Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Every week, Fanbase Press Contributor Phillip Kelly will take some time to play two brand-spanking-new or recent indie video game releases, all within an affordable range of $15 or less. Why? There are a lot of indie games out there, and if he can help you, curious reader, to parse through the selection, then by god, he’ll die content.

In thinking about the paths that our heroes take in the Star Wars saga - for the original trilogy, that of Luke Skywalker, and for the most recent trilogy, the tale of Rey (now Skywalker) - my mind is awash with questions and conflicts. As a child, seeing Luke turn Vader in the end was a heroic action. He fought against the dark side of the Force to save his father from a death that would have disconnected him with all living things.

The first images that come to mind when I think of H.R. Giger aren’t necessarily of the Xenomorph. The first images are of human frames (mostly female) meshed with robots and alien lifeforms, penetrating each other in all sort of ways. Giger’s Biomechanics is haunting, beautiful, and terrifying.  Thanks to the popularity of the Alien series, these images are scrawled into my brain.

I was not expecting that. I started reading this first issue of Spy Island really having no idea what to expect, but I was not expecting that. And that, folks, that was amazing. The synopsis is in the title. We’re on an island in the Bermuda Triangle, and there are spies, but also - and hold onto your hats - because I’m not going to give away what else is on this island. Why would I ruin that?

Many of the Life Drawn graphic novels from Humanoids have a similar story device to help push the action forward, that of the first-person narrator. We get a firsthand retelling of (sometimes) real-life emotional turmoil, and, because of that, some of the books can start off feeling like an echo of something you’ve already read. This can be both welcoming, like returning to something you love, and at the same time toy ever so slightly with your patience, as you want the book to open new doorways into different lives.

A confluence of characters occurs in the final issue of the first story arc of Matt Kindt and Matt Smith’s Folklords, and while some questions are answered, many more arise, giving way to a grander story and a greater good that needs to be accomplished. I’m excited!

Something Is Killing the Children is so good. James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera are masterfully world building and character building all at the same time. Their dialogue-driven scenes are just as visually intense and psychologically involving as their action scenes. This is a masterclass is storytelling.

Nice. This issue of Bang! is a fun, clever, action-packed dissection and alteration of another hero from the pantheon of modern-day, box-office monoliths. The first issue turned the myth of the famed 007 on its head. Now, we enter the realm of one of my favorite actioneers: Die Hard. It took me two panels to figure out that this was going to be Matt Kindt’s take on the wearied, over-worked Detective John McClane who always seems to be caught in the midst of some kind of hostage situation. Kindt injects a fun twist into the McClane mythology that I’ll let you discover on your own, but I have to say: Giving a reason as to why he’s barefoot all the time is priceless.

The penultimate issue of Ronin Island has been released, and what an issue. As the Shogun makes a final attempt at the island, Hana and Kenichi finally speak to the underlying themess of racism and classism that have been a part of each of their journeys. It’s wonderful, and it’s emotional. Pak is a phenomenal writer, and I can’t help but relate to the frustrations felt by Hana. By telling a story so far from where I am and in such a different time period, he’s managed to speak to the most haunting truths of our modern society - right here in the great old US of A.

Blackwood is a wonderfully strange and absolutely charming series. It poses the following question: What if a group of modern-day, Breakfast Club-like, outcast college kids ended up at what is essentially Miskatonic University from the H.P. Lovecraft universe?

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