Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 8: It’s Scooby Time! Review


It’s time to look at the final volume of the Scooby Doo Team Up series. It was definitely a series that had a pretty solid run. 50 issues certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at and it’s always fun to see how the gang handles teaming up with the various DC heroes. This time we even mix it up with some villains as the gang gets on the wrong side twice. Finally we have an excellent issue to close things out. This is certainly a series I’ll miss and hopefully they come up with another title that can capture this one’s energy.

The fist issue has the heroes meet up with Dick Dastardly and his crew. I’m not familiar with these characters but basically they’re always laying out traps for a bird the way that Wile E Coyote tries to catch the Road Runner. They’ve had no luck as usual so they decides to trick the Mystery Gang into helping by pretending that the bird is a ghost. This makes things tricky for the heroes since it means that for once we have to root for them to lose. It was a pretty fun story and seeing such obscure characters is nice because they may not get to appear much otherwise. While this issue can’t keep up with the rest, it was a good opener.

Next up we have the big issue with Mr Miracle. He is performing his daring escapes as usual until Granny Goodness shows up with another plot. The Mystery Gang get roped into this pretty quick and now they have to find a way to get Mr Miracle out of this situation. He can escape out of anything but with hostages involved he can’t act carelessly. This issue isn’t so much a mystery as it’s about the gang having to find a way to outsmart the villains. Fortunately the Mystery Inc are excellent at disguises which really comes in handy here. When you can change your appearance so easily it definitely means that you’re ready to foil these kinds of plans. This was a pretty solid issue for sure.

This third one was definitely the strongest from the opening issues though. The mystery gang head to a school where it turns out that the bullies have really started going overboard. They’ve turned into full fledged gangs who are picking on everyone nonstop. Then they get attacked by a ghost gang who seem to be defending the students but the heroes have to get to the bottom of this. Black Lightning shows up as well to help defend the school. He’s always been able to stop the gangs before, but bullies will make things a little more difficult. I liked the use of the school setting here. It was a pretty fun backdrop and one that you don’t see very often. Definitely a very relaxed feel to this story.

After that is a story about Mr. Peebles and how he has finally found someone to buy Magilla the Gorilla off of him. He’s been wanting to get rid of this animal for a very long time and this is his golden opportunity. The Gorilla seems nice enough here but I can definitely picture him causing a whole lot of trouble. The gang quickly realizes that the buyer is a little suspect though so they get into action. This is another case of guest stars where I didn’t really know the characters so that was pretty fun. It’s a little similar to the first issue although this time the heroes are on the right side from the start. Of course the Gorilla kind of got lucky here because usually once you make the transaction it’s not like you know what happens afterwards. It’s a little hard to sympathize with Peebles as a result since he didn’t do any vetting before accepting the money.

Following that is one of the highlight adventures of the book. The rogues gallery is being haunted by the ghost of a dead teammate. They have tried taking him down on their own but he’s proven to be too skilled. Every attack they launch is promptly countered and crushed. So as a result they are forced to rely on help from the Mystery Inc. After all, the gang is pretty well equipped to deal with ghosts. Usually the heroes wouldn’t help villains like this but they aren’t exactly given a choice and are forced to participate. That’s really what helped sell this adventure to me. I like the idea of the villains taking them hostage because it just makes sense. It’s not like the Mystery Gang could stop them. The villains also have a different dynamic than the average hero as they actually talk tough to the ghost and aren’t running away the whole time. The twist of who the ghost was at the end was definitely really solid.

Then we have the return of Metamorpho. Basically he has come to terms with his new elemental forms even if he and Stone are constantly insulting each other. Well, another monster has appeared and the gang have to find out who this is. Usually they could get to the bottom of this rather quickly but all the bickering among the guest star characters definitely puts them in a pretty tricky spot. This comic is mainly strong because of the dialogue. You don’t really see such intense arguments and sarcasm from the guest stars like this. I can see why Metamorpho resents what has happened although the powers are pretty awesome you have to admit.

Finally we get the big finale of the series. Batmite has returned to spin a little chaos in the heroes’ way. Batman and Robin show up and try to put a stop to this but then a bunch of alternate Scooby Doo personas appear. You’ve got guys from the comics, movies, and a whole lot of other incarnations. This isn’t Batmite’s doing so who could be messing with the heroes like this? Well, with this many detectives on board it should be a fairly easy case to crack right? It’s definitely pretty fun nostalgic to see how many different ways the Scooby gang has been presented over the years. The gritty version of the characters from that recent comic get to show up trying to shoot everyone down. Then you’ve even got the kids from a Pup Named Scooby Doo. There’s a new reference on every page and it really is the perfect way to end the saga. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This might even be the best issue in the series.

As always the artwork in these stories were all very good. The pages really pop out at you and makes for easy reading. The writing is also on point which is part of what makes the format work so well. The stories all feel like they could be something right out of a crossover episode or something like that. A good deal of effort goes into these comics to be sure. At the end of the day it’s just a very fun read so I have no real issues with it. There has been a lot of variety in these past 50 issues and the Scooby Doo franchise lends itself well to guest stars.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up ends on a pretty high note here. This is definitely a volume that I could recommend to anyone. It’s got a good blend of humor, adventure, and mystery solving within. When you’ve got that level of balance you’re definitely in good hands. That final issue was definitely a goldmine of references. I’m not sure how the franchise will follow this series up but I’ll definitely be interested in seeing what adventures await the main characters. I feel like one thing we haven’t seen them do much is compete against other investigators or against themselves. A free for all competition within the group would be a blast. Well, that’s an idea for the future at least.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man 2099 vs Venom 2099 Review


I haven’t read a whole lot of Spiderman 2099 over the years. I mainly just know him from the video games and comics but he always seemed like a pretty good guy. Definitely had a pretty neat costume which stood out. This comic was very enlightening in that Spiderman 2099’s actually not a good guy. He certainly didn’t inherit Peter’s morals that’s for sure and once the big twist occurs in the final arc it’s unlikely that his character will be able to bounce back from this.

The first comic is the main crossover and unfortunately that means you won’t see Peter again after this opening issue. Still, it’s a fun team up. Basically Peter suddenly finds himself in the year 2099 while Miguel appears in the modern day. Both of them need to find a way back to their own times and quickly although both of them seem to prefer the other location a bit. We get to see Vulture 2099 and classic Venom which was fun. The two Spidermen don’t actually get to fight each other here this time though.

It’s always fun seeing Peter and if anything you wish he could have stuck around a bit. He definitely holds up as a very solid main character and I wonder what was going on in his universe at the time. He definitely has no trouble taking down Spiderman 2099’s opponents and why would he? Peter’s got decades of combat experience up his sleeve which helps out quite a bit in fights like this. If anything the only part of the story that doesn’t make sense is how Venom gets easily taken out by 2099 in a few good hits. You can argue that he was not knocked out and just chose not to continue his pursuit but I find that pretty hard to buy. He just lost real quick since the comic was almost over but for that they probably shouldn’t have even had him appear.

In the main comics we’ve got quite a few plots going around. One of the main ones involves Alchemax. They’ve finally got a new head who turns out to be a future version of Dr Doom. He has quickly begun to reshape the image of the company. Surprisingly for the better as his methods aren’t quite as draconian as the previous leader’s methods. Doom doesn’t bother with destroying mobs or hunting Spider-Man. He’s focused on the bigger picture. In fact, he’s even offered to recruit 2099 to the force although the hero hasn’t decided yet. The offer expires after 48 hours and then things will really begin to change. Meanwhile Miguel has been promoted to one of the highest positions in the company. Now he can really help make the company a good one, but will he find himself corrupted in the process?

The new status quo has just started and there’s a whole lot they can do with this so it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out. Meanwhile we also have the debut of Venom 2099 who’s off to a good start. This guy’s definitely got a crazy design and an impressive power set. It’s fair to say that 2099 is weaker than the original Spiderman but this Venom could possibly hold his own with the original. His acidic powers are pretty great and he’s also got a solid amount of regeneration. Right now 2099 seems completely outmatched against this monster although the sound weakness is a good way to turn the tides. He better make sure he continues to play this smart though because if he messes up the timing even once then it’s all over. The volume ends with a big stinger as Miguel finds out who he is really up against.

The volume doesn’t say who it is, but my theory is that it’s actually his brother Gabriel. This is where we segway into why Miguel’s not a good character. So it turns out that Dana was with Gabriel but still decided to cheat with Miguel behind his back. While Dana also shares equally in the blame, there’s no way you can let Miguel off the hook on here. Not only was he knowingly being involved in a cheating affair but it was involving his own brother. I don’t blame Gabriel for not wanting anything to do with Miguel after that. Miguel mentions quite a bit how his family is quite fractured with his mother being an alchoholic and his father being a super corrupt business man, but Miguel is no different now. Then he rebounds with Xina afterwards or during. The timeline got a little tricky there. Either way one of them doesn’t live through this volume which will make Miguel’s decision pretty easy. It doesn’t make him a better character in the slightest though.

So that hurts the cast of heroes. Really there isn’t a hero to root for. Gabriel seems reasonable in his short comics that we see between issues but he’s not doing so well in the main ones either. If anything Miguel’s boss at Alchemax might be the best character. Miguel really doesn’t like him but the guy does his best to make sure people at the company are safe. At least he’s doing his job right? Doom is also very solid although I would still consider him to be a villain. He may be acting heroic now…but it’s Doom. He’ll show his true colors soon enough.

Miguel might be a disappointment but it doesn’t really hurt the actual comic. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about the Spider-Man comics is how there can be so many different plots moving all at once. The only other story where you tend to see that is with some of the classic X-Men comics. This also occurs in Spider-Man 2099. There is just so much happening in every issue. I always say the more the better. Why stick to one plot when you can have 5? The writing is solid here as well with a lot of interesting dialogue between the characters. The future world makes for a pretty unique backdrop as well. This future is definitely quite different from a lot of the others we’ve seen. It may be a bit on the corrupt side but it’s not nearly as crazy as some other timelines.

The art is solid. It’s got a very bold style so the panels really jump at you. The action scenes are solid and the comic as a whole is easy to read. The font is the right size and I definitely enjoyed this era of comic art. In general I’m not too hard to please in this area. So long as you’ve got striking colors and the proportions are right then I’d say you’re in pretty good shape. It’s important for a comic to have good art as well so you can just read it through.

Overall, It’s definitely fun seeing the 2099 era. During the crossover we see someone from 3999 which also looks interesting. I have a lot of questions on how the Goblin is the big force nowadays. I suppose if the heroes took him out they would have changed that world quite a bit. I already have questions for 2099 as it is like how all of the heroes got taken out of the picture. People still worship Thor and I presume he is alive somewhere in Asgard. With all of the comic events since then I doubt the 2099 timeline will ever come close to coming to pass in 616 but other Earths are fair game. The more possible futures the better because it’s fun to see how things could have been. If you’re up for a solid action/adventure title then I definitely recommend this one. The dynamic of having Miguel as the corporate leader now is bound to be fun and Venom’s definitely the biggest threat I’ve seen 2099 have to deal with.

Overall 7/10

Ready Player One Review


It’s time to look at a film that I remember hearing a lot about back in the day. It was certainly a big deal to see popular characters like Mecha Godzilla and Gundam showing up here. There are definitely a whole lot of cameos and it works really well give the film’s plot. This is almost like a crossover and it’s a movie that I suspect will age really well over the years. It’s just got everything that you could want here. A solid blend of action and mystery keep this film operating at peak levels throughout.

The movie starts off with Wade explaining that the world has pretty much fallen to ruin. Nothing is going well to the point where people have basically decided not to even try and fix the current state of society anymore. Instead they retreat to a virtual game known as the Oasis. It’s a fully comprehensive VRMMO where you can do or be just about anyone. It’s a way for everyone to live out their ideal lives. It’s a fun existence for Wade and occasionally he enters a big race alongside his friends to try and solve a mystery. See, the creator of Oasis died a while back but he left a recording that there is an Easter Egg in the game. Whoever manages to grab it will be rich and also have full access over modifying the game. Nobody’s ever been able to even clear the first race though. Wade has to hurry because corporate, led by Nolan is also after the egg. The hunt is on!

The trick to beating the first race is definitely pretty clever. I also feel like this is a reference in itself and fans of the original Metroid game should know what I’m talking about. It’s certainly not something you would really think to do on your own as it’s really specific. Aside from Wade’s friends Aech, Daito, ad Sho, he also meets a girl named Artemis. Artemis is a popular Twitch streamer and she has become rather famous. Artemis is after the Easter Egg as well and Wade’s friends advise him not to drop his guard around her. That could be tough for the lad though.

From the characters here, Wade is one of the weakest one. The film’s very good but Wade is a bit of an annoying lead. He makes every big mistake possible like giving away his real name. It definitely makes him look pretty naive, Aech had a great point that Wade really knows nothing about Artemis. To be so quick to give out his real information is incredibly dangerous. It’s also not a good idea when people can overhear the conversation and that naturally becomes an issue. Wade appears to be rather desperate for romance the whole time. He should have focused on just having fun in the game and clearing all of the levels.

Artemmis has a pretty big role in the story too of course. She definitely has more personal reasons for wanting to end things compared to Wade. She’s definitely a good character and I liked her more than Wade. I always appreciate the characters who have a real motivation for stopping the villain and she’s definitely got that. Then you have Aech who was a very loyal ally as well. Without him the heroes would have been doomed from the start. He’s got a lot of solid tech and is also great at repairing. His business is also smart since even if he zeroes out (loses all data) he will be able to climb up again rather quickly with people paying him for projects. Aech is definitely thinking further ahead than some of the other characters.

Daito and Sho don’t get to do a whole lot for most of the film but come in clutch near the end. In particular Daito did really good when up against Zandor in the real world. I was not expecting an actual fight scene outside of the VR so this stood out as a very solid scene. I was also surprised at how skilled Daito was in hand to hand combat. He definitely knows how to fight. While he was losing to Zandor 1 on 1, she was definitely older so all things considered he did well. Meanwhile Sho definitely did good in the game as well. Everyone got their key moments when it counted although in the end Daito was definitely the best character if you ask me.

Zandor’s role was a bit smaller than I expected but she looked good. Definitely the most useful villain for carrying out orders. At first I suspected she was Artemis but I suppose that twist was not in the cards. Then you have Nolan who is a very solid corporate villain. He talks a good game and has a lot of money to back him up. How can you not be impressed by a villain like that? His company is run rather well and he put himself in a good position to win in the end. I also like how he is basically used to poke fun at EA and all the micro transaction companies as he brought up those ideas while he was an intern at the vr company. I did feel like the main inventor was a little rude to him though. I guess he really didn’t want to consider making his game pay to win.

The soundtrack is definitely really good. We get a lot of classic songs here which are nostalgic. Even a remix of the Godzilla theme plays which was particularly intense. The film didn’t just limit the easter eggs to character appearances. Clearly music was on the table as well. I’ll also give the film props for the special effects. Everything looks really good and high end. You can definitely believe that this is a future society. Everything is sleek and new as it should be. I’m also still excited for the potential of a real game like this someday. I believe it’ll still be a very long time before we get anything like this but it’s nice to dream.

Overall, Ready Player One is a great movie. We have a solid cast of characters and good writing. The only part of the film that can be a bit shaky is the romance. Otherwise this is about as solid as you can get. If copyright wasn’t such a big thing it’d be nice to have a big war scene like this with the actual characters. I suspect this won’t be possible for a very long time but if it ever did happen that would definitely be awesome. It’s the kind of film that likely won’t get a sequel but it definitely contained everything you need within it in order to be a complete movie. I’d definitely recommend it.

Overall 8/10

Mad Monster Party? Review


It’s time to look at a comedic horror crossover featuring all of the big universal monsters from back in the day. I have to admit that at first I thought the premise was slightly different. See, it starts with an old man perfecting a serum that blows stuff up and then he invites everyone. So his goal would be to blow them all up right? The film doesn’t go in that direction but I think it could have been very interesting to see him trying to knock off all of them one by one. This is a fun enough movie although I do think it starts to drag on a bit. The premise doesn’t seem like it’s quite ready to handle a full length adventure and could have easily just been 40 minutes or so. I think that would have made the film better.

The movie starts off by showing us that Frankenstein has created a new serum that can blow anything up. He figures this is a pretty solid note to retire on so he invites all of the monsters to come and have a party with him. The thing is, not everyone is here just to have a good time. Dracula has his own plans in all of this. Meanwhile Frankenstein has invited his nephew Felix over to meet everyone. Felix is just an ordinary kid trying to live the good life but is excited to see his uncle after so long. Frankenstein asks Francesca to look after him during the trip but they end up getting quite close. Can Francesca get Felix off of this dangerous island before it’s too late or is it already over for them?

Naturally here a big part of the fun is in how oblivious Felix is to everything going on. The film leads off with a fun gag where the monsters scare the sailors quite a bit so they think Felix is a monster as well. It’s handled pretty well although I was surprised that Felix would then go on to miss a large chunk of the movie. It’s also pretty surreal to see all of the monsters just show up out of the blue. I think a film could actually be a lot of fun if it took this plot seriously and had an ensemble nature like this. It’s hard to picture nowadays since they want every character to have his own film but it could definitely be a blast.

The animation is your classic stop motion style from the creators of Rudolph so you either like the animation or you don’t. Personally I consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles. I’ll take flash or CGI over stop motion any day. That being said, I’ve seen a lot of stop motion films over the years and among those this one holds its own well enough I’d say. They definitely had to get a lot of different character designs to make it work so that’s pretty impressive. They even got unique character models for everyone at Felix’s ice cream shop and those guys don’t appear after the opening. I thought they made for a pretty fun group and I actually missed the store a bit. It was an effective way to introduce us to Felix.

As a character Felix is fun enough. He’s determined to do the right thing and is very polite. I do think his romance with Francesca is pretty rushed to say the least though. As for Francesca, she’s a pretty fun character. She can certainly fight which is always handy and she’s willing to make the tough calls like sacrificing herself to let Felix get away. In general the film has pretty strong writing so that translates pretty well to the characters. They’ve always got a lot of good burns and comebacks at the ready for every situation. In particular I think Frankenstein’s monster fans will be pleased at his portrayal. No, he doesn’t get any witty comebacks or things of that nature but his raw power is given a ton of respect. He’s shown to be far more powerful than Dracula after all. Only King Kong would likely be above him.

All of the characters get their time to shine even if some get bigger roles than others. For example, Dracula gets a big role while the Mummy rarely gets to do anything. The movie had to balance quite a few monsters though so I think it did a good job with what it had. I also still think the sheer amount of iconic characters was impressive. I’ll also give the movie some props for the ending. I thought it threw in a pretty good twist with some wrinkles to keep you guessing. The ending certainly wasn’t an expected one at the very least and makes you re-think the whole movie.

As mentioned earlier, my only problem with the film would be that it just lasted a little too long. I feel like it would lose focus mainly in the second half as the premise started to be played out. You can only make fun of the characters for so long before you need to do something more with the story. A good script can help you avoid that but even these characters had already started to use up all of the witty banter. It’s not something that would make me turn you away from checking out the film but certainly slows its momentum.

Overall, The Mad Monster Party is worth checking out. I always like a good crossover and this one certainly fits that bill. If I was the film one change I would make though would have been to add Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer since he’s so iconic. I know that he’s not a monster but that could have been part of the joke as everyone keeps referring to him as one anyway. There are always more characters you can add though so that’s a pretty minor point. So long as you want a fun film with a lot of good banter then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 6/10

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review


It’s time to look at a fun action RPG. This game was on my radar for a very long time even though I ultimately did not end up picking it out when the game first came out on the Wii U. I just ended up waiting until finally it came out for the Switch and I knew I needed to pick it up. Cut to my video game backlog going under 70 for the first time and to celebrate I got this game along with a few others. The game is definitely a blast and I always love playing a big RPG adventure like this one. It’s definitely a very fun game that is also quite difficult. Without the Bloom Palace and it’s super grinding areas I dare say that I could still be playing this game right now.

The game starts by introducing us to the mass disappearance event. A show was being conducted by two mega famous idols but then suddenly everyone vanished. Cut to 5 years later and people still don’t know what happened. Our main character Itsuki is waiting at the mall for his friend when he bumps into a childhood friend of his, Tsubasa. She is trying to be an idol herself and is pretty close in the auditions to finally hitting it big. Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy strikes. The director is actually being controlled by a mirage and kidnaps her. Itsuki heads in as well and ends up harnessing the power of the mirages to save her. He is bonded with Chrome and Tsubasa also gets a Mirage of her own. They find out that there is a larger war between humans and mirages at play right now and they all have a role in it. Can the heroes find out why everyone at the concert vanished 5 years ago and stop any future threats? In the meantime they also have to work hard because they now work for an actual Idol company so Tsubasa’s dream of being a professional is almost complete.

While this is partially a Fire Emblem game to the loosest extent, it’s totally a stand alone adventure. It’s also a very character driven game so the main story takes a backseat for the most part. Each chapter will have someone get possessed and then the heroes head in to save the victim from going over to the dark side. In the final chapter or two we find out about the real main villain and that starts the climax. In between each chapter is an intermission where you get some dancing instructions and it’s also a chance for you to hang out and complete some side quests. The story may not be the deepest, but it’s still pretty fun. I’m always up for seeing the Fire Emblem characters even if they’re basically just ghosts here.

The game also shines with how it throws in fully animated cutscenes at times. It’s pretty epic when the transitions happen. The normal cutscenes are also pretty solid though as they go for more of a cell shaded look. There are quite a few cutscenes here to be sure so this really feels like a AAA title. The soundtrack is also pretty good I’d say. There are a wide range of themes here and they all work rather well. One of the things I like about RPGs is they are long enough where you get to really know all of the characters and enjoy the wide range of activities in the world. There is a ton of replay value to enjoy here after all and the main campaign is over 20 hours long. If you don’t take advantage of the Bloom Palace then it’ll probably be even longer.

So the main gameplay is that of a classic turn based RPG. When it’s your turn you can choose to use one of your skills or an item. The game has an elemental system so some attacks will be super effective on different kinds of enemies. A pretty fun thing the game does is make those elements secret until you use an attack. So if it’s an enemy you haven’t fought before then all of his elemental resistances will show a question mark. Once you beat him then for all future occurrences you will see the strengths and weaknesses. It’s something that could work well in Pokemon if you ask me since it would give more reason to actually fill out the Pokedex.

You can use 3 characters in a party and when you use a super effective attack then the others can jump in and get an extra attack if they have an applicable skill. As you level characters up and gather materials you can also unlock passive abilities for the cast. These can be quite helpful. For example, there is one passive skill that allows every character in the back row to get a turn as well. What this ultimately means is that you can have 7 attacks in a single turn every turn. You can see how much of an advantage this would be right? Ultimately I only unlocked one of these skills before beating the game though. You need a high bond level to unlock them and that requires fighting with the character for a while or working on their side quests. You also need materials and since I did all of my grinding in the dungeon I didn’t really have almost any materials.

It’s actually something that caught up to me by the end of the game. I got all of my characters to level 99 but without materials it meant that my characters still had really weak weapons. Surprisingly those make such a difference that even being level 99 didn’t help to balance things back out. So if you do decide to train up there then be sure to still go in and fight some real minions. Those materials are absolutely essential and I can confirm that you will be really glad to have them on hand. I really love how in depth the complex the game goes with the mechanics though. Each of your weapons also have passive effects you can unlock which encourages you to fight with the sub weapons as well. Then you can use dust to increase your stats. There are a ton of ways to beat each boss so the strategy is entire up to you. Choose wisely.

The cast also isn’t bad although they’re fairly weak compared to most RPG titles. Itsuki for example is a reasonable main character, but he’s borderline an avatar character because the guy has no real character. He’s a nice guy who’s super humble and always does the right thing. That’s nice and all but he never really shows much personality. Tsubasa is also a fun heroine but shows a similar level of energy. Her thing is that she tends to mispronounce words. It’s a reasonably solid gimmick I’d say. The best character here is probably the rival who shows up a few times to get in your way. He’s definitely not someone to be trifled with.

Overall, Tokyo Mirages is a game that lived up to the hype. The story may not have been the greatest compared to other big RPGs, but I was still entertained the whole way through. The most important thing is the gameplay of course and that was definitely on point from start to finish. I’d certainly be up for a sequel at some point. I’ve definitely got more RPG titles to work on as well so I’ll be ready for another big adventure soon. In the meantime if you haven’t picked this game up yet then you should. Just don’t go in expecting a whole lot of Fire Emblem characters. They help a bit with the lore but that’s about it, no Roy or Ike or anything like that. If you remember your Fire Emblem elemental types for the weapons that should help you quite a bit with guessing what attacks to use off the bat though.

Overall 8/10

Dragon Quest Monsters+ Review


It’s time to look at my first ever Dragon Quest manga. Dragon Quest is a pretty huge franchise so it’s certainly nice to finally get a glimpse at it. I do own one or two of the games, but I haven’t had a chance to play them yet. The series always looks like a lot of fun with a colorful cast of characters and excellent gameplay. This one does a good job of getting in what appear to be the main mechanics while also introducing a lot of characters. Towards the end the series really starts to change gears before ending quite abruptly. I feel like it must have been cancelled.

The series starts by introducing us to Terry. He is the world’s greatest Monster Master which is effectively what they call heroes nowadays. He conquered evil and became the best, but one day he vanishes. His main monster was Slib who ended up staying behind. This takes us to our new main character, Kleo. Kleo lives in the human world and has always longed for adventure. Well, he gets his chance when a monster summons him to Dragon Quest world. He is quickly given the task of locating Terry and saving the dragon world. It won’t be easy but Kleo will find new monsters along the way and gain new strength. This will be key because if someone was actually able to defeat Terry then this won’t be an easy foe to take down.

First off I’ll say that what Dragon Quest really succeeds in is building a pretty big universe. The series is only 5 volumes long, but there’s a lot of content here. What the series takes advantage of is how big the overall franchise is. It borderline becomes a crossover by the end as you see characters from the various games show up to help. I mentioned earlier that the series changes gears and this is what I mean. At first it is all about Kleo and his quest on being a monster master, but this changes around volume 3. Then the focus shifts more to the old heroes as they fight an evil from the past. We see all of the old leads, get some big hand to hand fights, and it’s all pretty awesome. I gotta admit that I didn’t really miss Kleo at this point.

Kleo gets written out for quite a while but the other heroes handle the story so well that you barely notice. It also feels like a crossover when a hero teams up with Kleo. They may be from the same world but it feels like they’re on completely different dimensions with various rules of combat. If I could compare it to something it would be Tsubasa since that series mixes people from different realities. Had the series kept going then we could have really run with this concept a little more. It would have been a lot of fun, but as it stands at least these 5 volumes are quite memorable.

Unfortunately the series does slip a bit with the ending. There isn’t an ending. Now, I do like a good cliffhanger ending. I actually prefer for a series to end with a hype cliffhanger than to have everything wrapped up because this way there is always room for a sequel and you can rely on your headcanon to fill in the blanks. The problem here is that the ending is just a non ending which is different from a cliffhanger. There was a big rematch/battle that was hyped up all the way from the first volume and it never came to pass. The villain only appears for a panel or two at the end which really feels like a big shame. I can’t help but feel that something was supposed to happen but never did.

We get an epilogue what if story that has more time warps and alternate reality fighters running around, but it’s not nearly as satisfying. It’s similar to how in End Game the Avengers fight a different Thanos. It’s just not the same guy so it’s not as satisfying a victory. I wanted Kleo to have his proper fight and it just didn’t go that way. Perhaps this series will get a sequel some day although I don’t see that being too likely. You never really know I guess and that’s what you have to bank on.

The artwork is pretty solid. It’s got a nice DBZ effect and since some of the designs are made to be like Dragon Ball it works pretty well. The action scenes are on point and these guys feel pretty high tier towards the end. The larger spells are certainly a force to be reckoned with and the villains even get some super forms. You won’t have a problem blasting through the series as everything is pretty clear and never too cluttered.

Unfortunately the series does have a bit of fanservice randomly added in during the end. One character is always teasing Kleo but it never goes very far at all so I wouldn’t even count that. The only bit is naturally a hot springs scene was included and it’s a little more in depth than I would have expected. Fortunately that is really the only time it occurs but it was quite forced and didn’t need to actually occur in the series. Had we gotten more scenes like that then it would have definitely taken a higher toll on the series.

Now lets take a look at the characters. First up is Kleo who is basically your average kid. He’s always wanted to be a hero and now he has gotten his chance. He always wanted to fight monsters mano a mano but that’s just not the way that it works in this world. Gradually he understands how he is expected to fight here and does a pretty good job of it. I don’t expect he will leave a big impression on you but he’s not bad. Kleo does use more and more strategy by the end and his bonds with his monsters are why he is so powerful. I expect had the series gone on longer he would have gotten even better.

Then you have Slib who is never lacking in confidence. It’s a pretty rough road for him since he used to fight with Terry who was the champ so Kleo initially felt like a downgrade to him. Gradually they got used to each other though. While Slib may be a pretty proud monster, he always makes the right decision in the end. His training also made him even more powerful DBZ style as it even came with a humanoid super form. The banter between Kleo and Slib was always fun.

Then there is Terry who was my favorite character in the series although he lost a lot of ground after the big reveal in volume 2. Basically his mind wasn’t strong enough to stay on the light side and so he got persuaded to join the monsters. We never get to see a whole lot from his side so ideally there was more to it than that, but we’ll never really know. It just makes Terry look very weak. It’s not like he’s taking orders from anyone at least. Even by the end Terry seems like the strongest character in the series but I really would have liked for him to have stayed as the ultimate hero. Even if he was defeated it would have been a very powerful moment. The idea of the ultimate hero losing and a new generation having to step in is always a good one. I guess I can’t say that the series dropped the ball here since it’s the whole premise, but I think the series would have been even better had it not gone this route.

Laran is the main hero who appears for a good chunk of the series. There was actually a hero who appeared earlier and also had a good role, but Laran is the one who ends the series off. Interestingly they work under the old rules too so if they die then they re-spawn somewhere else. While that does lower the danger for them, they still don’t want to die because they they’re leaving the town defenseless. The heroes can never lower their guard and Laran ultimately has to team up with a lot of heroes to take down the final villain. I would have been cool with Laran being the main character for the whole series. There was a lot of potential here and he was just fun.

Maruma is a heroine who shows up later in the series. She was on the villain side, but never even really knew why she was. Maruma is eventually shown the light, but she can be a bit too trusting. Since she doesn’t do much until the final volume there isn’t a lot of time for her to get a role, but she’s solid. Maruma is the kind of character where the template is good and you more or less know how her character would go even if we didn’t see it. Her array of monsters was certainly impressive and one of the strongest groups we got to see.

Pazuzu and the Demon Lord were the two big monster villains. Both of them got sizable roles and definitely gave the heroes a run for their money. In the end Pazuzu was the most impressive one though. Like the various heroes Pazuzu was able to keep coming back to life over and over again which takes real skill. He went through a lot of super forms in order to keep testing the heroes limits and had a solid design. Now this was the kind of guy who could strike fear into the heroes and I’d expect no less from the series.


Overall, Dragon Quest Monsters+ is a pretty ambitious manga title. It feels like the big Dragon Quest crossover that I’ve been waiting for. With so many games it makes sense to have a crossover title like Fire Emblem Warriors. I believe Dragon Quest did get its own beat em up like that so now we have a crossover in the games as well as in the manga. Not to worry though, you can read this one with no prior knowledge of Dragon Quest and still understand what is happening. After all, that’s exactly what I did and it worked out quite well I must say. There are a lot of loose ends you’ll notice in the series like various monster hunters appearing and never getting to do much. I stand by my theory that the series was cancelled. Even though the ideas may not have finished being executed, it was still a really solid ride and I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 Doomed Review


Time for some more team ups with the good ole Mystery Inc and some more DC heroes. The series has done a good job of grabbing so many DC characters. We’re 7 volumes in and still seeing new fighters. While you may be skeptical as to how the Mystery Inc will actually be of help, typically they are really here as distractions. Think of them as extra shields to buy the heroes an extra second. Usually that’s all the extra time that the hero needs.

One of the stories has the heroes head to the swamp where they meet up with another one of Shaggy’s relatives. They’re here to look into the Voodoo Woman so they can put the swamp at ease. They have to stop her meddling, but unfortunately she already has a whole bunch of zombies at her beck and call. The only being who can really help them out of this dilemma is the legendary Swamp Thing, but will he really be able to defend against such a powerful villain? Interestingly this comic also squeezes in Solomon Grundy towards the end although he is definitely way out of his league this time. Typically I would actually pick him to win, but in this comic Swamp Thing had the edge from start to finish. There was never any doubt as to how this would end.

It’s a pretty nice comic. It’s always good to see Swamp Thing getting some time to shine after all. The comic also poked fun as how the heroes have also defeated Swampthing in another issue. The space in between the words is the key to really knowing who you are dealing with. This is an example of an issue where the Scooby gang doesn’t really get to do much though. Mostly they just run away from the Voodoo Woman a lot or they’re in awe of how strong Swamp Thing is.

Another comic features the Doom Patrol and this was actually my favorite issue of the bunch. The team is bickering as usual, but the strange part is there enemy seems to keep changing form. At one point a whole group of enemies show up, but they all seem to be ghosts. This is a case for the Scooby Doo gang. There’s definitely a trick involved and they’ll have to figure it out fast. The Doom Patrol was always a fun X-Men sort of group but with a lot more in-fighting. I also like how their leader has a lot of weapons ready inside of his wheelchair. Honestly it’s just the smart thing to do when you’re the leader of a super hero team. This way at least you can defend yourself right? This story has so much action it feels like a real Doom Patrol story with the Scooby Doo gang just guest starring in it. It’s handled really well.

Another story featured Supergirl as she called the gang in to help her deal with the ghosts of her parents. She was quite serious too as she even told them her secret identity which was a bold move. The heroes know something is wrong because the parents keep calling her Supergirl rather than Kara or her kryptonian name. That seems like a scam and of course the heroes are right. I would have liked a more powerful Supergirl villain to have been the main villain here, but it does help reinforce the mystery element of the issue. Supergirl could have looked better here as she spends most of the issue getting outsmarted, but she did call in the crew to handle the mysteries so in a way she won the fight before it even started.

There’s a subplot with her cat and Scooby not getting along, but it doesn’t hold up as well as the main one. The cat is just annoying and Scooby really isn’t much better so they both end up being guilty in this one. The whole temporary superpowers for a few minutes thing is pretty fun even if the time range isn’t nearly long enough to be all that useful. By the time you are really getting into a rhythm you would be taken down for the count.

In our next adventure we’ve got the return of the Blue Falcon. The issue here is that he has been acting awfully shady the last few days. His dog sidekick asks the Mystery Inc for help on figuring out just what is going wrong. Unfortunately they all fall for one of those classic net traps and find out that the real Blue Falcon was actually taken down by one of his old cronies who is now impersonating him. Can the heroes stop this guy or is it already too late? It goes without saying that Blue Falcon doesn’t look good here. He went down off screen and apparently he is so nondescript that someone can easily change places with him and nobody can tell the difference. He’s clearly got a ways to go before he is known as one of the big leaguers. It’s a good comic, but a little less eventful than some of the others. It was nice to see the characters constantly taking shots at him by saying that he was copying Batman though.

My least favorite issue was the one with all of the apes. Basically it’s an ensemble cast with a bunch of DC monkey themed characters. It’s a pretty impressive bunch as they even got some I didn’t recognize like the guy in a cage who can switch minds with an ape. What hurts this one is that I don’t even like a lot of them. Gorilla Grodd and Detective Chimp just aren’t my cup of tea. I also have to question why the Mystery Inc was really called in. They try explaining that it’s because one of the gorillas is a vampire Nazi so that’s like a ghost, but is it really? If I were the mystery inc I would still be questioning that. This is way out of their power levels. Still a good issue, but it wasn’t quite as strong as the others. Also the ending doesn’t really make sense.

So as I mentioned the main guy can switch minds with a gorilla and it is through his amulet/ring of sorts. He somehow manages to switch places with Titano at one point, but how? Unless his powers work differently than how I had interpreted them he would have needed to get the ring on the other ape and I just don’t see how he could have had time to do that. It would have been too difficult and he was out of range. That part just stuck out at me and I read it twice, but still couldn’t put that chain of events together.

In the next story the heroes are confronted with a bunch of powerful spirits. Dr. Fate sends them to the past so the heroes can find a way to deal with them, but it means that they will have to survive some world war II adventures as they try to find the answers. This means that the old school version of the Justice League shows up. Green Lantern’s weakness to wood is still a huge liability to deal with but the others manage to pick up the slack. The solution to stopping the demons ends up being incredibly simple, but I suppose that’s why it was hard to note it. This was definitely one of the strongest stories. It was nice seeing all of the heroes and everyone got to contribute in some way or form.

Finally we have a team up with Penelope Pitstop. I’m not familiar with her character but her gimmick seems to be that she gets kidnapped a lot. As a result there are a bunch of mini mobsters who look after her as well as a real estate agent of sorts. The Mystery Inc are called in to help her as well but with this many bodyguards nobody is sure who should take point so there is a lot of in-fighting. The Mystery Inc needs to figure out who is planning to kidnap Penelope before it is too late. The clock is ticking.

This is definitely the most mystery focused out of all the stories and I dare say that the Mystery Inc is at their best here. They get to do some old fashioned detective work here and they aren’t out shadowed by the other heroes. This time they can actually hold their own since they are in their own element and it ends up working out quite well for them. Penelope is definitely the most obscure of the characters we’ve seen, but in some ways that helps with the mystery since I wasn’t as familiar with her supporting cast. I definitely won’t be forgetting this adventure anytime soon though so it’ll be fun to see if she appears somewhere else in the near future.

As always the artwork here is pretty solid. The characters all look like themselves and the fights can take themselves seriously when necessary. The colors pop out and it’s clear that the artist was putting a lot of effort into the drawings. It just looks really good and it manages to be colorful/vibrant while keeping the serious tone for the heroes’ side of things. I’ve definitely got to give the comic a thumbs up here.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 is yet another strong installment in the series. By this point you should definitely know if you’ll like it or not. It’s a steady formula that the series has going on in these adventures and it’s one that works quite well. The Mystery Inc are here for the humor as they get chased and one upped by all of the villains while the DC Heroes come in with a lot of confidence and save the day. That’s exactly how it should be and this works out quite well. The art is good as always so these volumes just go by in a flash. I look forward to seeing who the heroes get to team up with next.

Overall 7/10

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Review


It’s time to look at the big Power Rangers crossover game for the PS4. This one seems to have a similar plot to the Shattered Grid comics so I wonder if it’s an adaption of sorts. Either way as someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about Power Rangers except the fact that it’s an awesome franchise, it was a blast getting to play this title. The gameplay is top notch and the story is exciting. The series manages to capture a lot of energy in every scene and really ends up being a total success.

The game starts with Drakken showing up and murdering Rita. He then decides to wipe out all of the Power Rangers from the various timelines so he can steal their Morphers and take the power for himself. With all of these abilities he will be the strongest ranger of all time and that will put him in a good position to rule the universe. The original Power Rangers are going to have to put a stop to this but they can’t do it on their own. As such they call in the other Rangers and now a battle for the multiverse has begun.

It’s been a long time since I got to play a classic Arcade story like this and it feels good. The last time was probably Street Fighter V. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just jump into the next fight rather than running around a hub world. This game takes you from fight to cutscene back to more fights. It does make for a rather short story, but a satisfying one nonetheless. The crucial parts you need to have with a story like this is a solid group of characters and exciting music to amp you up for each fight. Power Rangers delivers here.

The soundtrack is top notch. It’s a rather small array of themes, but each one will boost your adrenaline and get you ready for action. Then you’ve got the graphics which are nice and very flashy. Everything looks good both in the actual gameplay and for the illustration cutscenes. I feel like there was a pretty good budget behind this game and the developers effort paid off.

As for the actual gameplay, it’s basically a 3 on 3 Capcom vs style. You can utilize combos with all 3 characters or you can focus with one at a time. Sometimes it is handy to just do the 1 at a time approach because if you summon another character to help at the wrong time your opponent may end up blasting both of you at once. That’ll never happen if you stick to just one character, but typically the positives outweigh the negatives in using the full team. I also recommend going through the tutorial mode because button mashing may not cut it here.

The story mode is actually a little more difficult than the average fighting game as the computers show some actual intelligence. They won’t just walk into all of your hits, you’ll have to try to actually outmaneuver them. I actually did lose once against the final boss and that’s considering that I studied the combos in the tutorial mode and practiced a bunch of them. You’ll also want to do this so you can summon the Megazord. Fighting games in general are more fun when you know what you’re doing so you should just do it. Trust me, you won’t regret it! The tutorial only takes a few minutes so it’s worth doing.

Each character has a unique set of moves so you’ll want to play them all to see who your favorite character is. I got to play as most of the characters through the story and by far my favorite character was Jason. He can be a bit cheesy since he has some of the strongest moves as well as a lot of projectiles. Using him I was able to quickly get to Gold III rank online which felt pretty impressive. It’s just hard to beat those combos and then other characters have some pseudo infinite combos. If your opponent doesn’t know how to stop you from grabbing you can keep on doing that over and over until they lose. Once they’re in a corner there aren’t many options to escape the grab. It’s the kind of game where you can get very good very quickly, but watch out as there is always someone even better out there.

As I mentioned the story is short, but there is still a good amount of replay value here. This is a fighting game after all so you can go online and try out a bunch of matches. There are seasons that shuffle every few weeks/months so it never really has to end. The game is quite new so I don’t imagine that the players would leave too soon. That means you’ll have a lot of time to really practice your skills. You can also work on unlocking all of the titles by playing a lot of Arcade modes and trying each character out a bunch. I guess the bottom line here is that there is enough content to satisfy you as long as you play online. If you only do offline then you’d probably want to wait until the game is 20-30.

Overall, Battle For The Grid is a really fun game. It’s a nostalgic title in some ways as it’ll remind you of the old school fighting games. This one isn’t trying to re-invent the genre, it’s just got very strong fundamentals. When you pick the game up you instantly know what all of the modes are and where you want to go next. The main menu is very straight forward and the interface is super clean. It’s just a very well made game and one that serves as a great introduction to the Power Rangers series. I know it definitely helped remind me what a great franchise it can be. If you don’t have this game yet then you need to check it out. It’s one of the sleeper hits of 2019.

Overall 8/10

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Teen Titans Go! movie. This one brings back the classic Teen Titans for a quick crossover event. While the film doesn’t manage to be quite as fun as the first Titans Go movie it’s definitely still a quality film in its own right. You’ve got action, comedy, and a final boss. What else would you even need right? One thing to watch out for is the opening credits makes the interesting decision of spoiling the entire film. It literally goes section by section from start to finish and shows all of the big scenes. It’s a very odd choice.

The movie starts off by showing us that the Teen Titans have still got it as they beat the Gentleman Ghost. People may doubt their abilities, but they shouldn’t because these kids are the real deal. Things get a little hectic when a portal appears and they’re all kidnapped. It turns out that the Master of Games is kidnapping Teen Titans from various universes to make them fight. The Go Titans are eager to start the battle while the modern ones just want to find a way to save their world. It looks like both of them may have to team up, but can the two groups possibly learn to work with each other in time?

Going forward I’m going to call the original Titans the Gen 1 crew and the others will just be referred to normally since they are the main characters here. The Titans act about as well as you’d expect them to. They’re still treated like comic relief because even they acknowledge that they aren’t serious the way that the Gen 1 guys are. They can’t help but constantly be at the center of the gags. The only one who tries to be serious is Robin and even then he is constantly overshadowed by his Gen 1 version. I’ll give him points for effort though and he’s the only Titan who really understands the gravity of the situation. He needs the portal device and he needed a win to secure the team’s confidence. It’s just a shame that he isn’t able to fight quite as well as the others. The other Titans are all on point except for the fact that Starfire was not taking this seriously enough. None of them were all that serious, but at least they tried in the tournament. Starfire was too busy trying to make friends to do much of anything which was disappointing.

As for the Gen 1 crew, it was fun to see them again. Robin and Raven probably get the most to do here. Raven has a lot of experience with the demonic realm so she coaches the kid version on this. Meanwhile Robin is ready to lead the team and he definitely does not like the baby titans. He’s constantly belittling them and when they don’t listen to reason he is quick to put them down. Gen 1 Robin certainly enjoys being the leader and makes sure to stretch things out when possible. After all this is his chance to lead two different teams to victory so you can bet that he is going to milk this as much as he can. It’s just an opportunity that he cannot miss.

The movie moves pretty quickly through the different phases to the climax so it never drags on. I didn’t feel like any of the humor was all that bad either. I would consider this to be one of the stronger Teen Titans Go episodes if it was on TV. The return of Santa Claus was also a lot of fun. It’s always great to see him as an antagonist and he is one of their tougher opponents. Of course taking on a group this large would be difficult even for the greatest of villains.

Then we’ve got more crossover appeal towards the end of the film. If you managed not to see who was included already then I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say it’s a pretty solid lineup. I would have liked to have seen them all a little more to be honest, but what we got was pretty neat. Imagine if the whole film was the tournament though and we got to see a lot of different verses duke it out. That would have been really cool and then this probably would have beaten the original film. The animation here does look pretty good, but more standard than the first movie. The colors are a little brighter and there is extra detail either way. There’s no super catchy theme like we got in the first film, but I guess it’s hard for Lightning to strike twice.

Where the film really shines is in how absurd the whole thing is. The Go characters are in full parody mode and they just don’t care what the Gen 1 group thinks. They’re here to have fun and nobody’s going to stop them. That straight forward goal really keeps the film going and it’s why you don’t even need the crossover aspect for this to be a success. The group can hold their own as is. If anything I’m just glad that the Gen 1 group weren’t too obnoxious in trying to question the Go characters at every turn. They quickly learned that the Go characters weren’t going to change and just rolled with it.

Overall, Teen Titans Go vs Teen Titans is a fun film. While it’s a versus title there isn’t a lot of action between the two teams. A good chunk of the action scene is just comedy, but to an extent that is to be expected with these guys. It’s probably the only vs title I would give a pass to because of that. Whether you’ll enjoy this film or not is completely dependent on whether or not you enjoy the Go series. If you like the TV show then you’ll like the film and if you don’t like the show then the movie won’t be for you. This basically feels like an extended few episodes and it’s really a movie for the fans. It brings all the best qualities of the show together.

Overall 7/10