie in movie and has had a fantastic run which produced seven seasons. The show deals more with the actual war and the clone troopers involved instead of just being about the Jedi and the Sith and you learn more about the actual soldiers that fight these battles and more background on characters you would see in the movies.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Ambush: Yoda and his remaining clones

Episode 1 Ambush: The Clone Wars starts off strong with both the Republic and Separatists trying to gain the favour of a neutral planet, Toydaria. Jedi Master Yoda is to meet with the king of Toydaria on Ragosa to form a treaty and have them become members of the Republic. But Sith assassin and apprentice of Count Dooku, Aseej Ventress gets there first and tells the king that he will be better protected by joining the Separatists. Ventress gives the Yoda a challenge. If he can reach the meeting place by nightfall, she will allow the king to join the Republic, which Yoda accepts. Ventress sends a droid army to stop Yoda and his small band of clone troopers, but they fail to stop them. Ventress attempts to kill the king instead but Yoda stops her just in time. Ventress escapes and Toydaria becomes part of the Republic.

It was a gripping story to start with and it had a lot of action. It also showed that Master Yoda knew his men, because when they were losing heart and losing hope he told them all of their individual strengths and how they could overcome adversity, which they did eventually. It was a nice moment as it showed that some Jedi do care about their men. It also showed how strong in the force Yoda was compared to Ventress as he stopped her from attacking only using the force and he kept her in place until he chose to let her go. Overall a good episode and a great starting point. 8/10

Rising Malevolence: Plo Koon trapped with his remaining clones

Episode 2 Rising Malevolence: Jedi Master Plo Koon is leading a small fleet of Republic cruisers looking for a Separatist secret weapon that is capable of wiping out whole fleets of Republic ships. Koon finds the new weapon which is a ship called the Malevolence. The Malevolence fires an Ion Cannon which knocks out all power on a ship and catches Koon’s fleet with it. With all systems down and no means to escape, the Malevolence, captained by General Grievous destroys the fleet. Koon and a squad of clone troopers make it to an escape pod but the systems are fried on the escape pod, meaning they have very little time before their air runs out. Grievous sends out pod hunters, designed to go to escape pods and kill any survivors. Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano believe that Koon is still alive and go searching for him in the debris, much to the annoyance of Anakin’s master, Obi Won Kenobi, as he was ordered to stay on board his cruiser. Anakin and Ahsoka eventually find Koon and his men and they barely escape with their lives. Grievous contacts his master, Count Dooku, explaining that he failed to destroy Skywalker and now the Republic will learn of the secret weapon.

I thought this was a very cool episode. The Malevolence is an almighty ship with awesome power and the fact that it can knock out whole fleets with one shot of its weapon makes it terrifying to deal with. I thought the pod hunters was a nice touch also, showing that Grievous was thinking about all variables and not being cocky enough to assume that everyone was killed. The pod hunters were vicious in the way that it destroyed a pod by smashing the window of the escape pod and letting the vacuum of space do its thing. Master Plo Koon is a competent leader who looks out for his men and commands their respect. Overall a very enjoyable episode. 8/10

Shadow of Malevolence: The Assault on the Malevolence

Episode 3: Shadow of Malevolence: The Malevolence continues to obliterate Republic fleets. Anakin wants to find a way to destroy it and he thinks he has with the new Y-Wing Republic bombers and hatches a plan to use them to destroy the bridge of the Malevolence, killing General Grievous with it. Grievous is planning to go after a Republic medical space station and kill the 60,000 wounded clone troopers that are on it. Anakin needs to catch Grievous so he forms Shadow Squadron and decides to take a shortcut which leads them into a Nebula that is full of Neebrays, giant space manta rays. Shadow Squadron come out mostly unscathed bar one fighter, Matchstick’s, whose ship was damaged. The Malevolence comes out of Hyperspace and fires it’s Ion Cannon at the fighters, taking out half of the Y-Wings. As it is preparing to fire again, Anakin and the remaining fighters attack the weapon itself and forces it to backfire, destroying a lot of systems on the Malevolence, including the hyper drive. Kenobi shows up with his fleet and starts attacking the Malevolence as it is trying to move back to Separatist held space.

The space battles were really exciting in this episode, especially the fighter attack against the Malevolence. Some of the graphics were beautiful, especially when the fighters were flying through the Nebula shortcut and seeing the Neebrays and the different colours that were in the Nebula. The theme of the episode was slightly darker as the whole plot was about Grievous going to attack and kill 60,000 wounded and defenceless soldiers in a hospital, which showed how ruthless he was. Also getting to know some of the clones, especially Matchstick and watching him get killed was also quite dark. I say this in terms of a show that is more marketed for children and/or a younger audience. Another enjoyable episode. 8.5/10

Destroy Malevolence: Kenobi and Grievous face off

Episode 4: Destroy Malevolence: The damaged Malevolence is being pursued by three Republic cruisers. Grievous needs time to repair his ship so Darth Sidious arranges for Padme Amadala and C-3P0 to fly towards Grievous’s ship, thinking they have a meeting with the banking clan. They get caught in Grievous’s trap and their ship gets tractor beamed and pulled onto the Malevolence. Padme, rigs her ship to explode hoping to kill Grievous before she escapes onto the Malevolence, but Grievous survives. Anakin, Kenobi and R2-D2 lead a mission to rescue Padme and C-3P0. Anakin manages to rescue Padme and just before they share a kiss, Kenobi tells Anakin that C-3P0 still needs rescuing. Padme tells Anakin that the hyper drive is almost finished and then Grievous will be able to escape. Kenobi goes to deal with the hyper drive but Grievous learns of his plan and sends droids to stop him. Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin make their way to the bridge, destroy the droids and use the navicomputer to set coordinates of the Malevolence to fly into a close moon. The good guys escape, pursued by Grievous in a fighter. Grievous tells the droids to send the Malevolence into hyper space, but when they activate it they fly directly into the moon, destroying the Malevolence. Count Dooku, contacts Grievous telling him that he is waiting for him and the Malevolence at the rendezvous point, but Grievous cuts contact and escapes.

Another interesting space battle episode. It was fascinating seeing the raw strength of the Malevolence in terms of the fact that even though it was completely battle damaged and on the run from three Republic cruisers, the cruisers could not penetrate the armour of the Malevolence. That is refreshing to see in a universe where most of the ships seem like they’re made out of cardboard and collapse at the slightest breeze. The humour in this episode was silly for one particular part which sort of annoyed me. During a sequence when the Malevolence was on fire, a droid fire crew was sent to put out the fire. Not only did they have firemen hats on, which I thought was ridiculous, but one fell over bringing the hose because the hose was too tight and another droid was launched into the air because he couldn’t control the power of the hose. I thought this was unnecessary and while I know the show was more marketed towards children, it really takes you out of the belief that the Separatist droid army is in ANY way a competent rival to the clone troopers. Otherwise a good episode. 7/10

Rookies: Clones fighting their way out of a sticky situation

Episode 5: Rookies: A squad of rookie clone troopers are stationed in a listening post on a remote moon which is meant to give the planet, Kamino, home world of the clone troopers a warning if a Separatist fleet is on the way. Commander Cody and Captain Rex are on the way to inspect the listening post. A meteor shower arrives and the listening post raises its shields, but the meteor shower has some droid ships hiding in it that are full of commando droids. The droids gain access to the listening post in a brutal fashion and kill most of the clones including the sergeant. Four clones escape to the surface through an air vent. The droids take control of the listening post and contact Grievous, who makes his way to invade Kamino. The four clones who made it are unarmed and they aren’t sure what to do. A giant worm attacks them and kills another member of their squad, leaving only Hevy, Echo and Fives. Cody and Rex arrive, but the rookie clones have no way of contacting them, until they decide to use a flare. Cody and Rex land on the landing platform where they are met by a “clone” which is just a commando droid dressed like a clone and mimicking his voice. The two officers are suspicious of the trooper as he uses the phrase “roger, roger” which is something that only droids say. The officers see a flare going off behind them which confirms their suspicion and Rex shoots the droid in the head. This begins a firefight which ends with the clone ship destroyed. The officers meet with the Rookies and they formalise a plan to pose as a commando droid using the head of one of the droids to gain access to the listening post. The plan works and clones gain access. They take back the listening post but they can’t get rid of the ‘all clear’ signal being broadcast which is allowing Grievous to move ever closer to Kamino. Grievous sends reinforcements and the clones decide to destroy the facility. As the clones are escaping, Hevy realises that the remote detonator isn’t working and goes back to destroy the base manually, alerting the Republic that the Separatists are near, but killing himself. The Republic sends a fleet which forces Grievous to withdraw. Echo and Fives become members of the 501st legion.

This episode was more clone trooper orientated which I really appreciated as we got to see clones acting on their own without the aid of Jedi. I thought the episode had some pretty brutal scenes, especially for a “children’s” show. There is a scene where a wounded clone trooper is trying to crawl towards his friends before he is surrounded by commando droids and mercilessly shot to death by all of them. Another scene in which a clone gets eaten by a giant worm was also pretty shocking to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, these things do not phase me usually but I don’t expect to see them in a Star Wars show aimed for a younger audience. This episode for me really set the precedence of what to expect going forward and I was looking forward to it. ‘Rookies’ was primarily about the war which I wanted to see more of and I felt it was one of the better episodes in the series. A thoroughly enjoyable episode. 9/10

Downfall of a droid: Assassin droid attack!

Episode 6: Downfall of a droid: Anakin sets a trap for Grievous, luring him into an asteroid belt where Anakin has walkers hiding on the back of the asteroids. Between the fleet in front and being attacked from behind, Grievous’s fleet becomes confused, so Grievous abandons ship on his fighter being pursued by Anakin and Gold Squadron. A piece of shrapnel hits Anakin’s ship and he passes out. He wakes up on the Resolute, a Republic cruiser. He is told that he is lucky to be alive but R2-D2 was never found. He tells Kenobi that he needs to find the droid as he never wiped the memory banks and R2 still has all the plans and tactics of the Republic in his memory. Anakin, Ahsoka and a new astromech droid called R3-S6, dubbed ‘Goldie’, go looking for R2 in the debris of the battle. R2 is already picked up by a salvager, Gha Nachkt. Skywalker and Tano boards the freighter looking for R2, but Gha says he is not on board, even still he allows Anakin to take a look around. Anakin hears R2’s beeps and goes to get him but Goldie accidentally activates two assassin droids. The assassin droids are very skilled and extremely fierce but Anakin eventually beats them. Ahsoka tells Anakin that R2 isn’t there and they leave. Gha contacts Grievous telling him that he has the droid. Anakin has to scout to see if Grievous has any listening posts and Ahsoka tells him to bring Goldie so they can bond. While out there, Goldie makes a lot of errors and almost gets Anakin killed including alerting Grievous to his position and destroying his means of escape. Anakin is saved by Ahsoka in the Twilight and they escape though Anakin is not happy with Goldie.

It was interesting seeing a different side of Star Wars, being how the black market and salvagers work by going to scenes of space battles and picking up anything that is useful or valuable. The soundtrack in this episode is really interesting, it is sort of industrial and really fits with Gha’s ship, as his ship is dirty green and grey and there is no happiness or colour to his ship. The industrial music fits into the life of being a salvager, it’s all business. In saying that, the soundtrack to this episode is really good and one of my favourites in the series. It was exciting to see the assassin droids in action and in a way seeing how dangerous the Separatist droids can actually be if they were given half a chance. Yes, they were defeated but they gave as good as they got. Now my problem with this episode; the plot armour, oh my god the plot armour! If you don’t know what plot armour is, it’s basically when a character can’t die because they are too important to a story so they always get out of impossible situations. Now with that cleared up, this episode turns the plot armour up to eleven. So Goldie accidentally alerts Grievous to Anakin’s whereabouts, then the droid releases Anakin from his ONLY means of escape. Grievous shows up with two battle cruisers and launches EVERY fighter he has to take out Anakin. Not only does Anakin not get hit once, but Ahsoka shows up out of nowhere to rescue him in the Twilight, and hyper spaces out of there. Two battle cruisers and whole squads of fighters couldn’t hit Anakin once? I get it he’s a main character but at least make it somewhat believable. Otherwise, the episode was okay. 6/10

So that was the first six episodes. I will be continuing my review over the next while. I hope you enjoyed reading and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: What are planes of Magic?

Welcome to a new feature of my blog called MTG Mondays, where I will be discussing the lore surrounding the immensily popular and best selling card game of all time, Magic the Gathering. Magic the Gathering or MTG for short, is rich in lore, but for a game that’s being going for 28 years that is not really a surprise. I will discussing the heroes and villains of the Magic universe, plus the locations, factions, storylines and some special characters that turn up here and there, just to give people a little more background on what is going on in the MTG universe.

But where does it all begin? Well we will start with the physical worlds of MTG and where the weird and wonderful spells and creatures come from. The MTG universe is actually a multiverse as there are multiple different worlds that are seperate from one another called Planes. A plane is its own universe that has its own nature, creatues, people and magic. Most of the planes are spherical, so in a way they are almost like planets, though those spheres could be infinite and have their own space, laws of physics, moons, suns, stars, planets and whatever else you may have. Planes can vary from nothing inside to a vast universe, there is no common law to govern each plane as they are their own seperate entities.

So, how many planes are there in the MTG universe? Well the answer is that there are infinte planes. The thing is, most people do not know of other planes and they think that their universe is the only one that exists or has ever existed. The only people who know any better are called Planeswalkers. Planeswalkers are individuals who have the power to travel to different planes by moving through a void in space called the Blind Eternities. The Blind Eternities is an area that is full of chaotic energy, aether and mana, which is where the planeswalkers draw their power from to cast their spells and deadly creatures.

To really boil it down, planes can be considered as dimensions that exist in their own right, seperate from each other and the only ones who can visit the different dimensions are planeswalkers. There are two types of planes that exist: Natural and Artifical. Natural planes are planes that came into existance naturally over time and from them, planets, people, creatues and everything that comes with a universe in formed. Artifical planes are planes that are created by immensily powerful planeswalkers that I will be covering later on in my blog. These planes usually serves the planeswalkers will but they are unstable due to the fact that they have to be constantly sustained. Eventually an artifical plane cannot or simply isn’t sustained anymore and is eventually destroyed by the Blind Entities.

So that is a bit of background for the worlds and planes of Magic the Gathering. I hope you enjoyed and I can’t wait to talk about more of the lore and stories of this vast universe.

I hope you enjoyed and as always, thanks for reading!