Assassins Creed Valhalla (PS4)

I was sucked into the world of Assassins Creed initially through my love of the sea, and the old sailing vessels of yore. Following my obsession with the Amazon Prime series Black Sails (expertly led by the fantastic Toby Stephens), i was over the moon when Assassins Creed IV “Black Flag” was released on the Nintendo Switch. I snapped it up along with its follow up Rogue and devoured them both during the first lockdown in 2020.

My devotion to Nintendo still remains but fate found me with a PS4, and soon after purchase i had Assassins Creed Origins. An expansive, open world adventure that redefined gaming for me. Naturally i followed that swiftly with Odyssey, and then Valhalla.

I confess the earlier iterations of the franchise have eluded my interest; far less open than the later games, and far more frustrating. So condemn me for that – much like my adoration for later Status Quo rather than the acclaimed early years, it is the latter set of Assassins Creed that i have enjoyed in my gaming hours.

I could fill pages with previous games – this is my Valhalla review.

As the title suggests, this is an epic Viking saga, which introduces us to Eivor (male or female, its your choice) and her half brother Sigurd, in their mission to invade England and take the land as their own. Of course, we are given a much more relatable story of Vikings and violence; there is no raping and pillaging from the old books. Instead we have honourable warriors wishing for peace.

The story progresses through betrayal and heartache but i won’t give away all the details here. Thats for you to explore for yourselves.

The game allows you to do whatever you want, within reason. I myself left all the real story elements to the end, instead seeking out all the pieces of gear and weapons and artefacts and events until the game required me to head to the next major checkpoint.

Because of this, i ended up massively overpowered when it came to the wandering Zealots and monsters; but this is good – it meant that i could enjoy the game rather than get frustrated and angry when i get my ass handed to me by a mangy lynx.

There is a fair element of wandering unfortunately, and the wide variety of mounts available never quite seemed to enliven the long slog between the warp points and destinations. My most memorable moments were taking out whole fortresses of soldiers with my arrows, or assassin diving off monasteries.

And very early i’d exchanged my stupid raven for a Puffin named Puffy.

Its sumptuous to look at, but by its very nature glum and a bit Skyrim-y. Hey, this is the UK, after all. Odyssey by comparison is sunny and beautiful.

But overall, its a phenomenal game. Massive, possibly overlong and the chasing of artefacts across rooftops got a royal fuck-off (the only area i didn’t achieve 100%).

Hey though; its a worthy sister to the previous two ACs – and it has three paid expansions …. will i venture to Ireland, Paris and Ragnarock in the future? Well. Time will tell. I’m a bit Valhalla’d out, having dedicated well over 200 hours to this saga.

The big question is…what open world game will envelop me now? Tears of the Kingdom isn’t until May at least…shall i venture out west and wield a pair of Colt.45s? Or battle mechanical dinosaurs?

Star Trek: Prodigy S1

After a bumpy start, this show undergoes one of the greatest redemptions of late. Let me explain its ins and outs, and the profound affect it has had on me.

The opening episodes, where we are introduced to misfit no.1 Dal R-el, (Brett Gray), an outcast trapped on a prison asteroid and who knows nothing of his past (cliche number one of many). He attempts an escape, and unwarily stumbles upon a hidden starship, the USS Protostar, a gleaming, shiny modern starfleet vessel that doesn’t quite look as silly as the Discovery. He is then joined by various other misfits; Gwyndala (Ella Purnell), whose father is the despotic tyrant running the asteroid – and whose mining plans are to find the aforementioned Protostar); Jankom Pog,(jason mantzoukas), a tellurite who has a penchant for engines; Zero, (Angus Imrie), a non-corporeal floating piece of nebula inside a hovering suit, reminding me of a Zeriod from Terrahawks; Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), a humungous rock person who looks like The Thing from Fantastic Four; and finally an amorphous blob called, obviously, Murf, after the girl from Interstellar.

I happily admit i struggled. I’m possibly too old for the cartoonish antics and the fist-into-face morals that seem intrinsic to these modern cartoons. Its all about friendship, and working together. Now don’t get me wrong, its lovely to see the kids being sent messages like this, its very important. But for me, it wasn’t the cartoons that delivered this to me. I was brought up believing in teamwork when Red Squadron took down the Death Star. Friendship was the running banter betwix Venkman, Stanz and Spengler. Love was, well, “I Love You, ” “I Know”.

But i knew something was coming. Something i had no right to be excited about.

The Protostar has a resident hologram. The mentor for the band of merry gumblewits that had stolen it. Somebody to teach them the meaning of Starfleet and galactic harmony. And that hologram takes the form of Janeway.

You see, as much as i adored The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, it was truly Voyager that turned me into a die-hard Trekkie. The (mis)adventures of the displaced crew and their journey home from the middle of the Delta Quadrant were my first VHS’s that i ever bought myself. The very first video i spent my pocket money on was Season 3 video 2: The Chute / The Swarm. The Chute, to this day, is likely my favourite episode of the whole show. So for me, Captain Janeway is my Captain. I am often out voted, with Stu preferring Picard and Mark preferring Sisko. I don’t conform. Before either of these two i’d even pick Archer. Hate me.

So Hologram Janeway is aboard the Protostar, and the initial salvo of episodes bring each characters story forwards and establishes them as a crew, young and ready to learn, despite their differences. Hints at a little cliche romance between Gwyn and Dal hangs in the air. Its all standard stuff, introducing the world of Star Trek to younger viewers.

But then things heat up. I was first alerted to the unexpected by the excellent “Time Amok” (which is a neat little homage to the history of Trek), which revolves around the timey wimey plot involving different areas of the ship slowing down depending on their distance from the temporal explosion. An excellent concept, an excellent episode.

The big reveal comes with the finale of Part one of the series. You see, it turns out the Protostar’s original captain was none other than CHAKOTAY (i had goosebumps, and i hadn’t even been hit with the biggie yet)… and that a certain Vice Admiral is desperate to find her first officer. Yes, you guessed it, JANEWAY. Not some lame hologram, no, the real deal, complete with silver sheen to her hair.

And its not just a cameo. The whole show then starts to revolve around her pursuit of the Protostar, and even her crew get big parts to play.

The highlight of the whole show is when Dal and Janeways minds are swapped (“Mindwalk”), allowing Kate Mulgrew to flex her comedy muscles as Dal struggles to act-Janewayish to her crew. Her jogging on the spot in the turbolift had me in tears.

At its heart, the arc of the show is devilishly clever and sinister. The kids want to get to Starfleet, but hidden inside the belly of the Protostar is a construct which will turn any starfleet vessel against itself. So they can’t talk to the people they want to join, and they can’t ask for help. (opening comms creates a link for the construct to do its menace). Great hook, and the finale is devastating to watch.

Season Two is on its way, but we are left open to wonder just whats going to happen. Theres hints that they won’t be aboard the Protostar next season…but something else. Its the hunt for Chakotay, trapped in time.

My money is on the Voyager-A.

Now with Chakotay and Janeway on board the show, who will be see next year? Picard has reunited the TNG crew…will Prodigy do the same for Voyager? Will be get to see Kim – finally promoted? Paris. B’Elanna? The possibilities have me horripilating.

Second star on the left, straight on till morning.

Oh….and that theme tune. Engage!!

The Shattered Conscience

Time to come clean. I feel as if i need to write this down. Maybe in some small way i will feel better as a result. The last week has been very trying. I was pushed to the very brink of my personal sanity. And, remarkably, this isn’t to do with work.

Quite simply, i was dealt with a horrible set of cards. At the time, upon the slap of the first card on the table, i broke. My sanity shattered like ice, my mental framework reduced to zero. Maybe even negative numbers.

I don’t want to go into the gory details. A good man once said, “one should never dwell on his troubles, lest they consume him’. Well i am trying to take the advice of this stellar man to my heart.

The end of my tale is sad one. I am not writing this from a balcony in Fuengirola, overlooking the mediterranean and spotting weird south spanish birds. I am instead drowning my sorrows in multiple litres of Diet Coke and watching my comfort TV shows. (i’ve finished Doc Martin and Ghosts, so i’m now binging Star Trek: Prodigy. You see, i heard that a certain person and actress dear to my yound adulthood has more of a presence than a cartoon hologram….Kate Mulgrew, i have been waiting for your return since the end of the 90s).

You see, i developed severe pain in my right foot. Which meant i couldn’t walk, Which means a trip to the airport and beyond was out of the question. Truth be told, i was worried. It could get worse. And i didn’t want to be in a strange place. I wanted the comfort of my own home, exiled by personal calamity or not. To rest, get my mind back on track.

Which is where you join me now.

I think i’m over the worst of it.

However, good news abounds, which has helped me greatly to cope with the damage. My younger bro went to a film festival down south and the feedback he recieved for his film “Stag’s Head” was apparently very positive. My blood-addled visage was used as the thumbnail – although i’m not making it about me.

If you haven’t seen it yet, see below. And if you enjoy it, make a comment. You can all help me feel better.

Oh…and i made up that quote. Yes, i’m following the advice of my practical side.

Willow (2022)

No spoilers are to be found in the following review.

The original film sits fondly in the films of my childhood, although i confess i haven’t seen it for over ten years. I didn’t even watch it in preparation for this TV show. To be perfectly honest, the music and Warwick Davis (of whom i have been a lifetime fan) was enough. The original teaser with a behind-the-scenes look at the cast and crew was so heartwarming and so human…i was hooked.

The show is set 20 years after the original. The sons and daughters of Madmartigan (played originally by legend Val Kilmer) are all grown up. Elora Danan (the baby from the movie and most important person) is safely hidden away. However, things are not good in the world. And soon into the pilot the heir to the throne has been kidnapped and the end of the world is nigh.

We need Willow, greatest sorcerer the world has ever known.

The eight part epic begins. We are introduced to a rag tag bunch of wonderful characters. We have the princess Kit (Ruby Cruz), whose brother has been taken. We have Jade Claymore (Erin Kellyman), knight in training. We have Willow (Warwick Davis), of course, as awesome as ever. Ellie Bamber plays Dove, a lowly kitchen maid in love with her prince – but who has possibly the most obvious twist in recent times. Tony Revolori has the haughty and innocence of the neighbouring Lands prince, but who keeps secret a dark past. Then finally, and perhaps the single best character in the show, we have Thraxus Boorman, played expertly by Amar Chadha-Patel for the comedy kicks. One liners and humourous asides are his babies.

The team encounter a wide variety of fantastic beasts, ridiculous scenarios and dramatic situations. Its kind of like a game of Dungeons and Dragons, a classic case of questing and adventuring.

I have heard complaints that this lack of originality for structure is a negative – it most certainly is not. There is no underlying dark arc which is difficult to follow – each episodes end with some kind of exciting plot twist and the whole thing flows like a good book. The scenarios are all born of a wonderful imagination.

What really sells the show is the love put into it, by everyone. The actors are all clearly having an absolute ball, throwing everything they have into the daftness of it all. Each character has a magnificent arc of development, except probably Boorman, who remains as hilarious and charming as he ever is.

Amazingly, a great deal of practical effects and make-up is employed. CGI takes care of the impossible, like the great barrier or the Shattered Sea, but each OTT villain is a person in a suit. Mostly. “The Gales,” in a particular, are a terrifying bunch of henchmen.

A tremendous addition to the roster of Disney+ and quite the distraction from the ‘serious fantasy’ of the likes of House of the Dragon and Rings of Power.

Recommended.

Oh, i cannot describe how excited i was when Christian Slater turned up. Or Julian Glover, for that matter.

Crannog Bay (2023) – by Chaos Box

I know it’s generally frowned upon to self-promote and be all wishy-washy about projects i myself had a hand in, but let me assure you all i am not waxing lyrical about this just because i was in it, and had a hand in the story creation. My role is small and arguably minor, and so the real plaudits must get ladled onto my younger, better brother. Douglas – the director and writer of this scottish horror.

Crannog Bay features prominently the haunting visions felt by Chris (Josh Currie), as he drowns every night in a bay he can’t remember. He finds himself going to Crannog Bay in an attempt to understand his past. He doesn’t know there are nefarious happenings, both human and beyond…and his very life and legacy is at stake.

I don’t want to review this as i am biased, but i do emplore you to give it a shot. Its under an hour, fairly fast paced and features some absolutely stunning aerial photography. The monster may look like a 60s doctor who villain, but thats the idea. No budget, no limits. Welcome to Chaos Box. Hope you enjoy.

Feel free to comment or even if you have questions…i’m willing to answer.

If you like what you see…visit http://www.chaosbox.uk

Chaos Box presents…a scottish folklore horror. Don’t. Go. Back!

Marching in the Misery Parade

The drums have been beating for a long time now, and the portents of doom have been hovering in the air like vampiric midges. The atmosphere is encroaching as in a thunderstorm. Oppressive, like a heavy weight pushing your very soul into the soil; a vacuum of biblical proportions sucking the life essence out of our withered husks – we are all, quite simply, pooped. Like out of the back end of a gypsy cob (because they have the biggest turds).

Its 2023. The end of last year changed my life. And hopefully such incandescence will continue into this new year. No guarantees of course, but things are looking rosy, at least in the small ways that i pay attention to. I’m published in the upcoming Blakes 7 annual 2023 (coming soon from Cult Edge), i’m going to Malaga, then i’ve got a 40th with my best friends in the world, then i’m going to see Mike Wozniak in easter (tick tock, Wozniak o’clock), then i’ve got my own 40th, and sometime throughout i’ll be visiting Jurassic Drummond, airBnBing down to England for an amble-by-the-sea, then likely doing some other nonsense at other, unspecified dates.

Who knows what i’ll be doing workwise. The future of my company lies still in limbo, and my personal future with the company is at concrete as a bag of clouds…but as the famous phrase goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Except the firing of Henry Cavill as Superman. Nothing good will ever come of that travesty of cinema. I had to watch the excellent Enola Holmes 2 last night to counter a depressive funk brought on by too much Cavilline contemplations. No Witcher, No Superman. Thank Krypton we have his Warhammer movie to look forwards to.

But i’m not here to rant about the decisions of James Gunn, am I? No. This is just a rant about the decline of hope and the dissipation of aspirations. The kick to the teeth of optimism and the gut-punch of life undesired.

I’m writing currently so many things that i can’t even name all of it here. I’m working on two Pandora Man scripts (The Denton Iterations and Heartbeat of the World), trying to finish Dr Who: Accident and Emergency, and putting together thoughts for numerous speculative shorts such as “Humanity Extraction”, “Widdecombes Nightmare” and “The Tennoffusaur”. Keep an eye out!

Right, well, Happy New Year to my readers (i’ve noticed i have a few subscribers now, so thanks very much to you all!!) and i’m off to rejoin the parade. Where the fish are more intelligent than the staff.

Alon’si!

Change, My Dear. Not a moment too soon.

This entry has been a long time coming. I’ve been brewing it like an animal-themed ale, perfecting my idiosyncrasies so that i’m channeling my own eccentricity into the narrative… you see, 2022 has been a milestone in my life. An event unforeseen in my future – i could never have been able to predict this.

The only background relevant is my declining health. Ever since somewhere in the 2010s my body malfunctioned. By some bizzare mutation of anatomy my thyroid gland started to get lazy. It produces the hormone thyroxin, which in turn is required to run a huge set of operations in the body.

So over the course of several years i became hugely overweight, constantly fatigued, weak and massively depressed. And i couldn’t fix it; try as i might, walking after work, swimming, any form of exercise – i just didn’t have the energy to do it. Even at work – a fairly energetic affair, i was unable to perform some of the basic tasks. I was a walking time-bomb, tripping, falling, unable to lift things…my mental health was spiralling.

I’ve spoken before of my mental illness and i’m a big advocate of sharing and talking about it; its possible to fight it. You’ll never truly best it, but it can be rendered tolerable.

I applied for a small job on Scotlands east coast, but was advised against the transfer due to my lack of stability and general overweightness. As a result, my occupational health nurse expressed concerns over my general neural health and i was referred to a glasgow-based brain woman.

It was a non-event. Nurses didn’t confer and there was no appointment. So it was rescheduled. And then THAT appointment was cancelled as the Doc had COVID. Then the NEXT appointment was cancelled because the doctors assistant had COVID. So the next idea was to get me an appointment with my local GP. Why this couldn’t have been an option all those months ago i don’t know.

So this is six months after the initial concern, by the way.

The Doc was very amiable, and asked about family history, current job and exercise, mental health and the such. But she right away said she had a theory, and wanted to do blood tests. So i did.

I then went to Harrogate to visit two of my bestest friends for a board game and booze weekend. On the way back, trapped in gridlock in the Lake District, i receive a phonecall. I have hypothyroidism.

Two days later i’m on thyroxin capsules, two a day for the time being.

Three months later i’m 18kg lighter, brimming with confidence and able to speak without slurring like i’ve had a stroke. I am, as mentioned now by just about everyone, a completely different person. A better person. The actual me.

So with all my heart my thanks do to the manager at Kinnaird and my wonderful doctor. Things have changed, and the future is brighter than ever.

There. The first and likely only time i’ll be in a good mood whilst blogging. SAVOUR IT.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

The first Avatar came out in 2009 and made box office history with a global taking of $2.9 BILLION DOLLARS. Utterly insane. With that, obviously we’d get a sequel. But, contrary to Hollywood’s usual trope of shoving out a follow up with nary a care for quality, James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel has been 13 years in the making. Not doing things by halves, though, Cameron is releasing another (rumoured) THREE of these CGI extravanganzas, bringing the total to five. Its hardly a rival to the likes of The Fast and Furious franchise or James Bond, but its certainly more than we expected.

Avatar (2009) is a hippie high budget metaphor for the value of nature and Humanity’s mindless aim to eradicate our world’s rainforests in the search for rare wealth. It could have been dismissed as a load of nonsence with an awful script and in-your-face environmentalism – but somehow the world was captivated. Perhaps it was the spectacle; the ground breaking realism of the computer generated moon of Pandora was mindblowing. Enough to dwarf the wooden performance from its lead, Sam Worthington.

Avatar 2 exceeds my expectations. Read on.

We are treated to a wonderful introductory sequence that covers what has happened since the events of the first movie. This feels right, seeing as we have waited 13 years for the film, it fits that the events are set a similar number of years later. In the intervening years Sully (sam) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have given birth to three kids (two boys and a wee girl) and have adopted a female girl who is the child of Sigourney Weaver from the first film. Interestingly, Sigourney also voices the teenage child. And her parentage is…well, i’ll leave that to your theories. Oh, and theres a young boy on the base “Spider” whose father is stupidly obvious but who is brought up Na’vi-friendly.

The film then delivers a nasty gut-punch. The humans return to Pandora and on landing, devastate the World Tree and half the rainforest. fast forward a year…

the Na’vi are raiders, let militaristically by Sully to upset the human supply lines.

The villain of the piece is Quaritch (Stephen Lang) – but he was killed in the first film!! Yes – this time we have a Na’vi “recombinant”, a clone bred from Quaritch’s DNA and embedded with the memories before he died. A terrific sci-fi idea and one that is not wasted.

Quaritch retains his death-grudge with Sully, and vows to kill him. So Sully and his cliched family up sticks and head to the oceans of Pandora, seeking asylum with the turquoise water Na’vi.

And there we have. The next two hours are a mix of family drama, children fighting and bullying, outcast cliches and beautiful underwater imagery. Oh. And did i mention a massively upsetting moment when a f*cking hovercraft butchers a huge Pandoran whale in order to drain its brain fluid. I was close to tears. Its a powerful message about the evil of the whaling industry.

Its by no means perfect. The script is dire; cliched, textbook dialogue. The plot is cookie-cutter and almost identical to the first film: characters arrive in new place, become friendly with the intitially unhappy locals, then get attacked by a battalion of humans searching for some rare material (this time age-stopping whale brains).

BUT.

Its shockingly beautiful. The underwater scenes, the pandoran creatures, the rousing music, the explosions…amazing. Cameron knows he has a very very high standard of special effect on show here – so he sets whole action scenes in rain, underwater and gleaming with lightshows from sunrise to sunset, and even through the night.

And the best thing… i forgot the Na’vi were fake. They are astoundingly realistic. From the minutest of facial ticks, ear twitches and nose-scrunching to their ridiculous height and alien movement. Its only when you see them next to humans you go, “oh shit they’re not real!”

The occasional moment of humour shines too. Sam Worthington proves that despite a face as beige as a vauxhall corsa, his alterego Na’vi is oscar worthy.

A tremendous achievement in cinema. Don’t wait till DVD or stream. See it now on the big screen. The biggest you can find.

Crisis in the Cinematic Universe

I’m taking this news badly, by the way. What i found out yesterday has left a nasty taste in my mouth and i’m afraid i’m about to wax lyrical about my discontentment…

A recent blog post spoke of the HBOmax TV show “Peacemaker”, and how i enjoyed it’s violent action, witty script and subtly rounded characterisation. I even, if i recall, spoke very highly of its direction – provided skillfully by James (Guardians of the Galaxy) Gunn. I thought i was happy, pleased with the geek world and its various forms. I found myself revering Gunn himself…

And then it all came crashing down. I was betrayed. My fan instincts were torn asunder and i was full of trivial hate and anger.

To understand the full picture of my despair, i must tell you of a few things. Firstly, let us address a Netflix show, of which i am also a fan. Its called “The Witcher” – you may have heard of it. Its the story of Geralt of Rivia, an outcast monster-hunter with silver hair, yellow eyes and the acting range of a Larch. His expletive utterances and grunts are a source of pop memes the world over. His strikingly monosyllabic dialogue have earned him many fans. That, and the fact that women and men alike find him startlingly handsome. He is Henry Cavill, british actor who has played the son of Edmund Dantes, the unwanted suitor of Clare Danes, an immortal demigod, Sherlock Holmes and even Napoleon Solo. He missed out to Daniel Craig as Bond. So the stars were in alignment when he secured the role of the best superhero of all. Clark Kent. Superman.

However, due to rumoured creative differences – the word is the Witcher’s writers want to take the show in a different direction than the books – and Cavill is off, to be replaced by one of the non-Thor Hemsworths. Fans are in uproar. A petition has already been signed by nearly half a million people to have the writers fired and Cavill reinstated.

But the fans were compensated. A surprise cameo of Supes himself at the end of the recent Rock vehicle Black Adam, followed by a media message from Cavill…Superman was to return. A sequel / follow up to Snyder’s Man of Steel was in the works. I’m sure i wasnt the only person that leaped for joy.

My happiness was short lived.

Merely days later there came a shockwave through the industry. It began with the news that Wonder Woman 3 was shelved. Batgirl has been lost to time. And…the recently announced Superman movie was now in the trash pile. We weren’t going to get Henry Cavill in the cape again after all. Nor we going to get Geralt of Rivia with his dreamy demon eyes.

James Gunn has sledgehammered the DC Universe. It looks as if the entire justice league are fated to their doom. The troubled Flash movie is apparently still happening, as is Aquaman’s sequel, and thankfully we’re still getting Robert Pattinson’s second Batman movie. But no more Batman Beyond (with michael keaton!)!

Theres almost no consolation. Oh apparently there is another Superman, with a younger clark kent. But no henry cavill.

I am a great fan of Christopher Reeve. A hero and a role model. I loved Brandon Routh, my superman. I’ve met the man and we’ve posed as Captain Cold and The Atom. I was retiscent to accept Cavill’s new, darker Superman… but i did. And now he’s been taken from me.

I ask the world; if you’re going to do this to me, give me Man from Uncle 2…

Its not all doom and gloom. We’re getting a Warhammer movie in the future, and i just read a rumour that he’s in the reboot of Highlander. WHAT? WHY AM I HEARING ABOUT THIS NOW!!!

ITS THE CAVILLING!!

Peacemaker (2022)

This spin off from The Suicide Squad (2021) was very faint on my radar. Why, though? I mean, i’m a massive comic book fan and i like to keep up to date with all the comings and goings of both the MCU and (in this case) the DCEU. I’ve seen everything so far except Morbius, Wakanda Forever and Black Adam. I hated / disliked Suicide Squad and i was entertained, if not blown away by The Suicide Squad, its too-similarly titled sequel / reboot.

So why was i not immediately enamoured by Peacemaker? Well, i confess, its because of the Peacemaker himself. I’m not a fan of John Cena – i find his personality arrogant and ham-fisted. And his performance in The Suicide Squad hardly suggests a decent TV show.

BUT. For some reason, i was in the mood to try it out the other day. My schedule was a void and i fancied some comic action. So i watched the pilot.

I cannot define exactly what it was that had me hooked. But i will attempt to explain. Firstly, the inevitable synopsis. No spoilers.

The Peacemaker is released from prison to serve with a group of ragtag Argus black operatives in “Project Butterfly”. He is told nothing to begin with – to them he is a hired bit of muscle capable of killing who he is told to. His team-mates are suitably diverse questors – the hardass girl with no heart / the beardy weirdy tech guy / the cold sinister boss man and the new girl. Together they must undertake this mission despite their grievances and their dislike for one another – and save the world.

BUT. Throw into this the hardass girl has indeed a thawing heart, the bearded dude has feelings, the boss has his own demons and the new girl is Amanda Wallers daughter – the BIG BOSS of the lot. OH and Peacemaker – the biggest douchebag of all time and all round shithead, is in fact tormented by his racist white father, is having a morale-complex and whose best friend is frikking eagle called Eagly.

The plot mergansers more than the Mississippi and is the twists are shyamalanic. You will literally feel your jaw drop at the end of (nearly) every episode.

What i’m going to highlight though is the direction of James Gunn. His use of music and slo-mo is bordering genius. Its second to none. I’ve not seen this level of pitch-perfect cinematography and pop / rock music topography since…i don’t know…a long time. Kick Ass, maybe.

Jennifer Holland is amazing as Emila Harcourt (the hardass girl with no heart), and certainly one of the reasons i think i stayed with the series. Danielle Brooks is fantastic as the new girl, displaying so much range and truly providing the emotional core of the show.

BUT here it comes. The apology. John Cena, i am sooooo sorry for judging you. You have created here a character so complex that its like a fucked-up rubix cube. On the surface he’s a muscly, handsome douchebag with enough one liners to rival Bruce Willis on a good day (to die hard), but below he is a warm-hearted goon whose character arc rivals that of Daenarys Targaryen. An absolute d**khead that is infinitely likeable, and more importantly forgivable. I mean. His dad was a terminator and a racist. His childhood was f**ked.

There is comedy without pastiche here. There is humour both slapstick and verbal. Its brilliant.

Stealer of the show though? That frikking Eagle. Simply the best!!

(and we have season 2 to follow – F*ck yeah!)