Morning BS: Five Graphic Novels Iron Fist Novels You Need To Read

With Danny Rand and company hitting our screens tomorrow, now is the best time to catch up with the living weapon known as the immortal Iron Fist

A quick note before we start; even if the critics dislike this show, go give it a chance to impress you and make your own mind up about it. Iron Fist has a proud history and I’m sure he will translate well to the small screen. If you need any more convincing check these books out!


Shadowlands


While more of a Marvel Knights storyline, Shadowlands sees Daredevil turn evil, becoming the leader of the enigmatic Hand Clan, and the rest of the heroes of New York coming together to deal with him. Iron Fist is one of the biggest heroes in this crossover and his appearance gives you a really good feel for the level of his power and what Rand can do at the height of his power. It’s the perfect introduction to him and the rest of the New York heroes.


The New Avengers Volume One


While not as prominent as Luke Cage in the circles of the Avengers and other super teams, Iron Fist has been a member of the New Avengers in several iterations. This is probably his best appearance, alongside the likes of Doctor Strange and Wolverine. The first volume mostly focuses around Doctor Strange dealing with the magical forces that give him his powers but it also contains a great Iron Fist story that has interesting implications for the character and his life.


Iron Fist: The Living Weapon Volume One: Rage


This is essentially the gritty reboot of Iron Fist and his origin, it looks at his relationship with his father figures and his general world view. This series has been referenced as a main influence for the Netflix series and it is probably one of the best places to get the definitive Iron Fist origin.


The Immortal Iron Fist Volume One: The Last Iron Fist Story


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Matt Fractions Immortal Iron Fist is seen as a character defining run. It’s possibly one of the great titles from its era and it was a complete underground hit, never seeing much love at the time but instead blowing up after release. It examines the lineage of the Iron Fist and helps to build the mythology of the character in ways you wouldn’t believe. If you only take one book from this list it should probably be this one, but this isn’t the book you’ll buy…


Power Man And Iron Fist Volume One: The Boys Are Back In Town


…This one is. I cannot recommend this book enough and with the Defenders becoming a reality, now is the time to get into this famous dynamic duo. The first arc sees Iron Fist bring his best friend, Luke Cage, away from the duties of a young parent and into the streets reliving their glory days. There’s a million little things about this series to enjoy but at the end of the day its fun and you can’t say more than that.

Are you going to pick up any of these books? Are you psyched for the Iron Fist series? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Logan

The final send off for Jackman and Stewart feels like it could be one of the greatest X-Men stories of all time.

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Whichever way you look at it, there has never quite been a situation like this in movie history. Both Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X are iconic roles that have both become defining roles and last influences on the character. I challenge you to read any X-Men comic book without hearing Stewart’s calm and collected Xavier or Jackman’s abrasive yet loving Logan. With these actor’s performances being so intrinsic to their characters it was always going to be tough ending their tenure on the X-Men films. That being said, while many of the X-Men films have been good, Logan is possibly the greatest X-Men film there will ever be.

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Avengers, X-Men and the Crisis of Infinite Earths – Part One: MCU & XUC.

With the departure of Hugh Jackman from everyone’s favourite mutant franchise, could we see the X-Men return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon?

An empty X-Jet hanger filled with the sound of strong, confident footsteps as Captain America strides across it saying ‘Logan. Scott. Stand down. You know the Avengers can’t let the Phoenix survive’. A grunt from Wolverine as we hear the slow metallic sound of his claws extending just before the thunderous outpouring of energy from Cyclops’ visor announces the start of a battle we’ll never forget. Beast and Colossus fighting the Hulk. Black Widow locked in combat with Psylocke. All on the big screen with a small horde or big-name talent leading the charge.

It’s every Marvel Fanboy’s wet dream, right? But could it ever become a reality.

Could Marvel Studios acquire the rights allowing them to the X-Men into the giant melting pot that is the MCU? To answer that we have to jump back seventeen years when your humble Sleuth was a meek five year old and start a journey that is going to take a whole slew of articles.

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Morning BS: Why read Tom King’s Vision: Little Worse Than A Man In 250 words or less

Vision is possibly one of the strongest Avengers with abilities matching Thor or Hulk so what happens when the synthetic superhero wants to start a family?

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There have been a few attempts over the years to give the Vision a solo book and each have been met with low to middling success. This has mostly been due to the fact that he’s a little too perfect. A robot with the ability to change his body density and access many other powers on top of that is pretty muchl unstoppable. When the duties of revisiting Vision fell to rising star Tom King, who went from this to writing Batman, there was one direction no one had ever conceived for the automatous Avenger…Vision the soap opera.

These first six issues see Vision create a family including a Wife, Son, Daughter and Dog. In the first issue we see the kids go off to school, Vision heads off to help the President on normal Avengers business and Vision’s wife murders a super villain. The story then becomes a twisted commentary on suburban lifestyle and the family unit all told through Tom King’s brilliant style which pulls in references to classic literature and comic books.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: I, Robot meets Fuller House…what more could you want?

You can pick Little Worse Than A Man up for £13.49 digitally through the Marvel Comics app or in graphic novel form for £14.99 from Amazon

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Have you read Little Worse Than A Man or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

Morning BS: Constantine vs Doctor Strange

There is no more fantastical fight than when two mystics go to war but who would win in a battle between the Sorcerer Supreme and the Hellblazer?


In the Blue Corner: Doctor Strange


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First things first, for the sake of balance I’m going to focus on Stephan Strange as he appeared at the start of Marvel’s All-New All-Different line-up. Strange is still the sorcerer supreme but without the God-like powers he had in his early day. The thing about Strange fighting another wizard is that he is the mystical equivalent of the Hulk with the training of a great martial artist, this means he’s strong, smart and tough to defeat. In open warfare, or his Sanctum, I’m confident Strange would take home the win with his combination of powerful combination of spells and artefacts.


In the Red Corner: John Constantine


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There is a reason John Constantine is called the Hellblazer and it’s because he’s not afraid to play dirty. The roguish Brit has brought down much greater Mystics with a combination of deception and trickery. While I believe Doctor Strange would easily over power Constantine face-to-face, if Constantine could prepare and put together some form of deception, that may involve dealing with other forces in the Marvel or DC Universe, I think he could probably incapacitate if not kill the sorcerer.


Battleground: Days of Future Past


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Fighting in the ruins of America after the defeat of most heroes at the hands of the sentinels, I feel like Strange has a distinct advantage. This is still his home plain and while his Sanctum might be destroyed he still has the lay of the land. Constantine would be on the run here but that is where he operates at his best. There is an outside chance that he could find a way to turn the situation to his advantage, possibly by convincing the sentinels that strange is a mutant.


Winner: Doctor Strange


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While I believe Constantine could get a win with some form of deception nine times out of ten Strange is going to blast him across multiple dimensions within the first few seconds of combat. On the Sorcerer Supremes home plain of existence he is always going to have an advantage and I’m afraid John is going to be pushed to breaking point.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

 

Morning BS: Why read Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight: Lunatic in 250 words or less…

The schizophrenic Moon Knight has always been an interesting hero but in the hands of genius writer Jeff Lemire, it’s a must read series.

If you’re unfamiliar with Moon Knight it’s nothing to be ashamed of, he’s essentially Batman with a multiple personality disorder. This means that sometimes he is the debonair Moon Knight with powers granted to him by the Egyptian god of vengeance and other times he is one of several different personalities, including a New York taxi driver and a Hollywood actor. This has led to many writers experimenting with the form of comics and how it can be used to portray mental illness and uncertainty. A running question throughout the series is whether Moon Knight is actually in contact with the god he claims to draw power from or if that’s part of his illness.

Lemire takes all of this a step further. He places our lead character, Marc Spector, in an insane asylum with the implication that every Moon Knight story to date has all been a delusion and that the background cast of those stories are simply other patients. If that doesn’t sell you Lemire has teamed up with stunning artist Greg Smallwood and together they have experimented with every aspect of comic book writing to create something unique.

I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Egyptian Mythology meets One Flew Over a The Cuckoos Nest…what more could you want?

You can pick Lunatic up for £9.99 digitally through the Marvel Comics app or in graphic novel form for £13.50 from Amazon

Have you read Lunatic or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.

bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Adaptive Panels Presents… Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol.1: Vader

Hey, with a subtitle that creative you know it’s good…

In all seriousness, yes, Darth Vader Vol. 1 is good, living up to the bar of quality set thus far by this Marvel series. It’s better than Skywalker Strikes, but in many ways presents me with the same problem.  In the way I’ve mentioned before that nobody needs me to tell them that Star Wars is good, that goes double for a story entirely focused on Darth Vader. I mean, come on! It’s Darth Vader, perhaps the greatest cinematic villain ever created, and the benchmark to which all others have, and will, be compared. There exist no adjectives here, he’s replaced them! I genuinely cannot think of the words to describe to a complete Star Wars virgin why this character has become perhaps the most iconic in all of popular culture. Fortunately, I don’t need to, because unless you just came out of a coma you’ve been in since 1966, you already know!

And just in case you really have just come out of a 50 year coma, and for some reason my ramblings are the first thing you’ve tuned into, here are some things you should know: This thing you’re on right now is called The Internet, and it’s great… most of the time; we landed on the moon, that was fun; the Berlin wall came down; and, what else? Oh yeah, Star Wars was awesome and Darth Vader was the most awesome thing about it!

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So yes, if my babbling didn’t tip you off, I’m finding it kind of difficult to expand on simply telling you that Vader doesn’t disappoint the legacy of its namesake. I reckon about tw-no, three shots of whiskey should do it. I’ll just be a moment…

Overview


Vader’s story-line runs roughly in parallel to the events of Skywalker Strikes, and after the destruction of both the Death Star and Cymoon 1, the Sith Lord appears to be on something of a losing streak. The Dark Side does not forgive failure, and so Vader is called back to Coruscant to answer to the Emperor. After making it very clear that his apprentice is on thin ice, Palpatine puts Vader under the orders of Grand General Tagge, the new supreme commander of Imperial forces, and sends him off on a mission to re-secure the Empire’s supply lines. Vader, however, suspects that his new duty is meant to get him out of the way, so Palpatine can replace him, and he’s not so far under his Emperor’s thumb to take that lying down.

Before he can do anything about it though, Vader must escape from under Tagge’s control. Tagge proves to be a far less accommodating boss than Tarkin, considering both the Death Star and Vader himself to be vanity projects when next to increasing the strength of the fleet. He assigns a young officer to tail Vader and evaluate his every move, on a mission to take out a pirate space station, which Vader suspects is getting intelligence from an Imperial mole. Vader accomplishes his task; and all too conveniently uncovers Tagge’s officer as the mole, freeing him up to pursue his own agenda.

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Next, Vader starts building a small team from outside Imperial ranks, to avoid any information getting back to the Emperor. He recruits Triple-Zero and BT-1, a pair of droids who operate as a psychotic reflection of C3PO and R2D2, as well as doctor Aphra, a rogue archaeologist with an… appreciation for violent people and droids. They journey to Geonosis to recover a company of old battle droids from the Clone War, and then on to a station, built into the carcass of a live space-whale on the edge of the galaxy (and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say), where Vader believes he will find and put an end to his replacement.

However, when they arrive, Vader discovers Palpatine has been on to him this whole time, and allowed him to make his way to the station in order to begin a set of trials against other cybernetically enhanced warriors, to prove he’s worthy of retaining his place as the Emperor’s right hand.

Analysis


If there’s a big problem with Vader then it’s a common one found in most arc-beginning books, in that it feels like mostly set-up while providing very little pay-off. What action is here is just fine, but the final brawl the book spends all its time building up to isn’t actually final at all, and none of Vader’s opponents spend enough time on the page to really get a handle on whether they’re going to be interesting or not. In any case, if you’re at all familiar with Star Wars, then you know the outcome of this contest must be a forgone conclusion, so it’s hard for me to get invested about any of it. Hopefully the following books will make it worth my time, but for now it’s fortunate that Vader has a lot else going for it.

There’s really no getting around it, Doctor Aphra is the stuff fan-fics are made of. A young, attractive, rogue scientist and adventurer who probably also writes love letters to death row inmates in her spare time meeting Darth Vader? The hormones practically leak out of the page…

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Actually, no. Don’t think about that too much.

To the book’s credit, it doesn’t go so overboard with this that it becomes icky, and jokes aside it’s actually a fascinating dynamic. This is a scenario where the limitations of writing expanded universe fiction are a help rather than a hindrance. Obviously, the relationship between these two characters can’t actually amount to anything, because we already know how Vader’s story ends. The comic does an excellent job of letting Vader’s moments of silence, and the fixed expression of his mask, do the work, allowing the reader to, well, read into them. However, regardless of whether or not Aphra really is stirring the ghost of something human in him, he’s not going to change, and if he did she probably wouldn’t like him as much. These characters are on an inherently destructive collision course, and they both know it… and they’re both just crazy enough to roll with it.

Another interesting relationship is that of Vader and Palpatine. In the original Star Wars trilogy, it was always left as a fairly open question just how loyal Vader was to his master, versus his own interests. In The Empire Strikes Back, he seeks to turn Luke to the dark side in the name of overthrowing the Emperor. Is violent usurpation just the nature of the dark side, that places so much stock in hate, cunning and ambition, or are Vader’s objectives personal?

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It was a question the prequels raised, and never answered, that irritated me (when I bothered to think about the prequels at all). Why would Anakin Skywalker, after his rebirth as Darth Vader, bother to keep doing Palpatine’s bidding when his original reason for betraying the Jedi is lost to him? It can’t be gratitude for saving his life, not after what his life has been reduced to, and it’s not as if Vader is overly invested in the success of the Empire. Victories of the fleet and gains of territory are mundane compared to the power of the dark side, which is the only thing he openly shows any reverence towards. Most of the time, it just seems like his position gives him an excuse to take out his rage on the rest of the galaxy, and that’s the closest thing he has left to a will to live. However, when Vader finds out that Palpatine has been considering replacing him since long before the Death Star, he seems to feel genuinely betrayed. This is shortly followed by the discovery of Luke’s real identity, and the book seems to interpret this as the moment where Vader truly understands what his relationship to his master is, and the first moment where he desires to be rid of him. Could it be that Vader has for all this time still been clinging to the image of Palpatine as a father figure, and only with the knowledge of his own fatherhood does he realise how ridiculous that idea was?

Conclusion


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If you think Darth Vader is cool, read this book. If you don’t, then I find your lack of faith disturbing.

(P.S. Apologies for the delay. Normal scheduling should resume next time.)

The BearSleuth Week Geek Out – LaMarr And Snyder And Bears…Oh My!

This week I am determined to get this feature up at a reasonable time! Last week was just a trial run but this is absolute prime time professionalism in article form. Unfortunately, to my knowledge their is very little to talk about in the world of television so I’m going to jump across and examine what’s going on over at YouTube. Apart from that all I have to say is that it’s been a damn good week and I hope all you back-to-schoolers are settling in well.

The Week In Comics


 

This week is looking pretty strong in the world of comics, the shelves are pretty densely packed and their is certainly a lot of talent to be found. An underground hit of the week has to be Scarlet Witch #10 which is pretty much a perfect self contained story for the character looking at her role in the magical community. Over with the Team Aqua that is DC we have some awesome titles including All-Star Batman #2 and Suicide Squad #2 showcasing talent from two of the greatest creators in the comic book industry, Snyder and Lee.

Marvel’s Team Magma are looking sound all round with some brilliant tie-in titles but my pick of the week has to go to Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II #4, which has to be one of the most complex titles I have ever written. The finale of the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in is probably going to place the series as the strongest of the Civil War II tie-ins to date as it fully succeeds in an examination of the main themes of the event. If you are only going to pick up one tie-in make it this one…then maybe squeeze your budget for the X-Men tie-in as well!

The Week In Film


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Well this week I actually went to see a film which I can talk about, Don’t Breathe. This film was pretty much schlock of the highest order with a particular scene added in just for shock value and so the film can be ‘the film that went there’. I actually think this is a horror targeted at a more female audience as the shock scene is harder to relate to from a male perspective, which probably goes a long way to spoiling it. The male characters are embarrassingly weak but the female lead, played by Jane Levy, seems to have a good amount of depth to her. The villain is essentially, old and evil Daredevil and I find that the film makes a lot more sense in that light.

Like I said up top, there’s not really much in the way of TV news from me at the moment, just finished Stranger Things which gave me a new appreciation for child actors and small-town sci-fi. Heading over to YouTube, Fatman On Batman just interviewed Phil LaMarr and you have to see it if you are in anyway a geek. My YouTube tastes are fairly vanilla but I recommend Yahtzee19,  KaptainKristian and Vuepoint’s Jack’s World if you are looking for something new.

The Week In Gaming


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Pre are in the ten week countdown for Pokemon!!! Like any good fan I’m attempting a run through of HeartGold, Pearl, Black, White 2, X and finally Omega Ruby before grabbing a copy of Sun. I’m going to be grabbing a bunch of grass starters in the way, the unloved Ringos of Pokemon starters, and basically getting myself back in that ten-year-old mind-set. Apart from that I’m continuing a play through of Dark Souls with Ollie from LoneWolfGaming and playing Until Dawn with Will, the BearSleuth camera man.

In Other News…


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The world is teetering on the brink of disaster from a take over of regional pronunciation starting with a plague of government sponsored academies and there will be more news coming on the new BearSleuth writer later this week. That’s about it for this week folks but be sure to come back next week for more sleuthing!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for a brand new article!!!

BearSleuth Week Geek Out

Like I said in my last post, it’s becoming a lot hard to find time for my normal Sleuthing, which is why this new feature is coming to you a little late. I wanted to make sure I gave it my full attention and due to a quick trip to A&E that became borderline impossible, I managed to tear some muscles in a fight with a bird table (don’t ask). Anyway, I have a lot to talk about so I think it’s time to stop faffing about and get stuck in!

The Week In Comics


It’s been a really good week in the world of comics. While the shelves were a little sparse, DC knocked out a few brilliant books with the new Tom King Batman Issue Six probably taking the top spot from the blue corner. Over in the red of Marvel is my top pick for the week, Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight. This book is complex, intelligent and really shows what the modern industry techniques developed in the independent market can add to the mainstream. I also read Asterios Polyp this week and I can whole heartedly say that it is the only graphic novel to have changed my life. If you are able to get your hands on a copy you 100% should.

The Week In Film (And TV)


The run up to Doctor Strange is gripping a lot of comic book fans now with the inevitable ‘I want to get into Doctor Strange…’ posts slowly creeping onto reddit. For anyone looking for a Doctor Strange recommendation, it’s pretty hard as most of his stuff comes from the silver and bronze age of comics which can feel very dated. Check out ‘The Oath’ and maybe Jason Aaron’s new Doctor Strange series as they present the more modern take on the character.

In other news, Rogue One is struggling, to no one’s surprise (this is what happens when you put a Godzilla director on a Star Wars flick). Also a Dark Tower trailer will be airing next month so keep your peepers peeled. Turning to TV quickly, apparently the Luke Cage series looks good and the new Ghost Rider looks okay enough to get people to notice Agents Of Shield still exists.  Personally, I’ve been getting into Stranger Things and I’m going to surprise no one by saying it’s a great show, likely to become the next massive hit.

The Week In Gaming


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This week saw the world of console gaming reveal its massive throbbing erections for the PC master race as consoles take that one bold step into becoming computers. I don’t really care for 4k optimisation so I can’t say this affects me but if you are one of those graphics snobs then this…probably doesn’t matter to you because you already have a gangster rig (or whatever the cool kids are calling it). Deus Ex is gracing the shelves again, which is cool as we don’t have enough ultra-gritty cyberpunk dystopia running around. This week I’m replaying Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne because I’m a masochist when it comes to gaming.

And Finally…


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In other news, the world is teetering on the edge of destruction from the imminent threat of a mass custard pie orgy at the top of Trump tower and I am proud to announce that we are adding another writer to the BearSleuth roster. While I’m not ready to say much yet SHE is a perfect fit for the team and I’m sure HER articles are going to be a great hit!

Subtlety was always one of my strong points.

…That’s this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for something new!!!

BearSleuth Announcement: Life And The Sleuth

I have been sitting at my keyboard for the best part of two hours now. After a lot of internal and external debate with myself I have decide to make a few changes to BearSleuth. I love this website but I am also overjoyed to tell all my loyal readers that I’ve just started a job as a copywriter and so my time is becoming very limited. BearSleuth originally started as a way for my to hone my skills while talking about all the stuff I love like comics and writing. Then it became a family with OpinionatedDavid, VuePoint and the Covert Coot. We have seen a lot of success and a lot of  support of the last years and it has been nothing short of amazing. I am not going to lose that.

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The New Normal


After a talk with the rest of the team I have decided to keep BearSleuth running at a slightly slower pace so this is how your week is going to look on this most awesome of sites:

Monday: BearSleuth Week Geek Out: This is going to be my only article going forward and it will be a quick-fire rundown of all the geeky highlights from the previous week.

Tuesday: Nothing.

Wednesday: Adaptive Panels: OpinionatedDavid’s bi-weekly examination of comic book adaptations of films and other mediums.

 Thursdays: Nada.

Fridays: Occasionally Covert Coot: Your favourite Coot is currently on the road touring with his band so when he has time between rocking out he will attempt to get you your fix of anime and geeky observations.

Saturday: OpinionatedDavid: David’s weekly rant about everything wrong in the world of entertainment.

Sunday: Vuepoint: The jewel in the crown of gaming journalism that is Jack’s weekly observations on the state of gaming and it’s histories.

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I am also assisting the writing team in learning how to use WordPress for themselves, so forgive any rookie mistakes.  This is a new and slightly more relaxed era for BearSleuth but I think it will be a step in the right direction for everyone involved including you folks at home as me and the team will be able to be more focused in our approach and writing. This is your humble BearSleuth signing off on my BearSleuth Opinion Pieces, Comic History 101 and The BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle. I hope you have enjoyed them all and I hope you enjoy this next step.

…That was the BearSleuth Announcement!!! Check back over the weekend for a brand new VuePoint and Opinionated David!!!