Archive for September, 2015

Abomination

Posted: September 30, 2015 in Books, Dark Age, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

24762706

ENGLAND, 888 A.D.

As King Alfred the Great struggles to defend his realm from hordes of Viking invaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury stumbles upon an ancient secret — dark magic that could turn the tide of the war in England’s favor. But when exposure to the magic corrupts the Archbishop, Alfred commands his greatest Knight, Sir Wulfric, to hunt the mad priest down. For the battle-weary Wulfric it is one final campaign, and one that will bring with it consequences far more terrible than he could ever imagine…

Abomination is an exceptionally well-paced, action filled “monster movie” of a historical fiction novel.  From the outset the pacing and the characters are superb.  The prelude itself feels like a novella in its own right, rather than a feeble bit of plot establishment – and this really pays off, as the story suddenly heads in a totally different direction from what you’re expecting.  I was expecting it to centre around Wulfric travelling the land, dispatching the evil monsters of the Archbishop’s creation…but what I actually got was something very different indeed.

Wulfric_Indra_Final

Wulfric – the central character – is especially sympathetic, and it’s not hard to feel for him through out all of his struggles. He has victories and failures, and suffers many moral quandries along the way – resulting in a very interesting and somewhat bizarre permutation of the “Heroes Journey” trope.  Indra, another Abomination hunter, is a character that that it’s also impossible not to like.  She’s the plucky young heroine, and she kicks as much arse as you’d expect.

Abomination is great at riding the monster movie, horror and fantasy tropes without every slipping into cliche.  You get the comfort of being on familiar territory, but at the same time, you don’t ever groan at the trappings of the genre.  It’s a really great compromise that just makes the whole thing very enjoyable to read.

abomination-banner-artl

The monsters – the titular “abominations” – are superb, and Whitta’s descriptive writing makes them come alive like Stan Winston creatures in your mind – certainly reminiscent of his work on John Carpenter’s The Thing.  The teeth, the cartilage, the stabbing and slashing…all great stuff.  The blood and gore is strong, but again, he’s very careful not to stray into splatterpunk cliche.

All in all, Abomination is highly enjoyable.  It pays off in a good, dramatic ending, and the potential for more to follow – but at the same time conclusive.  A really fun exciting read.

This weekend saw me taking part in a special Heroclix game, aimed at raising money for Cancer Research UK. Around the table I was joined by (amongst others), Suppressing Fire’s own Joe Crouch and Ian Harmer, and Emotionally Fourteen‘s Ömer Ibrahim and Rob Wade.

The scenario was designed by Ian, and saw us all teaming up to take down Team Ravenloft, before taking each other on in an elimination match.

A lot of fun was had by all parties. I managed to snatch a few photos, which I figured I’d share with you all.

My Black Bolt and Joe’s Black Widow and Winter Soldier find themselves attacked by Ian’s Iron Nail.


Our buddy Paul just fielded one guy, because when you’re Hank Pym, you don’t always need backup.


Ömer and his partner, Charlotte, fielded a joint team of Spider-Men and Women. Here they are about to tackle my Hulk, which – surprisingly – actually worked for them.


Black Bolt and Giant Man. This is going to get bloody.


Winter Soldier and Union Jack (remember Joe was a fan of his?) tackle the Fenris Wolf.

 Rob’s Flash was a superb player in the game, and it was a very close run thing between him and Joe’s SHIELD team. Ultimately, though, Joe was the victor, and walked away with two prizes: a Con Exclusive Dark Knight and a very nice large Apocalypse figure.

Altogether, we raised £96 for Cancer Research, and had a great game to boot!

Following on from our unboxing video of the new Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. set for Heroclix, we decided to take them out for a quick spin – by which we mean a 600 point a side battle.  All of the models were from the new series, with the exception of Ian’s Crossbones, who was added into the mix, because Crossbones is great.  So, Ian fielded 600 points of Hydra, while Joe and Brad fielded 300 points of S.H.I.E.L.D. each.

IMG_2940[1]

Joe’s force consisted of Maria Hill, Spider-Woman, Union Jack, and a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

IMG_2944[1]

Brad fielded Nick Fury, Nick Fury Jr., Dum Dum Dugan, Skye, and Agent May.

IMG_2945[1]

Ian’s force consisted of Crossbones, Madame Hydra, Blackwing, Viper, Baron Blood, Agent Ward, and some associated Hydra goons.

IMG_2949[1]

For the map, we hooked up two of the Guardians of the Galaxy maps to create a larger playing area.

IMG_2953[1]

Alerted by the appearance of Hydra forces in the area, Maria Hill’s team enters from one side…

IMG_2954[1]

…while Fury’s team move in from the other.

IMG_2955[1]

The Hydra forces, spearheaded by Crossbones storm into the area.

IMG_2956[1]

Maria Hill’s team storm straight toward the enemy…

IMG_3025[1]

…while May and Skye duck into a nearby building, and “Dum Dum” Dugan presses his back to wall, waiting for the Hydra forces to get nearer.

IMG_3024[1]

The Hydra forces, however, decide to split into three fronts.  Blackwing heads towards Fury’s team, Baron Blood towards Hill’s, and Crossbones and his Hydra goons head down the middle, in order to give his minigun a good field of fire.

IMG_2966[1]

IMG_3026[1]

Spider-Woman takes a shot at Baron Blood, but his Super Senses allow him to flip out of the way without taking any damage.  Meanwhile, Fury and Fury Jr join Dugan in his ambush position.

IMG_3027[1]

Baron Blood swoops in and knocks Spider-Woman out cold with a deadly Blades, Claws and Fangs hit!  Blackwing heads towards Fury and Dugan, while Madame Hydra and her bodyguard survey the battlefield.

IMG_2975[1]

Fury and Dugan duck and cover into a nearby building, while Agent May stands ready to fight Blackwing.

IMG_2977[1]

The Hydra forces seem to have a dominant position at the moment, but can they face up to the strong characters of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Howling Commandos?

IMG_3028[1]

In a flash, the battle is begun.  Crossbones lays down some suppressing fire, Union Jack charges into combat with Baron Blood, and Dum Dum Dugan and Agent May open fire on Blackwing and Viper.

IMG_2981[1]

IMG_2986[1]

IMG_2989[1]

IMG_2990[1]

With that many bullets flying around, it’s not long before someone goes down…and unfortunately it’s Nick Fury Jr!  Shortly afterwards, one of Hill’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agents takes out one of Crossbones’ bodyguards.

IMG_3029[1]

Crossbones peppers the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with some rounds from him minigun, while Viper charges into hand-to-hand combat with Dum Dum Dugan.

IMG_3004[1]

Union Jack manages to land the knockout blow on Baron Blood, and the West Ham supporting vampire crumples to the floor.

IMG_3007[1]

Nick Fury manages to take out Viper (and her Futurama brain slug) with a lucky shot…but has he noticed the Deltite LMD sneaking up through the rear of the building?

IMG_3030[1]

Crossbones manages to take down both a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Union Jack in quick succession.

IMG_3031[1]

And two more Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Skye and Agent May) fall in rapid succession.

IMG_3015[1]

Fury manages to dispatch the Deltite LMD, but Madame Hydra has managed to close in on Dum Dum Duggan!

IMG_3032[1]

Finally in rapid succession (not helped by terrible rolls from Joe and Brad), Duggan, Hill and Fury all fall in rapid succession, rendering the battle and undisputed victory for Hydra!

Welcome to the first episode of Brick Fury in which Joe, Brad and Ian spend some time taking a look at the new Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series for Wizkids’ highly successful Heroclix system.

Will they get a Hulkbuster? Will Joe be able to explain exactly why he likes Union Jack? Will Ian recruit some monsters for the dominant force known only as Team Ravenloft? Let’s find out!

Check out http://www.suppressing-fire.com and http://www.facebook.com/suppressingfireofficial for more news on Heroclix and other gaming systems!