GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ I Smell Sheep: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011


Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist/Cover: Marc Silvestri


Hulk and Banner have seperated once more and Hulk in an effort to find peace has found some form of solace in the caverns of the Subhuman population inhabited by the Mole Man's people. Hulk just wants to be left alone, but as usual he never is.


Jason Aaron has big shoes to fill taking over from Greg Pak, arguably the best Hulk writer since Peter David penned the Green Goliath nearly a decade ago. Pak's Planet Hulk and World War Hulk rejuvenated the character and made him a palpable menace again as well as a solid part of the Marvel universe, with a character evolution that had not properly been explored since David's heyday at the titles peak in the early 90's. And right from the beginning I was dubious of Aaron's coming on board. Early interviews revealed his decision to split Banner from the Hulk once more (albeit this time at the behest of the Hulk) was a dance that had been done before, in fact repeatedly over the years and it was seriously old. So what else new did the writer have to bring to the title?

Character-wise the Hulk has stayed similar to Pak's interpretation. He's brooding and dangerous; less the man child that he's often been portrayed as over the years, this Hulk is self aware and dangerously so. The opening monolgue gives Aaron the chance to shine in his dialogue but it's the plot where he falls down and this book nose dives. The same old tropes begin to appear and we're suddenly faced with a title relaunch that's giving us absolutely nothing new.

I was initially excited by the addition of 90's superstar artist Marc Silvestri, an Image Founder and the head honcho at Top Cow, but for all his detailed line work his action seems to lack the raw power it's aiming for and seems instead drowned out and overlaid by the colours. While Silvestri captures the characters well, he falls down badly when it comes to the 'SMASH' element that is integral to any Hulk title, and the foreboding cover never seems to deliver the expectations it sets on the insides.

And speaking of the 'SMASH' element: Hulk fights giant monsters, Giant Robots and just generally giant things that prove he's still the strongest one there is. This again highlights the books lack of originality, for while you could forgive these things as elemental to Hulk, whats harder to forgive is the pale characterisation and the slimly defined motivations (although these are hopefully going to be highlighted in later issues) that leave the cast almost palying stereotypes of themselves. This Hulk is just nothing new. Similar to Pak but not as daring, aiming for the psyhoanalysis of David of Bruce Jones but with nothing new to offer this feels more like John Byrnes tired and incredibly lacklustre relaunch in the late 90's than it does a suitable follow up to Pak.

Part of me thinks that Aaron, one of the most promising new writers of the last few years is spreading himself too thin, and is stuck writing new directions for characters that don't necessarily suit them. The writers take on Hulk seems to come from a darker era, a more classic run juxtaposed against the new and what we get is something that just doesn't seem to add up based on all his recent history. Similarly Silvestri has all the artistic chops in the world to draw the character but what we get instead in some very flat looking panels and an almost lack of momentum in what looks more like a canvass panel than a piece of storytelling.

In a nutshell I am not hopeful for this new Hulk. It's writer hasn't quite got a handle on the character yet and nothing about it smacks of a newer bolder direction, while paying attention to the continuity of the old. A lacklustre first issue with serious room for improvement.


Mark McCann

For more reviews check out Bad Haven.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Required Reading: The Zombie Hunters, by Jenny Romanchuk

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday of Halloween, I have decided to review a webcomic which has recently been introduced to me by a friend of mine. Although there are only about three hundred comics out right now, I like what has been written so far an think that the series has great potential from what I've seen. Like many zombie stories, The Zombie Hunters takes place after the outbreak of the virus and focuses on the humans trying to survive in a world populated almost entirely by zombies. While some might say that it is just another zombie story among hundreds, I think it does a couple of unique things very well.

The plot of The Zombie Hunters is divided between two locations: the Wastelands and the Argus Research Campus. The Argus Research Campus (ARC) is an isolated island with a state of the art disease research facility built before the virus outbreak. Their current goal is to find a cure for the zombie outbreak, and while they have not found one yet, they have promising advances towards a cure. The rest of the island provides a safe home for survivors of the zombie apocalypse who are slowly putting society back together. The Wastelands are the areas on the mainland populated by hordes of zombies and avoided by the surviving humans if they can help it. However, teams of Zombie Hunters occasionally go into the Wastes to scavenge necessary materials for the ARC.

Another thing I really like about this series is how they handle infection in humans. If you come into contact with zombie blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids you become infected with the virus but do not turn into a zombie until you die. Infected humans can also pass the infection to uninfected humans through exchange of bodily fluids, but they cannot be infected again by zombies so they frequently form the zombie hunter teams that go out into the Wastelands. However, if either an infected or uninfected human gets bitten by a zombie they will die and be reanimated as a zombie. Because infected humans carry the risk of infecting other humans, as well as the risk of becoming a zombie if they die, they spend their entire lives isolated in a separate compound on the ARC island and are identified by special badges and armbands. As a result, the infected are often treated as second-class-citizens in the culture of the island and results in tension between the two groups. Although there have only been a few times when Jenny has addressed this issue in her comic, I look forward to more exploration of it in the future.

Another thing I appreciate about this series is how much thought the author seems to have put into this series beforehand. There is a small encyclopedia located on the comic's site which gives information about different types of zombies, the characters, locations, and how the virus works. Much of this information has not yet been explained in the comic and provides helpful background. Furthermore the fact that this information is already out there tells me that Jenny has a definite plan of what she wants to do with the comic and I always appreciate that in a series.

Finally, The Zombie Hunters has plenty of zombie-slaying action, masterfully interwoven with the issues of surviving after the end. I look forward to seeing where this series goes in the future and recommend everyone go and check it out. I'm going to give it four and a half sheep based on what she's produced so far rather than the potential. I feel like we're still building up to a larger story so it hasn't earned a five yet, however I can easily see it doing that in the future. The Zombie Hunters updates regularly on Mondays and sometimes on Thursday and can be found here.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sheep Movie Review: RA One

RA. One, directed by Anubhav Sinha, stars Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. Is listed as an action-adventure, sci-fi romance, this film could have been labeled a documentary about making cheese and I would still be loving it at this very moment. Where to even start?! *takes deep breath*

"RA.One" stars one of the world's most popular actors and one of Newsweek's "50 Most Powerful People in the World" - Shahrukh Khan. Called "India's Tom Cruise" and known by his billions of fans as "King Kahn," he plays Shekhar, a video game programmer whose game takes on a life of its own - creating the evil RA.One (Arjun Rampal). Now, Shekar must become G.One, a tech-powered superhero, to defeat his super-powered creation and save the woman he loves.

The film starts out in an uber-cheesy dream battle, but it's cheesy on purpose so they can give the audience a good laugh in the first few minutes. The story picks up from there as we meet Shekar (Khan) a game programmer who's out to create the next big hit or loose his job. Under serious pressure from the powers that be, he gets a brilliant idea from his young son who likes rooting for the bad guy. There's a big good vs. evil lesson that's plugged throughout the film so you will see it as a recurring theme. Through some not so realistic science and possibly some voodoo magick the game's characters take on a life of their own, stepping out of the virtual world and into the present day.

The battle ignites as RA. One and G. One take to the streets to get the party started mano-a-mano. The film uses some out of this world stunts throughout its plot, and introduces quite a few things that I, the action junkie, had yet to see. It was a truly spectacular visual experience. I'd go into lavish detail but I'd be spoiling the film for you and robbing all the grueling work these guys put into the movie. RA One is labeled as the most expensive Bollywood movie made to date, which really shows in the finished product. The action scenes were absolutely well choreographed, especially from Khan. The emotional elements surprised me as well, adding a bit more depth to the overall storyline. While the overall acting wont be going down in the history books all the actors did a pretty decent job with believability. I hope more folks who have yet to give Bollywood a try will do so with this one, it's a popcorn action movie for sure but one of the best I have watched in a long time.

If you like some cheese in your movies you'll get that and more in RA One. Slow motion running, kicking, a big mix of martial arts and wind that comes out of nowhere and fans the pretty ladies at just the right moment. Major Tron and Terminator influences show in the film but they also do a pretty good job of trying to make it their own.

I was dancing in my seat to some kick ass songs including Akon and a pretty sweet cover of "Stand by Me". Visually the movie pops, drawing you in with bright colors and outstanding sets. The costumes and shoot locations give the movie an extra level of solidity. A little long on the runtime coming in at 2 and 1/2 hours so make sure to use the facilities before the show starts. English subtitles. Spoiler video below is you'd like to check out a fun song from the film. :)

Getting 4 "Chamak Challo" Sheep

Friday, October 28, 2011

'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- part 1' giveaway!!!!

'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 1' GIVEAWAY BABY!!!!

That's right you vampy lovers the Twilight Saga continues November 18th with a wedding to remember! *throws rice in the air* Bella and Edward are tying the knot and getting a little hot and heavy on Esme Isle. (Brown chicken, brown cow!) So to celebrate the event we decided to do a little romantic giveaway.

I'm going to open a second prize pack for International followers which will have some fun Sheep swag items.

Check out all the goodies below!

Prize Pack (For US Only)
5 Books
Nora Roberts- Worth the Risk
Nora Roberts- Night Tale: Night Shade and Night Moves
Nora Roberts- Night Tale: Nightshade and Night Smoke
J.R. Ward- An Unforgettable Lady
Alexandra Hawkins- Till Dawn with the Devil
'I love Vampires' sticky note pad
Ring Pop
'Lotto for Lovers' game
Rose petal bath soap

In the comments make sure to enter ALL the info listed below and followers of our blog will get double entries!

1. Your Email Address
2. Are you US or International?
3. If you could go anywhere, real or fantasy, for your honeymoon where would you go?

Contest ends November 6th at midnight.
Good luck!

And don't forget to enter the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop going until the 31st! Enter HERE.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

'Starsheep Troopers' new image art from Richard Lee

Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship.

Sheep Commander: "I need a corporal. You're it, until you're dead or I find someone better."

Ben: "What? I just want to play with my dinosaurs..."

Sheep Commander: "This is for all you new people: I only have one rule. Everyone fights. No one quits. You don't do your job, I'll shoot you myself. You get me?"

Ben: "Can I leave now?"

Artwork by the Sheep's own Mr. Richard Lee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Snuff by Terry Pratchett, A Discworld Novel

Okay, so as my two readers have probably forgotten by now, several weeks ago I reviewed the wonderful world of Discworld as a whole and hopefully got a few people interested. All of this was in anticipation of the newest book, Snuff: A Novel of Discworld. (Again, I apologize for our shameless plugging of books in the attempt that we shall get some sort of commission off of it through Amazon. Seriously, though it's a hardcover book for $14, so pretty good price in my opinion.) Anyway, so if I recall correctly I received my copy on Thursday, October 14th and finished it by Monday, October 17th. I know, slow of me but I wanted to savor this one. "But Kalpar!" You are surely exclaiming at this point, "If you finished the book on the 17th, why is this review only coming out on the 26th?" That's a very good question my dear readers, and you alway have the best questions. The answer is simply I am writing it here on the 18th but due to a large influx of smut from Katie and Sharon, my review got pushed to the 26th. So blame them, it's all their fault.

Anyway, dear readers, after getting past my normal first paragraph of madman rantings you are probably wondering my opinion on the book. Well thank you, dear readers, because people very rarely ask my opinion. Now Sam Vimes has been my favorite character for a very long time, mainly because of his personal morality. Vimes isn't afraid to fight dirty if he has to, having grown up on the streets of Ankh-Morpork, but he's also got his own moral code. He will follow the law to the best of his ability at all times, and while he might have to bend the law he never breaks it. Furthermore he hunts down those who break the law with extreme prejudice, regardless of their social standing. (And this is an important thing because many of the nobility of Ankh-Morpork think themselves above the least until Vimes or his men come knocking at their front door.) At the end of the day he is a man of his principles and has certain values he holds as absolute. I really admire that in a character and feel that he, and the rest of the Watch characters, are rather well-written. Now, is this book going to be on my list of favorites for Vimes? Probably not, no. But to be fair this is the eighth of the novels dedicated to Vimes and the Watch, not including the novels where they have cameos, so it's one among very good company. I think that overall the book is really good and has some really good moments, but I still like
Night Watch and Thud! just the slightest bit better.

Oh yes, I should probably tell everyone what the book is about. Well Sam Vimes is finally taking a holiday at the insistence of his wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin. (Who, I might add, is a really great character when the spotlight is on her.) So Vimes, Lady Sybil, and their son Young Sam pack up and head off to Ramkin Hall out in the country. Being a city boy born and bred Vimes is rather out of his element and wishes that he could do some good old fashioned policing, even if he is supposed to be on holiday. Vimes soon comes across incredible challenges when he finds a goblin girl murdered on his property, and ends up fighting the societal assumption that goblins are nothing more than vermin and thus killing them is not a crime. Like most of his novels, Sir PTerry adds the right amount of social commentary to a solid story and produces a thought-provoking and interesting novel. I do have an issue with one thing in specific Vimes does in this novel, however to explain it would spoil both this book and
Thud! so I'm sorry but I'm going to have to avoid discussing it here.

My final thoughts are that this is another fine example of the Discworld series, and although it won't be in my small list of favorites it is still a good example of the series. If you're still new to Discworld in general, or Vimes in specific, I don't suggest you pick up this book. However if A'Tuin and Vimes are old friends of yours, it's well worth the investment. I give it four sheep.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Dead Demon Walking by Linda Welch

Dead Demon Walking (Whispering #3)
by Linda Welch

The sequel to Along Came a Demon and The Demon Hunters.

Is it just me? Is anyone else and their sweetie whisked from a romantic getaway and end up in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in
Washington DC? I don't even get to show Royal my new sexy underwear.

The FBI think I'm a Medium. They want me to "communicate" with the victims of a particularly brutal crime. I have a hard time believing the Federal Bureau of Investigation would seek the help of a psychic investigator, particularly one from
Utah. I don't think they're being honest with me.

What I discover at the crime scene tells me the killer is not human. I'm surprised when the agents reach the same conclusion. Luckily, they are way off base.

I don't expect to revisit old places, or see old faces who demand we quit the case. I don't expect to risk losing everything and everyone I cherish.

And what is it with Jack and Dale Jericho?

This is the third book in Linda’s fantastic paranormal mystery series and probably my favorite of the three (of course any book with Royal in it is going to be high on my list, but more on him later…) What I love most about this series (other than Royal, see a theme here?) is the writing. The expert use of description touches all my senses. I can see, hear and taste things vividly (don’t read this book on an empty stomach because there is a lot of delicious food mentioned). I also love the first person POV. Tiff Banks is smart and no nonsense with a tendency to speak her mind before she thinks, but it is balanced with her insecurities when it comes to Royal, her non-human partner and lover.

Linda does a good job of brining new readers up to speed with the plot, but the events of this story are closely related to what happened in book #2 The Demon Hunters. I suggest readers new to the series start with book #1, Along Came a Demon (only $.99 for kindle).

We learn more about one of Tiff’s ghost roommate, Jack. Yes, she lives with two ghosts, who add quite a bit of humor to the series. The mysterious Dark Cousins, who Tiff was hoping to never see again, have reappeared after a string of brutal murders. Tiff can see the ghosts of people who were violently killed and unfortunately they appear to her the way they died so this isn’t what you would call a “cozy” mystery <G>.

While this is a mystery style series there is a strong, but not overpowering, romantic element. Tiff and Royal’s first meetings had me laughing, and I have enjoyed watching their relationship mature to where it is now in book #3. There is a scene in the book when Tiff realizes what Royal means to her that had my in tears. For those who love a good alpha male, Royal will melt your heart (he cooks for freaking sake!) and Linda’s expertise with description will have you wanting a demon of your own. But I must add here that we meet a rather arrogant and, from my POV, smexy friend of Royal’s named Christopher Plowman (I will refrain from making a crude comment here, you are welcome <G>) and I hope he appears in the next book.

5 ‘zoom, zoom’ Sheep

The Demon Hunters, Whisperings book two. (Whisperings Paranormal Mystery)Dead Demon Walking,
($2.99 kindle)
Whisperings book three. (Whisperings Paranormal Mysteries) ($2.99 kindle)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!!!

I Smell Sheep is taking part in this years Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm. Over 400 hops this time around so good luck to folks trying to enter all of them! If you need the link to find the next Hop click HERE.

Contest is open to US Only (sorry everyone else)

What will you win? Check out the prizes below!

Five Books- all lovingly used by me but still in great shape.
Karina Cooper- Lure of the Wicked
Nalini Singh- Bonds of Justice
Jessica Anderson- Blood Spells
Janet Chapmen- Mystical Warrior
E.J. Cooperman- An Uninvited Ghost

Sheep Swag Items (as shown in picture)

Make sure to enter ALL of the following in the comments below to be entered to win.

1. Your Email Address
2. Do you follow our blog? If so you will get DOUBLE entries
3. Add an extra entry for posting a link to your FB or Twitter accounts

Contest ends October 31st at Midnight.
Good Luck!

To find more stops on the Hop click HERE.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review: Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day

Touch Of Crimson (Renegade Angels #1) by Syliva Day

Adrian Mitchell is a powerful angel leading an elite Special Ops unit of Seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen-angels who have become vampires-and command a restless pack of indentured lycans. But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals- losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her-Shadoe-her soul once more inhabiting a new body, with no memory of him. And this time, he won't let her go

This is the first book in the Renegade Angel trilogy which is one long story that will be broken down into the three books. However, this series is unique because each book focuses on a different romantic couple. This was the story of Adrian, the OMG alpha male, who is the leader of an army of Angels sent to police the Fallen, who were turned into vampires, on earth.

Adrian was fun to read, acting all caveman and then melting when Lindsey was around. I also loved the premise behind their tragic story. Adrian fell in love with Shadoe, the daughter of a Fallen, but her father and Adrian hate each other for reasons I can’t say <G> and she ends up dying. However, her soul is continually reincarnated into a human and fate always brings them back together only to have her die tragically again, but each time she comes back she has no recollection of their past. This time her soul is in a human named Lindsey, but things are different, Lindsey’s soul is stronger and in control. There are some pretty heated sex scenes too; Adrian might be the prim and proper angel, but he talks dirty in bed ;)

We are introduced to many characters in this book and the overall world. You have the Angels, the Fallen and their vampire minions, and the Lycans who are basically slaves to the angels. Each faction has their own politics and agenda which creates much of the overall conflict for the story.

Since this is a first book, there was extensive world building going on. I spent most of my time confused as to who is which kind of paranormal creature and how they were related to each other. Day did keep reminding the reader throughout the story and there is a glossary at the beginning, but I still had difficulty. I shouldn’t have to think that hard. I was also disappointed by the main characters behavior at the end of the book. There was so much passion and emotional turmoil throughout the book and then at the end everyone just accepted things and went out with a whimper instead of a bang. It just didn’t add up for me.

I liked the mythology and Adrian’s alpha male attitude, but the rest was over-the-top PNR cheesiness, but that is not a bad thing to some people! There are those out there who love that kind of thing, just not me. I suggest checking out some other reviews before making your decision.

2 ½ Sheep

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sheep Comic Review: Pariah Issue #4 by Aron Warner

Pariah Issue #4

By Aron Warner

The series follows the adventures of a group of ‘vitros’ – genetically enhanced children with “beyond-human intelligence” – who go on the run after being framed for the release of a deadly virus

This issue introduces us to Franklin Hyde. He is the mastermind behind the round up of Vitros by the government. We learn about his childhood and how he gained the resources to set up an island off the coast of Venezuela where the Vitros can live peacefully. At least that was the plan. There is a betrayal and things go terribly wrong.

We have now met all 4 of the main characters. The issues from here on out will be about how they survive their fate. There wasn’t a lot of action because we were learning about Franklin’s life, but…the ending made my jaw drop, I didn’t see this coming. I was quite tickled that it caught me by surprise. I am looking forward to the next issue and finding out what the kids are going to do.

Here are my reviews of issues #1, #2, #3
Sea Lion Books website- where you can purchase the comic

4 surprised Sheep