Music from the Future! : Episode 1

The Vestrymen love the comic books, that’s no secret, but perhaps you didn’t realize that we, like many of the kids these days, are also down with the rock and roll music? I bet you did not!

  1. Blue Hell Austin Leonard Jones 2:02
  2. Kid Ghastly Spats 2:59
  3. Landlock Everlone 3:08
  4. Street corner throwdown Blake Fleming 3:28
  5. TV Dinner Hiiragi Fukuda 5:59
  6. Bollywood Blades Professor Kliq 3:11
  7. Wedding March for a Bullet Diablo Swing Orchestra 3:14
  8. Mono Lenin Lennon 2:22
  9. Season In Hell Marine Dreams 2:52
  10. Keg Baseball Centz 2:37
  11. The Watchers Evils That Never Came 4:02
  12. Floss Suffers From Gamma Radiation Blue Ducks 1:48
  13. Can't Tell What's Real Terror Bird 3:17

Not only do we love music, but we love music released under creative commons license terms that allow us to showcase it in our podcast. Because we love to drop the beats for y’all.

We gather the music for the podcast from a variety of sources, but we are huge fans of a project called The Free Music Archive. FMA is a library that allows artists to make their music available in a free setting while specifying license terms based on the creative commons model. What that means, in the simplest terms possible, is that there is one place where we can go to get legal music to fill up our podcast with pretty noises while helping to promote artists who share our beliefs about how intellectual property should be handled. Ok, so maybe that wasn’t the simplest terms possible, but it was definitely some terms.

We got to thinking, well, music is great and stuff but it’s a bummer that it’s all tied up with this silly podcast. Even worse, most of it only gets played in 30 second bits! Well, no need to fear, intrepid listeners. To ensure that all these artists get as much exposure as possible, we’re going to compile everything that we’ve used during the preceding month and make a sweet, sweet mix tape for your listening pleasure.

August/September VestryTracks:

  1. Austin Leonard Jones– “Blue Hell”
    • Music for stoned cowboys.
  2. Ghastly Spats– “Kid”
    • Australia is so punk rock.
  3. Professor Kliq– “Bollywood Blades”
    • A brimful of asha on the 33s.
  4. Diablo Swing Orchestra– “Wedding March for a Bullet”
    • This band is Sweden’s last, best hope.
  5. Lenin Lennon– “Mono”
    • Newcastle sludge with a side of the best name.
  6. Marine Dreams– “Season in Hell”
    • For people didn’t enjoy track 5.
  7. Centz Beats– “Keg Baseball”
    • Keg baseball sounds like a terrible idea.
  8. Evils That Never Came– “The Watchers”
    • Like Spoon, but cooler because you haven’t heard of them.
  9. Blue Ducks– “Floss Suffers from Gamma Radiation”
    • Chosen for thematic name and sweet breaks.
  10. Terror Bird– “Can’t Tell What’s Real”
    • Goth never goes out of style. Ever.
  11. Everlone– “Landlock”
    • Music that sounds like Portland.
  12. Blake Fleming– “Street Corner Throwdown”
    • Pop drum beats for your head, son.
  13. Hiiragi Fukuda– “TV Dinner”
    • This song is my happy place.

Enjoy!

-Leland

Season 2: Episode 8: The Dream of the 90s is Alive!

We quick review Talon #0, Happy! #1, ASM #694, Batman Inc. #0 and engage in high-minded literary criticism of Stumtown Vol 1 by Great Rucka and Matthew Southworth.

Quick Reviews:

Talon #0

WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder, James T. Tynion IVHe Has a silly costume
ART BY: Guillem March
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: September 26
Vestrymen Grade: B

A passable thing. We didn’t hate it, but I like Scott Free more! Also, great name, Scott Free. So 50s comic book.

Batman Incorporated #0

WRITTEN BY:Grant Morrison, Chris BurnhamMORRISON!
ART BY: Chris Burnham
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: September 26

Vestrymen Grade: A-

If you’ve been reading Batman, Inc. before now you can skip this one, but why would you want to? Its undiluted Batman nonsense written by Grant Morrison and drawn by the incalculable Mr. Burnham.

The Amazing Spiderman #694

WRITTEN BY:  Dan SlottAlpha is the very worst
ART BY: Humberto Ramos
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: September 26th

Vestrymen Grade: B-

I hate Alpha, I hate him so much! Leland has a measurable distaste for him, but hates him slightly less. This comic is fine, but it has Alpha in in it. Run in terror.

Happy #1MORE MORRISON!

WRITTEN BY:  Grant Morrison
ART BY: Darick Robertson
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: September 26th

Vestrymen Grade: A

Grant Morrison of Batman, Inc. and Everything That Is Awesome and Transmetropolitan co-creator Darick Robertson are creating a comic together. It is balls to the wall strange. So. Very. Good.

Our Feature:

Stumptown: Volume 1

WRITTEN BY: Mark PowersPORTLANDIA AGAIN!
ART BY: Russell Braun
PUBLISHER: Devils Due Publishing

Vestrymen Grade: A

Sweet, sweet Portlandia this book is a great detective story. Dex is a fun, interesting, engaging protagonist, Mr. Rucka writing is amazing, and relative newcomer Matthew Southworth might actually give you Seasonal Affective Disorder with his amazing, evocative renditions of Portland. Go read this book.

It reminds us of this post.

Download the Podcast here: Vestrymen Season 2 Episode 8

Music for today’s podcast includes Centz – “Keg Baseball”, Everlone – “Landlock”, and Blake Fleming (that guy who drums for The Mars Volta) – “Street Corner Throwdown”. All songs are available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.

The Great Project: Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 completed and I have thoughts, quite a few.

First and most importantly, at least to me:

  • Mass Effect 2 is a very different game than its predecessor.

If you are reading this blog you likely already know this, but if Mass Effect The First is what happens if Knights of the Old Republic and Halo have a baby, Mass Effect 2 is what happens when Mass Effect has a kid with Halo 2, and then that kid has a kid with Call of Duty. So its one eighth RPG, and six eights  FPS. The last last eighth doesn’t exist, because the scenario I’ve outlined there is a lot of incest going on. It makes me a little uncomfortable and we are moving on.

  • Mass Effect 2 Is a better game than Mass Effect One.

Mass Effect Original Flavor was a great game, a medium depth RPG, and a OK shooter, and had a great story. Mass Effect 2 has a great FPS engine, an arguably better story, and a few RPG elements to add some evolving depth to the shooter elements. I missed the deeper RPG experience, I loves me some gear drops, but honestly, the missions are SO much more interesting, less repititive, and the levels each feel unique. Mass Effect The First’s literally reused the same floor plan for like 80% of missions. Its a better game, with many of the characters I came to love from the first game.

  • Bioware CANNOT make engaging vehicle centered gameplay.

For some reason this really sticks out to me. I think its because the only part of of Mass Effect One that I really disliked was the vehicle sections. Repetitive, uninteresting and really boring, is how I would describe the M35 Mako sections.

Mass Effect 2’s Firewalker DLC is a DLC pack is a series of missions based around the Hammerhead hovercraft. Although the Hammerhead’s ability to jump higher that the Mako does make its levels seem slightly more Mario Brothers, all my criticisms of the Mass Effect One vehicle sections apply here. The combat is simplistic and uninspired, the story of Firewalker is boring, and it had no emotional punch for me.

Fortunately Firewalker is a non story critical DLC pack. You should spend your money on Overlord otherwise.

  • If you haven’t played Mass Effect 2 you should. Its fun. Keep your eyes here for thoughts on Mass Effect 3!

Season 2: Episode 7: Sometimes there is an Obama that we don’t talk about at all

This image comes up over and over if you Google "Drafted Comic."

Three of our pamphlets are written by women this week, and we’d call Womanthology: Space #1, but that name was already taken so we read that book, and it was good. We read 3 other books and Drafted Volume One, and it is surreal.

Quick Reviews:

Womanthology: Space #1

WRITTEN BY: Various
ART BY: Various
PUBLISHER: IDW
RELEASE: September 19th

Vestrymen Grade: B

Its an anthology of comic vignettes written by women, mostly about women. Like most collections it varies in quality but, its thoroughly interesting to see what these creators can do with   a limited space.

Sword of Sorcery featuring Amethyst #0

WRITTEN BY: Christy Marx
ART BY: Tony Bedard
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE: September 19th

Vestrymen Grade: C+

A princess story about princess and purple, so much purple, Amethyst is a character that appeals to fans of the old Gemworld stories from the 80s. Neither Leland or I actually read those old stories, so we are not viewing this through that lens. Without it this work comes of as odd, very, very odd.

Batgirl #0

WRITTEN BY: Gail Simone
ART BY: Ed Benes
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE: September 19th

Vestrymen Grade: A

Gail Simone is a favorite of the Vestrymen for a lot of reasons. She walks the line between the obvious fun sillyness of superheroes and the inherent humanity of the established characters she often writes with grace and charm. She is funny. Here she delivers a phenomenal Batgirl story. Go and buy it!

Godzilla Fifty Year War #2

WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY: James Stokoe
PUBLISHER: IDW
RELEASE: September 19th

Vestrymen Grade: C+

Godzilla thrashes some things in ‘Nam in 68. There is another giant monster. They fight, Japanese people try and stop this from  happening.

Our Feature:

Drafted: Volume 1

WRITTEN BY: Mark Powers
ART BY: Russell Braun
PUBLISHER: Devils Due Publishing

Vestrymen Grade: C+

Listen to the bizarre history of Devil’s Due Publishing. They don’t pay their bills, get it? I don’t for like 10 minutes.

This book has promise, but doesn’t really stand on its own as a graphic novel, though we both enjoyed it to some degree. Its cheap on amazon if you want to pick it up.

 

Download here fo shiz: Vestrymen Season 2 Episode 7

Music for today’s podcast provided by Professor Kliq – “Bollywood Blades”, Terror Bird – “Can’t Tell What’s Real”, and Hiiragi Fukada – “TV Dinner”.  All three songs are available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.

Season 2: Episode 6: Warren Zevon Owes Me Fifty Bucks

Suicide Squad #0! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: Fugitoid #8! Stumptown #1 and Winter Soldier #10 have names and numbers that  makes sense for comic books! Aleister Arcane bu the peeps that did 50 Days of Night! Its a fun day to be reading comics, yo!

 

Quick Reviews:

Suicide Squad #0

WRITTEN BY: Adam Glass
ART BY: Fernando Dagnino
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: Sep 12

Vestrymen Grade: D

Amanda Waller has adventures. They are boring, the art is confusing, and I am sad now.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series: Fugitoid #8

WRITTEN BY: Paul Allor
ART BY: Paul McCaffrey
PUBLISHER: IDW
RELEASE: September 5

Vestrymen Grade: B

Its a solid book, with a solid art team, a solid script, and solid plotting and characterization. We came with high expectations. They where not exceeded but we enjoyed the book, fo sho.

Stumptown #1

WRITTEN BY: Greg Rucka 
ART BY: Matthew Southworth
PUBLISHER: Oni Press
RELEASE: Sep 12th

Vestrymen Grade: A

We really liked this book, a lot. Its a great detective story. Read it and weep. Though that is  little odd, though,  its not really a sad story, but do your thing, cry if you want to. 

Winter Soldier #10 

WRITTEN BY:  Ed Brubaker 
ART BY: Michael Lark
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: September 12

Vestrymen Grade: B

Its better than having two man pieces.

Our Feature:

Aleister Arcane

WRITTEN BY: Breehn Burns
ART BY: Steve Niles
PUBLISHER: IDW

Vestrymen Grades: A-

Go buy this, right now. We don’t talk about enough about horror on this podcast, especially  and there is plenty of work done in the genre that is terrible to mediocre. This book is not one of those. It kicks ass. Its fun, smart, engaged, has an amazingly pleasant feeling of nostalgia and a fun social message. We have a few criticisms of it, but basically we really like this book.

 

Download the Podcast here: Vestrymen Season 2 Episode 6

Music for today’s podcast provided by Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London” used under fair use.
Lenin Lennon – “Mono”, Ghastly Spats – “Kid”, and  Evils that Never Came – “The Watchers”  are available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.

The Great Project: Mass Effect 1 – Done and Done

1 of 3 Done

Mass Effect one is Done! Now bullet points!

Plotty Things:

  • Urdnox Wrex Lives! Seriously, Wrex is awesome.
  • The Council died. These peeps made me a Specter and then made my job as hard as possible at every turn, basically calling me a dumb or a liar no mater how many time I proved myself right. The universe will be better governed by an alien/human council under Ambassador Udina. True, Udina is a pain in the ass, but The Captain would hate that job.
  • Liara and I “bonded.” That scene was more graphic that I remembered, but WAY less graphic than Fox News would have you believe.
  • Ashley Williams is also dead. I run a tight meritocratic ship and her over racism has no place here.

Game play thoughs:

  • I enjoyed this playthrough immensely. Mass Effect is showing its age a little, but its a great game. I will miss the “harder” RPG elements in Mass Effect
  • Doing “Bring Down the Sky” as your first mission may be a little cheaty. If you do everything you will get a great Bionic Amp and a great Tech Amp. I never found better.
  • The “HMW” line of weapons takes a lot of the fun out of gear drops. None of the other tier X stuff competes with the tier VII HWM weapons, and you can buy them as soon as you can afford them.
  • There are a LOT of gear drops in this game, and a LOT of redundancy. Its like they saw Diablo or Borderland’s drops systems and tried to copy them. The problem is that there is just not enough variety of gear to support the quantity of drops that happen.
  • I think I did every side quest but two. I let Admiral Kahoku die to Cerberus before I had a chance to plum him for information about  Dr. Chloe Michel’s blackmail. Pinnacle Station is a Pain In The Ass on Hardcore difficulty. I skipped most of it after spending a few, very frustrating hours doing “Hunt” missions.
  • The gameplay is buggier than I remember. There where likely a dozen times during this playthrough where I had to revert to an earlier save in order to advance. Most of the issues where clipping issues. Its a big game and I’d forgive  a lot of these kinds of problems, but they all seemed to happen on one of the five “core” worlds. I’d fall through the floor, or an enemy I had to kill to advance would end up stuck in a wall… It was truly annoying.
  • The rover gameplay sucks! Its slow, the tactics are repetitive, boring, and never change for the entire game. And the control scheme seems to be insane. Good bye truck, I shall not miss you.
  • I never saw a single piece of gear at tier X. Is that normal?

On to Mass Effect 2! If you have questions about this playthrough drop a line below and I’ll be happy to answer!

Season 2: Episode 5: Sometimes I think the world is dark, but that might just be the comics I read

Season 2: Episode 5:  Sometimes I think the world is dark, but that might just be the comics I read

Quick Reviews:

Swamp Thing #0

WRITTEN BY: Scott Snider
ART BY: Kano
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: September 5th

Vestrymen Grade: B –

We liked Swamp Thing. Swamp thing has some awesome things going on. Swamp Thing forces me to write the beginning of each sentence with “Swamp Thing.” Swamp Thing is slightly decompressed but well written.

Hawkeye #2

WRITTEN BY: Matt Fraction
ART BY: David Aja
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: September 5th

Vestrymen Grade: A-

Hawkeye is quickly becoming my favorite book published each month. The addition of a support character gives someone Hawkeye someone to talk to. Minor objections to this this book are found in the podcast.

Batman Incorporated: #3

WRITTEN BY: Grant Morison 
ART BY: Chris Burnham
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE: August 22nd

Vestrymen Grade: B+

Batman Inc continue to be really well written, well plotted and well conceived. Fans of Matches Malone will be happy to see his return. Those who are not fans of Matches will find this book slightly odd, I think.

World’s Finest #0

WRITTEN BY:  Paul Levitz 
ART BY: Kevin Maguire
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: September 5th

Vestrymen Grade: B

Man was that book depressing! Terrible things happen to all the heroes, and the villains get away.

Our Feature:

Hellstorm: Son of Satan: Equinox 

WRITTEN BY: Alexander Irvine
ART BY: Russell Braun
PUBLISHER: Marvel (Marvel Max Inprint)

Grades: Cabel: C- Leland: B-

Leland and I disagree about this book. He enjoyed it, pointing out the art, the capable writing, and the unique plotting.

I think the writing is overly verbose, and the plot feels like it mixes mythologies in ways that don’t always makes  sense. Listen to us disagree!

Today’s podcast features “Blue Hell” By Austin Leonard Jones” and “Season in Hell’  by Marine Dreams. Both songs are available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.

Season 2 Episode 4: And then The Vestrymen where confused

Season 2: Episode 4: And then The Vestrymen where confused

Quick Reviews:

The Amazing Spiderman #692

WRITTEN BY: Dan Slott
ART BY: Humbert Ramos
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: August 22st

Vestrymen Grade: B+

Split decision here. Lee likes it, I think the lead story is annoying and the backups are fantastic. Its a good jumping on point if you like Spider-man stories, or if you’ve been thinking about starting to read the world most popular superhero.

Wonder Woman #12

WRITTEN BY: Brian Azzarello
ART BY: Cliff Chiang
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: August 15th

Vestrymen Grade: C –

Unoriginal and uninspired, this book leaves a foul taste in both our mouths. We do enjoy Chang’s clean lines and the wonderful coloring work in this book, though. If your interested in how to craft interesting aesthetics around divine pantheons, pick it up, if you want a well told story go elsewhere.

The First X-Men #1

WRITTEN BY: Neal Adams 
ART BY: Christos Gage
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: August 1st

Vestrymen Grade: B –

The story is serviceable and Adams writes with a unique mix of grittiness and silver age optimism. The art makes the leads look interchangeable though, and Adam’s writing sometimes feel dated. There are better X Books on the shelves, we think. We are giving this book a few more issues to turn around.

Green Lantern Corps #12

WRITTEN BY:  Perter J Tomasi
ART BY: Fernando Pasarin
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: August 15

Vestrymen Grade: D

I really like concept of Green Lanterns. Their power set implies so many interesting stories. Sadly DC’s approach to this increasing large part of their publishing portfolio seems to be to copy Marvel’s 90s template for the X-Men. Publish lots of pablum in the hopes that fans will buy the bad looking for the good. Ugh. We don’t enjoy the story, the art, or the pacing of this book. Not much good to say here.

Our Feature:

Bullet Points

WRITTEN BY:J. Michael Straczynski
ART BY: Tommy Lee Edwards
PUBLISHER: Marvel

Vestrymen Grade: B-

Bullet Points is a mess. An endearing, confusing, interesting, discussion inducing mess. It is not Straczynski’s finest work, but it gave us something to talk about.

Today’s podcast features “Wedding March for a Bullet” by  Diablo String Orchestra. Music from the podcast is available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.

Season 2: Episode 3: Things that make our brains explode

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Reviews:

Gambit #1

WRITTEN BY: James Asmus 
ART BY: Clay Mann
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: August 8th

Vestrymen Grade: C

We rather liked this book, but found it a tad cliched. We agreed about how we felt about it. I’m not just saying that ‘cuz I get to write the blog posts, not at all. (This might also have been our review of Harvest #1, but its the same so I’m leaving it! Take that originality!)

Red Lanterns #12

WRITTEN BY: Peter Milligan
ART BY:  Miguel Sepulveda
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics
RELEASE: August 1st

Vestrymen Grade: C

Dex-Starr is awesome, but can’t overcome mediocre plotting and writing.

X-TREME X-MEN #1

WRITTEN BY: Greg Pak, 
ART BY: Stephen Segovia
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: July 25

Vestrymen Grade: B-

Insane, wierd, off kilter, mad genius, and “doesn’t quite work” all describe this brain candy Smörgåsbord.

Saucer County #5

WRITTEN BY: Paul Cornell
ART BY: Ryan Kelly
PUBLISHER: Dc Comics (Vertigo imprint)
RELEASE: July 11

Vestrymen Grade: B-

Saucer County exists to make you understand, with obfuscation, that alien “probing” is rape, and rape, even by aliens, is a crime. The world was waiting for this brave message.

Our Feature:

Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol 3: The N-Zone

WRITTEN BY: Warren Ellis
ART BY:  Andy Kubert
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics

Vestrymen grade: B+ (C on a Warren Ellis curve)

The art is good, especially the face work. The writing is good, but that is no surprise with Ellis at the helm. The N-Zone is creepy, but if you’ve ever read a run on any FF book you know how that is all going to go. Its a fun-fun, well executed and funny book, but it doesn’t even close to challenge Ennis’ finest work.

Next Week(or perhaps a little later this week, to catch up):

Some new releases for sure. Also J. Michael Straczynski’s Bullet Points. Good, bad, or mediocre we will have something intersting to say about it…

Music for today’s podcast provided by The Blue Ducks. This song “Floss Suffers From Gamma Radiation” is available under the Creative Commons License at http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/.