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By Emil

One of the more entertaining and interesting settings for a story in the world of creative fiction is post-apocalyptic. It could be a world utterly devastated beyond repair and recognition thanks to a few nukes going Kablooie, an unnatural calamity of nature caused or a massive global invasion staged by destructive alien races, subsequently followed by the enslavement of mankind.

It hardly gets any weirder than this one, though.

Very strangely, very suddenly, and violently, in less than a blink of an eye every living thing with the Y chromosome falls dead. Except for Yorick Brown, along with his pet male monkey, Ampersand. Yorick leaves his apartment after a prolonged period of solitutde only to find death at his doorsteps. His neighbors lie in a bloody mess, and male corpses are scattered all over the streets. By the smell, it seems several days have passed. So, a good question is, why was Yorick and his pet monkey still alive?

It doesn't take long for the world to recede into a state of utter chaos and anarchy with very few semblance of order left. Which of course does not mean that everything's gone down the drain. Womankind struggles on, attempting to rebuild their lives and their civilization in the absence of their male counterparts.

The Secretary of Agriculture becomes the President of the United States and Yorick being the last man on the planet, the president feels that the last male definitely needs to survive. She assigns a personal bodyguard by the codename of Agent 355 who becomes a consistent companion, and sends Yorick to find Dr. Allison Mann (yes, it's a good pun, we think.), who's made plenty of breakthroughs in the field of genetics, and who may also have the answer to this sudden eruption of male-doom.

Things aren't really as smooth as that, though. It seems that enemies are everywhere. Alter, an Israeli soldier of an unknown alignment, follows Yorick wherever he goes intent on capturing the largest bargaining chip in the world. Then there's the group of wild and violent Daughters of Amazon group. Led by an overly charismatic Victoria, these women believe that the Mother Nature has wiped out the Y chromosome because of its inherent aberration. Their sole intent, based on hate and anger, seems to be to wipe out anything male related, engaging in everything from vandalism to violent murder, and silly initiation rites like cutting off their own left breasts. Yes. Icky.

Yorick learns that his one and only girlfriend Beth Deville is still alive and trapped somewhere in the outback of Australia, where she was for her anthropological work. Thusly determined Yorick embarks on a journey to seek her out and reunite their love. accompanied by the Agent 355 and Dr Allison Mann (who's lab has been burned to nothing).

Throughout the series, there are several theories presented as to how the males got eradicated, some mystical, and some quite scientific, but in the end, Brian K. Vaughan kinda leaves it up to the reader to decide which is most likely.

Pia Guerra's got a good style of artwork. The covers, like most comic book covers, are kinda awesome, naturally more pronounced than the actual comics, as it should be. The actual inside artwork, though, pretty nice isn't something to go amagadsoawesome over. Still, good work, nonetheless.

Vaughan was very good at portraying the dystopian world, dark, gritty and kinda scary from a certain point of view. His writing skills are quite up to the task and provide good characterizations for his, ah, characters. As a Vertigo title (an imprint of DC), Y the Last Man is suggested for mature readers. The series isn't conserved in its depiction of blood, violence, and sexuality, and even less so with the ideas that Vaughan tried to convey. Overall, Y the Last Man is an addictive and suspenseful sort of experience, with a rush of action and mystery, but it has moments that leave the reader touched and moved.

It is a must read for any comic reader who wants something different. Pick it up if you can, but you probably won't be able to lay it down until you finish the whole series. You've been warned.

By Musarrat Rahman
Photo Credit: M.Rana and Adhare Nilimay

Bangladesh music scene is mostly dominated by rock & metal. For those of you who are just not into that kind of music, Old School will be a breath of fresh, much-needed air.

The group is a six-piece band that experiments with instrumentals and folk music (new age-alternative-folk-instrumental to be more precise) adding in percussions and even an essence of hip-hop with 'beat-boxing'. The line-up is:
- Shadman Rahman - Tabla & Percussion
- Mohammed Mustakin Chowdhury - Bass & Percussion
- Rizwan Nayeem - Violin
- Moktadir Dewan Shanto - Guitar
- Navid I.C.- Flute
- Md. Mobassher Chowdhury- Keys, Guitar, Violin & Vocal

The band formed in July '08 (almost a year old) debuting at the Summer Unplugged' 08. The mastermind(s) behind this assembly was Mobassher, Shadman, Mustakin and Rizwan who came up with the concept of using such traditional and acoustical instruments (violin, acoustic guitar, tabla) to infuse the flavor of folk music into the hearts of the youth. Bengali folk music is, after all, a giant part of our culture that isn't paid much heed to nowadays. 'There's a whole 'sea' of genres out there whereas the youth nowadays is focused on just a particular few', says Shadman, 'we just want them to experience the other types of music that hasn't yet been put forward.'

They don't focus on one particular genre though. This band's goal is to create their very own musical assortment and leave a permanent mark on Bangladesh's music scene. And they're doing a pretty good job of it with their instrumental renditions of cult classics like Nirvana's “Smells like Teen Spirit”, Iron Maiden's “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and System of a Down's “Chopsuey” and “Toxicity”. Their own twist is added to these tracks by using Violin, Flute and Tabla (traditional instruments) to do the guitar solos and the vocals.

The band is such an amusing, spirited bunch and is a definite crowd-pleaser at events. They keep the crowd tapping their feet throughout the creative (like a medley of Deep Purple's “Smoke on the Water” and The Pink Panther theme) performances and boy, are they infectious! You can't help but become a fan.

Other than being entertaining, they sure have talent. And lots of it! The front man, Mobassher, is described by Shanto (the guitarist) as being the 'Sylar' of the group with amazing vocal range as well as outstanding instrumental skills (he can play keyboards, flutes, drums, guitar and violin!). The rest of them (Shanto, Navid, Mustakin, Rizwan and Shadman) don't fall short with their killer skills either. Of course, all of them started their expedition into music from a very early age, which nurtured them into the fine musicians they are now.

Even thought they are just starting out, they are a band full of passion and devotion for the kind of music that they do. The fact that they have so much fun onstage (as well as the uniqueness) will make them hard to forget. Right now, they're in the makings of an album that will (hopefully) come out by November '09. Old School is DEFINITELY a band to watch out for and next time you hear of a show featuring this upcoming band, make sure you head over and catch a performance (their fusion of Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven” and Lalon's “Khachar Bhitor Ochin Pakhi” is a piece you absolutely cannot miss). You'll have so much fun; you'll definitely want to thank me later.

By Emil

There's weird. There's weird. Then there's weird.
And then there's that odd and complete devoidness of feelings that signifies an exterior quietness otherwise known as speechlessness, rendered thus in occurrence to an amalgamation of senses that ultimate turns the mind half-numb. And you go, “What?”

That's kinda what Zeno Clash does to you at first.
Developed by independent developing team ACE, Zeno Clash takes place in this world called Zenozoik. Think Star Wars, think Star Trek, think all the science fiction fantasy that's set in some exotic and very strange places, and you'll have an idea of Zeno Clash. If you thought that Star Wars had some weird races? Well. Zeno Clash would probably kick Lucas' butt all over Tatooine and back to Naboo.

Zeno Clash was a finalist in for the Excellence in Visual Arts award in the Independent Games Festival. It's pretty clear how they managed to find themselves in that category. The premise is very interesting filled strange and oddly interesting creatures, both humanoid and non, and there seems to be no end to the weirdness that comes up every few minutes. Exploding squirrels were pretty cool, though.

It's kind of a first person fighting game with a bit of shooter thrown in. But shooting will only get you so far before you have to resort to your good ol' fists. Using good timing, tactics and deadly combinations you dish out a whooping to anybody who wants to have a go at you.

And a lot of people want to have a go at Ghat, the protagonist of the game. It seems he's killed Father-Mother, a creature who has dozens and dozens of children, with Ghat being one of them. The huge clan lives in the city of Hastledom, a major city in the fictional world of Zenozoik. Ghat, along with a friend, Daedra flee the city as Father-Mother's children, and consequently Ghat's siblings, come after him with a license to kill.

What stands out most for this game are without a doubt the visually pleasing environment and very nifty character designs. Each creature that you encounter is as different to the last one. Nothing beats the exploding squirrels, though. The exotic world of Zenozoik really grabs at you and you wonder if only you could know how they live, and what their world is like on a more intricate level. But, the game is mostly on the surface focusing on the struggle of Ghat as he tries to escape his pursuers. The graphics are truly something else- a half naked man with an eye-ball for a head, and purple worms that splash out of the sand to get at you, and not to mention the awesome exploding squirrels…

The first person fighting game experience can be quite interesting. Instead of hacking away at your enemies from an isometric or third person point of view, you lock onto an enemy and engage him in realistic combat, relying on your skills and timing to win the upper hand- and that could be simply stunning your opponent then, elbow bashing the weird thing on your knee, and following that with several kicks to the ribs, or simply bashing away that that fat-stomached cannibal monster with a piece of stick.

The combat is pleasing to be in, unlike a lot of games, but the shooting feels incomplete, as does the overall scope of the game; it's somewhat linear in the execution, which however is not necessarily a negative point.

The soundtrack is deep and creepy and really goes in hand in hand with the creepy and weird atmosphere, so that works pretty well. Other than that, there's nothing else to go gaga over in the sound department. It's pretty refined.

Zeno clash is an interesting game, with interesting creatures and a vague and intriguing storyline. There's a heartening story regarding this game that softens your soul towards ACE. Naturally, the game has been pirated. Naturally the developers know. And instead of threatening lawsuit against the downloaders and the torrent websites, ACE has kindly asked that downloaders buy the game if they enjoy it. One has to admit that this is a much better strategy than wasting millions and millions of dollars in lawsuits. The gaming population has responded very positively towards ACE for this friendly approach, promising to really buy the game if they like it. Sometimes, you just have to ask nicely.


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