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New Comic Book Day – Review of Captain America

free comic book day - captain america / spider-manEveryone’s favorite earnest WWII superhero Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) is coming back to comics and what better opportunity to highlight that than with New Comic Book Day? Marvel’s released a terrific issue that’s focused front and center on Rogers, starting with him attending a Senate Intelligence hearing about the renewed threat of Hydra to peace loving Americans around the world.

Commander Sharon Carter of SHIELD is in the hot seat, defending the agency for its failure to prevent a Hydra attack in Brussels the previous week. In a sophisticated story turn, SHIELD did stop the Hydra terrorists from blowing up the Chrysler building in New York City, but that wasn’t the only thing the nefarious Hydra was planning. Lack of perfection, fallout from their battles to defend innocent people, it’s very much the story that propels the splendid new Captain America: Civil War movie, and that’s no accident, of course!

Falcon and Eagle show up as part of the SHIELD team, with a great sequence where they try to stop a renegade Hydra driver, and finally there’s a surprise appearance at the Intelligence hearing too, as most of the action in the story is told in flashbacks, a very cinematic technique that helps propel this story along at a brisk pace.

The second half of the book is a Spider-Man story called Dead No More, which resurrects Oksana and The Rhino as part of a shadowy plot by, well, someone who doesn’t have our best interests at heart, nor those of business owner Peter Parker. It’s a fun second story to this free issue and together they’re a great pair, well worth picking up!

Oh, and I’m definitely #TeamCap when it comes to the movie too.

Steve Rogers, Captain America: Written by Nick Spencer, art by Jesus Saiz, and The Amazing Spider-Man: Written by Dan Slott, art by Javier Garron.

Review by Dave Taylor.


Exclusive Interview with Comic Artist Karl Christian Krumpholz

karl christianQ: When did you get interested in comics, and what’s the first comic book series you remember really liking?

Like a lot of people, my first exposure as a child to comics were the ones in the newspaper: Bloom County, The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. That pretty much lit the fire under me even if I was too young to understand all the political jokes happening in Bloom County. After that, I started finding comics in the local shops. It was the mid-80s so the X-Men were all over the place, so I easily fell into that hole. As I got older, I quickly drifted toward the alternative comics: Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, Milk & Cheese, Raw, Hate, Eightball, etc.

Q: First published work?

I started doing crudely made ‘zine’ comics in the late 90s and kinda went from there, learning how to lay out a page and so forth. The my first published comic was Byron by SLG Publishing. That was around 2009. Since then, I’ve been self publishing most of my work.

Q: What other artists influenced and continue to influence you and your style?

Looking back, Evan Dorkin’s work probably had the biggest influence on me. His comics like ‘Pirate Corps/Hectic Planet’ caused me to start thinking about smaller stories about characters and relationships.

30 Miles CoverQ: Do you use computers, tablets and software, or are you old-school with pens and a scanner?

Pretty much a mix of both. I create everything with pencils, crowquils, and bristol, scan it into my Mac, and add greyscale electronically to the finished work. I recently started hand lettering my comics and annoyed with myself that I didn’t start doing that sooner. Same with hand coloring my work.

Q: What are you reading nowadays?

I just picked up Chester Brown and Noah Van Sciver’s new books the other day. Other than that, I’ve been reading a lot of comic reprints of older comics lately: Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, and the reprints of old EC horror comics from the 50s.

Q: Favorite comic book -> movie adaptation and TV show?

Comic: Maakies by Tony Millionaire

Movie adaption: Bukowski’s Barfly film? Does that count? Aside from Tom Waits, Bukowski’s work probably had the most affect upon what I’m doing in my comics.

TV Show: Doctor Who. Hands down. Peter Capaldi has been knocking it out of the park. I’ve been watching the show since was young. Yes like many people, my first Doctor was Tom Baker, though I do have a soft spot for Sylvester McCoy.

Q: Share some of your work: A first pencil sketch to a finished panel. Do you do all your own inking, coloring, and lettering?

Sure. Here is an illustration I recently did that will likely be the cover of my next 30 Miles collection. With this piece, everything was hand done aside from the final coloring. The original for this piece is about 7” x 33”. I knew I wanted a large panoramic illustration of one of my favorite sections of Colfax Ave (here in Denver… Once called “The Longest Wickedest Street in America” by Playboy magazine.) I got the size of the piece from taping two pieces of bristol lengthwise together.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Pencils.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Pencils.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Black & White

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Black & White.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Grey.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Grey.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Duotone.

East Colfax sketch by Karl Christian Krumpholz. Duotone.

Q: What’s next for your career?

Continuing to do more 30 Miles of Crazy! (which comes out weekly) and publishing the third collection in the next couple months, more Bootleg comics for the Westword (which is also weekly), getting started on the WW1 story that’s been in my head for a couple years, and likely getting some sort of cocktail later. Probably bourbon.

Q: Where were you born, what did you study in college, what are the names of your pets, if you have any, and where do you live now?

I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA, went to school at Temple University, studied photography and history (with art on the side), moved to Boston for several years, and suddenly found myself in Denver, CO for the last couple years. I have have two cats: Cattywhompus and Uisce Beatha. They stalk me for food.

You can find me at Karl Christian Krumpholz.com or on Facebook.


Review: Empress #1

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May 5 2016 at 10:54am

Posted in Product Reviews

empress #1A LONG TIME AGO, IN OUR GALAXY…

To be specific, 65 Million years ago, here on Earth, this first issue of EMPRESS begins with the story of the Earth’s FIRST rulers. AS IF having Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen’s names on a comic book wouldn’t have been enough to get me to pick it up! Then, to further pull me in with gorgeous cover art by Immonen and Dave McCaig, featuring a horned-helmeted noblewoman flanked by two “futuristic” looking masculine figures, all of whom we’ve never seen before. I’m already sold, of course, and then I read the first two pages, finding that the story begins right here on our little blue planet, only set sixty-five million years ago!!! Tell. Me. More.

It seems, back then, King Morax was quite the fearsome Monarch who sacrificed, in a Roman-style coliseum, his own subjects who even sought to incite disobedience. Such offenders were so afraid of King Morax, in fact, that they chose to face “the monster,” rather than the King himself, in battle in front of an enormous stadium filled with spectators. The accused and convicted “criminals” died quickly, which we readers are led to believe was the right choice, as clearly Morax would NOT have been so merciful of opponents.

How is THAT for a comic, and saga, opener?! Well, strap yourselves in, dear readers and comic-lovers, I have a feeling that this is going to get GOOD. You may want to stop, here, and run to your device to order the book, straight away. For those of you not yet convinced, enter the Empress. Unlike the hulking brick-red King (a bit of a cross between Red Hulk and Hellboy, only with long white hair, a goatee, and sci-fi armor), the Queen is a vision of majestic beauty, and we soon find out that she can no longer stand her husband’s brutal and megalomaniacal ways.

What does she plan to do about her marriage to a man she can no longer tolerate? With the help of like-minded friends and family, can she leave Morax, and not sacrifice her very life? Dear readers, I’ll stop the spoilers here, but do yourself a favor and pick up this first-issue and get yourself on this soon-to-be wild roller-coaster ride. The second half of the book fills our eyes, and our minds, with intense action and a bit of backstory, for clarification, and leaves me champing at the bit to read issue number two!

I knew that creators Millar (Ultimate X-Men, Civil War, Kick-Ass) and Immonen (Action Comics, The Adventures of Superman, Ultimate Spider-Man) would not disappoint. One last thing, in addition, they put in a teaser preview of the Jupiter’s Legacy sequel by Frank Quitely, which looks intriguing to say the least.

Words and pictures for the win, my friends.

Empress #1, from Marvel Entertainment. Written by Mark Millar, Art by Stuart Immonen and Sean Murphy. Published April 6, 2016. $11.69.

Review by Steve Oatney.


New Comic Book Day – Review of Oddly Normal

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May 5 2016 at 10:04am

Posted in New Comic Book Day

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oddly normal free new comic book dayMeet Oddly Normal, a millennial pre-teen with a sarcastic sense of humor. With a name like Oddly, she struggles to fit in, find friends and enjoy her school days. This fish out of water struggles with green hair and pointed ears not to mention a mother happens to be a witch.

Poor Oddly has spent her life trying to fit in with her peers, deal with her self indulged parents and balance the oddity of being part witch.

So naturally on her 10th Birthday when no one shows up to her party and her parents are too oblivious to care, she makes a wish. Where that wish takes her and what adventures she discovers will be revealed as we learn more about Oddly in the issues to follow.

Otis Frampton has done a tremendous job capturing Oddly’s millennial angst with clever writing and cartoonist art. This book for all ages will appeal to pre-teens and parents alike as it is a reminder that children coming into their own need be heard.

As a father of 2 girls, I catch myself wondering if I really listen to them and address their feelings. Reminiscent of Tom Hank’s Big, this story draws on my own childhood and those wishes children make to be “Big” or teach their parents a lesson.

I’m looking forward to where Frampton goes with Oddly. I’m sure she is going to have to learn some tough lessons as a result of her wish, but sometimes those lessons teach us the most about who we are, who we love and most importantly who loves us.

Oddly Normal is a New Comic Book Day must read for any family with pre-teens struggling to connect because of busy lives and crazy happenings.

Review by Luke Howell.


New Comic Book Day — Reviews for Punisher, 4001 A.D., Daredevil/Punisher, Beasts of Burden

New week, new comics. For this New Comic Book Day we get Punished twice, go into the future with Valiant, a cat gives us a little present, and the Flash goes head strong into issue #51. As always these are only a select set of new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

Punisher comics at TFAW.com

Punisher #1
By: Becky Cloonan, Steve Dillon, Declan Shalvey

It’s finally here the book that you’ve been waiting for! In the midst of all the crazy alien invasions and huge battles going on with the Avengers, there’s still street gangs and drug runners slipping through the cracks. Pushing weapons onto the streets and a new drug that makes anyone an unstoppable killing machine. The police can only do so much without crossing over the line. Who will inflict the justice that is sorely in need? Frank Castle “The Punisher“! He is judge, jury and executioner against all injustice in the streets of New York and will not stop until justice is served. In this breakout issue Frank runs into a ghost from his past that will change the course of things to come.

Becky Cloonan (Demo and Southern Cross) picks up were Iconic writers Garth Ennis and Jason Aaron left off with Steve Dillon (Preacher, Hellblazer, Punisher Max). This is a perfect Punisher books with a fresh take from an incredible team. [Steve at Milwaukie TFAW]

4001 A.D. comics at TFAW.com

4001 A.D. #1
By: Matt Kindt, Clayton Crain

New Japan is a group of sectors that hovers in Earth’s orbit, an actual satellite nation, in the future. The A.I. construct who controls the functions and populace of this seeming utopia is called Father, whose champion is known as Rai, who has been jettisoned back down to the Earth. This series jumps right in without requiring any previous investment in the Valiant universe. The artwork is glorious, as you’d expect from Clayton Crain and David Mack, while the tapestry is designed by the phenomenal mind of Matt Kindt.

Valiant are inclined to keep you wanting more, as their events are typically only 4 issues long, as this is. If you thirst for more, you can read the additional tie-ins (bringing the entire saga to only 12 issues, with checklist printed on the back of the issue) to fill your craving for this futuristic amazement! If that doesn’t wet your appetite, check out Rai , X-O Manowar , and Eternal Warrior , all of whom you will glimpse in 4001 A.D. This series already subtly examines the consequences that are linked to heroic actions, and further develops an interesting and new view of the fallout, from when a hero has already made a noble sacrifice. This one is a trip worth taking! [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

Flash comics at TFAW.com

Daredevil/Punisher #1
By: Charles Soule, Szymon Kudranski, Reilly Brown

Netflix’s Daredevil series introduced the MCU, and the world to Frank Castle aka The Punisher. It’s only fitting that we get another taste of that Daredevil vs Punisher story. Taking from Charles Soule’s current series, Daredevil has help from his partner, Blindspot. Let’s be honest here, he’s going to need it.

As Matt Murdock gets ready for a prisoner transport of a Russian Mobster, Frank does his best to punish. Now Daredevil and Punisher have a score to settle. Pitting them against each other, and the Russian Mob. But how does Blindspot react when he’s introduced to the “hero” that is The Punisher? [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

Beasts of Burden comics at TFAW.com

Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In
By: Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Jill Thompson

In this One-Shot issue the newest member to the Beasts of Burden comes under scrutiny for their past. Dymphna a familiar, has kept secrets from her group. They intend to find out what she’s been keeping from them. It’s safe to say, it’s more than they asked for!

Beast of Burden has been and still is a fantastic series. Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer are fantastic in this series. The fun and creepiness is there, with relatable characters, even though they’re all animals.

Jill Thompson paints her heart out on every page. It’ beautiful to look at. She does this great job with cat reactions in this issue. I can see my cats doing the exact same movement and jumps as we find out friends going on their adventure.

If you like supernatural tales or want a series that only involves animals. Than this “Homeward Bound” meets Constantine is the series for you! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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Review: Star Wars: Shattered Empire

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May 4 2016 at 10:04am

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star wars shattered empires tpd #1-#4 graphic novelEveryone remembers the closing scene in Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi. Endor. Ewoks. A funeral pyre for Darth Vader, and his spirit showing up with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda to look on with pride as Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, the droids and even Lando party with the little guys. Rebels win. The Force wins. Huzzah! But then what? What happened in the interim 30 years between the end of Star Wars VI and the opening scenes of Star Wars VII, The Force Awakens?

That’s what Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens from Marvel is addressing, and this terrific graphic novel collects all four issues of Star Wars: Shattered Empires and adds two additions, Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 and the delightful original 1977 Star Wars: #1 in all its retro glory.

The storyline itself really revolves around the Imperial Starfleet, because even with the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire and its regional governors retain their hold on important systems throughout the galaxy, from Core to Outer Rim, because of their remaining military might. So while the exhausted Rebels might seek to have some time off to recoup after their great victory, it turns out that it’s not that much of a victory yet, because the Moffs are busy trying to acquire control over the disarray of the Empire, a dangerous chaos that might prove to be more deadly than Emperor Palpatine’s Empire!

The artwork in the series is excellent, really exciting, notably the battle above Cawa City on planet Sterdic IV, where Rebel pilot Shara again proves her mettle against waves of Tie Fighters as the local residents recoil in terror at the aerial battle. Shara is as dedicated a pilot as you could hope for in the Rebel Alliance. Perhaps too devoted, as her young son Poe barely knows her. Yes, that Poe. Dameron.

marvel star wars #1 comic book coverQuite a lot happens in the four parts of the main storyline, including just about every favorite character having a substantial role, even Luke himself. Luke isn’t teaching young Padewans in this story, however, as referenced in the backstory of The Force Awakens, so there’s still plenty of mystery about who, what and the other specifics of the newly reinvigorated Star Wars universe.

The 1977 Star Wars #1 story is great fun and the artwork, while less sure than the Shattered Empires, is still sufficient to help propel what serves almost as a parallel origin story along. Princess Leia #1, however, is hindered by its art, with too many panels featuring well known characters (Leia, Han, Luke) with faces, postures and body dimensions at odds with the characters we know and love. Particularly when compared to the confident, splendid art of lead artists Marco Checchetto and Angel Unzueta in the Shattered Empires portion.

Still, Shattered Empires is plenty good enough to justify the purchase of the entire trade paperback, and the addition of the original Star Wars #1 is a great bonus. And, heck, you might love Terry & Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire’s art on Princess Leia #1. It just didn’t work for me.

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens / Star Wars: Shattered Empire is a trade paperback book that collects all four issues of Marvel Comics’ miniseries Star Wars: Shattered Empire, as well as the first issues of Star Wars: Princess Leia and Marvel’s original Star Wars comic series. Shattered Empire: Written by Greg Rucka, Art by Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta and Emilio Laiso. Princess Leia: Written by Mark Wait, Art by Terry & Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire. Star Wars #1: Written by Roy Thomas, Art by Howard Chaykin and Jim Novak. $16.99.

Review by Dave Taylor.

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New Comic Book Day – Review of We Can Never Go Home Again & Young Terrorists

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May 3 2016 at 11:14am

Posted in New Comic Book Day

we can never go home / young terrorists cover fcbdIn case you missed it, you should take note of the “M” rating of this Black Mask Studios double-feature for New Comic Book Day. Between the two titles there is profanity, nudity, drug use, sex, and oh-so-graphic violence.

In We Can Never Go Home: Dead Set on Destruction, Morgan and Dale are two teenagers who check into a motel for a little you-know-what, where Morgan briefly meets Duncan, one of our two super-human protagonists. As Dale and Morgan get their shenanigans underway, they are interrupted by a shootout in the parking lot. Taking a peek out the door, Morgan sees Madison, the yin to Duncan’s yang, incapacitating a tactical response team while wearing only a towel and an angry, angry look.

Matthew Rosenburg and Patrick Kindlon have written as perfect a teaser as you can hope for, and Josh Hood’s art is highlighted by the transition of Morgan’s face from shock to elation as she watches the mayhem in the parking lot. We Can Never Go Home volume 1 is out now.

Young Terrorists: Lies From My Father focuses on Sera Solomon, and we see more pieces from her past that helped mold her into an able enemy of the dystopian new world order. From the fighting pit of prison camp Guernica, Sera reminisces through the pain of savage and bloody fights to her youth with her father, who teaches her toughness, brutality, and conspiracy-theory-or-are-they-truths about the world.

The intrigue builds when another “prodigy” of Sera’s father shows up at Guernica for the sole purpose of extracting information from her, and extracting it hard.

Matt Pizzolo’s storytelling continues to be a strong blend of intrigue and action, and Amancay Nahuelpan’s drawings and Jean-Paul Csuka’s art invite you to suffer and celebrate in tune with the characters. Young Terrorists is out now.

We Can Never Go Home: Dead Set on Destruction (FCBD), writers: MATTHEW ROSENBURG and PATRICK KINDLON, artist: JOSH HOOD, colors: TYLER BOSS, letters: JIM CAMPBELL. Young Terrorists: Lies From My Father, writer: MATT PIZZOLO, illustrations: AMANCAY NAHUELPAN, colors: JEAN-PAUL CSUKA, letters: JIM CAMPBELL. Published by Black Mask Studios.

Review by Rob McKinney.

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Review: Negative Space #2

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May 3 2016 at 9:45am

Posted in Product Reviews

negative space #2In Negative Space #2 (Available through Dark Horse Digital or in an upcoming collection of issues #1-#4), we are introduced to the antagonist of this series, and Kindred is demoted to henchman status. Meet the Evorah, a deep-sea race of tentacled nightmares who thrive on negative emotions. Over time, they have come to relish the sadness and despair of humans, going so far as to maintain an undersea museum of relics tied to sadness and pain. Kindred is exposed as a business whose mission statement is to provide the Evorah with the worst emotions humanity has to offer.

Guy Harris has unwittingly stumbled upon the resistance to the Evorah’s designs, learning that his best (only?) friend is involved in the plot to defeat Kindred and their marine masters. Thanks to an unexpected turncoat, a plot is underway to cripple the Evorah with their greatest weakness: positive emotions.

Dragged into a fight he only learned about moments ago, we see Guy go from suicidal to fighting for survival for himself and the human race. Kindred, on full alert and with an idea of the plot to defeat them and their “customers.” The race is on to see whether Guy can deliver a killing blow to the Evorah, or if Kindred will get tired of waiting for his suicidal ideations to come to fruition and bring about his end on their own.

Owen Gieni’s art, as always, provides all the sadness, anger, evil, and hope one can ask for in a character’s appearance. In particular, it’s fantastic to see Guy’s transition from suicidal to intrigued and concerned with his life. Ryan Lindsay’s story continues to flesh out the hope of an optimistic resistance fighting terrors counting on our tendency towards negative emotions.

Negative Space #2, writer: RYAN K. LINDSAY, art: OWEN GIENI, letters: RYAN FERRIER, $3.99

Review by Rob McKinney.

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New Comic Book Day – Review of ROM #0

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May 2 2016 at 1:02pm

Posted in New Comic Book Day

rom #0, free comic book day“Just what are Dire Wraiths? Why are they at war with ROM? And just who is ROM, anyway?”

Good questions, but a better question is where has ROM been all these years? Comic readers of the 80’s and toy collectors alike should be giddy with the return of ROM this summer. Originally a licensed Parker Bros toy slated to be called COBOL after the programming language, it was changed to ROM for obvious copyright reasons. Luckily for comic fans, to generate buzz for the lighted LED toy, Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema were tasked with making the fairly rigid toy cool for kids on the page of a Marvel comic.

Unfortunately for toy fans, the Comic was much cooler than the toy!

75 issues and some awesome crossovers later, ROM was remembered as a comic SpaceKnight, and not the toy which only sold less than half a million units.

So here we are at New Comic Book Day 2016, with a new launch of a comic that combines ToyFarians (yes that’s you ToyFare readers), 80’s comic kids, and publisher IDW that is based on a character created by the tragically iconic Bill Mantlo.

This 11 page teaser with plenty of additional concept art will not disappoint. If you’ve enjoyed IDW’s relaunch of the Micronauts, then I’m sure you will enjoy ROM’s IDW #0 teaser. Chris Ryall and Christos Gage are bringing ROM into the T+ realm but teens and adults will appreciate David Messina’s artistic skills that balance alien and earthling violence without delving into unnecessary gore.

This is definitely a title I’m looking forward to collecting when issue 1 hits the shelves in July.

Rom #0, by Chris Ryall, Christos Gage and David Messina. Published May 7, 2016.

Review by Luke Howell.

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Review: Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor, Year Two #8

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May 2 2016 at 9:43am

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11th doctor who, year two, #8Si Spurrier was tasked in Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Year 2, #8 to take the writing reins from Rob Williams and as a result, the installment opens with a bit of a rushed finish to the story arc from the previous issue. The Doctor and his four companions have escaped the universe’s best defended prison, but are still being followed through time and space by The Then and The Now. We misplace a companion or two and there’s a massive bar fight starring some of the universe’s ugliest jobbers.

The main focus of this issue is to give background and depth for Abslom Daak’s character. We may have just met the one guy in the universe that the Daleks fear more than The Doctor.

Warren Pleece’s artwork is simple and easy to read. There are no unnecessary details. Almost too few details, if anything. If the reader is unfamiliar with the television series and is completely unaware of Matt Smith’s and Alex Kingston’s portrayal of the Time Lord and his anachronistic archaeologist wife, the characters look great. Try to compare the two live actors from the show to their counterpart images in the comic, though, and you won’t find great likenesses. That’s a little distracting, but the overall effect of the artwork is enjoyable, engaging, and consistent with the television series and genre.

Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi tag team brilliantly to provide us with dark and twisty color for an equally dark and twisty narrative.

An enjoyable chapter in the saga of the loneliest Time Lord, the installment ends with the revelation of a Dalek secret that could end up being the key to proving The Doctor’s innocence and stopping The Then and The Now. Geronimo!

Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Year 2, #8, writer: Si Spurrier, artist: Warren Pleece, colorists: Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi, Cover Art: Tod Nauck, $3.59.

Review by Brendan Allen.

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