It’s been 10 years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was kicked off with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man, and it has taken us this long to finally get a non-white superhero in a solo outing. Such has been a major downside of the MCU, although there have been some good movies made in that time, and the arrival of King T’Challa in his own movie is a fantastic step forward as the MCU begins to chart a new course for the future, moving into the nebulous Phase 4 which is still raw and undefined.
Black Panther, in many ways, is an Afro-futurism dream come true. A major black superhero shaped by the rich diversity of the many African cultures, a harmonious and united forward-looking society that is true to its roots, and a superb social message that transcends cultural barriers. Ryan Coogler and his team have pulled off something amazing with Black Panther and although the villains were somewhat lacking in the movie, it did prove to be a diversity extravaganza in every way that matters when it comes to African culture and how characters of color are portrayed, whether men or women.
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From the old lore, all we really knew of the White Scars Legion was their heroic defense of Terra alongside the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists when the traitorous Warmaster finally arrived on throneworld for the final stroke of his heresy. But, in the last few years Chris Wraight has done a great job of not only adding to the character and identity of the V Legion, but also giving them a significant role in the larger Heresy. And it has been fantastic seeing the White Scars and Jaghatai Khan himself develop so and being put front and center for the coming battles.
The Path of Heaven is the culmination of more than two years of such development. In many ways, we have come full circle from the events of Brotherhood of The Storm as the stories of its major characters are resolved and they all move forward to a new phase. The last few full-length novels of the series have been great, and The Path of Heaven is another crowning achievement not just for the series overall but for Chris Wraight himself, for The Path of Heaven is an absolutely amazing novel with some great depths to the various plots, both ongoing and new, and some really sweet development of the characters.
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The Horus Heresy series has given us plenty of great anthologies, whether we talk about the very first one, Tales of Heresy or something much more recent than that, such as Meduson. They are an excellent place to reprint various short stories and novellas that have only been released online or in limited edition, and many of these also continue various story-lines that haven’t been continued in the full-length novels. Ultimately, that’s one of the best things I love about them and today I’m going to talk about another good one.
War Without End definitely ranks among the best that the series has to offer. It contains a lion’s share of stories that have been released over the last few years for the series, and offers us some truly good gems. The Devine Adoratrice, Sermon of Exodus, Daemonology, The Laurel of Defiance and others are really good stories that touch on so many different facets of the Heresy and bring a much larger perspective to what’s going on.
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As I’ve no doubt mentioned before, the story of the Horus Heresy is one of great tragedy, of dreams shattered, of brotherhoods sundered, of oaths broken, of horrors unleashed. The greatest of these horrors was the Dropsite Massacre on the world of Istvaan V, where the loyal legions of the Warmaster Horus ambushed and nearly wiped out three legions loyal to the Emperor. That event unleashed the greatest tragedy of the Heresy, when brother fought brother, when brother killed brother. In the wake of such a cataclysmic event, how the Imperial legions survived to take their revenge and even prosper and adapt is one of the greatest highlights of the era.
Meduson is an anthology that continues the tale of the so-called Shattered Legions, the Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard. We begin with a great introduction to the titular character Shadrak Meduson, a line-captain of the Iron Hands, and continue on from there as several characters from across the Iron Hands are shown to evolve to accommodate changing circumstances or fall in failure and even delves into some of what the traitors are doing. It is a decent anthology featuring some of the Horus Heresy series’ best writers, and there are some true gems here that lay the foundation for what follows on.
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The first two installments of Josh Reynolds’ The Hunt For Nagash audio drama series have offered a very tantalizing introduction of the Realm of Death, Shyish, the domain of the great necromancer, Nagash. As we followed our protagonist, Lord-Celestant Tarsus Bull-Heart and his warrior chamber across some of the wastes of Shyish, we saw them encounter multiple enemy warbands and learn some of the secrets of the Realm, secrets at once fascinating and disgusting. But as is the way of the hero, Tarsus has to stamp down his moral sensibilities and work for the greater good of all the Eight Realms and get the audience with Nagash that Sigmar wants.
After the incidents with the debased vampire priests of the Sands of Blood, Tarsus and the Bull-Hearts have now been led to the ruins of the city of Helstone, where they’ve been promised by Mannfred Von Carstein that they will find one of the Nine Gates to Nagash’s Underworld. The Lords of Helstone is definitely the best of the three installments so far, and pitting the Stormcast Eternals against the Blightkings of Nurgle was excellent, not to mention that we finally learn some more about Tarsus’ history, marking out a tragic history for the leader of the Bull-Hearts.
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The original review can be found at The Founding Fields, here.
Continue reading “Pandorax by C Z Dunn (Book Review)”