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Tell Us About Your Pop Culture Month: May 2022 Edition

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the cover for Star Wars: Brotherhood.

Image: Del Rey Publishing / Lucasfilm

It’s the start of a new month, and you know what that means!

Read: I’ve been trying to make an effort to read more this year, and one of the books I’ve managed to complete has been Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen. The book is set during the early days of the Clone Wars post-Attack of the Clonescentering on Anakin shortly after being promoted to Jedi Knight, and Obi-Wan getting his detective on in Cato Nemoidia after a terrorist attack. Fittingly, it feels very much like it could’ve been a pretty good arc of the Clone Wars TV showand it has just about everything that makes the prequel era of Star Wars great. It’s got solid banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin; it’s got Asajj Ventress being her sneaky, manipulative self; it’s got Dexter Jettsteraka Obi-Wan’s true BFF.

Chen’s writing has a good handle on both Jedi, particularly as they adjust to being on getting out of the “Master / Padawan” zone that’s taken up most of their lives. But in terms of which character he feels more comfortable with, it’s certainly Obi-Wan. His Kenobi is as prim and proper as we come to know him in Clone Wars, with frequent glimpses into his insecurities as a new member of the Jedi Council, and his feelings about the life he could’ve had with Satine. And if you’ve been wanting a hard confirmation about whether or not he knew about Anakin and Padme, Chen gives you a hard answer on that front. Definitely recommend.

Watched: For me, the big show of the watch has been Spy x Family, a truly delightful anime about a spy and assassin in a fake marriage with a child that the spy adopted as part of his new mission. The twist is that neither Loid Forger, the spy, or Yor, the assassin, are aware of the other’s profession. The only one who’s aware of the other is hiding a secret is their daughter Anya, who’s hiding her own secret as a child telepath. It’s a three-way lie that the show uses to great, often comedic effect as the Forgers attempt to pass as normal to both each other and the outside world, even as each of them are just barely good enough at lying to keep their respective ruses going.

Just as the month ended, I got to see Top Gun: Maverick and The Bob’s Burgers Movie in theaters. The hype for Maverick is very real, and the box office easily reflects that. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Bob’s; it’s been a good amount of years since I stopped watching the show, but that movie completely won me over from the jump. It’s a shame that Disney looked at this as a movie to release out of obligation rather than something that deserved to thrive, because it may wind up being one of the best animated movies of the year by the time everything is said and done.

And yes, I watched myself some Obi-Wan and Owl House, which you already knew about, along with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which continues to be a delight.

Played: I am, unfortunately, back on my Destiny 2 bullshit. With Season 17 — aka “Season of the Haunted”—Having recently launched, I’m back in on Bungie’s loot shooter again. Going back to the twisted version of the Leviathan Raid from OG D2 has been great, and the new Nightmare Containment event is pretty fun, or at least it is whenever other players are around to help out. (As with most public events in Destiny, doing it solo is basically an exercise in slowly dwindling patience.) Could easily become a chore within the next two-and-a-half months, and most likely will at some point, but right now, it’s just nice to have a new reason to boot the game up again.

As far as an actual 2022 game, I spent much of the month playing Soundfall, an isometric action-RPG / twin-stick shooter. Think Guitar Hero meets Diablo n that you go from a series of randomized dungeons, each one playing a particular song. Stay on beat, and your dashes and attacks become quite strong. The five characters play quite well individually, though some — like Ky, an EDM artist with a scythe; and Melody, a singer with a sword — are better suited to solo play, whereas the others have more of co-op focus. Each world is modeled after a particular musical instrument, with the composition of the overworld theme music reflecting that — for example, if you go to the woodwind world, then flutes play the theme, and the same for the brass world.

For the most part, I was enjoying Soundfall, but then World 9 reared its head, and it’s where much of the problems that plague the back half of the game rear their ugly head. There’s an overreliance on environmental traps and turrets; the first stage of World 9 has a turret parked almost in a corner while lasers fire every few seconds. Sometimes, the game just spawns enemies behind you, forcing you to backtrack and potentially walk into a conga line of baddies who would rather you come to them. And since the game has no form of matchmaking or crossplay, you’re not left with a real way to alleviate this with co-op, unless you know of someone who owns it on the same system you do. There’s a good, potentially great game here, but it gets in its own way, and I had to walk away from it once it got too frustrating.

Tell us in the comments below about the stuff you watched, played, or read during the month of May.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TVand everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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