Category Archives: Storylines

Storyline: Speeches, Speeches Everywhere

“Revenge?” Kirin repeated, “What for?”

“You said my book was terrible,” Zoey Redbird replied. Kirin rubbed her temples.

“You try to gaslight me because I didn’t like your book. Yeah, that sounds like you.” She sighed. “Well, what’re you gonna do?” Zoey bit her lip.

“I hadn’t thought that far, actually. Usually, this is the point where the goddess Nyx intervenes on my behalf,” she said. Kirin laughed to herself. “What? Why are you laughing. You’re supposed to be scared,” Zoey whined. Kirin shook her head.

“It’s nothing, at least, nothing you’d understand,” she said. She strutted past the shocked Zoey and down the stairs with her head held high.

“Uh, Kirin, why are you patronizing the superpowered vampyre? On the list of bad ideas, that’s up there with flaming shark juggling or  taunting C’thulhu, or juggling flaming sharks while taunting C’thulhu,”  Textbox muttered furiously. They entered the living room through the adjoining kitchen.

“It’s okay, Textbox. I got this,” she said.

“Wait!” Zoey called from upstairs.

“Let’s just hope she doesn’t call your bluff,” he whispered. Kirin nodded. Zoey ran into the room.

“Zoey, do you know why I don’t like you?” she asked. Zoey pushed a stray lock of black hair from her face.

“Probably because you’re just jealous,” she replied. Kirin shook her head. When she spoke, her voice was dangerously calm and she enunciated every word carefully.

“Nope, not in the slightest. It’s because of your wasted potential. You had every chance to be a hero and a decent person, and every time you blew it. For example, in your world, there is obvious and understandable tension between humans and vampyres. As the one chosen by your Goddess and the only one in history to have the powers of all five of the Planeteers, you could have been the bridge between the two races. Instead, you immediately forget that you were once human and decide that vampyres were always superior. The plot of your book is just petty and pointless high school drama that is one big rips off of Mean Girls. In the climax, you do nothing when you know something’s wrong and then you have the gall to blame someone else for your failure to act. You pretend that you’re better than the school queen bee, but you do nothing but insult everyone that isn’t in your little clique. Even when you had the chance to be kind to the outcasts you pretend to be the champions of, you just insult the way they look. You’re nothing but a hypocrite and a bully. I even wrote a  three part blog post on how reprehensible a character you are, and still felt like it wasn’t enough to capture how much I hated you.” Her tone, which had grown impassioned, softened.  “But maybe that’s the thing. Maybe you’re not not Zoey at all. Maybe you’re just a manifestation of my own hatred, and if I let it go, you’ll go.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. A small smile crossed her face. When she opened them, Zoey was still standing there. She shrugged and said, “It was worth a shot.”

“Oh, don’t pretend you’re so perfect, little miss unicorn,” Zoey countered. “You’re just as bad as I am. What do you do every time something pops up in your house? You run to your room and write, trying to ignore the problem. You make fun of other people’s works even though you have accomplished nothing. You make fun Textbox even though you know he’s just a part of a broken man’s shattered psyche–“

“Hey, leave me out of this,” Textbox whined.

“And worst of all, you have in your possession a book that can save your world, and you’ve done nothing with it. Do you know why I keep writing “incomplete” everywhere?” Zoey asked. The wind began to pick up inside the room.

“You though it would scare me?” Kirin guessed. She slowly backed up against the cluttered kitchen counter.

“No, it’s because your little world makes no sense. You claim to have parents, siblings, friends, and school, but in the past year, only a few people have been to your house. You and your house don’t even make sense. What kind of house has bulletproof windows? Why are there so many weapons here? Where did you learn to use them? How did you have end up with a portal to other universes in your basement? Where do you live? Where are your parents when all this weird stuff is going on?” As Zoey spoke, the ground shook. Kirin’s hand clasped around the spine of a blanket wrapped book.

“You’re right,” she said and unwrapped the book, “I have been mean to Textbox, my world doesn’t make any sense, and I have the chance to save my world literally in my hands, so what the heck? Why not try it out?”  Zoey gasped at the sight of the ancient tome. Kirin opened the book and immediately felt it pulsate and burn in her hands. The power of the book seemed to course through her veins.

“Kirin, are you insane?” Textbox yelled.

“Just a little bit,” she replied. Her voice reverberated throughout the living room. “But I also know you’re not really Zoey. You’re too clever by half. Zoey is too oblivious to point any of that out. So, before I send you to the great whatever, what are you and what do you really want?” Zoey chuckled, morphing into a shadow. Her voice lost her whiny edge and was little more than a growl.

“You don’t want to know what I am, for your mind cannot–” the shadow began but Kirin cut her off.

“If you say that my mind cannot comprehend you or your goal, I’ve heard it before and the last time it happened, it turned out that his real motive was stupid. So either tell me what you really want or I’ll just send you there right now.”

“I am death, destroyer of worlds, an eldrich abomination beyond your comprehension and–” Shadow Zoey began again.

“No you’re not. If you were, I’d be dead already or insane. So, once again, what are you?” Kirin was growing irritated. Shadow Zoey sighed.

“Fine. I was sent here as a harbinger and to scout out this world, but could not escape this house. I was awaiting orders,” she explained. Kirin furrowed her brows.

“Harbinger? Of what?” she asked.

Maybe it’s Santa? Or a Celestial? Or a Celestial Santa?” Textbox suggested. Kirin took one hand from the book to rub her temples. Shadow Zoey flashed them a smug grin.

“Why should I tell you?” she asked. Kirin arched an eyebrow.

“Klaatu Barada Nikto…” she chanted. Shadow Zoey cringed.

“I don’t know, okay? All I know is that it is big, bad, and it sent me here. Please, you have to believe me,” she begged. Kirin sighed.

“Groovy,” Textbox muttered.

“Fine. Come with me,” she said. The two walked to the basement. With a word, Kirin pushed the away the heavy bookcase covering the inter-dimensional portal. She turned to Shadow Zoey. “After you.”

“What?” Zoey’s face was puzzled.

“Go, and never return,” she simply said. Shadow Zoey hesitated. “I said go. I won’t ask again, so either go now, or I learn what this book can really do.”

“Fine. I’m going. I’m going,” Zoey muttered. She walked through the portal. Almost on instinct, Kirin muttered a spell. The wall glowed. When it stopped glowing, she threw herself against it. The wall did not yield.

“Hey, I did it!” she exclaimed as she dropped the book.

“What did’ya do?” Textbox asked. Kirin felt a sudden wave of dizziness and sat down.

“I managed to close the portal. It shouldn’t bother us anymore,” she explained as she rubbed her burned hands.

How’d you know to do that?” he asked. Kirin shrugged and stared at the book on the floor.

“I dunno. When I was holding that book, it just–I don’t know–whispered to me. I know it sounds weird, but–” her voice trailed away.

“Kirin, I came from a universe of superheroes, vampire cows, and talking ducks. Heck, I’m the disembodied voice in the head of one of those heroes. Weird is relative. Now, who’s up for The Gorgeous and the Graceful?” Kirin stood up.

“Always up for our Soap,” she replied. They made their way upstairs. “You think they’ll finally find out whether Emily’s baby is really Kincaid’s?”

“I figured it was an alien pod creature myself.” The two turned on the TV.

“That doesn’t even make any sense. When have aliens ever been on the show?”

“Now’s as good a time as any,” Textbox replied. Kirin sighed.

“I honestly wouldn’t put it past the writers,” she rescinded. The book, lying forgotten in the basement, glowed slightly, and the image of Kirin etched itself into the cover page.

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Showcase Presents House of Mystery Volume one

Hello, I’m a unicorn.Well, it’s that time of the year again. It’s the time when the leaves change color, the air gets cooler, and I break the spine-tingling stories best read under the covers. And to start it off, let’s go back to the time of the Comic’s Code Authority and meet Cain, the able caretaker of the House of Mystery. If you have read the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Cain should look very familiar. If you haven’t read Sandman, what are you sitting here for? Go out and read that masterpiece.

Showcase Presents House of Mystery Volume One collects the first twenty-one issues of this horror anthology. It tells chilling tales of witches, ghosts, and instant karma, just add water. These stories range from chilling and tragic, to unintentionally silly. I would be here all day if I was to talk about every single one the stories, so here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.

Devil’s Doorway: Phillip Warren, a family man and a student of the occult purchases a mysterious mirror in an auction. His daughter soon discovers that the doorway is actually a portal, and let’s just say that whatever is on the other side isn’t exactly Heaven.

Mask of the Red Fox: A man becomes obsessed with hunting and killing a beautiful red fox, unaware, of course that the fox is actually his wife. (This isn’t a spoiler, it’s explicitly said on the first page.) Even though I’ve heard many variations of the story (usually with the wife as a werewolf) I never get tired of it. It’s just a classic tale of be careful what you wish for.

Eye of the Basilisk:  A basilisk is a mythological creature born from a chicken’s egg hatched from under a toad. It’s often drawn as a giant snake or a snake/chicken hybrid and looking into its eyes can kill you. If that doesn’t kill you, the venom will. It is said that a single drop of basilisk venom is enough to poison a well for one hundred years. Only a rooster’s crow or a weasel can kill it. Mythology is weird. In this story, a basilisk is plaguing an ancient kingdom, and all but one man is unable to defeat it. This is one of the few tales that delves into fantasy and it is a fun, if predictable vignette.

Sir Greeley’s Revenge: Against the wishes of his sister and nephew, Sir Greely, a kind English gentleman takes in an orphaned boy named Tim. He discovers that the boy is a piano prodigy, and, after his death, he puts in his will that Tim will inherit Greeley’s fortune if he plays a concert flawlessly. The niece and nephew scheme to ruin Tim’s concert, so with the help of Sir Greeley, Tim must outfox the two. This is one of most heartwarming stories in the collection and one of my personal favorites.

The Wondrous Witches Cauldron: Imagine for a moment that you were capable of granting wealth and fame to the people you worked for, but you have no way of telling them that you were responsible for their good fortune. Such is the tragedy of the witch’s cauldron, a sentient pot that brings luck to every one of its owners, but since they don’t realize that the pot is what causes their luck, they carelessly discard it. To me, being trapped in your own body, unable to tell others that you are alive and awake when they throw you to your doom, is one of the most terrifying things possible.

Nightmare: A lonely little girl named Judy befriends the god Pan. As the two play together, she starts getting sicker and sicker. She eventually travels to his world to play. She is allowed to play anywhere as long as she doesn’t go through strange door. I think you can guess what she decides to do while her friend is asleep. This is my absolute favorite story out of the whole collection. It’s sweet and tragic, especially the perfect ending.

This is but a taste of the stories in this huge volume, and I didn’t even get into the comic strips and short stories featured . While some of the stories can be a bit predictable and silly, every one is a fun read. So what are you waiting for? Hunt down a copy and read it now.

Kirin put on a pair of gloves. Carefully removing the book from the blanket she had covered used to cover it, she placed the book on the kitchen counter. She examined the dark leather binding, taking careful note of every detail in the gilding. Slowly, almost reverently, she lifted the cover.

“Hey, what’cha doing?” Textbox asked. Kirin jumped, slamming the cover shut. Her face flushed. She looked over to Textbox, who had once again possessed her old stuffed Ninja Turtle.

“Nothing.” She didn’t make eye contact with the doll. Textbox sighed.

“That’s the guiltiest “nothing” I have ever heard. If you’re really so curious, just open the freaking book. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen. Except maybe you accidentally call C’thulhu, have your eyes melt out of your face, you destroy the world, or maybe you just go guano insane. Then again, you’re already halfway there anyway, but–” Kirin groaned.

“Alright. I get it. I won’t look at the book, but if there’s a chance that I can stop whatever potential future me has said would happen, shouldn’t I take it?” She blanket back around the book.

“Sure, when there’s someone around that can make sure none of us do anything stupid like read it out loud or something.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I mean–” She was cut short by the lights going out. After a moment, they went back on. Kirin gasped. On the opposite wall, written in in a strange, reddish brown substance was the word “Incomplete.”

“Is-is that blood?”  Textbox whisperedKirin and Textbox examined the wall. She sniffed, and recognizing the aroma, she laughed. “What? What is it?” Textbox asked. Kirin, on a whim, removed some of the substance with her finger and licked it. “Ew, ew, ew, ew! That is so gross!” 

Kirin laughed even harder, to a point where she was practically hysterical. “Chocolate sauce,” she choked out. “It’s chocolate sauce!” She went to the refrigerator and pulled out an empty bottle of Hershey’s chocolate.  Textbox started laughing.

“Chocolate sauce? What kind of self respecting home invader uses chocolate sauce to scare people?” The two laughed like madmen. The shadow, which now had a form, stamped her foot in frustration.

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Storyline: Homecoming

The front door of Kirin’s house burst open, and she stepped in, dragging her leather suitcase behind her. “Textbox, I’m home!” she called as she entered the kitchen. With a grunt, she hefted the suitcase onto the counter. “Textbox?” she called out again.

“Hey Kirin, check this out!” a familiar voice yelled as a her stuffed ninja turtle came tumbling down the stairs. Kirin’s jaw dropped as the doll stood up and held up it’s arms in victory. “He sticks the landing, and the crowd goes wild! Wooooo!” the toy said. Kirin stood in a slack jawed stunned silence. Seeing this, the ninja turtle coughed. “I said “and the crowd goes wild!” Why hasn’t the crowd gone wild? I mean, it wasn’t the most dignified entrance, but I’m still getting used to this whole having legs thing.”

“Textbox? Is that you?” was all Kirin could manage. The doll looked up, and even though, like its 2003 cartoon counterpart,  the eyes had no pupils, she swore it was rolling them.

“No, it’s the Easter Bunny in a clown suit. Seriously Kirin? Its almost like you don’t even recognize me.” Textbox hopped onto one of the kitchen stools.

“I just–I thought you couldn’t manipulate anything this big. I mean, I know you could work the TV, but I thought that was it,” she stammered, nervously brushing a dirty blond lock of hair from her round face. She sat down on the stool next to the toddler sized stuffed animal.

“I know. Retcons are stink. It’s almost someone is just making things up as they go along,” Textbox said. Kirin rolled her eyes and sighed.

“Textbox, stop leaning on the fourth wall and tell me how are you doing it,” she said. Textbox shrugged.

“I got bored watching TV, and I’m allergic to books, so I tried to see what I could do. For whatever reason, this doll was easiest to work. Anyway, how was your trip to fairyland?” Kirin laughed, almost hysterically.

“Word to the wise, never try to steal from a fairy king’s court. Let’s just say, I’m glad to be human again, and if you want to know what it’s like to be a mouse, it’s not fun. At all. Like, everything’s trying to get you, and it’s all so big, and twigs taste terrible. I got the book though,” Kirin said with a shudder. She pulled a pair of gloves from her pocket and put them on. “For protection, just in case it’s cursed,” she explained with an aside glance at Textbox. She then carefully removed the book and placed it in the counter. It was ancient and leather bound, with the title in golden calligraphy. Below the title, there was the engraved image of an owl holding a snake in its beak.  The pages were yellowed with age, and had the woodsy aroma of old ink. Even though the pages may or may not contain secrets that would drive a person mad just by reading them, Kirin couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship. “Can you read what the front says?”

“Sure. It says one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.” Kirin groaned in annoyance. “Do I look like I can read Eldrich abomination?”  She sighed.

“Fair enough.” She squinted at the symbol, which felt oddly familiar.

“What’s up? You look confused. Or constipated. Confused and constipated?” Textbox asked. Kirin shrugged.

“I’m just trying to remember where I’ve seen this symbol.”

“Maybe you should just call Mulder and Scully?” Suddenly, Kirin’s brown eyes widened in recognition.

“Textbox, you’re genius!” she exclaimed as she jumped down from the stool and ran upstairs to her room. She pulled her box of miscellaneous junk out from under her bed. On top of the box was her copy of Marked. With a look of disgust, she tossed it into the corner of the room and rummaged through it with a mad fervor. Unbeknownst to her, a shadow moved across the corner, causing the book to vanish into thin air. Kirin’s hand closed around her quarry, and she held it up triumphantly. “I found it!” she yelled.

“Found what?” Textbox asked. Kirin jumped and looked around. Textbox had apparently abandoned her ninja turtle for the moment.

“You remember that alien that attacked us last fall? You know, the one that looked like that love child of a bat and Bigfoot?” she asked, barely containing her excitement.

“Yeah, what about it?” Kirin opened her palm, revealing two halves of a gold coin. Engraved on the coin was the same symbol.

“This was on the creature when we captured it, and now the same symbol’s popping up again. Coincidence? I think not! I’ll go call Lilly and Eli.” She rushed downstairs to make her call, Textbox close behind. The shadow stayed hidden, biding its time. When it was ready though, it knew exactly what form it was going to take.

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Hello, I’m a unicorn. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s Avengers level good, and this is coming from someone who considers the Avengers one of her favorite movies. In a few ways, it’s even better than the penultimate Marvel movie, mainly because the Avengers had the advantage of all its heroes being established in other films. In this movie, we have to meet each of the characters, learn all of their backstories, set up the plot, give their protagonists character arcs, set up the Nova Corps, set up the Kree race and their personalities, set up future events in the Marvel cinematic universe, explain the Infinity Stones, have a Stan Lee cameo, and have the actual plot. That is a lot to do for one film, and the writers pulled it off like it was nothing. More that that, they did it with pizzazz. That’s how much I like this movie: I actually used the word pizzazz. The plot may have been a little simplistic, but I’m okay with that, because, again, look at all they had to establish in the space of two hours. While the plot held little surprises, the characters had plenty. One example would be the opening scene with the adult Starlord. It’s one of the most epic cases of mood whiplash I’ve ever seen, and it was hilarious. This movie is full of moments where you think the scene is going to be serious, but it suddenly it does something so unexpectedly funny that you just have to laugh.

All of the characters are awesome, but the two that stand out are Rocket and Groot. Bradley Cooper just hit his portrayal of Rocket right out of the park. He’s snarky, tough, wacky, and likable enough that he has the audience’s sympathy when something terrible happens to him. I didn’t even see CGI, I saw a talking raccoon. The same goes for Groot. For a giant talking tree that turns some of the villains’ soldiers into Kree kabobs, he is surprising cute. He only says three words, but Vin Diesel packs those words so much emotion and the CGI was so good that I could tell exactly what he was thinking and feeling.

Overall, is this worth a watch? Yes. The visuals are awesome, the humor is actually funny, the characters are all great, and this movie does a lot in establishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The writers knew when to be silly, when to be serious, and how to seamlessly transition between the two moods with it feeling disjointed and at odds with itself. While the villain could have used more humor, but he’s intimidating enough that he’s somewhat memorable. So what are you waiting for? Watch it now and I am Groot.

Kirin pulled an old leather suitcase out from under her parent’s bed. Dragging the suitcase to the clean laundry pile, she sat down and stuffed a few t-shirts, some jeans and other necessities inside.

“Where’re ya goin’?” Textbox asked. Kirin looked up from the two iron daggers she was comparing. “And where’d you get those nice knives?”

“I was just thinking about the warning future me gave me a few months back.The name Fairy Creek seemed familiar, but I had trouble remembering where I’d heard it before. Then it struck me, Fairy Creek is what we’d called a place where my little sister and I used to play before we lived here. We had this friend who lived in the neighborhood and she used to tell us all about the fairies that lived there. For a while, I thought it was just pretend, but now I’m not so sure. I mean with all the weirdness going on, there it is possible that there was something there, right?” she explained as she  placed the shorter of the two daggers in her suitcase.

“I dunno. Because of wibbly wobbly universy wersy stuff, you might have actually seen future you, or a possible future you, or maybe it was a you in name only. These are other dimensions, remember? We could’ve just seen an alternate universe version of yourself, and that tome thingy might not even exist. And even if it did, you accidentally might call Cthulu or something,” Textbox said. Kirin raised her eyebrows.

“Now I must be going crazy, because you’re actually making sense,” she marveled but then added “Then again, what if she was the future me? If that book has the key to saving the world, then I shouldn’t sit around twiddling my thumbs as the great vagueness comes to destroy everything. That alone is worth checking it out.” She finished packing and zipped up the suitcase.

“Okay. Why not? I mean–“

“Textbox, if you say “what’s the worst that could happen?” I swear I’ll smack you.” Kirin rolled her eyes. “I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”

“But before you go, isn’t there something you want to see first ? A certain movie with four giant talking turtles.” Kirin took a deep breath. She opened her mouth as if to speak, but then shut it.

“You’re right. My terrible priorities strike again.”

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Just the Story

“What happened here?” Kirin asked as she knelt down to pick up a shard of the mirror. Her voice echoed in the empty whiteness.

“It ate my world. The whole thing,” Textbox answered grimly. She stood up.

“How did you survive?” She heard Textbox sigh.

“You know how Deadpool knows that he’s fictional? Well, that power has the perks of being able to know about when a cataclysmic, world ending event will happen. I knew It was coming, so I fled before It could come.”

“I didn’t know that Deadpool could sense when disasters were going to happen.” She examined the shard of the mirror. It must have been the window to that universe, much like the one she saw when she first entered the inter-dimensional highway.

“It’s a weird thing. We know about events that affect our world that happen outside of it.”

“So you’re not with the main Marvel universe? I’m only asking because there are still ongoing Marvel comics in my universe, so is there a main universe where these stories come from, or…” Kirin wondered aloud.

“Look, all I know is that It destroyed my homeworld. I don’t know or care about that other stuff,” Textbox cut her off.

“Sorry. What is “It”, exactly?” Kirin asked.

“Bad. Like a giant cloud that destroys worlds in the blink of an eye bad. Worse than Thanos and Galactus combined. Never saw it and I don’t want to. Now, let’s go.”  Unbeknownst to Kirin, a shadow slowly encroached on her.

“What? No. You’re finally giving me answers and now you want to go?” Kirin argued. She felt the ground beneath her rumble.

“Go?”

“Go.” Suddenly, she was being shaken like a ragdoll again as nauseating technicolor lights blinded her. It finally stopped just before she was about to vomit. Once again, she was knocked to the ground. “Man, I really hate that,” she grumbled.

“Tell me about it,” Eli said, he and Lilly standing over her. He offered her his hand. She took it gratefully and stood up.  They were once again in an area where the planets revolved overhead, and the night sky was peppered with stars. Another mirror stood in front of them, this one adorned with lion and unicorn gilding, and there was rope trailing out of the glass.

“What happened? Where’d you guys go?” she asked. The two shrugged.

“One minute, we were examining the portal, the next, we were sucked in and sent flying all around wherever this is,” Lilly replied. Eli nodded.

“This place is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. There were so many worlds. Even I didn’t know there were so many of them. What about you?” Eli said.

“Well, we heard someone yell and came in after you–” Kirin began.

“But we took a wrong turn in Albuquerque and got lost,” Textbox cut her off. Kirin looked into the image in the mirror and saw her basement.

“Well, it looks like we’re home, now how do we get in?” she muttered to herself.

“Oh, that’s easy. See the unicorn in the top center? Just press on it and repeat after me,” Textbox replied. Kirin pressed on the unicorn. The image in the glass began to swirl. “Euras notbal.”

“Euras not–hey! Oh, real cute Textbox. Glad you’re back to you charming self,” Kirin grumbled as she walked into the mirror. Lilly and Eli snickered and followed after her. The basement looked exactly like she had left it. The clock read 3:34 pm, exactly the time which she had entered the portal. “Well, today certainly was strange. Do you guys wanna run more tests or what?” she asked them. They both gave her a look of absolute horror.

“I think we’d better go, what about you Eli?” Lilly answered. They quickly made their way to the staircase.

“Yeah, I think so. Call us if there’s any changes,” Eli telled as they both rushed upstairs. Kirin heard the front door slam.

“Well, okay then. Hey I still have time to write up a review before dinner. What’do say Textbox?” she said as she headed upstairs.

“Thought you’d never ask.”  The wall swirled briefly and a shadow spread across the room. It made its way to the darkest corner and sat, waiting. For what? The shadow didn’t know, but it knew that it had to bide its time.

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Swamp Thing Volume 4: A Murder of Crows

“Do you trust me?” Textbox asked. Kirin crossed her arms.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Kirin said, visibly annoyed. Her body stood tense, preparing to argue with him.

“You didn’t answer mine. Do you trust me?”  Textbox repeated. The worry in her voice made her pause.

“You’re serious, aren’t you?” she marveled. She’d never heard him sound so grim.

“Yes,” Textbox replied. Kirin uncrossed her arms and relaxed, but didn’t smile. She took a deep breath.

“I trust you Textbox, but what’s wrong? You haven’t been your usual annoying self lately,” she asked concerned for her friend.

“I should just show you, but first, I need you to review something,” Textbox instructed. Kirin’s jaw dropped.

“You want me to do what? Textbox, our friends our missing. They could need out help. We’re caught in some sort of dimensional highway with no idea how to find them, and you want me to review something?” she asked incredulously.

“Yep. Pretty much. And I have just the thing for you to review.”

Hello, I’m a unicorn, and Textbox, is this really necessary?

For the forty-sixth time Kirin, yes, it is. This will give you an idea of what we’re up against.

You’re not wasting my time like you did with TMNT#16?

Absolutely not, now get to summarizing.

Okay, so Alec Holland is a scientist studying the swamp in the hopes of finding a bio-restorative formula when an explosion goes off in the lab, and he is covered in burning chemicals. He instinctively runs into the swamp, but when the flame is put out, but it isn’t Holland that rises out of the primordial ooze. Instead, it’s the Swamp Thing, a plant elemental with all the memories of Holland. Well, that’s the gist of the character’s origins. In this volume, we find the Swamp Thing nearing the end of a journey of self discovery with the Occult Detective, John Constantine. He is trying to understand the nature of evil after seeing so much of it on his journey with Constantine. Meanwhile, the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths are occurring and an evil society of male witches known as the Brujeria plot to destroy heaven with a chaotic entity so ancient it precedes time itself and so large that it is beyond understanding. It is up to the two, along with Etrigan, the Phantom Stranger, Deadman, the Spectre, Zatanna, Sargon the Sorcerer, Dr. Fate, and other mages and occultists to prevent this evil from destroying everything. Being a trade collection, there are other stories, my personal favorites being Windfall and Ghost Dance. Ghost Dance is especially entertaining if you have heard of the Winchestor House, which I highly recommend looking up because the history of that house is fascinating.

Overall, this is very, very highly recommended especially if you are a fan of horror comics. This book is, in a word, amazing which is to be expected from this legendary team. The artwork, by Stan Woch and Ron Randall, is great, and it’s beautifully written by Alan Moore, the genius behind Watchmen, V for Vendetta, among other stories mentioned in documentaries on the history of comics. I will warn you though, this book is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach. It is full of terrifying imagery and nightmare fuel galore. But if you feel that you are brave enough to face the horrors of humanity and the gods, what are you waiting for? Read it now, but be warned, if answers are what you seek, they may be “black and unbearable”.

“Don’t I know it,” Kirin muttered as she finished reading the comic. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” she asked Textbox.

“Shh. It might hear you,”  Textbox warned. “Even talking about it will get its attention, so untie the rope. I need to show you something.”

“What? Are you crazy? How would we know how to get home?” Kirin protested.

“I am, in fact, bonkers, but you’ll just have to trust me,” Textbox replied.

“Yeah, that’s really comforting,” Kirin muttered ash she untied the rope. She felt the familiar pull at her naval, and felt herself be yanked around like a rag doll. Blinding colors filled her vision, and she felt dizzy. When it finally stopped, Kirin fell to her knees.

“Still not fun,” she gasped. She stood up unsteadily and looked around. Instead of the brightly colored planets and stars against the night sky, there was nothing but whiteness. In front of her, there was the outline of a shattered mirror. “Textbox, where are we?” she asked.

“My home planet.”

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Deadpool #20: Wakandan Vacation

Kirin grabbed some rope out of the garage and ran to the basement. She tied one end of the rope around her waist and the other end around the water pipe on the opposite end of the room. Taking a deep breath, she slowly walked to the wall. “Well, Textbox, wish me luck,” she said, “And if I don’t make it back, make sure to keep this site running.”

“Are you nuts? I’m coming with! And there’s nothing you can do about it!” Textbox exclaimed. Kirin opened her mouth to say something snarky, but thought better of it.

“Thanks Textbox,” she said quietly. She glanced again at the unassuming cinder-block wall. “Well, here goes nothing,” she muttered as she stepped into the portal. As soon as she did, she felt an odd pull at her navel and her vision was filled with bright hues of pinks, neon greens, electric blues and blinding yellows. There was the sensation that she was being dragged, but she was unsure of how far and for how long. The rope around her waist reached its limit and dug into her ribs. She stopped abruptly and had the wind knocked out of her by the pull of the rope. She stood there for a moment, gasping for breath. “That was not fun,” she muttered as she rubbed her very bruised ribs.

“Yeah, probably should have warned you about that,” Textbox said.

“You think?” Kirin grumbled. She glanced around and realized that she was standing in space. Stars twinkled below her feet and a purple and blue planet loomed above her. In front of her, there was a mirror adorned with gold gilding molded into unicorns. “What is this place?” she asked in awe. Lights zoomed past her on all sides.

“I don’t know, some inter-dimensional highway maybe,” Textbox suggested. Kirin walked over to the mirror, her footsteps echoing in the eerie silence. She gasped.

“Textbox, look. It’s me, on the computer.” The Kirin in the mirror sat with her back to the two, typing on her computer. She looked older, perhaps in her early twenties and her shoulders where shaking as she typed. She abruptly stood up and left the bedroom, leaving the computer screen visible. Kirin was suddenly overwhelmed with curiosity. “Let’s see what I was writing,”  she muttered.

Hello, I’m a Unicorn. It’s been a while, and I’m sorry for that, but I think I’m ready. I’m ready to talk about him again. So, let’s dig into Deadpool: Wakandan Vacation.

The opening page shows a chibi style drawn Deadpool with facing away from the reader. He doesn’t want to do an story, so he suggests running an old issue that never got printed because of an problem with the Comic Code Authority. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the stupidity that is the Comic Code Authority, it was formed to self regulate comic books after concern that comics were promoting juvenile delinquency. The censors went overboard, regulating everything from gore to even the types of slang used, but that’s neither here nor there. The story proper begins with Cable and Deadpool emerging from a timewarp. They arrive in the Kingdom of Wakanda in the year 1968. Deadpool decides to take a vacation at the local resort while Cable decides that the two are no longer a team and leaves. Deadpool checks into the resort and after a random fight scene for the sake of a pretty funny joke, a meteorite falls from the sky and into a mound of vibranium (a metal that absorbs sound). In the meteorite, there is a puzzle piece.

He discovers the puzzle piece and is then enlisted by Uatu, The Watcher, and a very punny Ruler of Time to find the rest of the pieces of the puzzle. So, in the sled that he is given as a gift, Deadpool must go on a mad road-trip to the Savage Land, the Negative Zone, China, Asgard, and horror of horrors, the 1990s. Along the way, he manages meets and annoys two teenage T-rexes, Mangog, the Thing, Fin Fang Foom, and a Cosmic Baby who is capable of powering Asgard with his–er– excrement. Comic books are weird.

Overall, this is a fun issue. It’s insane and has a lot of obscure characters and places for new readers, but is told in such a way that no one is lost. I really like how far they went to make this look like a comic out of the Silver Age, from the Jack Kirby-esque art style to the coloring and the layout of the panels. It really looks like a comic from that time period. This is what I wish Batman ’66 would do with at least one story. The story itself is a lot of fun and has some really good jokes, and, right now, I think I could use a little laughter. So what are you waiting for? Read it now. And Textbox, rest in peace.

The Kirin in the mirror entered the room and paused before sitting down in her rocking chair. She whipped around. The younger Kirin recoiled in shock at the scars running down the older one’s face. “Kirin, I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. We haven’t got much time, so I’ll try be as clear as possible. There is something out there. Something more dangerous than the invasion of Earth. And the key to destroying it is found in an old tome buried under the willow in Fairy Creek. Please, have better luck than me, and beware the evil below the house. It will manifest as–” The door blew open the the lights went out in the room. “It’s here. Good luck, and avoid the Temple of the–” Her warning was cut short by the mirror shattering. Kirin leapt back to avoid the broken glass.

Now what?” Textbox asked. Kirin shrugged and pulled out her communicator.

“I’ll message Lilly and Eli, but even then, I have no idea how to find them,” she replied.

“Well, maybe they’ll find us. This place seems to have a mind of its own,” Textbox replied. Kirin tilted her head.

“You seem to know a lot about this place, care to tell me about it?” she asked.

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