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Friday, February 25, 2011

3.3.17.3. Fight Another Day - Part 3


Omegron - Ancient Black Dragon by ~vadis on deviantART

Things aren’t going well in the sky either. The gyropter squad has lost half of its numbers, while the dark flyers are still swarming. Even the Aurora archers, soldiers and cannoneers are also overwhelmed under this attack.

Carolyn has even summoned the Guardian Spirit, Aegis the Thunder Bird to fight the Succubus Queen, displaying an impressive dogfight of speed and agility. It’s a long fight, and neither can’t seem to get the upper hand. The only drawback is, Carolyn is running out of mana to sustain Aegis in this world.

I must finish this. I can’t hold Aegis up for too long. I can still cast Xacravenos one more time, but it’ll hit the gyropters too.

Carol is thinking hard, and Aegis still can’t finish the Archdemoness off. The next moment, she sees the gyropters withdrawing, scattering everywhere because they’re outnumbered, and maybe because they’re afraid Aegis might hit them on its path.

Seeing this opportunity, Carolyn waves her magic trident to cast the ultimate spell: Wrath of the Skies. However, pumping her aura with mana hurts her. Probably, her mana has dropped too low, so she uses her stamina to get into the desired aura level – pushing herself beyond her limits. Any mistake will deal permanent damage on her, or worse, she’ll be dead.

Yet, she casts the spell anyway, ‘Xacravenos!’

The post-rain clouds form up again. The light of dawn gets dimmer. Lightning blasts, thunder rumbles, but no rain falls. Instead, lots of lightning bolts strike, and they are all heading to one target: Aegis. As the core, the Thunder Bird emits a vortex around it, encircling it, wider and wider.

The Succubus Queen breaks away from her fight with Aegis and tries to escape, but she is trapped inside the lightning vortex. Lots of flying monsters are caught and destroyed within the force – along with three gyropters still caught in a fight.

The vortex contorts as it reaches the limit of its size and power, and it explodes, spreading shards of lightning everywhere. Thanks to Quazar’s timely decision, the airship activates its force field and is averted from damage. The force field cuts the aura connection between Carolyn and Aegis, so the Guardian Spirit dissolves, going back into the limbo. Exhausted, the summoner collapses on all fours on the floor.

After a slight pause, she gets up, drinking her spirit potion to recover her mana. Suddenly, she drops the empty bottle. Her eyes widen and her face loses color. In front of her, the Dark Side flyers are still swarming. Apparently, plenty were killed in the vortex, but there are still plenty more.

The Aurora is the only air unit for the Light Side now.

Iris, this is definitely a good time for you to come back now. Please, bring help. If you don’t, at least come aboard quick because we won’t leave Freidle without you. We’re in this together until the end. We, the Twelve Paladins.

The airship is now a target of attacks. The wyverns shoot dark bolts from every side, ramming on the force field to weaken it.

Slowly but surely, under that extreme pressure, the force field is going to break and Quazar knows it.

So, when shouts come, ‘Weapons ready! Archers, ready! Cannons, ready!’ the Captain shouts, ‘Disengage force field and all weapons shoot at will!’

The force field vanishes, and a rain of projectiles shoots to all directions from the Aurora like wings of death. Many dark flyers, some wyvern riders fall victim to the cannons and arrows piercing every part of their bodies. The first wave is wiped out, comes the second wave and the second volley. However, the enemy is ready. A number of them dodge the attack and even shoot into the airship. Many giant bats with explosives attached on them even intrude into the ship, seeking to destroy it from within. Only few manage to blow up inside, causing damage and casualties in the ship.

Carolyn now has the reason to panic. Oh no! The Aurora won’t last more beatings! At this rate, the enemies will bring it down for sure! Aegis needs time to recover before I can summon it again, and my magic won’t be enough to handle this swarm! Oh Vadis the Almighty, you are our only hope now. What is your wish? Do you want us to prevail or perish? We will fight to the end or fight another day if we can, yet may your wishes be done.

She prays on, clutching the Pendant of Preservation in both hands. Just then, a giant bat with explosives sees her and darts to her. She is like a sitting duck ready to be blown into little pieces, and her eyes are still closed! Unaware of death coming so fast and close...

BA-DOOM!!!


Zal'fira the Necromancess - Final Chara Art

The bat blows up! Carol is startled and she opens her eyes, seeing the explosion so close to her. The next thing she sees is bolts of fire raining near the airship, coming from the south, burning all creatures with wings on their path. Her eyes gleam with hope as she looks upwards to the distance...

At last...Help has arrived! Bless you, Borgian Dragon Riders! May Vadis bless you for coming!

Up in the sky, about a hundred dragons and a gigantic three-headed white dragon fly in great speed, in attacking formations. In the center of the formation, the ancient Hazmat surveys enemy positions and commands his comrades, 'All formations, spread out and engage the enemy! Help the ground units if necessary!'

The dragon riders' formation spread like supernova, covering the sky, painting it red with jets of fire shooting here and there. Many dark flyers get scorched and burst to crisp, or knocked down by the wind of their passing. Their strongest adversaries so far are the Sylvanian Wyvern Riders, who are now focusing their attacks on their rivals since ancient times. Soon, dogfights erupt between them with sparks of fire and hollow blasts like splendid fireworks in the cloudy sky.

Hazmat, on the other hand, is on rampage. Not only he disintegrates the enemies with the rayblasts from his three heads, he also crushes them with his gigantic claws and fangs. Overall, the air fights are pretty much balanced.

On the hills, Arachus is amazed to see the dragon riders back in action, especially, 'Hazmat! That meddling lizard! How dare he and his pathetic critters break into our party! Oooh! Wait until I get my hands on him...!'

'That won't be necessary, Lord Regent,' says a deathly, eerie voice. Arachus looks back and finds the masked, hooded person in all black - one of his generals, who talks on.

'Just let his old rival handle him.'

The masked one lifts two hands holding the Viper Cane, the very weapon once belonged to the deceased Zal'fira the Necromancess. Besides its necropotence powers to raise the dead into undead and meddle with the minds of the living, he Viper Cane has another use:
'An Omegron Aschi!'

A hexagonal, glowing mark fills the sky above them. The next second, a gigantic creature flies out from the mark. First, its black head, and then its neck, torso, wings and finally tail, all black, dark as night. It has five eyes (minus one which Robert destroyed). Like other ancients, its body bears battle scars and marks. Its wings are like torn, but it doesn't slow it down in the air.

'Omegron? Perfect. Good choice, lich.'

The lich (undead necromancers/kings/knights who retains his mind and/or body after death) doesn't respond. She just adjusts her mask and keeps her head low.

Omegron, the Ancient Black Dragon looks around and knows what to do at once. It charges towards its old rival, Hazmat in full speed and rams its opponent. Hazmat is pushed back but maintains his balance at a point. He stares at Omegron, saying, 'Well, if it's the same ol' Omegron, always jump-starting, you sneaky devil, you.'

Hazmat shoots a double rayblast at Omegron and the latter avoids it. The next second, the White catches the Black and both wrestle and bite each other - the way beasts fight each other. Hazmat tries to taunt his opponent, 'Don't think that you can defeat me again like last time, Blackie. I'm much stronger now with Galliard's soul empowering me. And you? What did you get? Oh yes, you got one eye missing and you really need a new pair of wings to replace that rag. What? You can't hear me? Oh, yes, of course, how could I forget? You're still a wild ancient so you can't talk back. That's no wonder, you're so ugly so none of your masters wanted to merge his soul with your body...'

Wild as it is, Omegron can still understand Hazmat's taunts. He attacks more aggresively and lets his guard down a bit. Nonetheless, their fight is still fierce as though they want to settle the score once and for all.
The odds of the air fights are still unchanged.

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(note: script pg 85/487 on break)

3.3.17.3. Fight Another Day - Part 2



Sir Heinrich looks around and sees his troops shaking, trembling, as though seeing Death face-to-face. They are exhausted from fighting those monsters, and now, facing this multitude makes them feel all strength leaving them instantly.

No ultimatum, no pre-battle duels, no time to waste. Arachus shouts to all troops, ‘ARCHERS! ALL ARTILLERY! SHOOT AT WILL!’

Hearing that, Heinrich also shouts, ‘NOW! SHOOT THOSE BASTARDS! HOW DARE THEY SWORE TO DEVOUR US AND MAKE US UNDEAD! ALL THEY’RE GOING TO EAT ARE ARROWS.’
Nöac then shouts, ‘VANGUARDS! TOWERS! RAMS! FORWARD, MARCH!’

The infantry marches, closing into three gates at once with the projectile coverage. Buildings and walls break. A siege tower gets hit by a boulder, smashing into pieces with all the Sylvanians inside.

Also shot from the city are giant iron balls, pride of Borgian defense. The balls hit the marching orcs, squashing them like bugs and doesn’t stay there. It rolls downhill, trampling, flattening more orcs all the way to the front until they stop in the moat. Magic bolts and cannonballs also contribute for the defenders’ advantage.

The city wall is smashed here and there. Archers and soldiers fall from it like dry leaves in autumn. The Dark loses much more men than the defenders, but their numbers are still far superior. They build bridges and fill the moat with the stones and logs of wood they bring, and with bodies and carcasses of the fallen. Soon afterwards, many ladders and siege towers reach the wall. Dawn is breaking, the rain has stopped, and the close combat has begun.

Obviously enough, the tide turns in favor of the attackers. Things get worse when suddenly the air units, namely winged demons, wyvern riders, giant bats, harpies and sorts. The leader of the air squad, the Succubus Queen shoots a dark blast of Dark Disintegration, destroying a cannon tower, making it explode into rubbles.

Ivor is smashing a goblin’s head into pulp when he sees that, and before he gives the order, the gyropters have returned into action. They launch bombs and shoots iron balls with their rifles, but even with the aid from Airship Aurora they are greatly overwhelmed by the Dark’s air superiority.

On the other side, the demonic general Nöac climbs the southwest wall quickly and easily with his spider legs. The soldiers try to shoot him and drop bombs at him, but the arrows and iron balls can’t penetrate his armor, and he dodges the bombs by moving from side-to-side, asserting his great ability. An archer gets a clear shot on him, but he leaps all the way to the top and thrust his Carrion Lance through that poor man like shish-kebab.

Seeing this, Sir Heinrich Ratzinger dashes to help his comrades and intercepts Nöac, the latter now rampaging with his super-speed move, moving like a shadow, thrusting his targets one-by-one without injuring his own troops. The move, Skewering Shadows goes on before a great sword parries it.

The Spider Demon General takes a closer look. Sir Heinrich swipes his sword, pushing himself away from his opponent and makes a stance, ready to make his next move.

‘O-ho,’ says Nöac, standing casually, playing with his lance, ‘You parried my attack. Quite impressive. Tell me your name, knave.’

‘Heinrich Ratzinger, a KNIGHT of Borgia, Commander of this defense army. You might want to remember it on your way to the Land of the Dead.’

To this, Nöac laughs. ‘Ha-ha! Such a sound boast from a mere knave. I am Nöac, Spawn of Vordac, the Black Prince. You certainly must remember this because today you will face Sodomos in hell.’

‘Oh, great, so we will both go there together then. Prepare yourself!’
‘O-ho, been there, done that. In fact, I’m ready to send you and this pathetic city to oblivion,’ says the Black Prince, pointing his lance to his opponent.

Heinrich roars and charges towards the enemy, shouting,
‘SO, LET’S BEGIN!’


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3.3.17.3. Fight Another Day - Part 1



Rain pours heavily over Freidle.

The night seems darker with thick clouds hanging on the sky and makes a darker shade on the weathered, blackened city walls. The only lights come from torches, shaded from the rain and lit with waterproof, temporary magical flame.

Help finally came, but the odds are not improving at all. Ten thousand dwarven soldiers and six hundred gyropters*) led by the Grand Trow of Grad’s son-in-law, Ivor Bigstumble have arrived this morning. They came along with five thousand more Borgian soldiers, aiding them in battles and helped them escape. The Borgian escapees’ arrival means one thing: The cities of Handelburg and Basken have fallen, and the enemy will reach Freidle before dawn, tonight.

Ah, why aren’t the dragon riders here now? Iris has been gone for four days, and she hasn’t sent news until now, Carolyn thinks, surveying from on board Airship Aurora hovering up in the air. She looks worried and nervous, being the only Paladin around. I really don’t want to run away at the sight of such multitude, but I don’t want to die here either – not until I see him again. Please come back quickly, Iris...

Carol drifts on in her thoughts when suddenly a shout startles her.

‘ENEMIES! ENEMY FORCES moving from the hills southeast! FAST!’

She takes out her telescope from her goodie bag and looks through it, pointing southeast. Alas, there’s nothing to be seen. The lookout must be a wizard or sorts who masters Night Vision or has super senses. The point is, the enemy is near. The Aurora crew relay the message to the city by sounding the alarms. Even the Captain, Quazar the centaur shouts out series of instructions with much haste.

Footnote:
(* Gyropter: An open-cased helicopter, oil-fueled and lightweight. It accommodates two people: a pilot and a bomber/archer. The dwarves use it for warfare and transportation. They invented it by stealing Parthenian technologies later used to make airships. Gyropter is also equipped with an air-to-air cannon. For surface bombings, the bomber simply drops explosives from the air.

‘All hands to the deck! Battle stations! Ready, cannons and archers! This is it, my friends, our finest hour! Maybe the night and the rain will trouble us, but we’ll fight with the best we have, and we’ll give our foes hell!’

‘HUZZAH! HUZZAH! For Aurora, for Freidle! HUZZAH!’ The crew respond.

‘Great! Now we fight! For Eternia!’

The ground units also prepare with haste. Soldiers, militias, mercenaries and hunters. Men and women, old and young, everyone strong enough to fight, and even healers and support workers are here. The enchanters cast protection spells to the entire force. Catapults, weapons, ballistae and boulders undergo last-minute check, and all are ready.

Ready to take on enemies three times their number.
Ready to fight to the death – or fight another day.
The ground shakes, rumbling sounds echo through the air.
The enemies have increased their pace.

==oOo==


\
The enemies come without warning and straight to the attack.

‘Maybe the Dark Forces are like that. Maybe they are just barbaric monsters who know no strategy. Or maybe they’re distracting us for something bigger, says the Commander, Sir Heinrich Ratzinger.

The other Knight who leads the reinforcements from Grad, Ivor the Beardless forces a smile. He is a blond-haired dwarf in full armor, brandishing a big hammer. He looks different than other dwarves because there’s no beard, no mustache on his clean-shaved face. He responds,
‘Whatever it is, we are ready. Wait until they taste our gyropters’ bombardments.’
Ivor looks calm and confident as he talks on, ‘Don’t worry, Sir Heinrich. I know the odds, and if things turn out ugly our gyropters will finish the job.’

Comes then a soldier, reporting to Heinrich.
‘Sir! The lookout saw the enemies! They’re charging in full speed and they’re... not human!’

‘MONSTERS!’ Heinrich shouts. ‘And the big ones are going to ram into our gates!’
Ivor talks, ‘If so, the air units will get into action earlier. Signal the gyropters to get ready in position!’

‘Archers! Wizards! Ready your weapons!’ Heinrich instructs. ‘Follow my orders promptly! Do not shoot unless I tell you to!’

Ivor just stares straight to the front. Now he sees the enemies clearly: monsters, mutants of all sizes charging wildly to the city from land and air. Giant dragonflies, werewolves, gnolls, kobolds, even the great beasts for ramming iron gates: giant mutant rhinoceroses with gigantic bull horns, and many more.

They come in multitudes, charging wildly. Except maybe the giant rhinos, which are steered by goblins towards the gates. The sheer number of them make even the Borgians, the bravest of warriors tremble. Yet, the soldiers still hold their fire – showing the strictest discipline.

‘Hold it! Hold it!’ shouts Heinrich.

Nobody shoots. Nobody even speaks. Even when shrieks, roars and rumbles get nearer… Even when they stare face-to-face with those hideous freaks of nature. And then, when enough monsters are within range…

‘FIRE!’

A volley of arrows soars into the sky, blocking the moonlight and pours down like a rain – along with the rain – to the monsters. A great number fall, but those with thick hides like the rhinos move on. The second volley comes, but the rhinos are still unharmed.

In response of this situation, Ivor raises his hand and points southeast, shouting, ‘Gyropters, attack! Bombard the rhinos if you can!’

Soon, hundreds of firefly-like lights elevate into the dark sky. The gyropters point their lantern torch towards the enemies. They hover forward, and when they find their targets they throw bombs down.

Success! Fourteen out of twenty giant rhinos are blown to death before they reach the bridge to the gate. The wizards and dwarf bomb-throwers just have to deal with the rest.

Three gyropters are hit, crashing into the ground. It seems, no matter how good the flashlights are, the flying monsters are still too quick to follow with dwarf eyes. One gyropter even mistakably shoots another, sending the dwarves on it down with parachutes, swearing along the way.

More and more monsters swim below the bridge and crawl on the city wall without ladders – giant spiders, imps and more like them. Three soldiers poke them so they fall down, but more and more crawlers are swarming on the wall, too many even after four volleys of arrow.

The Borgians apparently come prepared for this. The soldiers pour gallons of hot oil from covered cauldrons over the wall. The stuff is hot enough to peel the crawlers off the wall, making the wall too slick and slippery to climb, with or without ladders.

More gyropters crash, and Ivor waves his command flag, signaling them to withdraw – or rather, to give way to a greater force, namely the Airship Aurora.

The archers on board the Aurora have the better targeting now the gyropters have moved away, and soon the aerial battle turns in the defenders’ favor.

It’s getting less and less noisy in front of the city wall as well. The monsters’ primitive attacks are hardly enough to breach the formidable, legendary walls of Freidle. Many flee, and many more charge on to their death. So far, the defenders are winning. However, Sir Heinrich’s face gets more tensed and pale.

‘I don’t like this,’ says he to Ivor. ‘This is too easy.’

Ivor nods, saying, ‘Yes, we haven’t seen a single orc or undead, and we didn’t see monsters in Ballax and Handelburg. You know what’s coming.’

Heinrich acts at once, ‘GET READY! ARCHERS! MAGES! SOLDIERS! ENEMY’S MAIN ARMY INCOMING!’

Soon, all are busy, preparing their weapons and getting into positions. The rain has died down. And suddenly, torches are lit from the enemies’ side, all along the plains from the south, southeast and east, filling the whole area… surrounding the city.

Rows and rows of Dark Armies in straight formation. All of them, more than one hundred thousand strong against fifty thousand defenders. Taking all calculations including defense and surprise into account, the odds still stand: two to one. If things doesn’t improve very soon, the Light Side must resort into the last gambit, the least favorable solution for this situation. Before that happens, they just have to buy some time in case more reinforcements come.

And pay for it with blood.

Heinrich realizes it all. He just stares at the enemy formations, so formidable and neat, showing confidence and inevitable threat for all in their way. This is what all fear of. The Dark Army of humans, orcs, goblins and undead.

And then comes a more frightening sight: the leader of the army, the overgrown red devil, Arachus. His generals stand behind him. From afar, Heinrich can hear the Archdevil’s eerie, thundering voice.

‘Here we are. Freidle, ours for the taking. Burn them, kill them, devour them all! Leave no survivors!’

Just then, a general with spider-like hands comes forward, wearing all-black armor, riding his fiery black horse: a sure terror for friend and foe alike. He speaks up to the Archdevil, ‘Lord Regent, may I lead the vanguard? I’d like to assert my full power after my rebirth.’

‘Of course, Nöac, Spawn of Vordac, the Black Prince. Just make sure the bodies are in full shape, so we can mold them into more undead soldiers.’

‘If it pleases you,’ says Nöac with a bow.

And then, he rides to the front, pulls his horse’s bridle so it lifts its two front legs. The troops beat war drums, shouting, ‘Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!’ repeatedly, in rhythmic unison.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Super Fan video contest winners!

Click here to see images.

brisingr header
     
alagaesia news header

Kvetha Fricäya!
Paolini author photo

Greetings Friends. And Happy New Year!

As many of you know, this fall Random House ran a Super Fan video contest. I had the pleasure of watching these videos over the holidays. To all who entered the contest, I was touched by your sincerity, creativity, and enthusiasm for the Inheritance cycle. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Choosing a winner was no easy task. But we do have a winner! Two winners, in fact. Our grand prize winner is jwelde, from New York, who created a clever music video about living in Alagaësia. Our first prize winner is chucknorris1fan, from Illinois, whose enthusiasm won me over. Random House will fly Jwelde to Montana to meet me, and I will visit chucknorris1fan via Skype. Click here to watch the winning entries!

I would like to acknowledge the aspiring authors who submitted entries. I wish I could speak to each of you in person, or better yet create a roundtable of aspiring writers, where we could sit together and discuss your projects and find ways to improve your skills.

In short, read widely and pay attention to how authors craft their sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. You can learn a lot about the craft of writing by taking the time to study the books around you. Write consistently, then read your work aloud. You'll be surprised how many awkward phrases and grammatical mistakes you'll discover with this technique. And read a few books on grammar, how to craft a story, and how the publishing industry works. Finally, find a local mentor: author, English teacher, journalist, writers group, etc., who can help edit your work. Your local librarian may be able refer you to such a person or group.

Book Four is still in progress. As usual, each plot point seems to expand as I write it, but I think when you read it you'll agree that the story was worth the wait. I just finished a scene that included a stone table, a brazier filled with glowing coals, a man with impeccably groomed fingernails, and a black cloak.

Thank you for your patience as I finish this manuscript. I think of you often as I pen this tale.

May your swords stay sharp!

Christopher Paolini

Visit the official fan site for the Inheritance cycle: Shurtugal.com

Join the discussion on Facebook!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Gatotkaca




Inspired from Indonesian Wayang Kulit performance,
Gatotkaca is a half blood Ashura who had been born with the body of an adult,
He can fly across the skies like lightning and hunt down his enemies, the Ashuras..
Fearless and nearly invincible in combat, but loyal and respectful toward elders.
Gatotkaca, the knight of Pringgadani is a symbol of bravery and devotion.

The artwork above is the version of Gatotkaca by Is Yuniarto in the new epic "Garudayana" comic/manga by M&C.

Additional information from the ancient legend "Mahabharata" about Gatotkaca can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghatotkacha

Vote for Gatotkaca by Is Yuniarto for Create a superhero character for the Stan Lee Foundation
http://www.talenthouse.com/stan-lee-foundation-create-a-superhero

Vote by clicking here:
http://www.talenthouse.com/creativeinvites/preview/a121daf15bbc770f03da0a66237e3753/154

Voting Starts: 10 February 2011
Voting Ends : 18 February 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hopper



A Re-Review by Peter Prabowo

source: http://www.facebook.com/notes/peter-prabowo/re-review-of-hopper-by-galang-tirtakusuma/303737444962

----------------------------

Title: Hopper

Author/Artist: Galang Tirtakusuma

Publisher: Koloni

Editor: Ardiatma Mardhika

Language: Indonesian Version

Graphic Designer: Heru Lesmana

Summary:

Hopper, a worker ant in Thundersmutz enrolled in the Dragon Team led by Lieutenant Comodo. His first mission was to investigate strange happenings in Sector 91. What considered as a simple, routine mission turned out to be a nightmare.

AHAHAHAHAHA!

Thundersmutz ^^

Okay look... don't combine English with Indonesian made up language.. particularly if that made up language sounds like English naught slang. Now the ants have a team that sounds like a porn movie.

Hopping Spoilers

In a land claimed to be Black Ants Country that looks more like Mushroom Kingdom, the working ants that... don't look like ants at all... more like miniaturized Konoha Ninja, work hard to be selected for Thundersmutz(lol), the kingdom's army.

There's Grass Hopper, the shonen hero not-ant, who wish to be SOLDIER instead of worker. Humboldt Pinguin (there's an ant parents named their son penguin.. I doubt they even seen any penguin) the smart not-ant. The Sakura not-ant and token childhood friend, Water Lily, a SOLDIER. All three of them formed Team 9.

They were attacked by Mech Bugs (just go with it. The not-ants ride bikes anyway) where Hopper proves himself more hardcore than any of the SOLDIER.

Mech Bugs came in the shapes of bigger insects like bees and tarantulas, but they're robots, not real bugs. Nobody know where they came from, some even think they're from outer space (I said just go with it) and the ants live with constant attack.

Team 9 was called and complimented by Lieutenant Komodo Dragon, who shrunk after failing to save Roxas I guess. He challenged Naruto to prove his worth by duelling him. Axel judged that Hopper's more suitable to become a WARRIOR than a SOLDIER because he dual wield. Axel asked his assistant, Jessica Alga (that's actually funny) to assign Team 9 to Sector 91.

They work together with Red Ants country army, Firesmutz(lol) riding on a Dragonflyer, red ants dragonfly helicopter. The only red ants introduced was Husky, who was apparently as loud as Hopper. They keep arguing until they're attacked by Sonic Scorpion in Sector 91.

They saved the village, and Hopper, who was prone to gazing to the distance while making heroic statement finally explain his motivation of becoming a SOLDIER. His father was one.

After that Lt. Axel Dragon brief them to rescue the villagers that were kidnapped in The Tunnel. The raid happened in an epic war where Axel was brainwashed by Brainx bugs. Confused won how they save their beloved leader, Hopper and Husky decided to.... bash him till he's unconscious. (facepalm)

In the end they bombed the tunnel, save the hostages, and defeated/saved Axel. Hopper considered to become a WARRIOR in the end.

Hopping Review

As opposed to what I said in my commentary, I really don't mind all the funny names, technology or ants that don't look like ants. Because whether or not they're ants or not isn't really important. Let's just say you don't call them Ant Colony but Mini People and it can still work. Mini People defend their villages from Mech Bugs. That's the story.

You may asked why I thought the story is "Mini People defending Village" instead of "Hopper becoming Warrior".

That's because Hopper as character is not interesting. At all. He's a typical shonen hero complete with Dead Awesome Dad and Hero Dream and Rush Without Thinking attitude. There is character growth, but very little. Though this little growth is realistic since the timeline is short, I wish he wasn't so two dimensional.

The world of Hopper is more interesting than Hopper itself.

Even though the concept and story is simple It doesn't look boring because of original visual design.

It take the concept of Ant Colony and created a whole new world that is unique and full of action.

I may complain that the ants don't look like ants, but since no one ever draw ants this way, it came out unique. So this is both the strength and weakness of the design. Other than that, the Mech Bugs are all exciting to look at. The enemies are vicious while the characters are cute and likeable.

I guess I was hoping for a more ant-like design but still unique. Hopper's design is too humanoid, even the antennae was replaced by hair-shaped antennae. A Bug's Life and Antz are more based on reality. I was looking for something in between. Something where you can tell that they're ants, but still wearing cool costumes.

In terms of art style... it's not my taste. I don't like that there's almost no tone because the art style is pretty flat and there's little difference in the thickness of the lines.Without tone I was faced with lots and lots of lines in front of white background and it makes my eyes tired. Especially during action shot. I have to struggle reading the book or making out what's happening. I can't enjoy seeing it.

Conclusion

With good design and concept, Hopper has a potential to be a series, if only the characters are more interesting than the currently shown. As of now, Hopper is a fun, loud, simple, light hearted adventure story. It didn't think too much, it didn't pretend to be smart or have a complex plot. It knows that it's a simple action with simple story, and that's what it is.

Final Verdict

7 out of 10

Simple and fun with unique design

Reccomended for

Light reading and happy time. All age.

BJ Vadis' comment: Ants and grasshoppers in nature, the visualization is just unique. Yet the story is simple and (hopefully) memorable. The characters are mostly typical, yet I documented Peter's review here with hope that someday someone might publish the English version of this "lightweight" manga. Another proof that Indonesian comic artists & authors are going global.

Escape the winter with these out-of-this-world titles!

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Teens @ Random l Random Buzzers l You Tube l Facebook l Twitter

February 2011 - This month, escape the winter with a brand-new selection of
sci-fi and fantasy titles. Check out our picks for supernatural romance
stories for you and your Valentine...or the Anti-Valentine in you!

starrule

The Dead Tossed Waves cover

buy now

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan

Now in Paperback!

Gabry's content with her quiet and secure life behind the Barrier. Even though her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast, this is her home—all she's ever known and she is happy. But since the Return, life is never safe. Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling. If she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.

Read an excerpt.

Watch videos and connect with fans on Facebook!

starrule

Tortall and Other Lands cover

buy now

Tortall and Other Lands
by Tamora Pierce

Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories will lead fans and new readers alike into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.

Read an excerpt.

Visit Tamora Pierce on Facebook!

starrule

The Iron Thorn cover

buy now

The Iron Thorn
by Caitlin Kittredge

In the city of Lovecraft, madness is an epidemic. Everyone in Aoife Grayson's family has gone mad on their 16th birthday—and her time is growing shorter by the day. Now a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

Read an excerpt.

Go to Random Buzzers for a Q & A with Caitlin Kittredge!

Read a review of The Iron Thorn on Random Buzzers.

starrule

Amos Daragon #1: The Mask Wearer cover

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Amos Daragon #1: The Mask Wearer
by Bryan Perro

Amos Daragon's life changes forever the day a mermaid gives him a mask capable of harnessing the strength of the wind—and appoints Amos as the new Mask Wearer. His task: to find the masks for the other elements, earth, fire, and water. To fulfill his destiny, Amos must make his way to the mysterious woods of Tarkasis. His challenges are great...and they're only just beginning.

Read an excerpt.

starrule

The Chestnut King cover

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The Chestnut King
by N. D. Wilson

When Henry York found 99 cupboards hidden behind his bedroom wall, he never dreamed they were doors to entirely new worlds! Unfortunately, Henry's discovery freed an ancient, undying witch, whose hunger for power would destroy every world connected to the cupboards—and every person whom Henry loves. He must seek out the legendary Chestnut King for help.

Read an excerpt.

Watch the video!

starrule

The Floating Islands cover

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The Floating Islands
by Rachel Neumeier

When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.

Filled with rich language, and told in alternating voices, The Floating Islands is an all-encompassing young adult fantasy read.

Read an excerpt.

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Lost in Love

Bones of Faerie cover

Bones of Faerie
by Janni Lee Simner


Fairy Tale cover

Fairy Tale
by Cyn Balog

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Loveless

Meridian cover

Meridian
by Amber Kizer


Throat cover

Throat
by R. A. Nelson

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Find more Supernatural Romance
HERE

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Friday, February 11, 2011

4Hero Manga by Mazjojo - A Re-review


Reviewed by: Peter Prabowo
Source: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=303279839962

Publisher: Koloni

Title: 4Hero

Author/Artist: Mazjojo

Summary:

Unlike his schoolmates, Juno didn't like to play "Hero Line", the most popular online game in the world today. This highschool student in Surabaya prefers to be strong in the real world rather than in the virtual one. A good friend "half-forced" him to get along with this "digital lifestyle", so eventually Juno tried his hand on "Hero Line".

Strange, when he put on the virtual visor, Juno arrived in a mysterious place and met the "princess" who begged him to save her! After that a collision occured between the Hero Line gaming world and the real world in Surabaya!

The fate of the city Surabaya and the Hero Line world was in Juno's hands now.

-------------------

So... a jock become a gamer and all hell break loose? Sounds about right

BIRTH BY SPOILER

Okay before we begin, let's get the dirt out first.

The author is a Kingdom Hearts fan. Everybody who watch his DA knows that. I guess my main disappointment is how even though this book is 3 years in development, and during those time many people has pointed out that Juno's costume design is too much like Sora, and even though he did make an alternate design, that he obviously capable of creating unique character design, as proven by his other characters (Mazo Xelyzbulc curse my spelling), the author still keep the design that's too similar to Sora.

Though I understand that this is more a homage to his favorite game than a rip off, because Nomura's costume for Sora is so iconic, it WILL devalue the character/costume design, and should not be done for any new comic artist trying to stand on his own.

Another example: I also don't care if Laba-Laba Merah has different characterization, it's still Spider-man costume homage/rip off. End of story.

Kingdom 4Hero

The cover and the first 10 pages are awesome. I have never seen better artwork and it's the best looking, detailed, and crisp Koloni artwork to date. The line art isn't too thick or thin, great page composition and detailed background, great use of tone.

Unfortunately it all gone after that. Don't get me wrong, the artwork is still awesome, still the best out of all Koloni, but the quality has lessened somewhat. Obviously this is the case of deadline, and the intro are created when the author have the most time. Anyway, as I say, it's not bad. Let's say that if the intro is museum worthy artwork, the next chapters are regular comic artwork.

It's worth saying that the worst Mazjojo can offer you is still better than most Koloni artist out there.

Also, what I like about this book is how the sound effect is in Indonesian but it shaped like katakana. Not sure if this is good for purist, since it's not very Indonesian, but for those who like artistic manga sound effect, this is very good.

Character of Memories

The characters in 4Hero are, for a lack of better work, stock characters. We got:

- The Shonen Hero: Loud proud honorable pervert Juno

- The Childhood Love Interest: Dita

- The Butch Girl: Miirina

- Princess in Distress: The naked princess

- Geeky Best Friend: Ian

- Expendable Classmates Prone for Possession: All of them, but particularly Jack

The side characters I found more interesting, such as the wild warrior with stock footage of frustration, Arpharov and his bossy uke Lura (I think I'll just call him Laura)

However Royal Priest Cattelya looks too much like Beyond The Beyond flower and Royal Thief Kuranza remind me of someone too.. I just don't remember

and Carbuncle is the lovechild of Mokona and Pikachu, not helped that all Carbuncle supposed to look like that.

To be honest except Juno, Ian, Cattelya, and Carbuncle, other characters are well design. Miirina, especially. It's just their role in the story that's too cliche.

See how one derirative character design can mar judgement on others?

180/2 Nights

The monsters design are good. At first I thought they're just Heartless, but each of them has unique and cool design, actually look dangerous, but unfortunately they all black and attack in packs under the also black night and sound effects, so you have to squint to see the details. Pity.. if only they're more colorful, it can be great.

Kingdom 4Hero 2

Story... story is pretty simple, basically if you read the summary you already know the story. Jock learn about Kingdom Hearts Online, all hell breaks loose, and he must fight to save the world. Again there is nothing really new or unique in the story... except the online part. Online games are very popular in Surabaya. I live there at Ragnarok Online's hype years so I can attest to that. If done right this can be an interesting story.

Unfortunately we only see the stock characters do stuff all stock characters do. There's a feeling of "been there... done that" when you read it. The only unique and interesting part is the climax, when one friend get possessed and Arpharov and Lura show up to stir things up even more, but before that, it's a rather standard shonen adventure. There's almost no surprise.

Fortunately, even though the story is filled with cliche, it is helped by gorgeous artwork, exciting fight scenes, great humor, and plenty of fanservice, so it is still a very enjoyable read.

and no, I don't think that tentacle fanservice is too much. I actually forget it exist.

Coded

If you want to be cruel, you can call 4Hero style without substance.

If you want to be nice you can say that this book is one big homage to all anime cliche in existence.

I'll say it's a combination of the two. It is both a homage, and a newbie storyteller mistake. There's too much homage in the book that it took over the storyline. It is this that make the book seems shallow.

But what the heck.. you don't watch Avatar for the story right?

Dream Drop Distance

4Hero has a lot to live up to. Mazjojo is a great and popular artist and people will expect much of him, but.. I know it's still to early to say, but I have a feeling that unless 4Hero 2 prove otherwise, he is best to stay as an artist and let other people write the story. Combine the epic art of Mazjojo with a great writer, and you'll get a collectible worthy comic book. But as of now, it's still pretty standard.

4Hero 3

An enjoyable, mindless adventure with artwork that's second to none, but maybe a liiiitle too much homage. Followers of Mazjojo jump right in. People who want to read a meaningful story, however, exit stage left, or wait in line for the next volume and hope for the best.

8 out of 10

Saved from 7 because the art is just that good.

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