Tag: Marvel Heroines

Outlaw: Relentless

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Outlaw: Relentless by Tristan Palmgren published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

Also I won’t lie, I have looked at other reviews to see what others think, so there may be some influences from them in this book review. If I am going to quote them, I will attribute them. But if I forget to, or something is highly influenced by them, and you think I ought to attribute someone, let me know so that I can.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Marvel Heroines series focuses on the female hero’s of the Marvel universe, Tristan wrote the first book in the series, Domino Strays, which I really enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this book.

The Story

This is not an origin story, this picks up very much in the middle of The Hotshots, the posse lead by Domino being a thing, and begins with them doing a job for Tony Stark, by seizing an AIM freighter headed for Boston.

When the job goes south, Inez Temple, AKA Outlaw finds herself taking the blame, and starts wondering if she is losing her mind and her health as she feels run down and seems to be missing parts of her time.

She has always counted on her wits to survive, but now feels like she is being robbed of it. Taking a journey back home to Texas, via the Xavier Institute, she has to face her past to find out why she seems to be losing herself.

Look I don’t want to go too much into the story, because frankly, I don’t want to spoil it for you, and much more would spoil it.

The story draws a lot from Outlaws limited history within the comics, which despite her being only a very recent addition to the comics, is still quite rich.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything as everything you need to know is explained in the story, its very good, in the way it portrays the background you need as almost wandering thoughts within Outlaws mind as she tries to make sense of what’s going on.

Conclusion

I can’t lie, The Hotshots is one of my favourite super teams, there are kickass women, who despite having very different background and abilities, actually get on very well, a real sisterhood. This novel is set slightly before that really clicks into place and there is still a bit of tension between the original members of Dominos Posse, and the newer recruits, but by the end, they are well on their way to being that tightknit team.

This story is full of action, but at the same time is quite introspective, there is a lot of time alone, that Outlaw has to think about the journey that lead her to where she is now. The way it sort of beats around her fear that she may be developing a form of dementia is actually really emotional.

The book contains links to some of the other Aconyte Marvel novels, which I loved, although one of them I haven’t yet read, but I can see myself buying it.

I am not sure what else to say, this book is super enjoyable and I literally devoured it in two sittings.

Absolutely a 5 out of 5 stars from me, and I really hope Tristan does more Hotshots novels.


The eBook is out now and the paperback hits the shelves on 11th November.


Elsa Bloodstone: Bequest

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Elsa Bloodstone: Bequest by Cath Lauria, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let this cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Marvel Heroines series focuses on the female hero’s of the Marvel universe, the first two books in the series, Domino Strays and Rogue Untouched were extremly good, so I was looking forward to this.

The Story

So I think its best to introduce Elsa Bloodstrone first, she is a monster hunting heroine introduced to the Marvel universe by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. She is the daughter of Ulysses Bloodstone and follows in his footsteps of protecting the world from vampires, demons and monsters. Very much a Buffy type character.

She is British, loves her tea and doesn’t take s**t from anyone, and likes to keep people at a distance, but all that changes when a woman turns up on her doorstep claiming to be her half sister who has had her Bloodstone shard stolen, the Bloodstone being what grands Elsa her powers of superhuman strength, healing and endurance.

The core of this story is less so the adventure they are on, but the relationship between Elsa and Mihaela as they travel across thje world, investigating Ulysses old bases of operation to ensure he hasn’t left anymore Bloodstone shards lying around, lest what could happen if they ended up in the hands of evil doers.

We start off being very distrust of Mihaela, who lacks the same strength and attitude as Elsa and its very much an odd couple kind of relationship, with them constantly at each others throats, in more ways than one!

Mihaelas comments about Elsas attitude and recklessness are meet with very witty, sarcastic and snarky comebacks, even in the middle of a battle. Lauria does an excellent job of getting into Elsas head, we slowly get to see more and more about why she prefers to work alone and more about why she doesn’t want her sister in her life.

Conclusion

This book is really really good, and its refreshing to get a good book about one of Marvels lesser known heroes, and I really hope that Lauria is allowed to continue this storyline as the conclusion sets up some cool possibilities.

The backstory for Elsa and Mihaela is explored very well, so if you have never heard about Elsa before, then you will have no issues enjoying this book.

Overall its a fantastic pulpy adventure with cameos by a couple of other heroes on the trek around the world and a rather cool twist that turns everything around very nicely.

This is a brilliant book, full of background, but done in such a way as to not overwhelm and crammed full of comic book style action.

Solid 5 out of 5 stars from me!

The eBook is released on the 4th May and the paperback hits the shelves on 22nd July.


Rogue Untouched

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Rogue Untouched by Alisa Kwitney, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

Also I won’t lie, I have looked at other reviews to see what others think, so there may be some influences from them in this book review. If I am going to quote them, I will attribute them. But if I forget to, or something is highly influenced by them, and you think I ought to attribute someone, let me know so that I can.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Marvel Heroines series focuses on the female hero’s of the Marvel universe, the first book in the series was Domino Strays, which I really enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this book.

The Story

This is an origin story for our favourite power absorbing mutant Anne Marie also known as Rogue, and this is firmly set in the Aconyte-618 Earth, so its been able to abandon many of the fine details about Rogues 616 backstory and reimagine it in a slightly more modern and interesting way.

The character of Rogue has been depicted very differently in the many media forms in which she has appeared outside the comics, with only the 90s Cartoon being close to it. In the movies, she was basically Kitty Pryde, but fit into that story they were making.

Here in this novel she is probably a mixture of the comics, cartoon and movies, to form a well developed character, who when we meet her, has no idea that she is even a mutant, and is subsisting as a waitress in a diner. That is until she encounters a handsome Cajun gambler, who brings her into a whole new world.

In this book, Rogue is a character who is unsure of herself, having put her high school boyfriend into a coma, she is just trying to get out of her small town so that she can go to university and study psychology. We get to see her interactions with her friend, neighbours, boss and overly religious aunt, which really does give us a great background for the character.

The story is told in a first person persepective and we really do get to know Rogue, better than I think we ever have before, especially in this early part of her life. We do see the internal trauma she has from the earliest manifestations of her powers, but I do feel like this is kinda put aside in place of more focus on the self-doubt, but another reviewer (Katie Clark) pointed out that having the trauma happen before the events of the novel, allowed us to see her become a more empowered woman, which I agree with.

Conclusion

This book is a very enjoyable read, although parts of the conclusion felt a little bit rushed, and I did like that as well as well known mutants like Pyro and Toad being featured, we also had lesser known ones like Zeitgeist and Nature Girl, and even some mutants who I am not at all familiar with, one of who I think was created for this story.

The Characters are super three-dimensional, there is no wasted characters here, and even those with bit parts feel a lot more fleshed out than I would have expected them to be.

Also the little reference to The 10th Kingdom, made me smile as I thought that was an awesome mini-series.

I think this book deserves a solid 4.5 stars out of 5, and I only knock it down a touch because the ending felt a little rushed and I think another chapter or two would have been appreciated.

There is also nice room in there for sequels, and I really hope that there are some.

The eBook is released on the 4th May and the paperback hits the shelves on 10th June.


Domino Strays

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Domino Strays by Tristan Palmgren published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

So lets get in to it, the book as the title suggests concentrates on Domino, the mutant whose power is luck, if you are familiar with the comics, this is set in the current timeline with her being the leader of the Hotshots and contains the rest of the team in supporting roles. If you are less familiar, she was played wonderfully by Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2.

The story revolves around the Hotshots infiltrating the compound of a cult leader in Chicago to save her clients two children. It skips between three different time periods, giving us the reasons why Domino hates the idea of people being held in cages, and why she has a particular thing for crazy zealots.

Its told from a second person point of view with Domino telling the reader the story, given how closely Domino is associated with Deadpool, I think it would have been very easy for this to go down the route of breaking the fourth wall, but I think this works way better, because they didn’t do that. Honestly it feels like we are holed up in some seedy bar as Domino relates the story to us over drinks.

You get a fantastic inside look at the Hotshots, how they work and the relationship dynamic between them, especially between the closest three of them, those being Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw.

My favourite parts of the story were those that covered Dominos infiltration of the Project Armageddon compound in the Everglades and those about her childhood in a church orphanage. The present days story for me was more of a device to tie it all together, and it was really good at that.

Another positive was that they didn’t overly play on her superpower, she rarely relied on it, and as she points out, its not something that makes her invulnerable and isn’t very cinematic, she has to rely on honed skills and experience, only relying on her superpower when she absolutely needs to.

The only real issue I have with the story is the footnotes, which are in themselves great, but they are all at the end of the chapters, which are in themselves, not that long, but its a pain to have to keep flipping through to make sure you read them when you are supposed to. I would much rather they be at the end of the page they belong with, but I wonder if this is a limitation of the ePub format.

I was a big fan of the Domino: Hotshots series by Gail Simone and this was a fantastic deep dive into that team. You don’t need to have any background in the characters as the book does a great job of giving you all the background you need, but in a natural very easy flowing way. The dynamic between the team was just perfect, with the characters balancing each other out just like they do in the comics. The relationship between the core of Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw, with the other members was just perfect, especially with Atlas Bear, who is only reluctantly a member of the team.

Footnotes aside, this is a very good read and given that the characters are very much Marvel B-List characters (Other than Black Widow), means that its accessible to those who only really know Marvel from the MCU.

In short you have a great book looking at one of Marvels more interesting characters and its really enjoyable.

Domino Strays is going to be released on October 6th.

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