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    Buffy Survives Another Year

    Happy Birthday Buffy Summers!

    Destiny has decided that Slayers typically have a short life expectancy, but today marks the character Buffy Summers’ actual birthday. To celebrate, we want to get you caught up on what’s she’s been up to for the last 3 seasons of the comic with some quick recaps so you can still jump on board Season 11 while it’s hot.

    Season 8

    Starting out a year after the conclusion of the show (Season 7), we see a lot has changed for our favorite Slayer. At the end of the show, all potential Slayers have the power of The Slayer. Now, with the help of Colonel Xander (cause the eye patch), there’s an entire slayer army handling threats across the globe. Of course, not everyone views them as superheroes. The US government along with some past villains (Amy and Warren) team up to try and take them down. All the while, a new threat, Twilight (not the shiny one) looms in the background using Riley, Buffy’s old boyfriend, as a spy.

    GET CAUGHT UP ON THE LASTEST BUFFY COMICS

    Throughout all the madness, the Scooby gang meets an old friend in Tibet (Oz), encounter an old enemy (Harmony), we catch up with what’s happening with Dawn, Xander, Willow, Faith, and Giles, and learn more about all our new slayers. All of this leads up to the final two story arcs where it’s revealed that Twilight is in fact Angel under some kind of magical compulsion that was causing him to be a little extra super villainy. Spike arrives to try and save the day, but during the conflict, Twilight kills Giles. The only way to defeat Twilight is by banishing magic from the universe, which they do. Now all the witches no longer have access to their power, the Slayers still have their powers, but with all the insanity happening, it causes the group to break up. Faith works to rehabilitate Angel, and the rest of the Scooby’s move out to San Francisco for a new start.

    Season 9

    This season of Buffy takes place over two different books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel & Faith. Buffy’s book follows the adventures of the main Scooby Gang, while Angel & Faith follows both of those characters working to tame their personal demons.

    The gang finds themselves trying as hard as they can to live a normal life. Buffy has two roommates that have nothing to do with the craziness in her life, Xander and Dawn are trying to make an honest go of their relationship, and Spike leaves on his spaceship, cause that’s a thing that he does now. It’s not long before trouble finds them like a magnet, though. Dawn is slowly dying from the absence of magic, Willow finds a new way to tap into magic, Xander kind of betrays the group, and so much more is packed into 25 issues, that you’re really owing it to yourself to give it a read.

    Over in Angel & Faith, after the death of Giles, Faith inherits his London home where she and Angel work to better themselves. This leads them down a path of searching for the remains of Giles’ soul, which is scattered throughout the world. Of course, many people are not happy with what Angel did while possessed by Twilight, so he’s hunted at almost every turn. Along the way, he also reunites with old friends like Gunn, Willow, and his son Connor. The team is eventually able to revive Giles’, only now he’s in the body of a kid. An orb of magical energy is released over London from this season’s big bad, which causes that area to be magically awakened again. With a new hub of magic in the world again, which the dub Magic town, Angel & Faith dedicate themselves to protecting it.

    BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER GOES BACK TO HIGH SCHOOL

    Season 10

    Season 10 is once again divided into the same two titles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith. Buffy’s book focuses once again on the Scooby gang, where Angel & Faith focuses on what’s happening in London’s Magic Town.

    Buffy’s book reunites us with a lot of characters we’ve lost over the years. Andrew resurrects Tara, Xander hangs out with his old master Dracula, little kid Giles makes a return to the group, Harmony shows up again, this time with an army, Wolfram & Hart along with Lilah Morgan return, Dawn and Xander go to Hell, our new big bad, D’Hoffryn, has his sights on killing all the members of the Magic Council. Jonathan returns to haunt Andrew, Anya is kind of back from the dead, and everything ends with the Scooby Gang forming a new Magic Council, which includes Dracula.

    Angel & Faith continues with the return of a lot of other familiar faces. Fred/Illyria is not actually dead after the destruction of magic as previously thought. The witch Amy has a bone to pick still being sour over the events of Season Eight’s destruction of magic. Kennedy has a Slayer bodyguard corporation that she formed after the end of Season Eight that Faith tries out, but quits when she hears that Riley is captive. After that is resolved, Illyria is finally separated from Fred. Faith and Fred kind of become buddy detectives for a bit before the story starts revealing the new big bad of Archaeus. His schemes threaten the stability of London’s Magic Town, so it’s up to our heroes to put a stop to it.

    READ THE HISTORY OF THE GREATEST VAMPIRE SLAYER

    Whew. That was a lot, and I’m sure we missed some things, but you should be up to speed to start reading both Season 11 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Luckily, we have all the collections of Seasons 8-10 available, so get them all for 10%-40% off, as well as every single issue of the new series’ still in stock, so you won’t have to miss a beat.

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    You Don’t Know Gamora Until You Read This Comic

    This week we look at two Guardians, Titans, our favorite Slayer and the terror of the deep, Hook Jaw. There were many more 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.

    Star-Lord #1
    By: Chip Zdarsky, Kris Anka, Matthew Wilson

    Things are tough for Peter Quill. After the events of Civil War II, the Guardians are stranded on Earth and have gone their separate way for the time being. Kitty Pryde has broken things off with Peter, and the only other person he knows who isn’t missing, dead, or crazy is Howard the Duck. Yeah, you’d be depressed too.

    Chip Zdarsky is in a fine form combining his incredible sense of humor with such relatable and human scenarios. He makes you forget you’re reading a superhero comic when you’re obviously reading a superhero comic. Kris Anka’s pencils expertly transition from the comical and conversational aspects to stunning bar battles with ease.

    Packed full of guest stars, Star-Lord #1 is a great day-in-the-life book. Just in time to get people primed for the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie in just a few months. Don’t miss it. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    SEE ALL GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY “GROUNDED” ISSUES

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eleven #2
    By: Joss Whedon, Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs, Dan Jackson, Steve Morris

    This issue is all about the aftermath of Buffy Season Eleven #1 (still in stock at press time, BTW).

    And “Safe Zones.”

    Buffy Season Eleven is going to be one of those comic book series that challenges what comics can do to encourage thought and dialogue. Christos Gage (Angel and Faith, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers Academy) is using Season Eleven as a vehicle to get people to think about civil rights.

    This is a natural extension of the Buffy TV show, and I’m excited to see where they take us this season. As always, Rebekah Isaacs’ (Angel and Faith, Buffy Season Ten) art is unique and fun, but remains true to who the characters are. I’m excited to see **** and Buffy in a relationship where they bring out the best in each other. She deserves that. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    PS: I am freaking loving Steve Morris’ covers for the Buffy Season Eleven covers. Absolutely gorgeous!

    JOIN BUFFY SEASON ELEVEN TODAY

    Teen Titans Go #19
    By: Heather Nuhfer, Paul Morrissey, Ivan Cohen, Marcelo DiChiara, Dan Hipp, Jeremy Lawson

    Beast Boy snifs out the future in the first story, and ends up partying with Raven’s Dad! With a few LOL moments, Paul Morissey and Heather Nuhfer made a fun 6-page story that fits right in with the TV shorts.

    “The Herring King” is the second short we get in this $2.99 issue. We find out Beast Boy has a pet Herring (Mentioned in “Coming Soon Comics” issue #12 which has the cover of Teen Titans Rebirth). His herring is sad and they’re taking him home to Springenstandt where they meet characters that resemble Thor and work for a S.H.I.E.L.D. type organization.

    Artist Marcelo DiChiara and Jeremy Lawson work on both stories. They do a fantastic job matching the show’s tone. Both artists really surprised me on how versatile there styles can be. Take a look at Marcelo’s Deviant art page and Jeremy’s website for more!

    This is perfect for comic readers young and old. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    ADD TEEN TITANS GO! TO YOUR COLLECTION

    Gamora #1
    By: Nicole Perlman, Marco Checchetto, Esad Ribic, Andres Mossa

    Set long before she ever became of Guardian of the Galaxy, Gamora #1 explores the life of the daughter of Thanos. Back when they were still on speaking terms. A lot of times prequel stories can come across as forced, or containing information that’s not really needed. Gamora, on the other hand, I feel is a great character to explore since not much has been revealed about her time with Thanos. What we get to see in this book is going to be a definitive mission for the character.

    Nicole Perlman captures the voice and tone of the character perfectly. Gamora walks the line between the most dangerous person in the galaxy, split between morality and loyalty to the father she hates. Exploring this is one of the most exciting aspects of the book. Marco Checchetto’s art just keeps further defining him as one of the best pencilers currently working in the industry.

    If you’re looking for a brutal book that gets into the past of one of Marvel’s rising stars, Gamora #1 is a must read. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    EXPLORE GAMORA’S PAST

    Hook Jaw #1
    By: Simon Spurrier, Conor Boyle, Giulia Brusco

    From the pages of the British anthology comic Action (which only lasted a year due to its controversial violence) comes Hook Jaw. A new series from Titan Comics. Who’s no stranger to revitalizing old British Comics (see Johnny Red).

    Hook Jaw introduces us to a crew of a research ship who are trying to prove that Great White Sharks have cooperative behavior. The blood-soaked first issue also gives us a 2 page history of Action and Great White 101. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t this JAWS as a comic?” and you could say that. What separates this series from JAWS, is that Hook Jaw speaks. Now I don’t mean a Finding Nemo kind of way. We get a tidbit of what’s going on in their head.

    I was intrigued by the premise when I heard about this series months ago and Si Spurrier, Conor Boyle and Giulia Brusco did not disappoint. I will definitely be keeping up with Hook Jaw as they tear through our ship of survivors. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    SINK YOUR TEETH INTO HOOK JAW

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

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    Buffy stabs her way into Season 11

    New Comic Book Day is here! Buffy the Vampire Slayer kick soff s highly anticipated new season. Along with the super fun adventures of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and Hellboy gets a new mission. Every week we review a select few NCBD books. 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.

    Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #13
    By: Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, Leonard Kirk

    She’s the smartest girl in the room…well, the world actually. Lunella Lafayette AKA Moon Girl is a nine-year-old prodigy who pals around with a bright red time-displaced Tyranosaurus Rex named Devil Dinosaur.

    Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #13 kicks off a new story arc “The Smartest There Is,” and serves as a great entry point for new readers. The thing I like most about this series is that it’s just plain fun. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder are adept at writing for kids and adults, keeping the language easy, but expertly incorporating nods to Marvel’s history.

    This issue also has a fun dream (or is it a glimpse of the future?) sequence illustrated by Leonard Kirk. This sequence alone makes this issue worth the price of admission. I’m also a fan of the surprise character who pops up on the final couple pages of this issue…

    If you’re looking for a fun and colorful (literally, Tara Bonvillain’s colors are lovely) series to break up the standard capes and cowl books on your reading list, this Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is highly recommended. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    JOIN THE NEW STORY ARC TODAY

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #1
    By: Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs, Dan Jackson, Steve Morris

    For those new to the series, yes, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has lived on in the form of a comic series for 3 seasons after it’s television ending. Now with Season 11 being the perfect jumping on point for new readers. After the end of their last crisis, Buffy, and vampire boyfriend Spike, are now supernatural crime consultants for the San Francisco police department.

    The bulk of the issue is reintroducing the reader to a lot of familiar faces. Giving exposition hinting at how that character has changed over the course of the last few seasons, making brand new readers to the comic series welcomed. Which is great, because before you know it, the action is turned up to…11 (get it?).

    Christos Gage has been working with these characters since Season 9 (originally on Angel & Faith before taking over the main book). He writes the cast with the same tone fans have come to rely on. Rebekah Isaacs, captures the characters likenesses perfectly. Making it feel like we’re once again seeing some old, familiar friends.

    If you’re a fan of Buffy, Joss Whedon, great female characters, or fun in general. Make sure you’re getting this first issue of another great adventure with the Scooby Gang. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    JUMP BACK ON THE BAND WAGON SEASON 11 IS HERE!

    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 – The Unreasoning Beast #1
    By: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Patric Reynolds, Dave Stewart, Mike Huddleston

    Since the end of Hellboy, it only makes sense to go backwards. It all started with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952. The first mission Hellboy ever went on. Continuing through the years with 1953 and 1954. This is the start of the second mission for 1954 (that we’re shown). Involving a haunted family by a firey monkey.

    Having not read a Hellboy since the end of Hellboy in Hell. After reading The Unreasoning Beast #1, I’m back in the fold. As this is Mike Mignola’s baby, I didn’t expect anything less than a stellar story. Especially with Chris Roberson co-writing. Artist Patrick Reynolds’ style is immediately recognizable and works so well within this world.

    Although the story ends with a happy ending. As much as it can when dealing with the supernatural. You get this eerie feeling we’re not done yet, and it has nothing to do with the fact that there is a second and third issue already solicited. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    GET HAUNTED BY HELLBOY ONCE AGAIN!

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

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    Between the Occult and the Detective

    Between the Occult and the Detective

    There are two comic themes that when combined can make for enthralling reading — detectives/private eyes and magic. This coupling of sleuthing and the supernatural (including religion, the occult, sorcery and more) is pervasive in comics and the noir characteristics just heighten the thrills.

    hellblazerAnd no one fits that bill better than the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Created originally in Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1985, it wasn’t until 1988 when Hellblazer #1 hit the stands. Ever since, John has been working his magic in comics, on film in the Constantine movie, and in the short-lived and underrated Constantine television show. He’s  also part of pop culture in general (the Supernatural TV series borrows heavily from John Constantine for Castiel’s character).

    With 30-plus years of this character’s history, it can be daunting to know where to start. A good entry point is a graphic novel. Surprisingly, it’s not the  first volume — John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sins, but the fifth volume: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits. Written by longtime Hellblazer writer Garth Ennis, this volume actually inspired parts of the 2005 Constantine movie.

    The story is pretty simple — John’s dying. All those cigarettes have caused an advanced terminal lung cancer. Knowing that his soul is damned and Hell is ready for him, John moves to cure his disease and save himself. What happens after he sets down this course is truly amazing.

    Another must read Hellblazer arc was created by celebrated crime novelist, Ian Rankin, for Vertigo’s crime imprint called Dark Entries in 2009. This was the first Original Graphic Novel (also called an OGN), meaning it was never released as single issues. The plot involves John trying to figure out why a house on a reality TV program is haunted. Of course, he can’t stop production, so he joins the series and starts to unravel the mystery.

    One of the big draws is the inclusion of religion within the series. It’s not just focused on Christianity. Voodoo magic is used regularly not only by Constantine, but his frenemy Papa Midnight. Although Catholicism is most prominent, the series never ignores the idea of other religions in the world.

    Look Overseas for Great Horror Comics

    Hellblazer isn’t the only series to blend magic and religion. Around the same time, Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi was introducing the world to Dylan Dog. A self-proclaimed Nightmare Investigator, Dylan, unlike John Constantine, was likeable. By 2011, Dylan Dog reached 300 issues, but only a handful made it to the United States.

    Dylan’s occult interactions mainly revolve around the classic monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Although, demons have crossed paths with him a few times.

    Many were first introduced to this character in the Dylan Dog Case Files from Dark Horse Comics. This graphic novel featured selected stories that were translated and released just prior to the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night film that starred Brandon Routh. The Dylan Dog Case Files is a great compilation of stories from the Italian series, but up until September 2016 it was the only source of Dylan Dog stories available in the U.S. Now, new stories are starting to come out from Epicenter Comics. Reportedly, there will also be reprints of past stories.

    How to Steal a Ghost

    ghostedAnother series that blends crime and the occult is Joshua Williamson’s Ghosted. Williamson is currently heading up The Flash series in DC’s Rebirth, and it’s been great.

    Ghosted, published by Image Comics, is further evidence that Williamson is the real deal. The series follows one of the world’s greatest thieves as he’s pulled into the world of the occult. He’s broken out of prison and offered the chance to steal something no one else has — a ghost.

    Think equal parts Ocean’s 11 and The Shining. Things are never as they seem, and our hero has to rely on more than his wits to get out of this situation. Pulling together a team of experts to help him steal this ghost, he assembles a psychic, an occult historian, a tech guy to record the ghost, and a skeptic. Overall, if you want to add a little heist into your horror, Ghosted is for you.

    Don’t Fear, The Slayer is Here

    buffyWho could really forget about the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Buffy hunts vampires, but her adventures go WAY further than that including her best friend going into full-witch mode on her!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Buffy Summers, the chosen one in a long line of young women destined to battle evil forces. She becomes “The Slayer” giving her increased physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance. Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Giles, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Then it gets more complicated.

    But when the TV show ended, the fun didn’t. After the official comic book continuation of the series in Buffy Season 8, 9, and 10, we’re poised to jump into Buffy Season 11 in November 2016. Unencumbered by network television show budgets, this comic has gone to some great heights in recent years.

    The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator

    hellboyHellboy is one of the longest running, most widely celebrated horror series. With hundreds of issues and dozens of spinoffs, Mike Mignola has done something really amazing with this series by creating a new universe.

    Aside from DC and Marvel, there really aren’t a lot of big universes in comics, especially ones that walk that horror/mystery line so well. Hellboy or the “Mignola-verse” is a rich tapestry that features a variety of complex characters set a world that draws on centuries of folk-tales, yarns, and fables.

    Hellboy remains one of the few series that begs you to re-read the stories regularly. It’s great for curling up with during inclement weather or when you find yourself with an extended weekend.

    There are plenty of other occult and horror comics that split their genre with detective and noir storytelling. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below.

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