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Comic Spotlight: Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins
Waerloga69   |  

Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins header

Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dean Ormston
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Todd Klein
Cover by Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Cover Price: $14.99

This one was new for me. I’m not sure how it has eluded me for so long, but I must admit that I am smitten. Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins collects the first six issues of the series into one volume that tells a cohesive story all the while exploring what it is to be alone and yet together. This dilemma is the result of a sacrifice gone too far. Not to say that the group wasn’t grateful, just that isolation and protection does not always equal freedom.

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Comic Spotlight: Dark Horse Number Ones
Waerloga69   |  

Dark Horse Number Ones header

Dark Horse Number Ones
Written by Cullen Bunn, Matt Kindt, Gerard Way, Joelle Jones, Jamie S. Rich, Kurtis Wiebe, Mike Mignola, Jeff Lemire, Brian Wood, Sharlene Kindt, Dave Stewart
Art by Gabriel Ba, Joelle Jones, Dean Ormston, Matt Kindt, Mack Chater, Mindy Lee, Tyler Crook,
Colors by Laura Allred, Dave Stewart, Sharlene Kindt, Lee Loughridge, Leonardo Olea, Andy Cotnam, Tyler Crook
Letters by Tyler Crook, Dave Stewart, Crank!, Todd Klein, Marie Enger, Nate Piekos, Clem Robins
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Cover Price: $6.00

Okay, first off, if I have to try to convince you to buy a comic that contains eight premiere issues for a measly six bucks then I might just have to reassess what I am doing here.

I have reviewed any number of these titles at different times and I cannot even begin to stress to you how great of a deal this is. Dark Horse Comics continues to amaze me with their marketing strategies. I can think of no better way to test out some new comics than with this compilation. Folks, I present to you Dark Horse Number Ones!

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Comic Review: Neil Gaiman’s Forbidden Brides
Waerloga69   |  

Neil Gaiman Forbidden Brides title

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire
Hardcover
Story by Neil Gaiman
Adaptation and Art by Shane Oakley
Colors Nick Filardi
Lettering by Todd Klein
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release date: January 25, 2017

Everyone knows of author Neil Gaiman. Okay, maybe not everyone, but they should! In this newest incarnation, Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire finds a new audience in comic readers. Originally published in the anthology Fragile Things, this short story is more than it first seems.

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Comic Review: Nemo: The Roses Of Berlin
Henchman21   |  

Nemo: The Roses of Berlin cover by Kevin ONeillNemo: The Roses of Berlin
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Kevin O’Neill
Letters by Todd Klein
Colors by Ben Dimagmaliw
Top Shelf Productions
Release Date (Print): March 26, 2014
Release Date (Digital): February 26, 2014
Cover Price: $14.95 (Print); $3.99 (digital)

Nemo: The Roses of Berlin is the next story in Alan Moore‘s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe. This one is a follow-up to the previous story, Nemo: Heart of Ice, and it follows the story of Janni Dakkar, the daughter of the legendary Captain Nemo. In The Roses of Berlin, it’s 1941 and Janni and her husband Broad Arrow Jack travel into the heart of Berlin to rescue their daughter from the hands of Adenoid Hynkel.

What I’ve enjoyed about The Roses of Berlin and the previous volume is that the series has gone back to the high adventure of the first two volumes of the series. There is fun to be had in this series, and plenty of references to books and movies and what have you, but it doesn’t feel like you have to have a classics degree from Oxford to understand the story. Maybe it just helps that I know what Moore is referencing here, and I feel like I’m on the inside of some kind of special club. I think that has always been part of the appeal of the entire series. You may not catch everything that Moore is referring to, but when you do catch something, you feel like all those high school English classes were worth something.

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Comic Review: Fables, Vol. 19
RevN4   |  

Vertigo Comics: Fables, Vol. 19 cover by Mark BuckinghamFables, Vol. 19
Trade Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written and Created by Bill Willingham
Illustrated by Mark Buckingham, Shawn McManus
Inks by Steve Leialoha
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Todd Klein
Cover by Mark Buckingham
Vertigo Comics
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Cover Price: $16.99

Bill Willingham gives us another installment of his nigh-legendary series in Fables, Vol. 19. Before this trade paperback continues the story of the exiled “Fables” in Fabletown, NY, the first third of this edition features the collected back-up stories of Bufkin, the flying monkey with no wings and Lily, his miniature-sized girlfriend.

The collected back-up stories are illustrated by Shawn McManus. His slightly-cartoonish style works well for Bufkin’s revolution in Oz. Couple that with Willingham’s writing, and this self-contained story masterfully transitions from a revolutionary war against a tyrant, into an adventurous love story that follows the odd-couple of Bufkin and Lily until their beautiful end.

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Comic Review: Tom Strong and The Planet Of Peril #1
Waerloga69   |  

Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #1Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #1
Written by Peter Hogan
Pencils by Chris Sprouse
Inks by Karl Story
Color by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Todd Klein
Cover by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story
Vertigo Comics
Release Date: July 31, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Initially, I was astounded that this character was being produced by Vertigo Comics, renowned for it’s darker and more edgy comics. I was curious if the title character was going to be drastically changed from the earlier incarnations. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that most everything in Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #1 was the same as it was before. I was even more excited to see that this series picked up shortly after the last one ended.

I’ve not read everything Tom Strong has been in but I’m quite familiar with the hero. I’ve always felt he was akin to one of my favorite pulp heroes, Doc Savage. Much like the Man of Bronze, Tom has a certain aura about him that immediately commands respect and compliance. Both possess genius level intellects and are formidable physical specimens, as well. But unlike Savage, Tom Strong is a bit more than the perfect human, he’s a lot closer to a superhuman. First and foremost, he’s over a hundred years old and barely looks middle-aged. Other abilities include strength beyond that of a mortal and a constitution that rivals that of a demigod.All in all, he’s the epitome of a pulp action hero, even though he was created in 1999.

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Comic Review: Harlan Ellison’s 7 Against Chaos
BAADASSSSS!   |  

7 Against ChaosHarlan Ellison’s 7 Against Chaos
Hardcover
Story by Harlan Ellison
Art and Cover by Paul Chadwick
Colors by Ken Steacy
DC Comics
Release Date: July 10, 2013
Cover Price: $24.99

Some time far off in the future, mankind has conquered the stars and utilized technology to ensure their unchallenged and unchecked dominance over everything they survey. Many planets in our solar system capable of sustaining life house decadent civilizations where the wealthy elite force those they consider genetic mistakes – known as “the reordered” – to work as slave labor and battle each other to the death for the amusement of their masters until they die.

A mysterious stranger wearing a hooded robe travels to several of these distant planets and moons to recruit six of these exploited beings for an enigmatic mission: Mourna, a beautiful, seven-foot-tall Amazon with metallic claws for hands; Hoorn, a cunning and dexterous thief who wears a cold grey mask where his face never existed; Lady Ayleen Valiante, a noblewoman from Venus and furthermore a Phoenix, a dying race of beings whose ability to control fire and deploy it as a weapon can also do greater damage to themselves and others with just a touch of their hand; Tantalus, an individual who resembles a praying mantis and possesses great physical agility and speed; Urr, a robot designed to be subservient to humans but who has rebelled against its programming and come to understand for itself that not all members of the human race are worthy of his protection; and Kenrus, a brilliant but obsessed scientist who has lived in seclusion for years at the center of a moon after being ostracized by humanity for his ideas, ideas which those who sent him into exile were more than happy to take full advantage of to suit their own materialistic ends.

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Comic Review: Monstermen and Other Scary Stories
Spartacus!   |  

Monstermen and Other Scary StoriesMonstermen and Other Scary Stories
Written and Illustrated by Gary Gianni
Additional Stories by William Hope Hodgeson, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard and Perceval Landon
Letters by Sean Konot, Todd Klein, and Clem Robins
Introduction by Michael Chabon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 7, 2012
Cover Price: $24.99

At one point early on in Gary Gianni’s Monstermen and Other Scary Stories a main character gets a curse that leaves a disturbing mark on his head. It has to be seen to be fully understood because I can only describe it as a Stegosaurus Mohawk… and it’s maybe one of the single coolest things I’ve ever seen in a comic. A few pages later it’s gone, like a ghastly sight in a haunted house, never to be seen again.

Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was originally published as back ups in Hellboy beginning in the mid-90s, though Giannis’ work seems to be about as much Edward Gorey as Mike Mignola. Many avid comic book readers will be familiar with his work, which began first on Classics Illustrated adaptations, most famously on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He then won an Eisner for Best Short Story for the Heroes contribution in Batman: Black and White before settling into his current gig doing Prince Valiant. Monstermen stands out in his body of work as being his most original and innovative title.

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Comic Review: Joe The Barbarian #5
Hunter Camp   |  

Joe the Barbarian #5 (of 8)
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Sean Murphy
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Todd Klein
Vertigo Comics
Release date: May 19, 2010

Grant Morrison delivers yet again in Joe the Barbarian #5. In this issue, Joe and company are still diligent on their quest to find the light, but along the way they run into terrible monsters and an ever-growing darkness that seems to be consuming the entire world. This story is a fantastic look at the mind of a young boy, who is literally walking the edge of fantasy and reality.

I absolutely love every panel of this book, and have been more than pleased with the entire mini-series. Morrison is doing a fantastic job of telling an incredibly, albeit complex, story of a lonely young boy who is very apparently crossing realms of imagination and reality and is having a harder and harder time distinguishing between the two. The story itself is powerful and intriguing, but the sheer genius of Grant Morrison is shown through his ties between fantasy and reality. For example, in the fantasy world we see a powerful river that is running down a mountain, but in reality we see that this river is an overflowing sink that is going down a flight of stairs. This is just one example, but Morrison also likens a demonic appearing monster to a dog, and the ever-growing darkness is mirrored as a house with a blown fuse, or simply that the power has gone out. Morrison also does a wonderful job with his characters by writing Joe and his gang in a manner that makes you truly feel compassion for them.

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Comic Review: Joe the Barbarian #3
Henchman21   |  

DC/Vertigo Comics Joe the Barbarian, issue #3Joe the Barbarian #3
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Sean Murphy
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Todd Klein
DC/Vertigo Comics
Released March, 17 2010

I picked up the first two issues of Joe the Barbarian mostly because of writer Grant Morrison‘s name on the cover, because anything he writes is at least worth checking out. What I found after reading those first two issues was that I should have paid more attention to the other name on the cover, artist Sean Murphy.

The first two issues have been feasts for the eyes, but the story of a boy venturing to a fantasy land populated by his toys has left me fairly cold. With this Issue #3, Morrison steps back on the crazy amount of info thrown at the reader, and it results in the best issue of the series so far. There were a lot of names and places tossed out to the reader without any context to place them in, so we were left with a story I’ve seen before. This issue focuses on a few characters, explains more of what is going on, and made me appreciate the first two issues more. It’s something that you have to deal with in a lot of projects that Morrison works on. A lot of times, he will flood the first few issues of a story with info that is important later, but you have to wait for that point where everything becomes clear. I finally get what this series is about, and I’m now very excited to see where it goes.

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