Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Divinity #1 Review






I have been really interested in getting into the Valiant Universe. They’ve been building their own superhero universe over there for sometime now. While D.C. and Marvel are well known for their company wide story lines and character crossovers, Valiant has also been creating their own shared universe.



So, one day I decide to dive into this new Verse. My first stop was the company website. I wanted to see what their suggested reading order was. Before I found what I was looking for, my attention was drawn to an article about a lost Russian astronaut with God-like powers and something else that reminded me of Stanly Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.



The article had me hooked!



This was going to be the story of a Russian astronaut sent on a mission to explore the farthest reaches of space, before America had made it to the moon. Returning to Earth with God-like powers, the series follows the worlds reaction to this new being and the mystery surrounding his return.



Divinity #1introduces us to the young Russian orphan who would become a God, Abram Adams. Raised by the state, Abram showed exceptional skill in science. Eventually, he was chosen for the mission that would take him to the stars.



The first issue doesn’t give much away about what we will see in the rest of the series, but it does a good job of endearing the reader to this character. Grounding a god-like character to the Earth and humanity by first showing him as an orphan on a doorstep was brilliant!



I don’t want to give too much of the first issue away, so I’ll stop here. I think this issue dropped last week so check out your local comic shop and get your self a copy. Throw this one in your pull list!








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Divinity #1 Review


I have been really interested in getting into the Valiant Universe. They've been building their own superhero universe over there for sometime now. While D.C. and Marvel are well known for their company wide story lines and character crossovers, Valiant has also been creating their own shared universe.

So, one day I decide to dive into this new Verse. My first stop was the company website. I wanted to see what their suggested reading order was. Before I found what I was looking for, my attention was drawn to an article about a lost Russian astronaut with God-like powers and something else that reminded me of Stanly Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The article had me hooked!

This was going to be the story of a Russian astronaut sent on a mission to explore the farthest reaches of space, before America had made it to the moon. Returning to Earth with God-like powers, the series follows the worlds reaction to this new being and the mystery surrounding his return.

Divinity #1 introduces us to the young Russian orphan who would become a God, Abram Adams. Raised by the state, Abram showed exceptional skill in science. Eventually, he was chosen for the mission that would take him to the stars.

The first issue doesn't give much away about what we will see in the rest of the series, but it does a good job of endearing the reader to this character. Grounding a god-like character to the Earth and humanity by first showing him as an orphan on a doorstep was brilliant!

I don't want to give too much of the first issue away, so I'll stop here. I think this issue dropped last week so check out your local comic shop and get your self a copy. Throw this one in your pull list!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Creative Skills Development: Final Showpiece

image courtesy ironmouse86.deviantart.com
Today is the last day of my Creative Skills Development class so I'll be posting the rest of my assignments for everyone to read. And by everyone I mean my 2 subscribers! This is my final showpiece for the class. We were asked to write a short story about anything we want at any length. The kids and I have been watching a LOT of Doctor Who recently so I came up with an idea that borrows a lot from the good Doctor and also pulls in many elements from other story ideas I have been working on with my daughter Harmony. 


Mr. Smith
Dylan is lying in bed holding a picture of her mother. She doesn’t cry anymore. She just hugs the photo and stares off into the past. The world turns around her and she experiences nothing.
Her father kisses her goodnight. He says some words but she does not hear them. She responds automatically but she does not hear her own words. Her door closes and she is in darkness.
As the hours tick on she does not sleep. The strange breathing sound coming from under her bed goes on for a full hour before she notices it.
Dylan's heart begins to race as the silence around the sound deepens. The breathing becomes everything. It's wet and slow. Then the smell rises to her nose. Its rank and wet, like a dog in the rain.
Fear begins to rise from deep within Dylan's stomach. As it reaches her chest it turns in to a scream. Just as the scream is about to reach her lips a hand clamps over her mouth, keeping the scream contained within her.
"Shhh," says a strangely calm voice. "You'll scare it."
The hand gently moves away from her mouth. Dylan turns to look at the owner of the gentle hand and there, leaning halfway out of her window is a strange and silly looking man. He appears to be wearing a fancy suit and a spiffy hat.
"Sorry for the intrusion," he whispers. "I hope I didn't startle you. Of course I'm sure our asthmatic little friend down there must have taken care of that. I wonder who that might be by the way. It's always fun meeting a new monster under the bed. Though I sure hope this time it's not actually a monster. Sorry am I rambling?"
Dylan kicks off her covers and pulls her knees under her. She scoots as far away from the side of her bed as possible.
"Monster," she asks. "It's not going to eat me is it?"
"Well," begins the strange man. "Not now that I'm here. Perhaps we should be making our departure."
The creature under the bed growls. "I believe our friend under there is getting a bit agitated."
He offers Dylan his hand. She looks at the hand. She's never supposed to talk to strangers. Never. And she is definitely never supposed to go anywhere with a stranger. Absolutely, never.
"Ah, yes smart girl," says the man. "Never go with a stranger. Very smart girl. Well, hi my name is- is Mr. Smith. What's yours?"
The growl gets louder. "I'm Dylan," she quickly responds.
"Awesome," he says. "Now we're not strangers."
The bed begins to shake. Dylan grabs his hand. "Time to go!"
He pulls her through the window. Dylan finds herself standing on a strange glowing multi-colored surface floating outside her window, which happens to be on the second floor. It's very smooth and seems to be changing colors. Mr. Smith is holding what looks like a TV remote control. He presses a button and they swiftly move away from the side of the house.
In the window red glowing eyes watch them make their escape. "What about my dad," exclaims Dylan? "He's still in the house! That thing is going to eat him!"
"Well, I don't think so," responds Mr. Smith. "Our friend has been in there all day and never attacked you or your father or even left your room. In fact I don't think it can leave your room. Yes, all the evidence suggests that your father should be just fine."
"Are you sure," asks Dylan.
"Yes, I'm sure," he responds. "Now let's get down below see who our friend from under your bed is." He presses another button on the remote control and a door rises from the surface of the ship. An actual door on hinges on a frame with a doorknob that could come from any house. It is a very strange sight to see this ordinary thing sticking out of a strange and unusual glowing, color changing flying object.
Dylan can't believe her eyes. She looks from the door to Mr. Smith. His smile broadens and he lifts his eyebrows, nods his head toward the door. Dylan steps around the door and looks at the other side. It’s just the other side of a door. It leads to nowhere. "Go on," says Mr. Smith.
Dylan cautiously reaches for the doorknob. She turns it and opens the door to a world filled with multi-colored plants that seem to be merged with extremely advanced technology. Everything is living and colorful, and massive. It seems to go on forever.
Dylan pulls her eyes away and turns to Mr. Smith. His smile broadens again and he says, "I know right!"
"What is that," Dylan asks.
"That's the inside of my ship," replies Mr. Smith.
"Is it safe," asks Dylan.
"The safest place in the universe," Mr. Smith answers.
Dylan takes a tentative step into the ship. The ground is soft, like stepping on grass. There is a soft rhythmic pulsing sensation beneath her feet. The air is warm and slightly moist. It's not unpleasant though. More like a warm tropical blanket. The sounds around her are like a mix of rainforest and the bridge of the starship Enterprise. Beeps and boops mingle with birdcalls and rustling foliage.
Mr. Smith enters and steps around her. The ship seems to come alive around him. Plants rise to greet him. They open their petals to reveal touch screen monitors which his fingers dance over. Mists rise and holographic images play through them. His technology is alive.
Dylan walks deeper into the ship. The plants around her reach out to her as if to greet her. Their touch is gentle and tingles slightly, like static electricity. Mr. Smith turns to her and smiles. "It's ok," he says. "She won't hurt you. This is my companion, Miranda. She's kind of like a space ship. I found her trapped on one of the moons of Agrifar 11. That's just beyond the Delta Expanse."
"Is that far from here," asks Dylan.
"Yes," replies Mr. Smith. "It's very far away. Thousands of light years in fact."
"Are you an alien," Dylan blurts out.
"No," replies Mr. Smith. "Are you?"
"No," answers Dylan.
"Well, aright than. Though I must admit I'm not from earth."
"But I thought you weren't an alien."
"What makes someone an alien? We're not from the same planet. But we look similar. We have different evolutionary paths. But we're from the same corner of the galaxy. And even if we weren't galaxial neighbors we're still part of the same Universe. So in a sense we're still part of the same family. Where I come from there is no such thing as an alien. We're all just life forms. We're all connected."
"Oh," replies Dylan. "Than what about the monster under my bed?"
"Ah," begins Mr. Smith. "I must admit that at first I had no idea who or what was under your bed. All I knew was that Miranda sensed technology that was not supposed to be on Earth. So we decided to investigate. That’s kind of what we do. We explore the Universe and when strange things pop up we try to help."
Dylan asks, "So do you know what it is now?"
"Yes I do," answers Mr. Smith. "Our friend under the bed is a Traxian Snorbot. Kind of like a dog. From what I can tell a family of Traxians were here on Earth sight seeing. Probably taking in the sights at the lake by your house. You see the Traxian's don't have liquid water on their planet. And the Snorbot probably wondered off. The Earth has not made any formal contact with other species so the Traxians probably thought it better to leave the poor beast behind rather than risk encountering any humans."
"So they left their dog behind," Dylan responds with sadness in her voice.
"Well," Smith attempts to reassure her. "I'm sure they are still around here somewhere probably probing for it using stealth tech. You see Sorbots are slightly psychic animals. They can sense emotions. Once one is imprinted on its owner it won't leave them unless it encounters an extremely strong emotional presence. I think that's why it was under your bed. I think the Snorbot could feel your emotions from far away. It sought you out and stayed with you under your bed, protecting you. That’s why it began to growl when I came near. I believe the animal was trying to comfort you."
"So it wasn't there to eat me," asks Dylan.
"No, Snorbots are vegetarians," answers Mr. Smith. "Humans aren't plant based are they?"
Dylan giggles her answer, "No, silly Mr. Smith we come from monkeys."
"Ah, primates," responds Smith. "No wonder your species and mine look so similar. We came from primates also."
Smith gets up and begins jumping around the ship like a monkey. Vines creep down from above and he jumps on them swinging around the ship screeching at the top of his lungs. Dylan laughs hard. It is the first time she's done so in a very long time.
Smith swings high up in the air. He lets go of the vine, summersaults in the air and lands at Dylan’s feet.
"Your weird," laughs Dylan.
"Why thank you," responds Mr. Smith.
"So how are we going to get the Snorbot out from under my bed," asks Dylan.
Mr. Smith responds, "Miranda has already sent the Traxian's a message that we've found their friend. They'll be here any minute. So why did the Snorbot choose your bed?"
"I don't know," answers Dylan. She looks down at her feet. Mr. Smith sits down cross-legged and motions for her to join him.
"Well, remember when I said the Snorbot responds to strong emotions," Smith reminds Dylan. "You see, there must have been something you were feeling so strongly that it reached out of your room across the lake all the way to the Snorbot's heart. It must have been a very strong feeling indeed."
"My mommy died," Dylan says in the tiniest voice in the Universe. Mr. Smith's face crumbles into despair. He lowers his head.
"Child," he begins quietly. "I'm so sorry. That is why the creature came to you. It wished to ease your pain. Though I know that it seems as if nothing will."
Miranda reaches out with her most lovely flowers and wraps Dylan with them. Warm tingles envelop Dylan and the plants begin to pulsate with light.
"You know Dylan," Mr. Smith begins to speak. "This Universe is a very conservative one. It wastes nothing. So when a living thing dies it is never truly gone. We all are made up of energy. Right down to our smallest bits is all energy. So when your mother left this world she did not end. She simply became her purest form. She is part of the Universe still. Though we may not be able to see her or talk to her. She is here. That is what you feel when Miranda touches you. Life. It tingles doesn’t it?" Dylan nods her head.
Mr. Smith continues, "Miranda is a special being. She is the evolution of life itself. She is powered by the energy that comes from us all. Right now your mothers energy is touching you. She is here with you."
Dylan closes her eyes. Her body is warmed. It glows with the light from her mother. Dylan's skin shimmers. She can smell the sweetness of her mother’s perfume. She can feel the touch of her mothers skin when she would hug her. Tears begin to stream down her cheeks and Dylan smiles.
“Thank you, Mr. Smith," she says as Miranda slowly and gently pulls away.
"It is our pleasure child," replies Mr. Smith. "We are all family in this Universe. And we are all forever."
A soft chime sounds and a flower rises above the rest. Mr. Smith walks to it and gently caresses it with his fingertips. It opens and he looks into it.
"They have arrived," he announces. "Let's meet our new friends shall we?"
Dylan gets up from the floor and straightens her nightgown. "I'm ready," she says. "Are they friendly?"
"Oh, yes," answers Mr. Smith. "They are very friendly. Remember they are just a family on vacation."
Mr. Smith holds out his hand to Dylan. She takes it and they open the door and step out into the night. Miranda has landed and they step down from her onto the nighttime damp grass. Dylan looks back at Miranda and stops. "Wait a minute," she says in shock. "Is she bigger on the inside?"
"Yup," responds Mr. Smith with a smile.
"Like on Doctor Who," she says.
Mr. Smith's smile broadens as he says," Just like Doctor Who! I'll tell you a secret, they made that show about me!"
"Cooooool," exclaims Dylan.
From high above them a star appears to get bigger and brighter. Dylan realizes it’s not a star at all. In fact it's not one object but several. As they approach Dylan can make out four distinct beings. They are tall. Extremely tall. The Telaxian's stand about ten feet tall. They are glowing from the inside out. All their limbs are exaggerated. Arms are long almost touching the ground. Their fingers have three more joints than Dylan's. Their heads are long and their eyes are huge and blink sideways. And they smile at Dylan.
The tallest lifts a long strange type of instrument to its lips and a beautiful melody comes from the object. From Dylan's bedroom window the Snorbot bounds into the air. It runs circles around the group as it descends to the ground. Light trails behind him. Dylan spins trying to watch it as the beautiful creature, which actually does look allot like a dog, bounds to the smallest of the Telaxian's. It jumps into its arms and they both begin to glow a warmer color.
The tallest of the Telaxian's waves its hand into the air. Light from its fingers "draw" symbols into the air. Something appears to dawn on Mr. Smith. "Oh, sorry," he says. And he pulls his remote control out of his pocket, points it at the symbols and presses a button. They symbols transform into letters that read:
"From our great and noble family to your great and noble family we send our deepest thanks and our Universal love."
Dylan smiles and performs the perfect curtsey. Then she blows them a kiss. The Telaxians, now reunited with their beloved pet, rise back to the stars.
Mr. Smith takes Dylan's hand and leads her back onto Miranda's hull. They rise back to her window. Mr. Smith turns to Dylan and puts his hands on her shoulders. "Well, my new friend," he begins. "I must say that the pleasure of meeting you has been one of the most rewarding in many years of travel. You are a beautiful child and remind me of why I love to come to this planet."
"Thank you Mr. Smith," replies Dylan. "And thank Miranda for me too."
"I will," responds Mr. Smith. "And remember we are all family in this Universe and we are all forever. Your mother is always here with you."
Mr. Smith's remote control begins to beep and glow.
"Oh, Miranda would like me to tell you she will miss you and that she would like to leave you with a gift," says Mr. Smith.
A small section of Miranda's outer body opens and a small platform extends out of her. Resting on the platform is a small normal looking pot. In the pot is a glowing flower. Dylan takes the plant from the platform and the flower leans towards her. She touches the plant and her hand tingles like it did in the ship. Dylan speaks one word, "Mother."
"So you can always feel her," says Mr. Smith.
Dylan runs to him and puts her arm around him. He returns the hug.
"Now back to bed with you," he says. "I'll be back from time to time to say hi. And when your old enough maybe you can come with me to see what's out there." He points up to the stars.
"Thank you Mr. Smith," says Dylan. "I'll see you soon."
Dylan climbs back into her room and puts her new plant on her nightstand next to her bed. She crawls back under the covers. As Miranda becomes a bright star in the sky Dylan feels better than she has in a long time. She closes her eyes and smiles.



Creative Skills Development: Online Journal #7

Today is the last day of my Creative Skills Development class so I'll be posting the rest of my assignments for everyone to read. And by everyone I mean my 2 subscribers! For this assignment we were asked to write a 6-8 page screenplay. Click on the pages below to bring up a larger view.









Creative Skills Development: Online Journal #6

http://sungat.ru/eng/files/other/Mafia.jpgToday is the last day of my Creative Skills Development class so I'll be posting the rest of my assignments for everyone to read. And by everyone I mean my 2 subscribers! This assignment was to write a story with only dialog.


"Are you going to kill me," inquired Joshua Shultz.

"Well, that's a question you may not want me to answer at this very moment," replied Joseph Spinelli.

"I see. Well if that’s the case, can I have a smoke," responded Shultz.

"Sure, why not," said Spinelli. "Here let me light that for you. There you go. Now the way I see things you have very little time left in this world. I'll admit I don't feel particularly good about that. You and I grew up in the same neighborhood. Did you know that?"

"Your the Doc's kid," replied Shultz. "Grew up on Theiriot. I lived about three blocks down on Wood. Donnie Dallas, Leroy Jenkins, and I whooped you and a couple of other guys in a game of Stick back in the day."

"As I recall it was us that did the whopping," Spinelli retorted.

"You and I remember different," said Shultz. 

"You got that right," exclaimed Shultz. "Ha, you know it's funny. I didn't think you would remember me! I mean I remember you took off from the old neighborhood when we was just kids."

"Got into a bit of trouble," explained Shultz. "Ran for a while. Ended up in the military. Spent some time in Black Ops. Turns out I had a knack for Capture and Infiltrate missions.”

            Spinelli responded, “Wow, sounds like you did pretty good for yourself! Though I don’t know if being Uncle Sam’s errand boy is really my cup of tea. I prefer a career with a little more flexibility. I’ve been working my way up in this business since I was a kid back in the old neighborhood. Now I’ve got power, money, and girls. I’m the boss. This is my town. Here, I’m Uncle Sam.”

            “What about the other Families,” asked Shultz. “Don’t you have to answer to them? Isn’t that the way it goes? You control the Bronx. They control the other boroughs. What happens if you get greedy and step on their toes? What happens when you’re not the boss they want in this town?”

            “What is this,” responded Spinelli. “You think you know somethin? Let me tell you solder boy, you don’t know spit! I don’t answer to the Families. This is my turf and I’ll do what I please. If my business takes a little detour than so be it. There’s more than enough to go round. And if they got a problem with that than they can bring it to the table. I’m not an unreasonable man.”

            “Is that so,” asked Shultz. “I hear Tony Morelli might have a different opinion on the matter. Or had might be the proper term.”

            “You rat bastard,” exclaimed Spinelli. “How the hell did you know about that? You know what it don’t matter. It was a fun reunion solder boy but I think its time for us to part ways.”

            “Your guns not loaded,” said Shultz. “And your boys on the other side of that door have been dead since before I walked in here.”

            “So, what did the Families send you,” asked Spinelli. “You come here to-“

            “Yes, I did,” replied Shultz.