Episode 050.5: The Original Prequel (or, TypeCast Volume 2)

Mswc17cover

In this episode, the fellas take their final trip back in time, to exactly 5 months before The Nerd Blitz was born!

After a brand new intro, Doom & Fitz take a deep dive into issue 17 of the original 1970’s Marvel Star Wars comic, in their 2nd proto podcast. Adventure? Huh. Excitement? Hmm A Jedi craves not these things…but we sure as hell do, and this episode is jam-packed with 23 pages or so of lightsaberless fun from that galaxy far far away.

Enjoy this look back, gang!

URL: Episode 050.5: The Original Prequel (or, TypeCase Volume 2)
Direct Download: tnb050_5.mp3

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Star Wars: Ahsoka Review

She started as one of the most hated characters in Star Wars history.
After 5 and a half seasons of superb animation, she had become one of the most beloved characters in the entire franchise.
This untold tale of Ahsoka Tano in the fallout of Order 66 feels like it probably would have been a key part in the final Season of The Clone Wars, but the main questions are does this book do that spectacular series and character justice?

Heads up gang this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

No need for suspense, hell yeah it does!
The worst thing I can say about this book is the same thing we constantly said during Series 1 of The NerdBlitz Book Club, “Fuck, I wish this was animated!”.
Yes, it’s that damn good.

The plot is fairly simple, a year after Order 66, Ahsoka has abandoned her lightsabers and gone on the run from the Empire.
Moonlighting on an Outer Rim planet as a mechanic, she’s gotten pretty comfortable…until the Empire comes acallin’!
She steals a ship from the family that embraced her and heads for a moon so she doesn’t get discovered and cause even more havoc for innocents.

Tonally, this story really represents where it falls in the canon.
It’s somewhere between The Clone Wars and Rebels.
By that I mean it has darkness like the former, but not to the extent of the Maul arcs, and it is lighthearted like the latter, but not nearly as light as some of the chipper moments from Season 1.
E.K. has one hell of a balancing act here, too far one way or the other and you risk alienating a group of potential readership, but she hits the sweet spot.

Some of the things I truly love about this book are ties to the series that gave us Ahsoka and the series that brought her back to us.
One of the interstitial scenes actually takes us inside of Anakin’s mind on Christophsis, moments before Ahsoka entered his life.
A bit more light is shed on the process of bleeding lightsaber crystals to turn them red for Sith and their underlings.
We find out the fate of a planet from TCW, Ilum, that hundreds of generations of Jedi travel to to retrieve the kyber crystals for their lightsabers.
We meet another Inquisitor, The Sixth Brother.
We find out how she gets involved with the Rebellion, how and why she takes up the name Fulcrum, and most importantly we see her grow and gain her footing for the 1st time in her post-Jedi life.
All the moments we need to know about in her life are covered for sure.

Seeing the Empire come in and squash a moon under their collective boot, completely take over, and knowingly drain a planet of it’s resources to the point that the people who live there are better off just leaving helps paint the picture of how oppressive the Empire has become in such a short period as well.
That there is probably the thing I like best overall about this book, seeing those early days after Sidious took power.
It’s a time period that is sadly unexplored, and I fear it will be some time before we get more set in this era.

It really is a well written book that makes me hope E.K. gets another shot to play in the Star Wars sandbox, she hits the feeling of every era.
She plays well with all of the characters, including a cameo of a certain Prequel Jedi that I want more canon stories about.
If you like either of the big animated shows, read this.
If you want more Ahsoka stories, read this!
If you just want a good Star Wars story, read this damn book!

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Tastes Like Chicken Review

The Unnatural Quarter was changing, that was certain.
But the more it changed, the more it stayed the same.
I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

Those are the last 3 sentences of this book, and they ring true for this universe in a big bad way.

Let’s get this out of the way at the top, this is gonna be a suckfest.
I’m not quite sure if I mean in the Vampire sense or…anywhooo…uh, where was I?
Oh yeah!
My love for this series, these characters, and this world has been made crystal clear over the last 13 months and 4 days (yes, I keep track and looked) that it has taken me to read all 6 books and the comic.
I have not hated a single installment in the tales of Dan, Robin, Sheyenne, and McGoo that I’ve gotten my hands on.
I’ll even go a step further and say that at this point I’m damn skippy this is my favorite book series I have read.
It is that damn GOOD!

This is your official ***SPOILER WARNING*** as we dive in deep on this newest chapter in the adventures of Dan and Co.

The action starts early as Dan and McGoo are chasing down a murderous demon from the 5th pit of hell, and though that sounds like a world ending plot, this book reigns it in after the cataclysmic story that was Slimy Underbelly.
This is a more personal outing, a true buddy cop story, of 2 friends forced into fatherhood.

Sheyenne swoops in with a demon busting spell from a flyer and all seems well in the UQ…except for those damn feral chickens and Vamps starting to go apeshit after drinking overpriced, high sugar, extra foam, triple shot, hoity toity blood lattes and the like.
Not long after busting the demon, the plot thread I was hoping in my Slimy Underbelly review would be picked up in this book is reintroduced.
McGoo’s ex-wife, Rhonda, calls and tells him to get to the bus stop just as Spooky calls and tells Dan the same woman called the Chambeaux & Deyer offices with a similar message.

And this is when we start unburying the heart of this particular book.
Dan throughout the series has shown how much he loves and cares for Robin and Spooky, but this little Vampire girl, Alvina, that is forced on him and McGoo by Rhonda (who Dan had a short affair with after the split), is different.
The love we see Dan, McGoo, Spooky, and Robin shower this poor little girl with is something new for the series.
It adds a whole new dimension that I never would have thought to ask for, but I’m glad we got.
And she isn’t the pain in the ass little brat that a once great TV show brings in to try and rebound after the ratings have dipped a bit too low.
She comes off cutesy, but confident.
Smart, but not in a way that suddenly diminishes everybody else to drooling idiots that can’t do anything without her.
And it’s not out of the blue, as I said, the groundwork was laid last book for this to happen.

Alvina is a social media/blog/brand obsessed girl sharing her experiences as a young Vampire stuck in puberty who may be Dan or McGoo’s daughter.
They aren’t sure whose kid she biologically is and, since she was turned DNA tests are now unreliable, they probably never will.
This is another one of the things I love about this series, learning and trying to figure out the rules of it.
I wonder how well KJA has thought this series and its rules out?
To use a TV term, if he has a series bible for it?
Either way, it is damn impressive.

When a nefarious and bloody plot against Unnaturals puts Alvina in a coma, shit gets real for Dan and co.
From that point on, Robin and Spooky sort of take a back seat to these 2 Dads trying to save their girl.
It works so well.

Sadly, the one thing all of KJA’s books seem to have in common is that they go by far too quickly.
Like Hair Raising (book 3 in the DSZPI Series, for those keeping track) I finished this in 4 days.
In my experience, he writes short, easy to read, potato chip like chapters that make you think “well, maybe just one more” until you’re sitting there with an empty bag (or a finished book) hating yourself for being a hog and not making the goodness last.

Trust me, gang, there is far more to this book that I haven’t even touched on yet, but I feel like I’ve rambled and slobbered enough, and I don’t want to spoil it all for you.
I can’t say for certain if this is my favorite book in the series or not, but it is battling hard and holding its own in the fight.
I implore you all to give this series a chance, buy one or more of the books, because money talks and I want many many more full length stories with these characters.
Until next time, thanks for reading.

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Working Stiff Review

I hope Kevin J. Anderson won’t be upset about this since he regularly tweets it to 12K+ people (but if he has an issue, I will gladly pull this part out).
But just to start off, you can get a free E copy of this book by signing up for his reading group right here.
It’s a great 1st taste of this series.
On to the review!

Dan Chambeaux is back from the dead and back on the case…all 7 of them.
But how do all of these short stories stack up against the full length novels?
Surprisingly, pretty damn well actually.

We’re about to go balls deep on this, so consider this your official ***SPOILER WARNING***, Gang.
And consider this your ***long winded warning*** as well.

The stories included are Stakeout At The Vampire Circus, Road Kill, Naughty & Nice, Locked Room, The Writing On The Wall, Role Model, Beware Of Dog, in that order.
Since I’ve already reviewed Naughty & Nice (read that right here), so I won’t be talking about that story in this piece.

Stakeout At The Vampire Circus is a pretty fun story that involves a band of klepto goblins ripping off everybody from a cross-dressing fortune teller to a neurotic vampire trapeze artist.
This one feels a lot like an ep of Scooby-Doo, and that alone makes it fun for me.

As I have said before, Road Kill didn’t do much for me because it wasn’t doing what I thought Shamble stories do best, which is balancing storylines.
After reading all of these, I’m not so sure that’s the case as a few of these have single threads and are great slices of Shamble.
In fact, one of my 2 favorite stories in here is, upon reflection, a razor thin story that mostly takes place in 1 room.

Locked Room reminds me a lot of Family Guy’s 150th Episode Brian & Stewie where 2 characters are locked in a vault.
In this story, Dan & Spooky are hired by a Harpy named Esther to test a cemetery vault she is having built to entomb her near death, pain in the ass sister…and make sure she can never escape!
Much like the Family Guy Ep, this story feels ballsy as hell.
Unlike that Ep, KJA does throw to scenes outside of the vault, but mostly just to fully explain why and how they got into this mess.
After a little bit of time locked in, Spooky really starts to panic which gives a tiny peek into her death and afterlife.
Once dead, you’d think fear would be a thing of the past, but obviously not for Sheyenne.
In a longer form this could be a real deep look at these characters…which maybe wouldn’t be great for a comedy book, but would help you better understand them.
The way they break out is rather ingenious too, playing on the vanity of some artists.

I did end up liking Road Kill a bit better the 2nd time around, but it’s still probably the weakest story in this book and of the Shamble series overall.
I’m not sure what it is about that story, but it just doesn’t click with me.
It’s a lot like Guardians Of The Galaxy, I’m really struggling to understand why I don’t love it and it’s bugging me.

The Writing On The Wall is where things get very deliberately popculture heavy, and it’s at this point that the collection really kicks into high gear.
Imagine Elvira gets tired of the public eye and wants folks to just remember her show from back in the day so she goes into seclusion.
Now imagine she died and came back as a ghost with poltergeist powers that were so weak that she had to try to control/possess some dullard Zombies to get a message to the outside world, that’s this story.
By the 3rd page of this story, I had a good idea what was going on.
Zombies all around the Unnatural Quarter have been writing letters in graffiti: “HE”, “LP”, “I’VE”, & “FA”.
Anybody that has watched late night TV knows that’s easy to put together.
Watching Dan’s business partner Robin Deyer fan girl over “Angina, Mistress Of Fright” and again having Spooky confront the meaning of afterlife, but in a different way than in Locked Room, are both highlights here.
More like she did in a bigger way in book 4, as I recall.
If something bigger comes from these books, Sheyenne is gonna be the character to watch.
She’ll definitely be the grounding dramatic force.

Role Model is hands down the best story here, so don’t be surprised if you hear an ep or 2 of The Nerd Blitz Book Club with this as the focus.
I was having flashbacks to Episode 39 the entire time as Dan and McGoo head to a Cosplay Convention to work security.
When a vampiric member of the 501st is staked, they have to chase down the killer and the journey is off and running.
If The Writing On The Wall started the pop culture lovefest, this is the moneyshot.
I know Google is the easy route to go, but I’m damn skippy KJA has a near encyclopedic knowledge of old TV Shows, Movies, and media.
There was an Episode of MONK called “Mr. Monk And The Actor” that was flashing through my mind when reading this that made me love this more than all of the nonstop references.
I’m almost convinced KJA has seen it, but if not…damn!
In the course of the investigation, Dan meets a dude cosplaying as him who is just as great a detective as Dan is…or is he?
KJA’s insight into nerddom and our squabbles about petty shit (canon, superior franchse debates, dumbass minor details) again leads me believe he is one of us, not just been dealing with us for 30+ years.
The ending is exactly how I felt at the end of Archon 41 too.
Going in I was thinking “what a bunch of weirdos” but at the end of the night I was ready for next year, same as Dan.

And finally Beware Of Dog.
This story centers on legendary UQPD Werewolf cop Hairy Harry, a damaged former officer, whose hellhound has been seemingly kidnapped.
At the same time, a giant, ferocious, furry Beast has been damaging property around the Quarter.
Are they connected?
Of course!
Yet another special interest group is introduced in this story, GETA (Gremlins for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), adding another layer of depth and comparison to the real world.
They’ve been breaking in and letting dogs loose from the animal shelter, staging protests outside of the pet clinic, and causing other incidents of havok/annoyance in town.
The obvious comparisons to Clint Eastwood and his assortment of grizzled characters are made, sometimes in subtle ways.
And Hairy Harry hunting down the GETA (not so) Secret Headquarters is kind of thrilling.
The idea that a Shamble series may be in the works makes me desperately want to see this story and that chase on screen!

So, in conclusion, this book/collection is the perfect way to introduce yourself to this universe.
I know now that KJA isn’t obsessive about chronology or continuity with these short stories, they are designed solely to catch your interest and pull you into the books.
And they do just that.
The variety of different types of stories in here flex all of the muscles of this series, and show you just what it can do.
The hints at what could be, the potential for other deeper stories makes it all the more intriguing for me.

Use the link above or (even better) show even greater support by buying it wherever you can, get in on this now, gang.
5 books in less than a year, and I’m still loving it.

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Slimy Underbelly Review

Including this one, I have read 4 of the 5 novels in this series and 3 of the numerous short stories.
So I feel that I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the most batshit crazy story of the franchise thus far, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Just to be safe, consider this your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

As I said in my Naughty & Nice review (read it here), I think Shamble stories work best when multiple storylines are being juggled and, holy hell, does this have a bunch of stories being kept in the air.
This go round, Chambeaux’s cases involve an Ogre whose voice is stolen, a gang of Garden Gnomes getting greedy, an aspiring Supervillain/Junior Mad Scientist (with many patents pending) who gets booted from his sewer based lab space, a Weather Wizard in the middle of a campaign for President of his order, and an Aussie Accented half Elder God making a big splash under the Unnatural Quarter.
Another of my favorite threads is Sheyenne trying to culture Dan up a bit.
McGoo has a story that I have a feeling may pay off in the recently released 5th novel, Tastes Like Chicken, about his Ex-wife and a potential kid.
Lots of plates spinning and I loved every minute of it.

My 1 and only complaint about this book is less of a gripe specific to this story and more a bit of whining about the chronology of the entire series.
Maybe this would be better kept to my upcoming review of Working Stiff, but I really wish Kevin J. Anderson would have a list somewhere that shows specifically where these stories take place.
Because, at one point, Dan references 3 of the 7 Short Stories from Working Stiff, one of which is actually published in the back of my copy…but I didn’t read it before because I wasn’t sure where it fell.
It’s not super important and doesn’t hurt this reading experience a single bit, but it would be nice to know what to read and in which order.
So, if you read this book, and you care about continuity, be sure to read Stakeout At The Vampire Circus, Road Kill, and Naughty & Nice before this.

As I said above, this story is crazy!
The stakes have never been higher in this series, the ending specifically is a weird H.P. Lovecraft plot, mixed with an over the top Doctor Doom world domination story, sprinkled with Shrek, and a dash of Monk.
It’s ballsy as hell!
The way that EVERY SINGLE STORY converges in the sewer for a cultish blood sacrifice is masterful.
I feel I repeat myself a lot when I talk about this series, but KJA’s style is so easy to read.
Most authors, even ones I love, would have made this so fucking convoluted and hard to keep up with that you would almost feel it wasn’t worth it and give up.
But it’s written with just the right about of detail and humor to make it all work perfectly.
Every major character seems to have their moment to shine as well.

More so than the other books in the series, I feel like this one leaves the world in a different place than it started.
Not in a major way, but there are certain side characters that have been around since book 1 that have their worlds ended…but thanks to The Big Uneasy, death isn’t the end anymore.
Again, continuity is important, and I dig that.
Dan also seems to have figured out for sure just what his purpose in the afterlife is.

The more I read of this series the more I desperately want it to be turned into an animated series, man.
I say animated because the make-up budget alone would probably kill the series.
Just the 4 books and 3 Short Stories I’ve read would make for a great 4 Seasons of 10-15 Episodes.
It’s just so damn good, I need to see more from this universe.

That’s that, gang.
I’m struggling to come up with a ranking for all of the stories in this series.
It’s a lot like the MCU in that I really only know which is my least favorite and the rest are battling it out for 1st.
I truly love this series for it’s fun quirkiness.
Please check out this story or any of the others, it’s so worth it.

The Last Jedi: Harsh Critic Rebuttals – Pt. 2

the-last-jedi-theatrical-blogHey guys, I’m back again for round 2 with Mr. Flick Flack Film.  As you remember, last time we just barely scratched the surface of his “criticisms” of The Last Jedi.  Let the Rebuttal Begin!

(Here’s the link to the original video again, I’ll be picking up about the 1:20 second mark  https://youtu.be/C6fDPKNPqGM )

 

 

 

Do we find out who Rey’s parents are? No. It turns out, it doesn’t…matter.

We don’t?

I can understand that they want to show you that people who come from nothing can make their own choices to become something more and greater. But Star Wars is about special people, that’s why we watch it.  If the people on screen are just as unimportant as us, why do we watch them?

First of all, this was the second act of a 3 act story. Just because we weren’t explicitly shown Rey’s past in this chapter doesn’t mean we won’t get more revelations in the next. The story is NOT fully told yet.

Secondly, just by answering the call to adventure the “normal” person becomes “special”. Luke was not “special” until he followed Obi-Wan on a damn fool idealistic crusade. In fact, if you look at the cut scenes from Episode 4 he was LESS than normal. He was a loser. The goofy, whiny, kid that is grudgingly allowed to hang out with his much cooler friends.

If the droids had never crashed on Tatooine and been purchased by Owen Lars, Luke would’ve likely spent his entire life fixing moisture vaporators until he died a desiccated corpse of an old man at 60.

Thirdly, how can you say Rey is not “special”? Who CARES who her parents were? What does that have to do with anything? Is Han Solo not special? We don’t know his lineage but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a divine birth, created by the Force itself.

If in Empire, the fake line used on the set ended up being in the final cut and we found out Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father instead of Vader BEING his father, is Luke suddenly not special any more?

How about Rogue One? That movie blew me away. I loved it. But what about Jyn is special?

Her dad is a super smart scientist and she is…what exactly? An orphan raised by a Rebel extremist? Nothing more than a common soldier. Jyn is not special at all, but her story is still special and important.

Lastly, Rey IS special. Not because of who her parents are or aren’t but because of what she’s done. She was chosen by the Force, through Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber, to find Luke and what? We think in TFA she’s supposed to bring Luke back to help restore peace and balance to the galaxy by defeating Snoke and the First Order. But what we find out is that’s only partly her mission. Her real call the adventure is to find herself through her interactions with Luke on the island. When Luke later sacrifices himself to save the remnants of the Resistance, we see that the real reason the Force called to Rey was so that SHE could carry the Jedi forward. SHE would learn what she needed to know from Luke and the island, and yes even from Snoke and Kylo. So that in the end when she has to make her choice she doesn’t hesitate, she knows her path. Not because it was written in her DNA but because she found her own way.

She answers the call in TFA and from that point on she ceases to be as unimportant as us and becomes something special. Her parents are ultimately irrelevant.

Plus The Force Awakens sets up us finding out who Rey’s parents are. They show us flashbacks and make us ask that question.

Again, the story is not OVER yet. We’re learning the truths about Rey in real time as she learns it. Are her parents really just junk traders? Or is Kylo Ren preying on her insecurity and fear when he prods her into saying that? Is that reality or just what she fears the most?  I happen to still believe her parentage will turn out to be something bigger than what she believes. But if it doesn’t? I’m fine with that too.

The crushing emotional weight of her facing and accepting her worst fear in that scene and Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s amazing delivery were enough for me.

The way he preys on her weakness and fear, trying to convince her that she means nothing to anyone but him is a master class in Sith/Dark Side seduction.  That is the Vader/Luke moment of this trilogy.  Better written, and more subtly acted. It’s heartbreaking and yet instead of being broken by it, Rey finds strength in it. She now sees her place in the story, she knows who she is. Who her parents were doesn’t matter. She casts aside her greatest weakness, as Kylo calls it, and can follow the light.

Yes, the flashbacks in TFA make you question her parentage and her history. The Last Jedi tells us that the answers don’t matter and that’s OK.

Do we find out who Snoke is and where he comes from? No. It doesn’t matter. He dies. We’re never going to find out.

AGAIN, the story isn’t over. For all we know Snoke is a Force ghost who allowed Kylo to “kill” him and will show back up later. Who knows.

For now the fact is Snoke was a red herring of sorts. The final trial for Kylo Ren. He even tells Rey to kill the past, let old things die, it’s the only way to become what you were meant to be. In that moment he realized killing Snoke was his only way forward. If he was ever reach his full power Snoke had to die.

Would you rather he waited until Episode 9? Maybe Snoke could be torturing Rey to death and at the last minute Kylo turns on his master and saves Rey? Maybe tosses him down a reactor shaft?

Sorry. Been there, done that.

Instead we’re given a rare treat. A totally expected betrayal yet COMPLETELY unexpected. Not only that, it’s given an added twist when it is revealed, again through a brilliantly written and acted exchange, that he didn’t do it to save Rey because he’s good again, but instead that he’s and even BIGGER PIECE OF SHIT than we thought. What you just saw was the equivalent of Anakin chopping off Mace Windu’s arm, killing a room full of baby Jedi, and choking  (arguably to death) his baby momma ALL IN ONE SCENE! And let’s face it, A WAY BETTER SCENE than all of those combined (and I love the prequels!)

Who is Snoke? Where did he come from? Who CARES??? Snoke was a rung on a ladder for the true villain of the piece. His backstory will make for an interesting comic or novel, otherwise who cares.

People who are legit upset or disappointed in what happened to Snoke after truly thinking about it, are more than likely more upset at being “tricked” than about him being a “wasted” character.

Rian Johnson fooled us all. In a glorious, masterful way. Enjoy it. Revel in it. How many times does a movie actually succeed in surprising you anymore? For me? Almost NEVER.]

Is Rey turned to the dark side? No. Not at all.

Does Kylo turn to the light side? No.

[So what? This was just another dumb fan theory. There was almost 0% chance that it would be true.

But the fun is in the tease. The whole time Johnson has the audience guessing, trying to gauge which one will turn, who is really good, who is really bad. You’re not sure even until the last moment after Kylo and Rey briefly team up and dispatch Snoke’s guards.

These complaints are rubbish.

Do Kylo and Rey abandon their masters and become their own thing? No, not really.

Uhhhhh I’d say cutting one’s master in half qualifies as abandoning them to become your own thing.

We were promised the Jedi would end.

No we weren’t. We were teased with a single quote by Luke Skywalker. Nothing more.

And a good way to do that would be to have Rey and Kylo become the balance.

Ahhh the “gray Jedi”. So much buzz about this, I honestly did think this would happen.

But in the end, they went a different direction. So what. You want a neutral Force user? Watch the Mortis Trilogy episodes of The Clone Wars. They’re excellent.

You see Yoda somehow use lightening to strike down the temple and burn it.

No he didn’t. He burnt down the Whispering Tree that housed the last of the ancient Jedi texts. Not the Ach-To Temple which is a cave. Or Luke’s temple which actually IS shown burning down. It was a tree.

Pretty much acknowledging that the books have no importance.

Wrong again.

But later we see that Rey actually took the books.

Yay! You got one right.

So there are still going to be Jedi?

Ummmm duh? Star Wars?

So pretty much it was all pointless.

Not at all pointless. Very much with point.

See, I had trouble with this at first too until I saw the movie a couple times. Then it made complete sense what Yoda was doing.

Yoda hasn’t see Luke in decades, presumably since he went into exile and shut himself off from the Force. Once he opens himself up by contacting comatose Leia, Yoda is able to see him again and comes to him to give him the council he most certainly would have years earlier if he could.

He burned down the tree knowing full well that Rey had taken the books. Hell for all we know he may have TOLD her to take them. There’s nothing to say he hasn’t been communing with her all along (or at least since he spoke to her in Maz’s castle).

He burned the tree when he saw Luke hesitate to do it himself in order to force Luke to, as he said, “look beyond a pile a dusty books”. And also to troll him. His pure joy at watching Luke freak out over the presumed loss of those books was the most Yoda moment I’ve seen since 1983.

Yoda’s lesson for Luke is simple. Masters fail. Masters make mistakes. The fall of Ben Solo was not entirely a failure on his part, it just happened. His final line to Luke is “We are, what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all Masters”.

Yoda is telling Luke, you gave that boy all your knowledge and taught him to be like you. But ultimately he grew beyond you as all students do, and the path he took after that was his choice. You may feel the burden of responsibility but you are no more or less responsible for that choice than any other Master. Whether the student is good or bad, all Masters feel the burden of having no control over the end product of their teaching.

In other words stop being such an emo bitch about it.

Do we get aaaany crazy epic lightsaber battle at the end or in the throne room? No not at all.

Um, what? Did we watch the same movie?

 The only lightsaber contact we get is in flashbacks.

Ahhh. I get it. You’re confusing battle with duel.

Ok, true. There were no lightsaber on lightsaber fights, but to act like there wasn’t an intense battle in that throne room scene is crazy talk. I’m not sure how the action in that scene could be a disappointment.

It was like an 8 on 2 free for all. Go back and watch that sequence again and I dare anyone to say it failed to deliver something different and amazing. It ends with 2 of the DOPEST moves I’ve ever seen in ANY fight involving lightsabers.

Do we get a new lightsaber color?

Seriously? You’re taking off points for no new lightsaber color? Blue, green, red. What other color does the SW Universe need? They’re weapons not fashion accessories. Sure they drop the occasional special color for a space pimp here or there, but they’ve been pretty consistent over the years with the look of lightsabers.

Maybe a black one from Snoke? No.

You mean like the Dark Saber in Clone Wars/Rebels? They’ve already done a black blade in universe. There’s no way they would take away the specialness of that relic and say oh now Snoke gets a black one too.

Snoke, much like Palpatine had moved far beyond the need for such rudimentary tools as a lightsaber by the time of TFA. He doesn’t need one. He can literally control and manipulate the minds of other trained Force users. What use would a lightsaber even be to him?

Again. If people would take a minute to look past their fanboy wishlists, they would be able to appreciate this film a lot more.

But when people are complaining because Snoke didn’t use a lightsaber? Give me a break.

Ok, gang, that’s the end of part 2!  Are we having fun yet?  Everyone ready to go see The Last Jedi again?  I am.

Stay tuned though, this poor soul is not finished yet, and neither am I.

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Naughty & Nice Review

You’ve heard me talk about this series many many times on the pod recently, so ya know damn well going in that I probably loved this story.
Ahhh, but there is always a chance this could be the story to break the streak!

I’m reading this in the print version of the “Working Stiff” short story collection, which you can get a free digital copy of by signing up for Kevin J. Anderson‘s reading group at WordFire.com.

Enough suspense?
The streak continues.
I’ve mentioned on the pod that the story “Road Kill” (also featured in “Working Stiff“, which I’ll discuss in a future review) was a bit disappointing only because it felt too damn short, and I feared going into this that I may have a similar issue.
Not the case whatsoever.
And you can’t call the streak broken because you wanted more, can you?

I think the problem may be that Road Kill had just 1 story thread/case that Dan & Co were trying to work through.
Naughty & Nice has what all 3 novels that I’ve read so far have had, multiple storylines that culminate in the finale.
Reading this and comparing it to Road Kill has made me think plate spinning may be one of the key elements to this franchise.

The 2 storylines here are Santa’s Naughty & Nice list has been stolen and kids all around the Unnatural Quarter have begun to go missing.
We start off with Santa, a confirmed Unnatural (supernatural being brought to life by somebody playing with the Necronomicon), coming to the offices of Chambeaux & Deyer for Dan’s help finding the list.
Dan and Spooky (his ghost girlfriend) head out to brain storm where to begin the hunt for the list when they come across a new character on the scene trying to horn in on Santa’s action, Elfis.
Elfis is one of the perfect examples of why I love this series so much, gang.
It’s so pun and pop culture filled.
This is basically what I imagine an Ep of Family Guy would be like if it was written by Andy Mcelfresh, and this is a compliment!

I won’t spoil anything further, as I’m sure you know the ultimate conclusion of a mystery story, but the ending, set on Christmas day, is almost as sweet as Book 2, Unnatural Acts, but without the creepy sex doll (I say creepy, but it’s actually kinda hilarious, go read it).

The balance of characters is skillful.
Dan, Robin (Deyer, Dan’s business partner), Spooky, and McGoo (Toby McGoohan, Dan’s Best Human Friend, a beat cop in the Quarter) all get time in the spotlight and feel useful.
And the jokes all land, or don’t (McGoo’s trademark), as needed.
I’ve told you many times on the pod that I love KJA’s style, and this is a perfect example why.
So yeah, the streak is intact.

There you have it.
Well worth your time, and seasonally appropriate.
Find it where ever you can and enjoy a few monsters with your milk & cookies.
Enjoy your holiday, gang!