Tag: Matt Kindt

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    Dept H. Blends Murder Mystery With Disaster Movie

    It can be difficult to classify a comic like Dept H. One part murder mystery, one part disaster movie, one part “ragtag misfits out to save the world,”. The story takes you through a labyrinthine saga that proves just as deep as the very ocean the characters are exploring.

    Dept H. #14 at TFAW.com

    The best thing to do is to simply say it’s great.
    The story itself isn’t terribly unique – taking obvious cues from movies like Deep Blue Sea and/or The Abyss. What makes it so enjoyable is how Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt tell it. The characters are fully realized, and in issue 14 we finally learn just how deep (pun intended) Jerome is. He’s either not as insane as we thought, or he might be a good deal more. Genius tends to have that effect on people. Yet Matt and Sharlene’s storytelling makes him so relatable to the point where we, the readers, understand why he does what he does (I won’t reveal it here, for fear of spoilers).

    By issue 14, we already know that Dept H was initially formed to explore space. But was changed to head to the bottom of the ocean (an equally unexplored void). Issue 14 gives the readers a terrifyingly relevant, and believable, reason why that gives so much more gravity (pun intended) to the characters and their actions. Hari’s kindness may have been his own undoing, but until the killer is finally revealed, we’ll never know if it was Jerome (who is the obvious suspect) or any of the other characters with a reason to sabotage Dept H.

    As far as the art is concerned, I’ll be honest, at first threw me off because it doesn’t fit into the standard superhero style. The lines aren’t always clean, the colors can be muddy and washed out, and there’s a lot of sheer darkness. This is, I realize, all on purpose. After all, how else would you illustrate a murder mystery that takes place on the sandy floor of the ocean itself? If some of the panels weren’t drab, how else would the gorgeous colors stand out? Pages 19-22 alone are a class in color and scope, and my early fears about the artwork are obliterated. Matt’s pencils are good, but it’s Sharlene’s colors that take the images and makes them fascinating.

    Dept H. blends genres in an enticing way that makes it more approachable than a lot of comics. It’s one of the best things about this series. Fans of serial adventure, exploration, mystery, character-driven plot, and realistic intrigue are going to be sure to find Dept H. a solid read that’s well worth their time.

    If you haven’t been following it so far, pick up Vol. 1 and 2 and you’ll be ready to dive right in (pun intended).

    Dept H. #14, Dark Horse Comics, Released May 24th 2017, Written and Drawn by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt, $3.99

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    NCBD Drops The Hammer With Black Hammer #9

    This week’s New Comic Book Day Reviews brings us a quartet of books that we feel comic reader should check out. From Dark Horse we’ve got Black Hammer #9, Valiant brings us their next big story arc with Rapture #1, we take a trip with Peter Quill in Marvel’s Star-Lord Annual #1 and DC brings us home with Detective Comics #957.

    As a reminder these are only a few of the awesome comics that came out this week. 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.

    Black Hammer #9
    By: Jeff Lemire, David Rubin, Dave Stewart

    Black Hammer has to be one of the most exciting “Golden Age” superhero tales in a long time. As it slowly unraveling why everyone is stuck at Black Hammer Farms. Black Hammer #9 delves into how Talky-Walky and Colonel Weird met.

    Distress signals in space never seem to be a good thing, unless it’s meeting your best friend. It’s hard to say that this issue of Black Hammer was a fun read. However, that’s mainly due to what’s been happening throughout the series. It was great to see how Talky-Walky and Colonel Weird met.

    Jeff Lemire knows how to craft a solid story and this entry clearly shows his fondness to the golden age of comic adventures.[Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    Pick up volume 1 of this Love letter to the Golden Age of Superheroes

    Star-Lord Annual #1
    By: Chip Zdarsky, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Kris Anka

    That was a fun ride. I always enjoy annuals for the small break it typically gives us from the norm. Chip Zdarsky’s Star-Lord Annual #1 is no exception.

    In classic Western fashion, our hero finds himself in a small town run by bullies. And we all know Star-Lord isn’t a huge fan of bullies. So what does he do? Joins the Sheriff to take him and his gang down. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil it. Star-Lord Annual #1 is a fun ride. While I wouldn’t mind more Space-Westerns with Marvel Characters. The story here ends well and fits into where we are in the comics right now. No, this isn’t any weird Secret Empire tie-in or anything like that. I will say that it does, tie into events that have transpired and this issue did leave me with a sad, but hopeful feeling. Much like great westerns do. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    Find out what all the Guardians are up to!

    Rapture #1
    By: Matt Kindt, CAFU

    If you’re like me and haven’t read a lot of the new Valiant books, a crossover story like Rapture #1 seems a bit daunting. While I enjoy X-O Manowar, I’m not that familiar with the other fascinating characters in Valiant’s stable. However, Rapture #1 by Matt Kindt is an excellent jumping on point for new readers while still offering something that longtime Valiant readers can sink their teeth into.

    Rapture #1 focuses on four characters: Tama, Ninjak, Punk Mambo and Shadowman. Kindt gives each character a unique voice and the reason these characters come together is compelling. It’s definitely made want to check out some more stories featuring Shadowman and Punk Mambo.

    Artist CAFU knocks it out of the park, making each location feel unique. You’ll feel the stench of death oozing out of the Deadside.

    Rapture #1 is another excellent Valiant comic. This company continues to churn out hit after hit. If you’ve yet to get onboard with Valiant, Rapture #1 is your chance to do so. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    Check out all of our Valiant comics!

    Detective Comics #957
    By: Genevieve Valentine, James Tynion IV, Carmen Nunez Carnero, Alvaro Martinez

    Detective Comics #957 is something you don’t often see in today’s comic books: a standalone story. James Tynion IV presents us with a brief interlude between arcs with “The Wrath of Spoiler,” a story that follows Spoiler (obviously).

    The story that Tynion IV tells here is one that is often talked about among creators: Does just the mere presence of Batman bring about crime? Would these villains exist if they didn’t have Batman to challenge them? Spoiler seeks to answer that question as she fights against an updated Wrath and Scorn, a team of villains who are looking to make a name for themselves.

    The art by Carmen Carnero is refreshingly old-school in all the best ways and is some of the best art I think we’ve seen in Detective Comics yet.

    The payoff for this story won’t happen for a few months, but the surprise reveal of a forgotten Batman villain in the last few panels will have the community talking. Don’t miss this issue! [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    Catch up with Detective Comics and Rebirth with our graphic novels!

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

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    10 Free Comic Book Day Books You Need To Pick Up

    Free Comic Book DayEvery year, Free Comic Book Day grows by leaps and bounds. What started as just a few comic companies giving out a handful of comics has transformed into over 15 companies and 50+ comics! With many stores implementing strict limits on just how many books you can pick up, you need to make every choice count.

    Luckily, your friends at TFAW have come through with a list of the 10 comics you need to grab this Free Comic Book Day. Why 10? Because that just happens to be the number of comics we generously give at each of our retail locations.

    If you’re a Portland, Oregon or Los Angeles, Calfornia resident and want to join in on our Free Comic Book Day festivities, check us out on Facebook (Milwaukie , Portland, Beaverton, Universal Citywalk) for all the info you could want about our Free Comic Book Day event, including signing schedules. If you aren’t local, keep an eye on our website as we’re going to offer a sale you won’t want to miss starting on May 6th. Plus every order placed on May 6th will recive a Free Comic Book Day comic at random! (While supplies last)

    Want to visit your Local Comic Shop? Visit ComicShopLocator.com to find your nearest Comic Book Store!

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    X-O is Back!

    For our NCBD Reviews this week, we look at two Jeff Lemire books, and Valiant break out a must read #1 with X-O Manowar. Remember to check out all of this week’s new releases and take a look at 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.

    X-O Manowar comics at TFAW.com

    X-O Manowar #1
    By: Matt Kindt, Tomas Giorello, Lewis LaRosa

    One thing I hear daily around the office is that “You need to start reading Valiant, they are doing some amazing things.” I figure there is no better time to jump into the world of Valiant than with X-O Manowar #1, a book that kicks off a brand new story focused on Valiant’s top hero.

    I was immediately blown away the minute I opened the book thanks to the art by Tomas Giorello. Luckily, the art is matched by a gripping story by the renowned Matt Kindt. Even though the last X-O Manowar story I read was in the ‘90s, Kindt makes it easy to follow the story even if you don’t know anything about X-O Manowar.

    Aric, wanting to escape the warfare and carnage on Earth, has fled to another planet to live a peaceful life. However, he ends up conscripted by the local military force and is forced to fight once again. It’s a gritty, engaging tale that is a far cry from what I read in 1992 and it is fantastic.

    Like all good comics, X-O Manowar #1 ends on a perfect cliffhanger with a moment that will make you pine for issue #2 the minute you see the panel. I know I’ll definitely put X-O Manowar on my pull list after this fantastic issue and start paying closer attention to Valiant in the future. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    YOU’LL DEFINITELY WANT TO CHECK THIS BOOK OUT TOO — ORDER X-O MANOWAR #1 TODAY!

    Black Hammer #7
    By: Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart

    Did you read superhero comic when you were young? Remember all those Jack Kirby Cosmos adventures? Black Hammer will fit right in! This is one hell of a comic series. With crazy superheroes like Whiptara, and Colonel Weird, fighting the Anti-God. This is great throwback to a superhero era long gone. What really great about this series though is, it’s really more about characters and their lives then about defeating the bad guy by the end of the issue.

    Jeff Lamire proves time and time again how amazing he is at character driven narratives. Along side him in Black Hammer is Dean Ormston doing a fantastic job at spinning the Jack Kirby style. Who can forget Dave Stewart’s colors? I know I’m saying this a lot but, the books screams Jack Kirby and I love it! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    CATCH UP ON BLACK HAMMER AND PRE-ORDER VOLUME 1

    Extraordinary X-Men #20
    By: Jeff Lemire, Eric Koda, David Yardin

    Extraordinary X-Men #20 is the end of an era and the start of a Resurrxion. With the Terrigen Mists now completely eradicated across the globe, the X-Men are free to leave Limbo and rejoin the rest of the world.

    As you’d expect after the frantic action of Inhumans Vs. X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men #20 slows things down considerably. While there is some action, the X-Men themselves are never in any true danger and the action itself is just a means to tie up a loose end. Which is a lot of what this issue does: The comic ties up loose ends and provides a fitting conclusion to the team. It’s been rare in the last few years that we get to see the X-Men relax and enjoy themselves, and the last few pages of this comic put a smile on my face as they did just that.

    The future for the X-Men is looking up – as Storm herself puts it, “it feels like the end of a chapter… a particularly dark chapter at that.” While Jeff Lemire did a fantastic job on Extraordinary X-Men and is is an excellent sendoff, it’s the future of mutant-kind that has me excited. While this book isn’t necessary reading for those planning on diving into the X-Books with Resurrxion, it serves as a great lead-in to X-Men Prime #1. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    FINISH THE EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN SERIES TODAY WITH THIS EXCELLENT ISSUE.

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

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    Kings of Grass

    Comics are often about building new worlds. These fictional societies have their own sets of rules and order. And they don’t always have to be fantastical. Sometimes they’re a slice of a world that’s under-exposed. Such is the case in Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins new comic Grass Kings.

    Grass Kings
    Grass Kings

    In Grass Kings #1 we are introduced to the Grass Kingdom, a small patch of land that does not recognize the authority or rules of the United States. Grass Kingdom has a longstanding feud with neighboring town Cargill. The citizens of Grass Kingdom are viewed as squatters illegally possessing the land.

    The Promised Land?

    The central conflict of the book revolves around Cargill’s sheriff and the two brothers who run Grass Kingdom. Bruce and Robert inherited the kingdom from their family who’s possessed the land since World War I. Robert is the king and Bruce is the sheriff in charge of protecting the land from Cargill.

    The relationship between Robert and Bruce is a tenuous one at best. Robert lost his daughter and has fallen into alcoholism to deal with his grief. This puts pressure on Bruce to look out for the well being of the town and his brother.

    Kindt’s script generates a lot of conflict right from the start. This is a book with a great deal of narrative setup at work. It’s a family drama and a crime story. But it’s also a mystery.

    Kindt’s writing pairs extremely well with Jenkin’s exceptional artwork. The hazy water colored images strike a beautiful balance between detailed and dreamlike. This is especially true as the book shifts into flashback scenes.

    Overall, this a strong first issue that does a great job of establishing setting and characters. It also leaves enough threads for readers to continue to pick up future issues.

    SEE WHAT’S NEXT IN GRASS KINGDOM AND PRE-ORDER GRASS KINGS #2

    Grass Kings #1, Boom! Studios, Released March 8, 2017, Written by Matt Kindt, Art by Tyler Jenkins, $3.99

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    You Choose The Best Comic Book of 2016

    Best comics of 2016

    A lot of amazing books have come out in 2016. With Marvel revitalizing their line, DC’s Rebirth, to so many independent and creator-owned books dominating the stands, 2016 has certainly been a comic book year to remember.

    With that in mind, the staff at TFAW took a look at sales numbers, fan buzz, and our personal favorites of the year to create a list of the 25 best comics of the year. Now we want you, our awesome customers, to vote on this list to decide definitively what the best books of 2016 are.

    Voting will take place from Jan 1st through Jan 31st, so head on over to our  Facebook page  and cast your vote. Let your voices be heard and recognize all these amazing creators and publishers for all their hard work.

    Superman Vol. 01 Son of Superman
    By: Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason
    The New 52 Superman is dead, but hiding among us for years was the original Big Blue. Now, a world without a Superman is in desperate need for Clark to leave the good life on the farm with Lois raising their son. This story simultaneously brings Superman back to formula, but also takes him in a direction he’s never really been before.

    Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch
    By: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma
    Powerful and gut-wrenching, Bitch Planet continues to explore themes of patriarchy and non-compliance. A must read for SJWs, feminists, and people who truly appreciate comics as an artistic medium.

    Wonder Woman TPB Vol. 01 The Lies
    By: Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark
    Wonder Woman has been interpreted in many ways over her 75 year existence. Instead of trying to hide this, Greg Rucka’s approach is to embrace this to try and get to the real heart of who Wonder Woman is. Not just a great jumping on point for new readers, but a definitive take on the character that will hold true for years to come.

    Black Hammer Vol 1: Secret Origins
    By: Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart
    Black Hammer is another in a long line of grand ideas by one of comics brightest stars, Jeff Lemire. This book has a unique take on superheroes and the art by Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart instantly ensnares the reader.

    Rough Riders Vol. 1
    By: Adam Glass, Pat Oliffe
    History in the making! Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Johnson, Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison make up an American dream team engaged in an epic shadowy war! Monsters and Mayhem folks!

    The Mighty Thor Vol 1: Thunder in Her Veins
    By: Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman
    Marvel is changing things up by casting Dr. Jane Foster as the new Thor. The goddess of thunder shines in this series as she comes to grips with heroism and her own mortality. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman are the perfect pairing. Also: Loki.

    Divinity II
    By: Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic
    After Abram came crashing home in Divinity vol 1. Spending his entire life in the depths of space, Divinity II tells the tale of Myshka. Still beliving in the Communist ideal. She intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory

    Old Man Logan Vol 1: Berserker
    By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino
    What happens when an older, more gruff version of Wolverine comes to the main Marvel Universe? A whole lot of fighting. He’s on a mission to to prevent a terrible future from happening. Andrea Sorrentino’s art is breathtaking.

    Detective Comics Vol. 01 Rise of the Batmen
    By: James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Al Barrionuevo
    Batman is notorious for being a lone wolf (bat?), but he’s always had his family behind him. Now it’s time to take the Bat-Family to the next level. Lead by Batwoman, Batman puts together a team of Red Robin, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Spoiler, and Clayface to be ready for whatever threat comes Gotham’s way.

    Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than Man
    By: Tom King, Kevin Walsh, Mike Del Mundo
    Vision has the perfect family: a wife, two kids, and a dog. Look elsewhere for over-the-top nonstop heroics; this book proves it’s the little moments that matter. Truly impeccable dialogue and top-notch art await!

    March Book 3
    By: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
    The third and final installment in civil rights activist John Lewis’ story in the battle for civil rights in the United States. 1963 was an incredibly turbulent time in America’s history, and John Lewis was not only in the middle of it, but a leader in getting us out of it, long before becoming a congressman. March will remind you there are real heroes in this world.

    Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol 1: Black Squadron
    By: Charles Soule, Phil Noto
    With crisp and clean art by Phil Noto, Poe Dameron is one of the most beautiful of Marvel’s new Star Wars comics. Charle Soule explores Dameron’s uncanny skills and matching bravado.

    Paper Girls Vol. 2
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang
    Continuing where Vol. 1 left off, the misfit group of paper girls from 1988 find themselves transported to present day. Our main characters are forced to look at who they are, and who they may…or may not become. This superstar team continues to tell one of the craziest sci-fi stories currently on the shelves, while staying focused on the heart of any good story, the characters.

    All New Wolverine Vol. 01 Four Sisters
    By: Tom Taylor, David Lopez, Bengal
    With the death of Logan, clone daughter Laura Kinney (X-23) steps up to be Wolverine and the best she is at what she does. This book is bloody, emotional, hilarious, and beautiful. This is one of those unique books that can present adult subjects in a way that people of all ages can understand. Clone or not, All-New Wolverine definitely has soul.

    Dept. H Vol. 1: Pressure
    By: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
    Not your average murder mystery! An in depth(see what I did there) story taking place on a deep sea research station. Family, lies, secrets and creatures make for a spectacular, well-paced adventure.

    Steven Universe & Crystal Gems Vol. 01
    By: Josceline Fenton, Chrystin Garland, Kat Leyh
    They are the Crystal Gems. They always save the day! If you think they can’t. Here is proof that they always find a way!

    Monstress Vol. 1
    By: Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
    A fascinating look at an alternate 1900’s Asia where monsters of god-like power are normal. Witness the journey of one teenage girl struggling to survive while trying to tame her own MONSTER.

    Black Panther Vol. 01 Nation Under Our Feet
    By: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze
    Wakanda under the microscope. On the brink of civil war, treason and terrorist attacks ensue in T’Challa’s homeland. Witness Black Panther fight to save his country from all fronts.

    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 01
    By: Kyle Higgins, Jorge Corona, Goni Montes
    “It’s Morphin Time!” This fantastic new series starts after the Green with Evil Saga. Takes us through a different path from the show, one that keeps it at the top of my reading every month. Perfect for fans new and old.

    Saga Vol. 6
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
    Set three years after the end of Vol. 5, our story opens with Hazel in kindergarten. For a story that’s followed a family on the run through space since issue 1, Vol 6 shows them living a domestic and stationary life for the first time…and it doesn’t go too well for them. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to be a dominating power tag team.

    Sheriff Of Babylon Vol. 01 Bang Bang Bang
    By: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, John Paul Leon
    Currently known for his fantastic work on Batman, Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s The Sherriff of Babylon, is a suspenseful crime noir tale set in Bagdad circa 2003. King’s CIA experience in addition to Gerad’s life-like art style gives this series the accolades it deserves.

    Beauty Vol. 01
    By: Jason Hurley, Jeremy Haun
    The first STD that people actually WANT! In this world, The “Beauty”, transforms your body into its most beautiful version. People are literally dying to get it but the public is unaware of the side effects. Detectives Vaughn and Foster are on the case.

    Faith Vol. 01 Hollywood & Vine
    By: Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Jele Kevic-Djurdjevic
    Starting off as a side character in Harbinger back in 2014, we were given a full ongoing series of Faith Herbert this year. Written by the wonderful Jody Houser. This is a series meant for Fan-boys/girls, as Faith herself is as much of a geek as we are.

    Gotham Academy Vol. 03 Yearbook
    By: Brenden Fletcher, Moritat, Mingjue Helen Chen
    Our favorite students go back after their adventures last year, telling tales before everything went to chaos. Gotham Academy is an all-ages series perfectly suited for those wanting to move to Gotham, but are not old enough to drive there.

    Legend of Zelda Legendary Ed GN Vol. 01 Ocarina Time
    By: Akira Himekawa
    Viz does it again. While this is a reprint, if you’ve never read the Manga adaptation of the celebrated N64 game Ocarina of Time, this is a perfect time. Collecting vol 1 and 2, You get the complete tale.

    DON’T FORGET TO VOTE BY THE 31ST

    Honorable Mentions

    2016 had so many amazing titles that it was nearly impossible for us to narrow it down to 25. With that in mind, here are some honorable mentions of books that you should definitely check out. Odds are they made your own personal top 25.

    Batman Vol. 1 I Am Gotham
    By: Tom King, David Finch
    Gotham City has two new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. With these super powered saviors doing what Batman can’t, is he really what Gotham City needs anymore?

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 04 Kissed Squirrel Liked It
    By: Ryan North, Erica Henderson
    I an age of dark and gritty superheroes, The Unbeatable Squirrel decides to have fun with the universe it lives in instead. Be prepared to smile.

    Dark Knight: A True Batman Story
    By: Paul Dini, Eduardo Risso
    Legendary Batman writer, Paul Dini, was beaten within an inch of his life. This autobiographical tale shows just how these iconic characters like Batman can get us through the darkest of times.

    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse
    By: Chris Roberson, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Wes Dzioba, Dan Dos Santos
    Set after the events of the previous series, Leaves on the Wind, No Power in the ‘Verse continues the tale of our favorite Browncoats

    I Am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1
    By: Kengo Hazawa
    A slightly crazy artist, and one of the few people in Japan that actually owns a gun, is neck deep in the zombie apocalypse.

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    I’m A Scientist!

    Legendary Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke famously stated: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This statement is the basis for Dark Horse’s new comic Ether.

    Ether #1 introduces Boone Dias, a scientist exploring the magical realm of The Ether. Boone is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. He’s an adventurer with the mind of a detective. In this adventure, he sets out to discover the scientific facts that will explain the existence of magic.

    Ether has a clever and highly engaging plot that seamlessly blends the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Writer Matt Kindt creates a fascinating new take on the concept of a magical world, with a hero entirely unfazed and almost unimpressed by it.

    Looking at Magic Through Science

    Boone’s Holmesian-characteristics show most when he flexes his intelligence for citizens of the Ether. He seems to pity those who merely believe in magic. Meanwhile, Boone is tasked with solving a murder involving a sentient bullet and a giant magical library.

    It’s fun to walk through this magical world treated with such a blasé’ attitude.There are baboon gatekeepers, giant snails that function as taxis, and songbirds that render people unconscious. All of these are simply accepted as just a normal part of everyday life. Nontheless, our hero has a mission and can’t get bogged down in the wonder of The Ether.

    This story will appeal to the science lovers and the magic obsessed. It manages to get everyone involved in a compelling mystery. Boone is also a hero with the potential to intrigue readers for many issues to come.

    PRE-ORDER ETHER #2

    Ether #1, Dark Horse Comics, November 16, 2016, Written by Matt Kindt, Art by David Rubin, $3.99

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    Introducing Valiant Entertainment

    This August we want to help you start something new – Valiant Entertainment.

    Valiant Entertainment lineup

    Valiant Comics started back in 1989 – with the boom in comics during the early ’90’s Valiant was bought by Acclaim Entertainment – a Video Game developer. In 2004 Acclaim shut down. One year later Valiant Entertainment restarted and since then has gone on to create some of the most original, award-winning titles. Most recently having 50 Nominations in the 2016 Harvey Awards.

    Over most summers, like most superhero publishers, they have a big event. Now when I say “big event”, I’m not talking 30+ issues spanning 9 different titles. No, Valiant doesn’t play that game. When they do big events typically the main series is only 5 issues, and will only spread across a couple of their on-goings. This summer is no exception with their event – 4001 A.D. This series focuses on the future within the Rai comics.

    4001 A.D.
    The most ambitious comics event of 2016 brings war to the 41st century – with Rai leading the charge! One hundred years from today, Father – the benevolent artificial intelligence that governs the island nation of Japan – will gain sentience. To defend its borders, Father will take drastic action by launching Japan into space…where its people will thrive in isolation, away from the overpopulated and resource-deprived planet below.

    One thing is that all of the Valiant characters are connected in some way. Even if they are not currently interacting or on the same team. For example, Armstrong from the Archer & Armstrong series is the middle brother of The Eternal Warrior, and Ivar, the Time Walker. Even currently Faith (one of the best new characters in comics) and Archer are now a couple, having their first date within Archer & Armstrong #5. There are lots of connections within the Valiant Universe.
    Summer of Valiant 4001 A.D.
    Another thing to note about this publisher is that even though they publish “superhero” comics that are all connected, their series range from vigilante-style heroes (Bloodshot) to Sci-Fi adventures (Divinity). Even those who like comedy and wacky adventures like Deadpool will get enjoyment out of Archer & Armstrong.

    What about a story involving a suit of armor? X-O Manowar – After a brutal encounter with a mysterious enemy known as The Vine leaves him a prisoner on an alien world, the only hope Aric has of returning to his family and saving them from slavery is to seize armored suit capable of incalculable destruction and become X-O Manowar! The Vine destroyed Aric’s world. Now he will give them war.

    These and many, many more stories are being released every month. With vol 1 trades starting at $9.99 they’re easy to jump on and get hooked. Amazing creators like Matt Kindt, Jody Houser, Jeff Lemire, Jen Van Meter, Clayton Crain & so many more contribute to these characters. This Summer, take a chance, read a Valiant Entertainment title!


    Valiant Time Capsule
    If you shop with us at any of our Oregon Locations this month, pick any Valiant Entertainment product and you’ll get a raffle ticket for a weekly drawing of Valiant merchandise, including hardcover graphic novels and signed comics. Then come back on the 31st for the opening of the Valiant Time Capsule, where we’ll be raffling off items from it. This promotion is valid

    Still unsure if Valiant Entertainment is right for you? Come on by and ask us what would be up your ally based on your current reads. Valiant has something for everyone.

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    Review: Dept. H #4

    Review - Dept H #4

    Dept H #4When last we left Mia [see Dept. H #3] she’d been rescued from the deep and brought back into the research vessel, but her brother Raj had been abandoned, six miles under the surface of the ocean and with less than an hour of oxygen left. Dept. H #4 picks up the story with her attempts to convince someone else to join her in heading out and trying to find and rescue Raj before he runs out of oxygen and dies.

    But no-one is particularly interested, and while you’d expect their attention would be on the poor state of repair of the research facility itself, in fact the crew seem to mostly be sitting around, desultory and unmotivated to do much of anything. Deep sea ennui? Maybe. Fortunately Mia gets two of the crew to join her in the search, though it’s quite possible they’re more motivated by heading to the cave where the original power generated is located: If they can get that online, they can last weeks, possibly months, longer without peril. And if they find Raj along the way, that’s just a nice bonus.

    The cave has its secrets, however, and there’s also a lot of backstory in this issue, including how Roger lost his legs and no installment would be complete without Mia having some of her eidetic flashbacks to her childhood too. And what about Raj? Is Mia’s brother truly dead, another fatality of the strange goings-on in Dept. H?

    Matt and Sharlene Kindt deliver another engaging installment of this deep sea murder mystery with Dept H. #4 and while the watercolor style hasn’t grown on me, the story continues to engross, and I can’t wait to see how it’s resolved in a future issue!

    Dept H. #4, written by Matt Kindt, art by Sharlene Kindt. Published July 20, 2016 by Dark Horse Comics

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    Review: Dept. H #3

    Dept. H #3Matt and Sharlene Kindt continue to unfold the mystery of who killed the director of Dept. H, an undersea research facility located six miles below the surface of the ocean. Chief investigator is scientist Mia and the stakes are personal: It’s her father who was killed. Her brother Raj works on the base too, but could he be a suspect? Or is it one of the other denizens of the fishbowl that is the facility? With six miles of ocean above, it’s a sure bet no-one swam up to the airlock, popped in, caused his death, and left again.

    Issue #2 ended with Mia outside, exploring a damaged undersea cable, and sinking out of control in her ultra-deep suit. In Dept. H #3 the story opens with a flashback to Mia’s childhood where she explains to us readers that she’s always been so tenacious that she is physically unable to quit, even in a situation where her life is in danger. Obvious foreshadowing for the rest of the Dept. H. mystery!

    Taking her last gasps, she’s rescued by one of the other people from the research facility and when she’s pulled back in and recovers her wits, she realizes that someone else important is still outside, in the deeps. But who will help rescue him, particularly when Lily is busy making snarky comments to Mia about the men on the station and scientist Jerome seems to have gone completely bonkers. That’s a lot going on for a deep sea research station with less than a dozen people on board. And for that matter, what research is really happening in Dept. H?

    This issue is a fine third installment of this increasingly compelling mystery and I’m ready for #4 to come out already! After all, I have my theories about what’s transpired…

    Dept. H #3, written and illustrated by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt. Published June 22, 2016.

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    Review: Dept. H. #2

    Review of Dept H #2

    Dept. H. #2 coverThe first issue of Dept. H introduced us to the gripping mystery of murder at the bottom of the sea, of Mia, the tough researcher who has come to Department H HQ, seven miles below the surface of the ocean to figure out who murdered her father. In the classic style of an Agatha Christie locked room mystery, Dept. H explores the undersea world and its human denizens, the seven people who inhabit the undersea research facility.

    Dept. H #2 brings much more depth to the story (can I say that?), bouncing between a deep space research facility that has failed to reveal any sign of extra-terrestrial intelligence and the undersea scene of the murder. Who’s enmeshed with whom? Who has had a falling out with whom, and why?

    The most likely suspect in #2 is Raj, Mia’s brother who clearly has much emotional turmoil just below the surface, as is revealed when he and Mia get into a shouting match about what could have happened. Everyone on the base insists the death was an accident, but Mia is convinced otherwise.

    Mia also has a challenge too: she never forgets anything. She can’t forget anything. Which means, as she explains, that she can’t forget things she’d rather forget and that it makes it very difficult to forgive anyone, particularly family. And when she’s lured out in the depths to help repair a damaged cable relay, things go from interesting to life-threatening. Time to figure out what’s going on pronto!

    Dept. H #2 features Sharlene Kindt‘s same airy watercolor art style which marks it as very different to most comics and graphic novels you might be reading currently. This can be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes. I am lukewarm towards it, but the story itself is so engrossing that I’m definitely in for the entire series!

    Dept. H #2, written by Matt Kindt, artwork by Sharlene Kindt. Published May 18, 2016.

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    Review: Dept. H #1

    Review: Dept. H #1

    Dept. H, #1It’s the near future and there’s a secret research lab stationed on the ocean floor, six miles below sea level. The head scientist — the smartest man on Earth — is dead and everyone’s a suspect, so  his daughter Mia is sent down by USEAR (Underwater Science Exploration and Research) to investigate and figure out who committed the dastardly crime in what’s quite literally a tiny bubble of a world. No pressure, though. Mia’s told before she goes that “USEAR’s future… and the future of all of us is dependent on Dept. H.”

    The storyline of Dept. H is terrific, a classic locked room mystery a la Agatha Christie, where we share Mia’s investigation of the crew of the research facility and tries to piece the clues together to find out who murdered her father and has put the entire project — and perhaps the future of humankind — at risk.

    Spread across six issues, this first sets the scene and introduces the cast of characters, a compelling storyline that’ll definitely keep me eager to receive new issues and learn more about what’s happened and what’s going to happen.

    That’s the good. Written and illustrated by Matt Kindt with colors by Sharlene Kindt, it takes some getting used to the colored sketches of this watercolor world, however apt it may be for the underwater theme, and more than once I wished for a more traditional graphic novel style of artwork to help create presence and impact. It’s competently executed, but I found it detracted from the story rather than enhancing it. Your experience may, of course, vary considerably.

    And I’m still eager to read the rest of the story and watch the mystery unfold!

    Dept. H. #1, story and art by Matt Kindt, colors by Sharlene Kindt. Published April 20, 2016.

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