Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fanholes Toku Thursdays Episode #1: Android Kikaider "Grey Rhino King!"

 photo TokuThursTitleCard01_zpsb3e805c0.jpg

Join Derek and Justin on this All-New Spin-Off podcast as they discuss the first episode of the 1972 tokusatsu series, Jinzō Ningen Kikaidā!

Fanholes Toku Thursdays Episode #1: Android Kikaider

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fanholes Sidecast #33 - Finale

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Justin (Grimlock), Brian (Breakdown) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the introductory episode of Ultraman Cosmos with the epic Malaysian dub!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fanholes Episode # 90: Newspapers Want Talking Cats and Babies!

 photo FH-AceKilroy_zps53a80984.jpg

This episode the Fanholes interview special guest Rob Kelly!

Rob is the creative force behind the web-comic "Ace Kilroy" and the novel "Hey Kids, Comics!: True-Life Tales From The Spinner Rack" He also runs the Aquaman Shrine and is the co-host of the Fire & Water Podcast.

We talk about his projects "Ace Kilroy" and "Hey Kids, Comics!: True-Life Tales From The Spinner Rack" as well as the New 52 Aquaman and Phantom Stranger.

Fanholes Episode # 90: Newspapers Want Talking Cats and Babies!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fanholes Sidecast #32 - When Captain Kirk met Batman on the Holodeck!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Justin (Grimlock) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the television pilot of Alexander The Great, starring William Shatner and Adam West!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Top Ten Doctor Who Episodes

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is finally here.

 photo Doctor-Who-50th_zpsddbf251c.jpg

To celebrate, I(Grimlock) will present my top ten episodes.

10. The Faceless Ones.

I know this may seem like an odd choice. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this story on any top ten list. I really enjoy this story though. Most of the episodes are missing however. Even as a diehard fan of the series, I sometimes find the reconstructions a bit tedious to sit through. The plot involves aliens kidnapping people from an airport so they can hijack their image. Think Invasion of the Body Snatchers only set in an airport. This story is also notable because it is the last adventure for Ben and Polly.

9. The Face of Evil.

After Sarah Jane left viewers were introduced to Lela. The complete opposite from Sarah Jane in almost every way. A savage prone to killing with the deadly Janis thorn. And...scantily clad. This episode has one of my favorite moments when the Doctor threatens several savages with a 'deadly' jelly baby. Also, the reveal of just who the face of evil belongs to is quite interesting as well. No spoilers from me.

8. Inferno.

The first (and also one of the few stories) to deal with parallel reality. The Doctor, in an attempt to fix the Tardis, slides into an alternate world where everyone is...EVIL. The Brigadier has an eye patch and Elizabeth Shaw...evil too.

7. The Hand of Fear.

"Eldrad MUST live!" Immortal words to fans. One of the best, in my opinion, of the 4th Doctor era. It begins with the Doctor and Sarah Jane landing on Earth in a rock quarry. Which, if you know anything about the series, you know that rock quarries often stood in for alien planets. After an explosion Sarah Jane is found with a severed silicon hand. She begins to act very strange and the Doctor must stop Sarah Jane and Eldrad.

6. Attack of the Cybermen

I’ll be blunt...I’m not a fan of the 6th Doctor. Or I should say, I don’t care for the majority of his television stories. Audio books...now that’s another story. Anyway, Attack of the Cybermen is not only one of my favorite Cybermen stories but its also my favorite 6th Doctor story. This story has several nods to previous Cybermen tales. A majority of the action takes place on Talos, taking us back to the setting of Tomb of The Cybermen. We also see the Doctor fix the chameleon circuit with hilarious results.

5. The Doctor’s Wife.

It's no secret that I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. When I found out he was writing an episode, I was excited to say the least. I was not disappointed. This episode is extremely fun, well written and hilarious. You watch it once and you want to immediately re-watch it.

4. The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

Doctor Who; Sherlock Holmes style. This reminds me of some of the Holmes pastiche stories that incorporate steam punk or famous characters. It has the feel of a pulp story from the 30's as well, with all the fantastical elements thrown in.

3. Genesis of the Daleks.

One of the most infamous episodes. Mostly due to the moral quandary it places the Doctor in. Sent back in time by the Time Lords the Doctor has the task of preventing the creation of the Daleks. All he has to do is connect two wires and boom, no more Daleks. But, as he puts it…’Do I have the right?’

2. Blink.

When asked to recommend episodes to those curious about Doctor Who this is my top choice. And the Doctor doesn’t even show up that much. Also the first appearance of the Weeping Angels, who would become more prominent during the 11th Doctor’s run.

1. The Caves of Androzani.

The swansong for the 5th Doctor. The Doctor and Peri are caught in the middle of a war and infected with a virus. A virus for which there is no cure. The question is, how far will the Doctor go to save his companion? This was especially important to the 5th Doctor as he had lost companion Adric early in his tenure. The 5th also recently lost the android Kamelion. All of whom taunt the Doctor at the end of the story...along with The Master who commands the Doctor to Die.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fanholes Episode # 86: Please Mjolnir, Don't Hurt Kal-El

 photo FHthor_zps2d3398c1.jpg

In this Thor-centric episode of Fanholes, the Fanholes tackle the tender subject of who would win in a fight; Thor or Superman? Then they move on to a discussion of J. Michael Straczynski's comic run on Thor.



Fanholes Episode # 86: Please Mjolnir, Don't Hurt Kal-El

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fanholes Episode # 85: Sears Monkey!

 photo FH-X-Files_zps095e98c6.jpg Fanholes Episode # 85: Sears Monkey!

On this very special Halloween episode of Fanholes Podcast, the Fanholes interview X-Files actors Jolie Jenkins and Brian Poth! Following the interview with our special guests, the Fanholes discuss the Telltale interactive Video Game, The Walking Dead, as well as the TV pilot remake of The Munsters titled Mockingbird Lane!

And don't forget to check out the inspiration for this week's title below! Not to mention the blogs and youtube channels mentioned on this episode!

Crazy Things I've Seen in Runyon Cannon

joeycake

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fanholes Sidecast #31 - Why'd It Have To Be Snakes?!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Brian (Breakdown) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the episode of King Arthur and the Knights of Justice titled "The Unbeliever."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Batman: Knightfall - The Reboot

If Max Landis can do a Death of Superman pitch (see below), surely I can do a Knightfall pitch! (see above) - Mike

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chainclaw's Top Ten Sci-Fi Spaceships!

Another top ten? My god, when will it stop? NEVER! Ahem. Anyway, taking a break from just Star Trek alone, I decided to think on other things I enjoy. You know what really gets my brain going at full tilt in a good sci-fi movie? Sure...characters, yeah, yeah, the plot, of course....but in all honesty though one thing hooks me. Cool ass spaceships. I've always been something of a tech head when it comes to science fiction, and a well designed star ship just gets my imagination running wild. There's many great concepts, and of course books feature great descriptions, however, a movie, video game, or television show really shows those designs come to life. So delving into shows/movies of the past and present, I decided to bring to you the spacecraft that just never failed to make me think "What really is possible in our future?".

Without futhur ado, Chainclaw's Top Ten Sci-Fi Spaceships.

 photo shipsfury_zps75c12cf7.jpg

10.Star Fury- Ok, I'm not a poser, I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm a huge Babylon 5 fan. However, the few times I saw the show, these menacing looking star fighters made an impression. With vectored thrust pods on each of four wings, these thing could LITERALLY spin on a dime in the weightlessness of space. They also push form and function, while being mean looking ships, they are small, and compact, kinda hard to hit. A squadron of these looked scary, and they definitely packed enough firepower to give anyone who came across them a bad day. To be fair, as stated, I haven't watched a lot of Babylon 5, so I didn't see these guys in action much. The fact that they were cool enough to leave an impression though, warrants being number ten.

 photo shipsviper_zps3621e929.jpg

9.Vic Viper- O.k. silly name, I admit. If you're not sure where this ship is from, remember a game called "Gradius" in the arcades and NES of your youth? There we go. The ship did indeed have a name. The Vic Viper is a sleek, very stylized ship, but the cool look isn't the main reason it's on the list. First of all, one of the reason I love shmups is because when you're a kid, you imagine it's YOU flying the ship, saving the galaxy. The other reason, well, is if you have to pretend you're the last hope for mankind, this is the ship you want. The Vic Viper had a dazzling array of weapons and options to power it up. Heck one option was CALLED "Option", an energy sphere that mimicked your main weapon, shadowing a bit behind your last maneuver, and depending on which sequel you could get up to three of these bad boys. Cool right? The thing is though, while you could pretend you were the pilot, there was no real back story, no awesome tales of the heroic...um...Vic Viper Pilot, saving the day. That lack of history or development lowers the cool factor.

 photo shipscheyenne_zpse62a6094.jpg

8.UD-L4 Cheyenne- Not familiar with the name I imagine, but the image above...you know this ship. More commonly known as "The Aliens Dropship" the Cheyenne had a wicked design, and that nice bit of realism to keep your suspension of disbelief up in the film. Unlike the Vic Viper where history is a bit of a negative, the Cheyenne, due it's realistic setting, is enhanced by no back story. The ships look pretty well used, and despite not using the ammo compliment onscreen, they have a very obvious amount of firepower. That's the difference, I want to see this ship in action, not just dropping the Colonial Marine's off and flying back. That mystery is why this ship ranks higher than the previous entry.

 photo shipshavoc_zpsf36e5972.jpg

7.The Havoc- Remember the Hirogen write up? Similar outlook. This ship (from the video game series Star Wars:StarFighter/Jedi Starfighter) just looks mean and powerful. When you play, you wanna play using the Havoc, it's fast, has great weapons, and even has a backstory to it as it's a prototype design. There's not a lot to go with here, but I like this ship, and my list and all....

 photo shipsfalcon2_zps958024f6.jpg

6.Millennium Falcon- Ok, one of the most popular sci-fi ships in cinema, so if you don't know this, you need a bigger rock to live under. This is a prime example of an inanimate object having it's own character. Piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, the ship seemed to have a mind of it's own though. Breaking down, yet usually delivering in a pinch, it's reputation as "the fastest ship in the galaxy", the Falcon just had that great mythos for an old ship. Let's not even forget the design. Weird, assymetrical, but it worked. The biggest thing about the Falcon is in every movie in the original trilogy, it played a huge part. Weather getting Luke to the princess, to helping Han and Leia escape Hoth, to delivering the final shot to the new Death Star, it's safe to say the Falcon was as much a "castmember" as the living, breathing, actors.

 photo shipsslave_zpsd0d14b00.jpg

5.Slave-1- To me, this is one of the most menacing ships ever designed for a movie. The look, the smooth lines, odd flying profile.... it's just a perfect vehicle for a villain. Slave-1 has a pretty long history too, being seemingly handed down in the Fett family, at the very least to Boba. Like the Falcon, it had character, like I said it looks mean, and in AoTC it showed that meanstreak, this things loaded with all types of standard, and exotic weaponry. I won't dismiss my bias, this was one of my favorite ships as a kid, and seeing it be awesome in the prequels was one of few highlights in those films. Oh, and, um Boba Fett hauls around prisoner's from his bounty's in it, that increase it's evil factor?

 photo shipsreliant_zpse418edca.jpg

4.U.S.S. Reliant- I know, I know, Star Trek again? I can't help it, this is a great ship design. A standard Federation ship, Khan hijacks it, and uses it to damn near destroy the Enterprise. Sure, Khan is sneaky and doesn't just go head to head with the flagship of the Federation, but facts cannot be ignored, this little ship put a buttkicking on a much larger, more powerful ship. The Reliant also, I think, has a place in my childhood as it was the first full on new design for a Federation ship. For so many years it was the Enterprise, and thats it, even in ToS any new ship shows up? Enterprise design. It was cool, and new, and the fact it gets spun around and used by a villain? Classic way to make a design memorable.

 photo shipsgunstar_zpsf69e4885.jpg

3.The Gunstar- Man, The Last Starfighter. That takes me back. Back to when you could have a kids movie featuring a good guy's ship with "Gun" in it's name. This old gem is just a badass. Big, heavy, powerful looking, it just fits the bill it's given as "The Last Starfighter". If this is the last hope to save the galaxy... I'm ok with that. Let's not forget the "Death Blossom" last resort attack. The damn thing spins like a gyroscope, firing off blasts in every direction. Good enough to give the Kodan Armada a really bad day. It's a little nostalgic sure, but this is a ship I always had a soft spot for.

 photo shipsenterprise_zps7cddf99b.jpg

2.U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-A - Wow, another Star Trek ship? Shocking! Ok, hear me out. Besides the Millennium Falcon, this is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most well known design for a space ship, and the early movies gave us a more detailed, cooler look of the ToS design. One thing I give this ship, is the poor girl goes through hell in the first three movies. Wonky warp malfunction in the first flick, Khan shoots it up in the second, and Kirk sadly self destructs it in the third. Then, we get an awesome rebirth of the classic ship at the end of the fourth movie. Much like the Falcon, the Enterprise is just as much a character in the Star Trek films as the actual actors. Hold on though, how is it not number one?

 photo shipssdf_zps60844faf.jpg

1.The SDF-1(Super Dimensional Fortress Macross)- Robotech, one of the first anime series I watched as a kid. Macross was brought over to America, and I realized what the term "ridiculously powerful" meant. The SDF-1 is not only a starship, but a city, and again, as usual, the last hope for humanity. A wrecked Zentradi ship that was reversed engineered for human operators, the SDF-1 is possibly(nevermind, it is) the most powerful ship on this list. From the Pinpoint Barrier defense system, the Daedelus Maneuver(which smashes a freaking naval vessel through the hull of an enemy ship, and unloading the weaponry of all robots on-board inside the enemy craft), to the legendary Reflex Cannons... the SDF-1 is not a ship to take lightly. Not to mention this ship, as mentioned before, has an entire compliment of massive transforming and non transforming robots, as well as being a freaking robot itself. The SDF-1 is overkill in the most delicious, awesomest way.

There you go. Feel free to disagree...however, you have to admit, if these ten ships were coming at you in space...You'd be scared.

Thanks for reading!
-Tony/Chainclaw.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fanholes Episode # 83: That Rabbit's Dynamite!

 photo FH-Usagi_zpsb3de54ce.jpg

In this episode, the Fanholes reveal their favorite comedy films and discuss Stan Sakai's long-running comic series Usagi Yojimbo.

Note: Apologies to The Counter. The Hamburger place I meant to rag on is actually called Umami Burger. You can't really blame me for forgetting such a ridiculous name. - Derek



Fanholes Episode # 83: That Rabbit's Dynamite!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fanholes Sidecast #30 - Strawberries of Doom!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc), Brian (Breakdown) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the episode of Superior Defender Gundam Force titled "A Princess, A Cake, and the Winged Knight."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bouv's RPG Reviews #8: Marvel Super-Heroes RPG

 photo MRPG010_zps1b076716.jpg

When Dungeons & Dragons first appeared in the early 1970’s, it opened up a whole new genre of games to the world. Soon, similar products began to appear, but they were essentially the same thing – fantasy role-playing games. As the 1970’s ended, companies began to branch out and put out science fiction RPGs, Westerns, and the beloved superhero RPGs. It didn’t take long for the “big 2” to want to get in on the cash-cow that was seen in role-playing games and eventually licensed out their properties to different companies to make games based on their characters. Marvel ended up signing on with TSR (makers of Dungeons & Dragons) and TSR released the Marvel Superheroes Role-Playing Game! While never as popular as TSR’s flagship, D&D, the game saw many supplements released for it and would go through a revision a few years later and then a new system (SAGA) in the 1990’s. The rights to the characters eventually went back to Marvel and they tried releasing their own RPG and currently, Margret Weis Productions is the maker of the Marvel Heroic Role-playing Game. Today, we’re here to review the first one that began it all for Marvel RPG fans!

 photo MRPG001_zps6a4ee119.jpg

The original game was released in 1984 and, like many TSR products, came in a box set. The set contained three books – The Battle Book, the Campaign Book, and the Adventure Book, along with game maps, counters, some d10 dice (for percentile rolls) and a crayon to fill in the dice (this was what many TSR products with dice back then did). The Battle Book is a quick introduction to the game and sets up the rules. The Campaign Book goes into more details about equipment, powers, and how to make your own original characters. The Adventure Book contains a quick scenario (“Day of the Octopus”) but it’s set up more so to use established characters instead of your own (in an effort to get a feel how the game plays). Once that is done, then the players can create their own characters if desired and the judge can create his own adventures for the heroes to go on!

 photo MRPG002_zpsacd27820.jpg

The first book, the Battle Book, is the basic rules of the game. The game uses seven stats – Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, and Psyche (or FASERIP for short) and each is based on a number (1-100) and rank (Feeble, Poor, Typical, Good, Excellent, Remarkable, Incredible, Amazing, Monstrous, Unearthly, and the Class 1000 (for people like Galactus I guess!)) On top of their stats, characters also get superpowers (from mutants, to radioactive gopher bites, incredible suits that let the user jump great heights, to guns and magic!) and talents (regular skills). Characters are then assigned variable stats – Health (which equals Fighting, Agility, Strength and Endurance added together, between 40-400), Resources (money, equipment), Popularity, and Karma (like luck, points that can be used to help out in dice rolls, adding Reason, Intuition, and Psyche).

 photo MRPG003_zps6401d427.jpg

What good are all these things? Well, they allow a character to pull off FEATs (Function of Exceptional Ability or Talent – pretty much the dice rolls). Using a chart, the gamemaster (GM) has the character roll and based on their rank for what they are rolling, he checks the chart to see if they succeed (green, yellow, or red) or failed (white). If a FEAT roll failed, a player can use their Karma to make it successful (which, depending on how much it failed by, could result in a lot of Karma being used). Karma could also be used to lower someone else’s die rolls.

 photo MRPG004_zps54a4e558.jpg

The game then expects you to use the maps and counters in playing. They help show the position of everyone relative to everything else. I’ve never been big on counters/miniatures besides for the basics (showing where you are) as I feel, if used too much, they can take away from the game (as players then get too concerned where everything is located).

 photo MRPG005_zps9c459d77.jpg

Combat is fairly straight forward. Like most RPGs, each side declares actions, initiative is rolled (higher number wins and is the “attacker” and then vice versa), making rolls against the difficulty chart provided and based upon everyone’s actions. Damage is calculated and everything continues on to the end. Really pretty simple.

 photo MRPG006_zps249cdee3.jpg

The second book is the campaign book. While the first book assumes you are going to play an actual Marvel character (Spider-Man, Captain America, or everyone’s favorite – Iron Man (), the campaign book allows you to create your own character. It details all sorts of different powers, resource levels, equipment (from guns to iron suits…) and even magic (though this seems to be of an optional system in the game). While one may think the campaign book is only for GM’s, there is a lot of information for players as well. How much stuff costs, how to go about building items (like Tony Stark does!), how to earn or lose Karma and how to increase skills. There is also a lot of information for the gamemaster – how to create non-player characters, what the law (back in the 1980’s Marvel Universe) views heroes, different environments, and of course how to be a good “Judge”. The final section of the book actually details how to create a new character with all the different powers and abilities one can choose from and even has an example, the creation of Mach 1 (wonder if it’s any relation to Mach IV?)

 photo MRPG012_zpsce6e3f2e.jpg

One of the interesting aspects of game design from the 1970’s-1990’s is that many companies felt they needed completely different systems for all their games. So while TSR did produce D&D, Marvel Superheroes, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Boot Hill, Top Secret, and Gangbusters, each game actually uses different mechanics. Thankfully, most of the systems, while different, do have enough similarities that one can just as easily play one as the others. This means while you just can’t start playing the game if you’ve played one, the learning curve isn’t as steep if you’ve never played a game to being with.

 photo MRPG008_zps2d13a502.jpg

Another thing that can be bothersome to some people (and, early in my life, it did bother me a bit) is the art. In comics, we are used to one style of art from the issues we read. For me, as a early teen, it was Spider-Man and X-Men that I read a lot of. I would then see ads for these products and the art wouldn’t like the same as in the comic (close, but no cigar!). Well, being an adult and knowing now that different artists worked on the material is the reason it looked different. I don’t think TSR was getting Todd McFarlane to draw their RPG books!

 photo MRPG009_zpsfc749a02.jpg

Overall, after reading the Marvel Superhero RPG, I must say this is a system I could get behind. It is fairly simple system to understand and doesn’t get bogged down into too many details. On top of that, TSR released a ton of supplemental materials for the game – guide books (with information and stats of actual Marvel characters, like Iron Man!) to adventures! Yes, for modern players, many of the stats maybe outdated (some later supplements deal with Iron Man’s “Silver Centurion” model, last seen in the Armor Wars from the late 1980’s!). However, there are still many fans of TSR’s version of the game and they continue to put out their own fan-material for it (just have to do some searching online).

 photo MRPG011_zps6cd1ada3.jpg

Being a simple system and based upon known properties, the Marvel Superheroes RPG is also a great way to get younger people into role-playing games and, being a “heroic” game, is good for the whole family to enjoy! If you can find used copies out there (ebay, Amazon, used book stores), I would suggest picking it up. I’m sure that many would also find it useful for references to 1980’s Marvel properties.

 photo MRPG007_zps4e52eb40.jpg

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fanholes Sidecast #29 - Protagonist Derailment!

Fanholes regulars Derek (derekwc) and Mike (Thunderwing) give commentary on the episode of Gundam Seed Destiny titled "The Final Power."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fanholes Side Story 20: Picard and Data's Excellent Adventure

Star Trek The Next Generation: Hive is a four part mini-series written by Brannon Braga, who was a writer on TNG, Voyager and Enterprise. The story begins in the 29th century where the Borg have conquered all. Jean Luc Picard, having become Locutus once more, has grown tired of the stagnant Borg empire. The story cuts to present day Picard on a archeological dig with his occasional lover Vash. Even doing what he loves with a women he loves the call of the Collective still haunts him. Picard assembles a fleet to deal with the coming Borg invasion. When the Borg arrive they lower their shields and demand to speak to Picard. They tell him that a race from another dimension, the Voldranaii, have devastated the Borg and are on their way to finish the job. They propose a truce and send an ambassador, Seven of Nine. Meanwhile, in the 29th century, Locutus resurrects Data and destroys a great portion of the Borg fleet. Ultimatley they encounter Seven of Nine, who is not happy with their actions. In the present we learn that upon Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant Picard recruited Seven for a deep cover assignment...the infiltration of the Borg to destroy them from within. While the Voldranaii destroy Andoria the combined Borg/Federation fleet hide in the Mutara Nebula. Once the space battle begins Worf and a team of Vulcan commandos beam over to a Voldranaii ship to collect bio data. They learn that the enemy has DNA from dozens of species, as well as Borg nano probes. The Borg attack and nearly wipe out the Federation fleet as Seven of Nine returns to being a drone and attacks the Enterprise crew. In the future Locutus and Data battle the Borg Queen with Locutus torn in half and Data finally delivering the killing blow. He enters a temporal chamber and arrives on the bridge of the Enterprise. Data tells them of the future and that he contains a nano virus that will infect the Collective and destroy it. The virus is placed inside Picard, knowing that the Queen will take great pleasure in personally assimilating him. Picard, Data and Seven beam over to the Queen’s ship. Picard is assimilated but the virus infects the Queen and destroys her. Data returns to the future, his mission accomplished. Seven becomes obsessed with saving as many former drones as possible, even as the Collective begins to self destruct around them. Thousands are eventually saved but Seven dies. A colony for former drones is created and the story ends with Picard heading to the Daystrom Institute to reconstruct Data..he is at last alone with his thoughts. No voices. This story has many plot points in common with past Star Trek episodes. The notion of an alien race superior to the Borg was an idea introduced in the Voyager two parter Scorpion . It seemed kind of a cheat to use this idea again, even if it was a trap for Picard. The idea of uploading a virus into the Collective that would destroy them is a dilemma the Enterprise crew previously faced in the infamous TNG episode I, Borg. At the conclusion of that episode Picard decided not to upload the virus. This moral dilemma is debated in Hive for only a few panels. Going undercover in the Collective is an idea that Voyager used in the two parter Unimatrix Zero. Even though Braga was the writer of Scorpion Part II and introduced us to Seven of Nine I’m not sure that I like this end for her. Its not uncommon for primary characters to be killed off in ‘expanded universe’ stories. Chewbacca was killed off in Vector Prime, and Peter David infamously killed off Captain Janeway in the novel Before Dishonor. I also feel that Captain Riker assumes the role that Worf did in the TNG movies. He needs to be there…so he is. His ship, the Titan, is only briefly seen and suffers the same fate as the Defiant in First Contact. Maybe this is a minor point, but there are a whole series of novels about the continuing adventures of Captain Riker and the Titan. I feel like most of that was just pushed aside. Troi adds very little either. Ultimately though, I did enjoy this mini…all nitpicks aside. If you’re a casual fan who enjoyed TNG and/or Voyager I’d recommend it. If, like me, you’re a hardcore fan I still suggest you check it out.