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  • Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London

    Review of Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London

    sherlock holmes vampires of londonI’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and have read not just every one of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but many of the more modern stories written by other authors but featuring the same iconic detective and his colorful retinue and the rich Victorian setting of late 1800’s London. What’s not to like about the original hyper-observant consulting detective and the hints of the occult that appear time and again in the stories?

    Writer Sylvain Cordurié has woven the occult much more tightly into the Holmsian world in the entertaining Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London, offering a story that could almost be a Cthulhu mythology overlap, where there are good and bad vampires in London and Holmes is called in by the Crown to figure out what’s going on.

    But, of course, there’s more going on than is obvious, and as Holmes continues to investigate, he leverages his supposed death at Reichenbach Falls (a story element from Doyle himself, when he had tired of his fictional character and killed him off in “The Final Problem” just to have him reappear three years later in “The Adventure of the Empty House”) to travel the world and understand the basis of the vampire attacks throughout London and Britain.

    Cordurié does a splendid job of capturing the feel of a Holmes story, including using the device of Holmes telling the story in past tense in the form of a letter to his absent friend Dr. John Watson: “Watson, you have written about all my adventures, now I must write about this one with the certainty that, alas, I may not finish it…”

    The artwork by Laci is also terrific, with some notable panels including an aerial view of Paris early in the story. But I’m so used to TV and movie representations of Holmes as a perpetually serious man that his smiling visage on the last page of the book threw me for a bit of a loop. Holmes can smile?

    Still, smile aside, Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London is a great read, engrossing and with enough twists in its somewhat dark, occult story that it’s a solid addition to any fan.

    Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London, story by Sylvain Cordurié, art by Laci and colors by Axel Gonzalbo. Published by Dark Horse, Feb, 2014.

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  • Review: The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition

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    the art of dragon age inquisitionThe Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition gives a detailed insight into how the defining aspects of the game came to be. The book illustrates how much time and thought was put into every part of the game. From countless iterations of character designs, to complex and beautiful landscapes, the Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition gives a behind the scenes look at game design.

    As solely a coffee table art book, The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition serves its purpose very well. The art is beautiful and unique, and gives an insight into a mysterious world. The finished pieces of art are incredible, but what I found more fascinating was all the trial and error work that went into creating the final pieces. For any given character model, sculpture, or piece of scenery there are twenty or more different iterations that were tried. What was more impressive still is that they were not quick sketches. Rather, they were fully fleshed out, intricately detailed and colored models of the given character or object. I was impressed at the level of detail that went into each drawing, even though all but one or two got scrapped.

    I was particularly impressed by the characters. The artists were able to completely change or reform a character by adding the tiniest details. The slight curvature of the jaw, the placement and angle of the eyes, the stance and posture of the character. These are just a few examples of relatively prominent details that define a character. All that is without even delving into the character’s clothing and how drastically that changes the character. I never realized just how important the dress of a character is. Especially headdress. What the character is wearing, or not wearing on their head has a large impact on one’s first impressions of the character.

    In the book, most of the iterations of the main character are just various helmets and hats on the same character. However, the artists of Dragon Age: Inquisition do not fall short in designing very cool armor and clothing as well. The characters were not all human either. As with any good RPG, there were incredible amounts of cool, and often horrifying and gruesome creatures and demons. I was sad that I hadn’t played the game, if nothing else than for the chance to fight some of the creatures.

    The world of Dragon Age contains plenty of cool objects and gadgets. From terrifying battering rams, to intricately detailed idols and statues, much of the world of Dragon Age was defined by the objects and scenery within it. Every object, from cabinets to tapestries to carpets, was carefully designed to reflect its particular atmosphere. Similar to the character design, it was the small things that made each piece unique. One thing that surprised me was how much of the scenery seemed to be inspired by the religion of that area. It is described within the book how religion was used as a stepping stone when designing the small intricacies that accentuated the overall tone of the object or area.

    Although the architecture was definitely impressive, I found that many of the buildings and areas were very familiar. Because I had seen them, or things similar to them in other games. The dreary broken down castle, the enamored golden city, the grand halls. All of these are common in almost any medieval RPG, however Dragon Age didn’t seem to make them unique to that world. Granted, there are always exceptions, and I found some pieces of architecture in the book that were quite extraordinary. The natural locations were much stronger. Intricate and creepy cave systems, rolling hills, hidden valleys and more. While many of these are stereotypical, they all seemed unique, and reflected the atmosphere of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition is a high quality, detailed art book that provides an excellent look into the making of the game, and the final result. It gave me a much better appreciation for the amount of work that is put into the art of a game, and how large an impact that art has on the final game. The artwork in this book has inspired me to continue forming my own fantasy world, and given me insight into how much more I have to do.

    The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition, published by Dark Horse, November 18, 2014.

    Review by Ben Getchell.

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  • Review: Deadpool #9 and Deadpool #10

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    Deadpool #9Deadpool #9 picks up right after the previous issue, with Deadpool in a fight to the death with Sabretooth. Less than five pages in I was laughing uncontrollably. The first few pages serve as a nice break from the more serious storyline of why Deadpool is chasing after Sabretooth. In classic Deadpool style, this issue didn’t hold back on the gore, violence, and overall twistedness that we are all familiar with.

    As usual, Deadpool inadvertently kills, injures, or mentally traumatizes someone wherever he goes. (spoilers) in this case, it involves Deadpool and a school bus full of children. Watching two nearly indestructible a**holes try to kill each other can be incredibly entertaining. Especially when one of those is Deadpool. The story then reverts to its more serious arc, giving insight into Deadpool’s and Sabretooth’s past. While both men hate each other, they are similar in many regards, which this story begins to explore.

    A nice surprise in this issue is the appearance of another X-man. While the previous issue seemed rather confined to its own world, Deadpool #9 begins expanding into a larger universe. Given how self-contained the Deadpool movie was, it’s interesting to how Deadpool fits into a (slightly) larger world. The comic ends with Deadpool’s bloodlust unquenched, and Sabretooth thinking he can actually talk with Deadpool.

    deadpool #10Deadpool #10 proves that Deadpool is very, very determined to kill Sabretooth, and his efforts are starting to garner unwanted attention. Beginning right where the previous issue left off, with Deadpool and Sabretooth attempting to have a heartfelt conversation. (Spoilers) it doesn’t go well. Once again, Deadpool ends up chasing after Sabretooth, however this time, he causes some minor collateral damage. And by minor I mean a cop car, two helicopters, a semi, and several traumatized civilians.

    As Deadpool causes more trouble, other characters in the Marvel universe begin to take notice, and they quickly realize that someone needs to stop him before he causes too much damage. Tying things into a larger universe enhances both the overall story, and Deadpool’s character. It puts him in a larger context, and shows other people’s opinions of him, which are normally not great.

    Sabretooth also underestimates how serious Deadpool actually is about killing him, and the issue ends with quite a cliffhanger.

    In my opinion, these two comics were a significant improvement over the previous issue. This was in part due to the fact that to begin reading a series on issue #8 will almost undoubtedly leave one confused. Personally I liked issues 9 and 10 more because they focused more on the conflict between the two characters. This focus on the two characters added depth to both, and made for a more enjoyable read. It also allowed for the writers to open up the world by introducing new characters while maintaining a frame of reference.

    While Deadpool provides a good amount of laughs in the moment, after a while it becomes rather monotonous. I enjoy the slapstick humor and senseless violence of Deadpool, however it can be challenging to write about.

    Deadpool #9: Writer: Gerry Duggan. Artists: Matteo Lolli, Ruth Redmond.

    Deadpool #10: Writer: Gerry Duggan. Artists: Matteo Lolli, Iban Coello, Ruth Redmond.

    Review by Ben Getchell.

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  • Review: Kingdom Come 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

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    kingdom come 20th anniversary deluxe editionIn June 1996, Alex Ross and Mark Waid gave us Kingdom Come, an Elseworlds four issue comic book miniseries. Ross had the idea for a story that included most of the DC pantheon while he was working on Marvels in 1994. He pitched the story to DC and then teamed with Waid to flesh out the story with Waid’s extensive knowledge of DC’s heroes and their history. Ross envisioned the final product as an allegory for the ethics he saw disappearing in the hero comic stories that were being published in the 1990’s.

    The story takes place many years after Superman has retired from the hero business. We learn in flashback sequences that, years earlier, The Joker had massacred everyone at The Daily Planet, including Lois Lane. The Clown Prince of Crime was then publicly executed by a superhero called Magog. Superman went into exile, unable to wrap his head around the outpouring of public support Magog was receiving for murdering a criminal who was already in custody. With their leader gone, most of the old guard of superheroes also faded into retirement, leaving a void to be filled by a new generation of heroes, led by Magog.

    In the storyline present, with The Man of Tomorrow no longer available to enforce the “no kill” rule, there is little distinction left between superheroes and the villains they face. An overzealous attack led by Magog on the Parasite ends in a catastrophic event that leaves most of the American Midwest in ruins. Millions have died and the food production for much of the United States has been crippled.

    Wonder Woman finds Superman and enlists him to return to Metropolis and re-form the Justice League to reign in the new generation and restore order. Three major factions of supers emerge: The Justice League, many of the old guard superheroes led by Superman; The Outsiders, mostly second and third generation supers led by Batman; and the Mankind Liberation Front, a group of villains led by Lex Luthor. While these super factions are sorting things out amongst themselves through violent means, the ordinary humans are also trying to sort out a solution that will work in their own favor and will end the tyranny suffered under super humans.

    Ross’ artwork is nothing short of breathtaking. Using models and photo reference, he accurately captures the subtlety of a wide range of emotion. Each panel is meticulously hand painted with watercolors. The technique lends itself nicely to a classic and timeless feel. Every panel and gutter is filled with amazing detail.

    Waid’s script weaves seamlessly in and out of multiple layers of storyline and subplot. The dialogue is realistic and genuine. There is a little bit of over explanation of the Biblical undertone by directly quoting the book of Revelation, but overall, Waid does an excellent job bringing the reader along for the ride. For the complexity of the story, you would expect there to be at least a few small “lost” moments, but there are no such moments to be found.

    This edition collects Kingdom Come #1-4 and has 130 pages of extras. The original pencil artwork for every character is shown with an explanation, backstory, and reason for inclusion in the work. There’s also a nice feature called Keys To The Kingdom which details every visual Easter Egg laid by Ross, by page and panel and a chart that shows the Genealogy of Kingdom Come.

    I would easily include this title in my top 10 comic stories of all time, if not my top 3. If you don’t own a copy, you should.

    Kingdom Come 20th Anniversary Deluxe Ed HC: released May 11, 2016, Writer: Mark Waid, Artist: Alex Ross, Colors: Alex Ross, Letters: Todd Klein, $35.99.

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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  • Review: Rivers of London: Body Work

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    rivers of london #1 tpb body workRivers of London: Body Work can be described as both an adaption and an original work. Writer, Ben Aaronovitch has published five novels of his urban fantasy meets police procedural series variously described as “True Blood” meets “Law and Order”; or, for the true Anglophiles, “Luther” set in the universe of “Harry Potter.” Aaronovitch is a veteran television writer with credits on the classic science fiction series “Dr. Who”, as well as, the long running BBC medical drama “Casualty” and the science fiction series “Jupiter Moon”.

    This not an adaption of a previously written novel, it is an original work written exclusively for the comic book and is considered part of the Rivers of London series cannon. The central concept is that the London Metropolitan Police has a small department that investigates supernatural crimes. The department is only two people: Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last officially sanctioned wizard in England; and, the first English apprentice wizard in 70 years, Police Constable Peter Grant.

    ROL: Body Work doesn’t waste time with backstory, rather, it launches directly into the narrative and trusts the reader to keep up. There isn’t much of a learning curve, because the protagonists are fully developed and the police procedural framework is a very familiar trope to most audiences. The first few pages establishes the world of ROL and the plot unfolds at satisfying pace.

    Artist Lee Sullivan, chooses to use a detailed realist rendering that lends itself to the tone and style of the story. The art is functional and compelling without being a distraction, as is often the case in comic books that deal with supernatural subjects. Sullivan’s art attempts to mirror the seriousness of the story setting.

    Rivers of London: Body Work, is a fine introduction to the work of Ben Aaronovitch for unfamiliar readers and a fun return to beloved characters for fans of his work.

    Rivers of London #1: Body Work written by Ben Aaronovitch, art by Lee Sullivan. Published March 02, 2016.

    Review by Euell Thomas.

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  • Review: I Am A Hero Omnibus #1

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    i am a hero omnibus #1A review excerpt on the back cover of I Am a Hero states that it is “The greatest zombie manga ever.” Yes, “IAAH” joins the ranks of great zombie manga such as “Maho Shojo of the End,” “Living Corpse,” and “Tokyo Zombie.” And when I say “joins the ranks,” I mean “blows them out of the water.”

    Kengo Hanazawa’s genre-bending series is collected in soft cover omnibus by Dark Horse, is about the size of a thick paperback novel, and maintains the Japanese reading format, (our) back-to- front, and right-to- left. As stated in the back/front, this helps maintain the artwork’s visual orientation. (Note: Most manga reads this way, but it’s worth stating in case this is your first foray into the style.)Speaking of the cover, its use of color images laid over a black-and- white background gives it the feel of an animation cell and gives a real pop to the titular hero.

    Hideo is a delusional manga artist who lives alone, save for the yurei he sees; they don’t care about all the locks on his door, his security system, his magic circles…or his shotgun. Yes, Hideo is in possession of a shotgun, a rare thing in Japan. One of the reasons Japanese (and most foreign) zombie stories are so compelling is that every character doesn’t have an assault rifle with apparently endless ammunition. In this case, you have one milquetoast failed artist with a target-shooting permit and a shotgun.

    The story takes its time ramping up to the zombie apocalypse, the suspense building on each page, but it spends that time developing characters just enough to make them relatable and realistic, yet without demanding an exhausting amount emotional investment. As his world starts crashing down around him and he becomes “free,” Hideo is forced to decide what kind of person he wants to be.

    An early conversation in the book is between Hideo and his fellow artists at the manga studio about the essence of manga and its place in Japanese and global pop culture. It’s a telling dialogue that Hanazawa unpacks in the course of “IAAH.” The artwork is amazingly realistic, while at the same time maintaining a manga flair and sensibility. One of my chief complaints about zombie comics is that as good as the story and artwork might be, the nature of the medium negates the “BOO!” moments, those sudden little scares that you can get in filmed works. This book actually had images that creeped me right the hell out, which would be enough of a selling point to me if I didn’t already own it and was reading this review.

    I Am a Hero Omnibus 1, publisher: DARK HORSE, written and drawn by: KENGO HANAZAWA, price: $19.99.

    Review by Robb McKinney.

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  • Review: Superman The Golden Age, Vol 1 TPB

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    superman the golden age vol 1While attending the same high school in 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster began developing an idea for a new kind of comic. Superman started out as the story of a bald drifter who was involved in experimental drug trials. The trial drugs gave the man super abilities, including telepathy, which he used for his own profit. Eventually the drugs wore off, and the man became a drifter again.

    Eventually, the idea evolved from an evil hobo into a new kind of heroic figure whose abilities would be used for the good of mankind, fighting the social injustices of the day. This new Superman still didn’t have the super abilities we’re familiar with today. He was an amazing specimen, able to “leap 1/8th of a mile, hurdle a 20 story building, raise tremendous weights, run faster than an express train,” and “nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin.” He doesn’t fly yet, but there are a couple of scenes where he appears to float. Still, not the nearly invincible Superman we see today.

    After submitting their strips to several newspaper syndicates, the pair were finally able to sell their first Superman story to Detective Comics in January 1938 for $130, ten dollars per page. This story would be printed in Action Comics #1, June 1938. The Superman story was undoubtedly the star of the issue, and a decades-long relationship between the author, artist, and Detective Comics was born. Superman has been in continuous print since.

    Superman, The Golden Age collects the covers and Superman stories from Action Comics #1-12, Superman #1-4, and World’s Fair Comics #1. None of the other stories from Action Comics or World’s Fair Comics are included. There are a few unintentionally funny ads that have been included because they fill out the layout of a final page of a couple of the stories. One of the ads advises the reader that he can achieve “Super Strength” by clenching his fists as hard as possible and then sharply jerking his fists in various directions. There is also a teaser ad at the end of Action Comics #12 that advertises a “new thrilling adventure strip,” The Batman, coming in the May 1939 issue. (The Golden Age of Batman, TPB vol. 1 releases on August 10, 2016.)

    The Superman that is represented is not the same hero that you have read before in comics or seen on television and movie screens. This Superman is callous and stern. He doesn’t flinch before throwing goons out of a skyscraper window to their presumed deaths.

    Some of the means Superman uses to achieve his ends are also questionable. There is a story in which Superman needs to go undercover in a professional football organization, so he drugs and kidnaps one of the players who bears a slight resemblance to himself so he can assume the player’s identity. You read that right. Superman sneaks up on an innocent guy, injects him with a sedative, kidnaps him, and leaves him drugged in bed for several weeks so that he can pretend to be him. He also bilks a couple of con men out of a cool $1 million ($16,425,347.22 in today’s currency), which he presumably keeps, before destroying their business. The police aren’t quite sure what to make of Superman, so he frequently finds himself running from the cops.

    An original copy of Action Comics #1 sold at online auction for $3.2 million in 2014. Most of the other comic books from which this collection is gleaned are worth tens of thousands of dollars each. As I will likely never be within 10 feet of an original copy of any of these books, I found the opportunity to view this collection of stories fascinating. Almost 80 years after his first appearance, right on the heels of the Great Depression, Superman continues to be relevant and is arguably the standard bearer for the whole genre.

    Superman, The Golden Age TPB, Volume 1, released March 16, 2016, Writer: Jerry Siegel, Artist: Joe Shuster, Cover Art: Michael Cho, $17.99 at tfaw.com

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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  • Review: Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic, Part 2

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    doctor strange, last days of magic #2Doctor Steven Strange has been battling, and losing the battle, against Empirikul who seek to destroy the very existence of magic, everywhere. Earth has more than a few powerful magic-users in the Marvel universe, and even their combined magical-powers are seemingly no match for the science-based and science-powered Imperator and his “army” called Empirikul.

    In this issue, number seven, we are given a bit of the backstory of Empirikul, which, like many other hero and villain backstories, starts with the murders of the parents of the Imperator. On his homeworld, when he was younger, magic-users who worshipped the elder god Shuma-Gorath were killing anyone anyone practicing science there, including the Imperator’s parents.

    The tables have now turned and Empirikul is now doing the reverse in hunting down and killing magic-users. To that end, Empirikul binds Doctor Strange, Scarlett Witch, and other magic-users of Earth to trees and make preparations to burn them all alive, not unlike those accused of witchcraft in our own non-fictional history.

    An old magician named Monako appears in attempt to save the day. Monako is an old magic-user who made his first appearance in Daring Mystery Comics #1 in 1940 and who wears a stereotypical, and awesome, black top hat. While he may not have the power to eliminate the Empirikul threat, he DOES manage to teleport all of Earth’s magicians to safety. Just before doing so, he instructs them all to look for magic in “all the nooks and crannies.” Apparently *some* magic still exists, possibly nearby.

    Doctor Strange and the other magicians safe, at least temporarily, in some sort of subterranean cavern, but they have been left with no magic. Monako, unfortunately, suffers the burning-at-the-stake fate that he helped all of his friends to avoid. The noblest of self-sacrifices.

    Now underground, the remaining magicians, including Magik (Illyana Rasputin, sister of Piotr Rasputin, X-Men’s “Colossus”) have an outlook that is quite grim. With hardly a way to even get out of the cavern, they are pretty well convinced that even gathering up every scrap of magic in the world, as Monako instructed, will not be nearly enough to defeat Empirikul.

    Jason Aaron’s uniquely creative writing of this storyline has been nothing short of superb, up to this point. Furthermore, I expect that it is about to kick into high gear as we follow what intriguing weirdness is happening in Doctor Strange’s home “the Sanctum Sanctorum.” This perfect pairing with Chris Bachalo’s wildly artistic visual storytelling makes for one of the best comics to hit the shelves in years. Not that there haven’t been a lot of good comic-book stories, lately, because there HAVE, but this one is the cream of the crop. See for yourself.

    Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic: Part 2, written by Jason Aaron, art by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend. Published April 27, 2016.

    Review by Steve Oatney.

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  • Review: The Totally Awesome Hulk #5

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    totally awesome hulk #5Hulk, or “The Incredible Hulk” has been a universe leading icon and world-recognized superhero of wildly dangerous proportions, for decades. Since his appearance in May of 1962, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creation has become every bit the force to be reckoned with, in comics, and out.

    From the comic-books of the 1960s continuing all the way to present day, two 1970’s television films, a TV-series into the 80s, and his appearance in many cartoons and movies, The Hulk is one of the top figureheads of the Marvel Universe. Spider-Man is arguably the only more recognizable character in Marvel’s catalog of fictional heroes.

    Too many articles have been written about Hulk to even begin to count. Why does this big green character endure? Why are we so interested in reading about this monster? Well, I think it is because he is all of us. Or, at least who we all wish we could be, at times. He’s a good person who is so full of rage that he becomes the ultimate Mister Hyde to Bruce Banner’s Dr. Jekyll. Banner “Hulk’s out” into a huge monster capable of destroying huge cities, or even possibly small worlds, but his good hearted nature often keeps him in check. Well, sometimes, anyway.

    So, who is THE TOTALLY AWESOME HULK? And, well… is he?

    T.T.A.Hulk was created by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy volume 2 number 15 in 2006. This Hulk is not Bruce Banner, however. This Hulk is Amadeus Cho, a young genius whose intellect brought the attention of Pythagoras Dupree who had Cho’s house and parents blown up, sending Amadeus on the run.

    With much ado in multiple Marvel storylines, we come to the “All-New All-Different” Marvel event in which The Totally Awesome Hulk storyline lives. Amadeus Cho became the Hulk after the Secret Wars storyline, wherein the original Hulk was affected by a lethal amount of radiation. In order to prevent a potential killing of the masses meltdown, Amadeus used nanites to pull Hulk out of Banner and put Hulk into himself. Now, Amadeus and his sister, Maddy, have begun seeking out dangerous monsters on Earth, though his questionable tactics and containment strategies are still developing.

    So, why did I pick up the first five issues of T.T.A.H.? To be frank (heh heh), it was Frank Cho’s incredible cover and interior artwork on issues 1-4, continued cover art on issue 5, and hopefully beyond. I have met, and spoken with, the über talented artist over the years at Comic-Cons and have loved his art-style for almost two decades, ever since being introduced to his work in Liberty Meadows.

    Mike Choi has taken over the interior art, in issue 5, and is doing a bang up job of it. Now, with the intriguing introduction of The Enchantress of Asgard, into the story, I don’t plan to stop reading this series any time soon, and recommend these comics to Hulk fans, the world over, new and old!

    The Totally Awesome Hulk #5, written by Greg Pak, art by Frank Cho, pencils by Mike Choi. Published April 20, 2016.

    Review by Steve Oatney.

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  • Review: Dark Knight III The Master Race #4

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    dark knight dk III master race #4Any parent will tell you that all of the hard work and all of the challenges in rearing a child is well worth it. What about when your daughter is one of the most powerful beings living on planet earth? What happens when THAT kid rebels? What happens when THAT kid decides that her parents are wrong, and she decides to hang out with “the wrong crowd?”

    That is exactly the situation in which Superman finds himself in Dark Knight III The Master Race #4, with regards to his daughter Lara. She is all grown up and is one of the most super of all super-beings on this planet, if not THE most! With the Kandorian people of Krypton now seeking control of our world, Lara has chosen to take their side. Yes, this is a bit of a worldwide social-commentary that humans are not treating the earth well, but be that as it may, just because Lara and the Kandorians are multitudes stronger does not give them the right to take over our little blue planet.

    Superman is standing on the side of we humans, as will Batman, we hope, to the best of his ability, in his state of overused and overwrought body-parts. Wonder Woman has yet to join the fray, and seems hesitant to do so. Here’s hoping that she’ll side with the Boy Scout and the Bat to once again form their formidable hero trio.

    However, if Superman won’t join Quar and the rest of his Kandorian’s campaign to seize the earth and its inhabitants, and will therefore oppose them, then how WILL he fight his own daughter? Or will he? This issue addresses these questions, and more, and has me on the edge of my seat, so to speak. Apparently, things have to get worse before they can get better, and things… just… got… worse!

    While young Carrie is not Bruce Wayne’s daughter, he is definitely passing her the torch in this issue. He gives her “hope,” some sort of pill that we will soon learn about, to be sure. Plus, Bruce gives her a gift which looks to be her new costume as BATGIRL!!! As Bruce has already touted her skills and intelligence as being better than even his own, it will be more than interesting to see how she takes on the mantle of The Bat in this world ever-filled with peril and superpowered Kandorians about to knock down earth’s door and claim our castle as their own. Quar, to be more specific, is demanding that Gotham City hand over Batman in thirty-six hours or they will lay waste to the city so long protected by our beloved Bat.

    Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s intense story, paired with Andy Kubert’s stylized and bold artwork are quickly making this one of my favorite reads, these days. Oh, and did I mention the enclosed mini-comic titled ‘Batgirl #1,’ containing the appearance of one water-based superhero of earth? No? Well, remind me to do that, won’t you?

    Words and pictures, my friends.

    DKIII: The Master Race, Issue #4, written by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, pencil work by Andy Kubert. Published April 27, 2016.

    Review by Steve Oatney.

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  • Black Panther #1, worth a million bucks!

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    black panther #1While Black Panther was a great new addition to the Marvel pantheon with his appearance in the entertaining Captain America: Civil War, hardcore MCU fans have known about T’Challa since his introduction way back in Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #52 from 1966. Okay, maybe you bumped into him a bit more recently, he has been involved with a bunch of different groups including not just the Fantastic Four, but also the Secret Avengers, the Avengers, Pendragons and Queen’s Vengeance.

    Still not sure about T’Challa? Here’s his thumbnail bio, according to Marvel:

    T’Challa is a brilliant tactician, strategist, scientist, tracker and a master of all forms of unarmed combat whose unique hybrid fighting style incorporates acrobatics and aspects of animal mimicry. T’Challa being a royal descendent of a warrior race is also a master of armed combat, able to use a variety of weapons but prefers unarmed combat. He is a master planner who always thinks several steps ahead and will go to extreme measures to achieve his goals and protect the kingdom of Wakanda.

    Turns out that all these years after his initial introduction, Black Panther is popular. Really popular. In fact, sales of Black Panther #1 in the industry have been terrific, over 250,000 copies sold at $4.99, producing over $1.2 million in retail sales. So successful that you can’t get it any more!

    Congrats to writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artists Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin for a huge success with this re-introduction of Black Panther to a new generation, and if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of this terrific comic, what’s holding you back?

    Black Panther #1,  written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, art by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. Published April 6, 2016. We don’t have this particular issue in stock, but we’ve got quite a lot of other Black Panther comics to feed your zeal, including Black Panther #2 and Black Panther #3.

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  • Review: Negative Space #4

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    negative space #4I love it when the cover of a comic invites closer inspection, when you’re drawn into the art without the hassle of turning a page. Such is the cover of Negative Space #4, whose cover art by Owen Gieni is as clever and detailed as it is graphically violent. You have a villain blowing his brains out, the ejecta is comprised of other villains, and where there was once a head, there is now – wait for it – negative space.

    Guy’s detonation of the happiness bomb destroyed the Evorah in the same way a thrown rock destroys a hornet nest, and they are swarming towards land to harvest negative emotions the hard way. Meanwhile, the telepathic blast Guy unleashed at the end of issue #4 has resulted in a significantly smaller amount of staff members at Kindred.

    In the Kindred tower, Guy watches the Evorah army turns the city streets into a nightmare as Rick explains what Kindred is, why they do what they do, and what they’ve done in the past that has led to the current state of affairs.

    The line between good and bad, hero and villain, tragedy and victory are blurred masterfully, in that awesome-but-aggravating way that makes you realize you’ve already told yourself how the story will end, and now you have to rethink the whole storyline with the new perspective in mind. In particular, Guy’s character evolution and newly discovered powers might not lead where you think, and his place in the world – if has one – will be in question.

    Negative Space #4, writer: RYAN K LINDSAY, artist: OWEN GIENI.

    Review by Rob McKinney.

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