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Review: Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Good Bye: Part #4

All images are © 2014 Dark Horse Books / Frank Miller, All opinions are my own.

Introduction:

Previously, we covered Part 3 of The Hard Goodbye. Now, we have a continuation with Part 4.

In this post, I will cover Part 3 of the Chapter titled “The Hard Goodbye”.

WARNING: This book most certainly is NSFW and only for adults. I will do my best to leave the vulgarities out of it so that everyone can enjoy. Although, if you can stomach the madness to achieve the full effect, a proper purchase of the source materials is recommended.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead: In depth review including respectable, occasional snaps of the art work and surrounding thoughts.

Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Goodbye: Part 4

Part 4 of The Hard Goodbye starts off with a some memories of a friend named Chuck that was retarded, but Marv loved him because he was “dumb enough to think he was a genius” and he compares those memories with his current dilemmas.

“I’ve been framed for murder and the cops are in on it. But the real enemy, the son of a bitch who killed the angel lying next to me, he’s out there somewhere, out of sight, the big missing piece that’ll give me the how and the why and a face and a name and a soul to send screaming into hell.”

He continues with details of a plan based off the information his mother gave him about the previous visitors looking for him. His plan involves sending him, whoever it is, an invitation and if he doesn’t die in the process, he’ll get a couple more pieces that fit this puzzle.

Now, we have mention from Marv that you can find whatever you need down any back ally in Sin City and we are transitioned into a scene where Marv talks about a bar named Kadie’s and this information is layered with details about how anything that’s worth doing in Sin City is illegal and messed up. He gets free drinks at Kadie’s for favors. One of the workers at Kadie’s is someone named Nancy that likes to shake it to good, old country music:

First mention of a character named Nancy

Nancy is a dancer at the bar Kadie’s with a lasso and an attached cowboy hat. Marv normally just enjoys the dance, but not tonight. No, that’s not what he’s looking for. He picks a fight with someone named Weevil and slams his back out, tells him to spread the word and get some payment for it “because it’s worth it” and give the details about what to spread the word about: his grievance of Goldie. He orders a drink from a waitress named Shellie.

Nancy dances more and whips with her lasso.

Marv goes out back of Kadie’s and talks about how he loves hit men because no matter what you do to ’em, you don’t feel bad. “The worse you do, the better it gets.” Trouble is, they have him at gun point. Marv is making jokes about the guy’s jacket:

Marv puts up a strong fight and it the hit men, they brought coats to a gun fight. Marv takes one of their guns and wins, tells him to take his coat off because he is bleeding all over it:

Marv wins the fight out back of Kadie’s bar. Seems some hit men were trying to off him.

Marv tells the guy with the coat that it must have not been them that killed Goldie, but he interrogates the last man standing to find answers. The man tells him it was Telly Stern that gave the orders and Telly runs the tables over at The Triple Ace Club. Marv kills the man he is interrogating and tells him thank you.

Marv has olfactory hallucinations about Goldie and claims he only needs his medicine. Then, we see a woman peering around the corner:

Mysterious woman peers around the corner after Marv’s fight with hit men out back of Kadie’s.

Marv realizes the sun is coming up and needs to find a place to rest, although he was “just getting warmed up”.

My Thoughts:

Marv likes old, good solid country music. Good on him! He’s not into the feel good, happy music. He more enjoys what feels genuine to him and not washed up. He is taking no safe paths here, only looking to set an example for his quest to find out who is behind framing him for Goldie’s murder.

I didn’t mention this at all last time, but it’s obvious that Marv is just out of prison, with his discussions with Lucille and I’m nervous for the path that he is on. Just can’t catch a break!

Marv has connections in his town, again with women. I’ve yet to see any man friends or people he is getting along with that are of his same gender. Hrm. Marv has characteristics of being intelligent and brutish.

We don’t learn much in this chapter besides mystery. He claims to know the dancer Nancy, but there’s no interaction with her, only fighting and a mysterious woman that peers around the corner after his fight with the hit men. I can’t help but notice that she looks like Goldie and Weevil looks like . . . Wolverine from Marvel comics? Ha, ha! Geez.

Who is this mysterious woman? Who is Telly Stern?

See you next time,

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Review: Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Good Bye: Part #3

All images are © 2014 Dark Horse Books / Frank Miller, All opinions are my own.

Introduction:

Previously, we covered Part 1 and 2 of The Hard Goodbye. Now, we have a continuation with Part 3. Life has handed me the brass knuckles and I’ve been short of time. This post only covers one part, Part 3, albeit an important one, where we learn the ruffian’s name and meet some people and relatives close to him.

In this post, I will cover Part 3 of the Chapter titled “The Hard Goodbye”.

WARNING: This book most certainly is NSFW and only for adults. I will do my best to leave the vulgarities out of it so that everyone can enjoy. Although, if you can stomach the madness to achieve the full effect, a proper purchase of the source materials is recommended.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead: In depth review including respectable, occasional snaps of the art work and surrounding thoughts.

Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Goodbye: Part 3

Finding himself in the sewers, after running from the cops the ruffian has bad things to say. He hopes they choke on their breath while they wait for him to surface, however he is coughing himself in the waste. He resurfaces out of the sewers and mentions a person named Lucille, that she has what he needs:

First mention of Lucille

Close call. Ruffian almost gets spotted by a copper walking through. He jumps to hang off the building in a marvelous comic frame:

Now, the scene switches to a female inside, presumably woken up and startled by a noise. She gets out of bed, grabs her gun and realizes it’s just the ruffian, nothing to be alarmed about except he has a swath of small bandages all over his body. He tells Lucille that it’s nothing to be worried about. He had simply gotten “grazed”. Ruffian asks Lucille for a beer and she shrugs it off, knowing that isn’t why he arrived.

Lucille and the ruffian are now in the bathroom and he confirms that ( the alcohol ) isn’t why he arrived with a solid “no”. Lucille throws his a bottle of pills. He eats one immediately. She tells him he is better with pills and he thanks her.

We learn that Lucille is a “dyke”, but with her figure she could have any man she wants. Lucille gets the ruffian pills from her girlfriend that is a shrink; Lucille’s girlfriend attempted to analyze the ruffian, but got too frightened.

Ruffian tells Lucille that he had to fight the police and she makes sure he didn’t off any of them. Ruffian thinks not, but they know what hit ’em. Then, Lucille questions him about how she will even the situation out, but he tells her no need and “not a chance”.

“This isn’t some barroom brawl or some creep with a gas can looking to torch some wino. This is big and I’m right in the middle of it and there’s no place I’d rather be. There’s no settling down. It’s going to be blood for blood and by the gallons. It’s the old days. The bad days. The all-or-nothing days. They’re back. There’s no choices left and I’m ready for war.”

Frank Miller as unknown male ruffian from The Big Damn Sin City.

The ruffian seems to have excited himself and grabs Lucille by the shoulders.

Lucille attempts to talk him out of his trajectory by bringing up prison, saying it was “hell” for him. But, he deflects and justifies it with defining what hell is. He says something to the effect that hell is not knowing your purpose and he isn’t like that because he knows exactly what his purpose is. He also tells her that someone close to him was killed in prison and that is how he got out. Lucille looks startled at how the ruffian is handling her.

He leaves Lucille’s apartment by, yet again jumping out of the window. While doing some theatrics and hanging off a building rooftop, he mentions “sweet Gladys“, but he will have to sneak past Mom and her hearing has improved since she went blind. He arrives at his Mom’s house, removes his shoes to sneak into his old bedroom. It’s unsettling for him, makes him cry. The memories. No mind because Gladys is here.

We learn that Gladys is his gun.

Gladys, the gun.

He takes time to bond with the gun and explains the situation with Goldie to Gladys. He stole Gladys, the gun from the strongest guy in school, but he levels with himself, justifying taking the gun because it’s previous owner, the strong man was dead when he took it. He named the gun after “one of his sisters from school”.

Mom pokes in the doorway of the bedroom while he is bonding with his gun. Mom calls the ruffian Marvin and he apologizes for awaking her. Mom tells Marvin that people came looking for him that were’nt coppers. Marvin tells Mom about his “new night job”.

Mom and Marvin talking gently.

Mom questions Marvin and he tells her about Goldie, but no specifics such as her death. And, that ends Part 3 of The Hard Goodbye in Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City. See below for thoughts and character bios.

My Thoughts:

Let’s talk about being a product of your environment. Do you think Marvin might be a product of his environment? I mean, he is doing a ton of questionable things, but I haven’t seen malice in his actions. Yes, he knocked down the cops. Yes, he took pills. Yes, he is busting into his parole officer’s apartment but, it looks like she accepts that, like he needs her.

Here’s another subject to think about: codependency. Is Lucille enabling Marvin by giving him pills? We have indication that he is better on the pills by her word. Should he learn how to deal with life without the pills? Maybe. We don’t really know how he is off of them, but that is possibly weak justification. Who knows? We don’t even know what kind of pills they are. They could be antipsychotics.

Do you feel like you want to judge Marvin? What kinds of judgements have you made about him? Seriously. It seems like the lines between what is good and bad here are blurry to say the least.

And then, here begs another question: would Marvin be actually be better off to surrender his fight and roll with the punches so-to-speak? No one knows that answer for a fact, but for the stories sake I think not! I want to see this guy win. We don’t know what lead up to this. He is obviously scarred from the past. All we have is what is presented in the story with context clues and diluted dialog.

He seems to bond with women most easily and that’s apparent here in Part 3, where he leans on his parole officer and mother. He got rough with Lucille, which I didn’t like. Thankfully, he didn’t violate her. She seems to know what to expect from him and is acceptant of his behavior when he barges into her apartment.

And, Marvin’s mother and his interaction with her is pleasant. He speaks to her like a son should, although it’s questionable about leaving out details in his story, but I’m guessing his justification for doing that is to not worry her. Poor mom probably worries enough as it is . . .

There’s a lot of detail in these black and white frames. I like the art style. Things pop out at me like the shower curtain not up on the rail in Lucille’s bathroom. Is she paranoid, possibly induced by her environment?

One thing that Marv is redeeming himself on, I can say for sure is using his resources, unlike what I thought about him when Goldie died. Even so, it still makes me wondering if he is operating on a hunch or no about her death. Something is awry.

See you next time,

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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DNF Video Game: The Medium

THE MEDIUM

Discover a dark mystery only a medium can solve. Explore the real world and the spirit world at the same time. Use your psychic abilities to solve puzzles spanning both worlds, uncover deeply disturbing secrets, and survive encounters with The Maw – an entity born from an unspeakable tragedy.

The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game that features an innovative dual-reality gameplay, unique art style inspired by painter Zdzisław Beksiński, and original soundtrack co-composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski and Akira Yamaoka.


In my sometimes less-than-humble opinion, there are two kinds of games in the world: Game-games and games. Look, I’m joking, well, kind of. Let me explain: there are games where you actually have what seems like free choice. If you want to go all in and fight the high level characters, you most certainly can have at it and get humbled, like the zealous adventurer you are. Unfortunately, The Medium is the opposite of that: a walking simulator that tells what button to push and when to push it, where to walk and when to walk and also when to talk. I don’t like it. I want to run, jump, slash and meander. I want action and intensity, not to aimlessly walk in circles looking for a queue to push the X button.

Is anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.

Most interactive travels in the game present you with a setting viewed with a fixed, third-person camera as you walk from room-to-room and a Resident Evil type inventory system with the ability to combine items for puzzle solving and possibly more.

Something that did particularly catch my eye and make me go “hmmmm . . . ” was the fact that when looking in the below mirror, there was a strip on the rug that seemed to twinkle and glisten, no matter which angle I moved the camera, which gave me evidence that it wasn’t the mirror causing the anomaly:

See that funky strip on the rug?

That’s not saying The Medium is a bad game, it’s just not for me. I was stunned by some of the visuals that were displayed before the split screen duel-reality play, then the visual appeal seemed degraded ( which I vaguely remember an article confirming that degradation ). I played for a decent 3 hours on the game up until I reached the duel reality view at the camp. The whole premise of the game, being the main character is a medium named Marriane that exists in two different realities at once. Just after the start of the game, we are led to a funeral home and we meet Jack in the dark reality, that has recently died in the normal reality, then we are led to some kind of camp for investigations. This is where I stopped playing the game. I won’t go into any more details about the story, while the elements of the story did seem mildly interesting, it wasn’t good enough to keep me rattling my joystick and looking for a queue to hit X without it being dreadful and a chore. Luckily this game came with my Xbox Game Pass subscription. No love lost, no love found.

Recommendation:

★★☆☆☆ The Medium, an Microsoft Xbox Exclusive gets two stars out of five for lack of excitement and personal preference, however seems solid enough for story-game enjoyers to savor. If you want some, from what I saw non-wretched and light on actual vulgarities like lack of jump scares and gore then it may work even better for you in a search for a psychological survival horror game with class.

Intro video w/ credits

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Review: Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Good Bye: Part #1 and #2

All images are © 2014 Dark Horse Books / Frank Miller, All opinions are my own.

Introduction:

If you saw my massive one book haul post, you know that this is a mammoth book @ over 1300 pages, full of semi-black and white comic-mischief and mayhem tailored in by Mr. Frank Miller and his crew being Lynn Varley on color art and logo by Steve Miller, published by Dark Horse Comics.

In this post, I will cover the first two parts of the Chapter titled “The Hard Goodbye”, that covers roughly 40ish pages of content.

In this review I will assume we know nothing! Having viewed and picked the marvelous movie and it’s cinematographic heights and splendorous display as one of my most favored films of all time, I will still treat this as if I know absolutely nothing about it, only revealing things and thoughts as they are revealed in the book.

At the end of each post, I will make a character round-up and summarize what we know about each character as the story progresses, along with my thoughts.

WARNING: This book most certainly is NSFW and only for adults. I will do my best to leave the vulgarities out of it so that everyone can enjoy. Although, if you can stomach the madness, to achieve the full effect, a proper purchase of the source materials is recommended.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead: In depth review including respectable, occasional snaps of the art work and surrounding thoughts.

Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Goodbye: Part 1

After a copulation session while internally bashing his logical and physical surroundings, this male ruffian ( name unknown ) wakes up to find his mate unconscious.

We learn the female’s name is Goldie.

Death on first date. He thinks death immediately, but there are no signs of trauma or struggle. The male ruffian knows it’s murder by a gut feeling fueled by his hangover. Maybe it was cardiac arrest? He speculates cold murder, for sure. He’s questioning things, thinking about how he didn’t care when he was asleep. He hears a distant scream moving toward.

NOTE: This image has not only been watermarked, but also female parts blurred out.

The murderer must have told on him, he thinks. Scuffles with the cops have happened before. It won’t go well this time, at all. But that’s no reason not to raise some Caine!

Big Damn Sin City: The Hard Goodbye: Part 2

Someone’s gonna pay for bringing death again so close, he thinks, especially after a night with a lucky score like Goldie.

Here comes the coppers, sirens blaring up the stairs with guns and tactical equipment of an unknown variety!!

While waiting on the cops, the ruffian pops some pills of questionable origin and then busts through the door as soon as the cops knock, instead knocking them to the floor! He runs into the hallway and jumps out the balcony, dodging a bullet in the process. Unaffected, he gets up unscathed and jumps out of the window, into the outside air.

Falling a long distance down, outside of what looks to be an apartment complex and onto the street, the male ruffian is confronted with the cops again and pulls the outlandish move of jumping into the cops’ windshield feet first, takin’ em out and thus wrecking the cop car into the apartment’s brick wall.

Why did Goldie have to die like this? He’s determined to give someone a slow, hard death for murdering Goldie even though they just met.

My Thoughts:

Man, these are the exact kinds of situations ya don’t want to be apart of. This guy, the ruffian is stone cold to the core, knocking the cops out on more than one occasion in these first two bits.

And, second of all, I would absolutely flip if I woke up and the person next to me was dead. A even nightmare. This guy just pops some pills and takes out the cops. But, there is an indication that he knows this situation for some reason. I hope we’ll find out.

Is he a drug addict? Where did this girl come from? Is she in on this framing? Is it a framing at all? So many questions!

There’s an indication that death has been following him for some time, that murder surrounding him has happened before. Did he do it in his sleep? Is she really dead? There’s no evidence of either question, just raged thoughts coming from a pill popper. I mean, not even a pulse check for the poor woman? Come on, ruffian man! Are you so drug fueled that your gut feeling tells you everything you need to know? Use your resources, man. I’d really hate to be in a situation like this, but hot damn! Guessing by the dialog, this guy is in some deep caca and has been for some time possibly some sort of local waging.

This surely is a story to take your time with. I’m intrigued. It’s not glamorous, pretty or favorable. It looks hellish and dangerous.

See you next time,

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Video Games: Immortals Fenyx Rising – First Thoughts

After having one of the busiest days in a long time. I really, really enjoyed playing this title, Immortals Fenyx Rising. The visuals are stunning and controls work almost flawlessly.

I didn’t even have one potion or upgraded armor . . . Then, I got in a fight with a bear and barely won:

Spoilers in the form of bear ☠️ death, cut scenes, descriptions of stamina system and resource farming.
This glowing Bear got slung into oblivion. I love watching the boar disappear, too, flying into his demise. 🤠
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DNF Graphic Novel Review: Belle: Oath of Thorns

Belle: Oath of Thorns TPB [ Image Source: mycomicshop.com ]

This was fun, what I read of it. However, the images were pixelated in this Adobe protected PDF and their viewer for these .acsm files is absolutely horrendous. I won’t deal with it ( you can see for yourself what I mean. It scrolls painfully slow and the zoom is unusable which is critical for digital comics ). You can load it up, especially on a mobile device and it is right next to trash, in a dumpster fire. I can’t understand how Adobe gets away with putting out basura like that ( with the exception of Photoshop and the likes ).

Anyways, like I said I was enjoying this, but Zenescope didn’t test their methods, so Belle: Oath of Thorns TPB gets a ★☆☆☆☆ one star out of five from me.

[ Image Source: debrafine.com ]

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

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Review: Death to 2020

Comedic interviews with experts, politicos, powerbrokers, monarchs, scientists, psychologists, average citizens and maps about the most historic year in history covering a swath of things from Australian fires, protests of violent and non-violent statue destruction, the election gameshow, of course the pandemic and much, much more comes a low-key scary-pseudo-educational mockumentary that is both presented well and makes us laugh only to keep us from crying.

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Graphic Novel Review: Paris 2119

Paris 2119 by Zep ( story ) and Dominique Bertail ( illustration ). Yep, we have an optical illusion with the line curvatures on the cover, here. I had to triple check to make sure this image didn’t become amorphous. If my checks had failed, I would have beat it into submission. Is that a pane of glass, separating the light from darkness? Interesting . . .

I received this graphic novel as an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.com

Blurb:

Celebrated author Zep (A Story of Men, A Strange and Beautiful Sound) weaves a mystery borne from humanity’s addiction to convenience and technology, and the dangers such addiction can propose. This gorgeously illustrated, poignant sci-fi tale aims a spotlight on current social trends such as over-consumption, climate change, identity theft, and transhumanism. Painted in detailed watercolors by Dominique Bertail, this book evokes the classic science fiction styles of Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Enki Bilal, and Jean-Claude Mézières.


Since the creators opted to list the social trends covered, I will make a quick one-liner note about their relation to this story:

  • Over-consumption: a letting caused pollution leading up to a teleportation device that is problematic in it’s deceitful nature. All in attempt to fix a problem that just ends in more problems.
  • Climate change: atmospheric disinfection program that causes it to rain non-stop.
  • Identity theft: What happens after attempting to contain a man after you erase his identity? Trouble.
  • Transhumanism: digital clones, teleportation, privacy concerns potentially all leading to mental and physical problems.

The choice of art style here is interesting, as the extended description on Amazon says, “[…]in a classic style reminiscent of legendary French graphic novelists such as Bilal, Moebius, and Mezieres.” The art style isn’t futuristic, but rather archaic:

Inside art style for Paris 2119.
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Friday Fun Trifecta #5 / Xbox Series X Woes

If you remember a while back, we did a segment here on SDMcKinley.com called Friday Fun Links. It has evolved into Friday Fun Trifecta, where I will feature one thing of each – music, book and visual arts. Welcome to Friday Fun Trifecta #5, in appreciation for artwork.

Book:

I really liked this book titled Showdown by Ted Dekker, main element being the writers in the monastery in relations to the town below.

“Live to discover, as long as discovery leads to a love that comes from the Creator… writing was the mirror to life.” ― Ted Dekker, Showdown

[ Quote Source: Good Reads ]

Music:

[ Lyrics @ Genuis.com ]
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On The Absence of Something

The absence of something can be greater than the presence of it. This is seen most notably with music. Notice how the gaps in notes produce the entire effect. However, the former example is not the best to go by in the modern year of 2021 and beyond: it seems sort of obsolete. Sound engineering is a very tricky thing, even more so with electronic music, which is sometimes regarded as inferior to classic works, but I digress.

Have you ever played a song and it seems like the different instruments are clashing together, making your speakers crackle? Maybe the gain is a bit too high or the cymbal wasn’t tweaked to keep the mid ranges from clashing with the vocals and guitar. This is an opposite example of what I am about to talk about.

This morning, I listened to a song called Beast Mode by Figure featuring Del The Funky Homosapien ( known for work in Gorillaz ). While the song is rather hard hitting and may or may not raise your blood pressure, the appreciation for the song isn’t what I’m referencing here. Some of Del’s lyrics include something like “We’re gonna wil’ out ’til the speakers blow”, is the opposite of what the sound engineering qualities present.

WARNING: If your speakers are already weakened, I would advise presenting a different set to play this through, because I won’t be held responsible for busting them.

WARNING: Extremely heavy dubstep, but no profaneness that I remember. Figure can be classified as scary or monster dubstep. A full frequency response range is recommended for listening, a.k.a ear buds are not recommended.

I won’t go into any more details about what a marvel this song is in modern sound engineering techniques, except for the fact that this level of sound wouldn’t be possible without cutting very small sections of the individual instrument tracks where the frequency ranges might clash than if the absence of very small ( way > one second ) sections in each individual instrumental track: bass lines, drums, etc. were all completely there. It’s meta-sound engineering.

In turn, we have an even more excellent example of how the absence of something can have great strength than the constant, immediate presence of it. Class dismissed.

Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.