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51st State Ultimate Edition by Portal Games Coming Soon to Gamefound

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Portal Games announced the 51st State Ultimate Edition is coming soon to Gamefound and will included new content with the crowdfunding campaign The campaign launches in February 2022 with component upgrades, reprints of hard-to-find content, and a new expansion, No Man’s Land, designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek. 51st State was originally published in 2010, and was a breakout success for Portal Games. Set in the same universe as the fan favorite Neuroshima Hex , 51st State offered players a new way to fight for resources in the wastelands of America. The release of the 51st State Master Set in 2016 brought together the core game and both the original expansions, Winter and New Era in one box with an all-new look and improved gameplay. Three additional expansions have since been released for the Master Set, growing the line to a fan favorite. Portal Games wants to give players the definitive experience they deserve with the 51st State Ultimate Edition.  The 51st State Ultimate Edition coming

Guest Review: @DCComics Batman: The Dark Knight #15

Batman The Dark Knight #15 Cover

Cross to Bear


Solicit


Batman’s final fight with Scarecrow is here!

The Dark Knight has been drugged and beaten, but now he’s going to stop Scarecrow’s plans as he takes to the skies over Gotham City!

Preview





Review


Cross to Bear Original Review by Batwatch at Comic Vine

Over the past several months, The Dark Knight has devolved from a fairly entertaining Scarecrow story to a festering pile of crap. The entire plot is too long, sloppily constructed in parts, and derivative of other better Scarecrow stories. Our hero did manage to escape bondage last issue, but sadly, things just got worse. The last glimpse we see of Scarecrow if of him ripping off his origin tale from Batman: The Animated Series by piloting a blimp filled with fear toxin over Gotham. Does this issue float high like 99 red balloons, or does go up in flames like the Hindenburg?

In this issue, Batman tries to contains the panic on the streets but soon realizes he is fighting a losing battle. Knowing he has no other option, Batman sheds his own blood to save the city.

Well...Crap

Here I got myself all worked up to write a scathing review of Dark Knight 15, and the creative team goes and ruins my buzz by pumping out a great issue. Those jerks.

Seriously though, this is a massive improvement on every issue of this series since Zero. Whereas all the previous issues were mostly derivative, this issue had a lot of fresh ideas I had never really seen play out in a Scarecrow story.

The main difference between this issue and every other Scarecrow story ever told is that we actually get to see Scarecrow win, at least for a time. Normally, Scarecrow only manages to affect a few people with his fear toxin before escaping or being put down. Occasionally, he might release it in a public space and infect a whole room full of people, but that still pales in comparison to what he pulled off in this issue as he successfully causes panic among five city blocks of Gotham. We saw a little bit of that in Batman Begins, but it was soon off screen and forgotten. This issue puts the ensuing chaos on full display, and Batman's frantic efforts, Alfred and Damian's powerlessness, and the constant updates via news broadcasts actually made this seem like a very dangerous and frightening situation.

The conflict was also resolved in a unique way. Thematically, it was quite classic messiah imagery which was echoed by the title of this issue, Cross to Bear, but unlike Matrix Revelations where the symbol of the cross was literally seared into viewers retinas, I felt this issue benefited from the concept mostly because of the deal this forced between Robin and Batman. That being said, I suspect the science of Batman's actions might not pan out so well, but if you want the scientific analysis of this issue, you will have to wait for a Batman reviewer with a Bachelors in Science rather than English.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

This issue still had some problems though they were only minor detractors from the story. First, Scarecrow was still shown to be bleeding from the mouth at the end of this issue. I know Scarecrow does not have any superpowers, but doesn't he have any regular human powers like the ability to clot? Bruce's injuries also caused some eye rolling. Last issue, Batman impaled himself in the center of the chest with Scarecrow's scythe. This issue, his wound is shown to be on his shoulder. Furthermore, Bruce's solution to the super toxin, though cool, should have killed him, and I think it is really poor form for every one of Batman's titles to have him beaten within an inch of his life every issue. Can't he win without major injury sometimes? Finally, the issue ends with a scene with Natalya who is apparently Bruce's girlfriend even though I do not remember her in the slightest from any previous issues. I did miss The Dark Knight ten and eleven so possibly she was featured there. (Spoiler) Another odd things was that she is shown to stop playing in the midst of a concert, yet no clear explanation is made for this.

Bat Droppings

Shortly after opening this issue, I found myself stunned at the beauty of the art work. I know David Finch is good, but somehow, I keep managing to forget just how good he is between every issue. Great stuff.

The cover deserves praise. The image of Batman and Scarecrow playing Chess with Gotham City is pretty cool even if similar images have already been done. I do question Scarecrow drooling though. Is he rabid?

Conclusion 9/10

This issue is quite good by itself, but I find myself scratching my head as to the quality of this entire arch since it varies wildly from issue to issue. I guess if someone put a gun to my head and made me assign a grade, I would give it a 7/10. If you like as many decent Batman stories as you can handle or you are willing to shell out money just for David Finch's art, then this is worth your money, but if you only want to spend money on the best, there are better Batman comics on the market.

What I Thought


See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.

Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3


What's odd is while everyone else was disliking the prior issues with the Scarecrow, I enjoyed them. Now the exact opposite is true. This issue was a letdown for me. I had already thought the arc was closed and we would just see Scarecrow in a future issue. This issue just seemed very fast paced and Batman jumped around from location to location without any notice. I mean he went from fighting in the street in one page to crashing his bat-plane into Wayne Enterprises on another. I also didn't like the whole lets use his blood and spray it out the plane to cure everyone idea. For me it seemed a little out there even for a comic. It was nice to see Damien's maturity while also showing his love for his father in the end. For me this was a little letdown from the past issues.

Purchase Batman: The Dark Knight #15
Purchase Batman: The Dark Knight #15

Jeremy Sims is a blogger at https://batwatch.squarespace.com/ and a comic book reviewer at Comic Vine. The use of this review has been authorized by the original author.

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