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Comic Review: The Fade Out, Act One
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Doc Brown   |  
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The Fade Out, Act One review

The Fade Out, Act One
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image Comics
Release Date: February 25, 2015
Cover Price: $9.99

If you like your crime noir with an extra dose of darkness, Ed Brubaker has you covered in The Fade Out, Act One from Image Comics.

The setting is Hollywood, 1948, and the cast of characters runs the gamut from sleazy studio security to Clark Gable himself. The story opens as our protagonist Charlie, a screenwriter secretly struggling with PTSD from WWII, discovers the dead body of the leading lady in his current work-in-progress.

What follows is a spiral of drunken blackouts, suspicious memories, and foggy familiarity. Charlie finds himself on the fringes of a studio-constructed murder coverup and doesn’t even know if he might be the killer.

Talk about a bad night.

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Comic Review: Oink: Heaven’s Butcher
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Doc Brown   |  
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Oink: Heaven's Butcher comic review

Oink: Heaven’s Butcher
Written and Illustrated by John Mueller
Edited by Daniel Chabon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Cover Price: $17.99

I should admit straight away that I wasn’t quite prepared for what I’d find when I cracked open Oink: Heaven’s Butcher by John Mueller from Dark Horse Comics. On the surface it looked like a horror comic with fantastic artwork that featured a race of pig-people, but once I got a few pages deeper I discovered that Oink was loaded with some pretty dark and disturbing themes instead of just your typical blood and gore.

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Comic Review: Descender #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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Descender #1 review

Descender #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
Lettered by Steve Wands
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
Image Comics
Release Date: March 4, 2015
Cover Price: $2.99

I took a break from my usual horror reads this week to dip into a bit of sci-fi with Descender #1 by Jeff Lemire from Image Comics. I have absolutely no regrets for that decision.

First of all, take a good, close look at that cover. See that? Yep, that’s watercolor and pencil, and it isn’t just on the cover — it makes up every single page of this book.

Real watercolor and pencil.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Author George R.R. Martin Wrote For ‘Beauty and The Beast’ TV Series
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Doc Brown   |  
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Beauty and the Beast starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton

You may know that Ron Perlman was a beast long before he donned the horns and red skin of Hellboy, and that Linda Hamilton was certainly a beauty before she became the iconic Sarah Connor in the Terminator films, but did you know that one of the people at the reins of their rise to fame in the Beauty and the Beast TV series on CBS was George R.R. Martin?

That’s right — before penning the slaughter of entire families in his A Song of Ice and Fire books, which were adapted into HBO’s Game of Thrones, Martin was juggling a delicate love story during an era where violence on television was limited to fake bullet wounds and energetic shoving matches.

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Comic Review: ElfQuest: The Final Quest #2
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Doc Brown   |  
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ElfQuest: The Final Quest #2 cover by Wendy PiniElfQuest: The Final Quest #2
Script by Wendy Pini & Richard Pini
Art by Wendy Pini
Colors by Sonny Strait
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Wendy Pini
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

The legendary fantasy series ElfQuest rekindled the spark for many fans with its recent comeback, and the story in ElfQuest: The Final Quest #2 by Richard Pini and Wendy Pini from Dark Horse turns those sparks into flames.

With more than three decades of storytelling under their belts, it’s no wonder the Pini team has amassed such a voracious following of their feisty Wolf Rider tribe. ElfQuest: The Final Quest #2 continues the battle from the previous issue, but punctuates the action with pauses of tender emotion and sensual moments that fans have come to expect. (Don’t let the Wendy Pini’s fresh-faced elves fool you into thinking this is a fantasy for kids—ElfQuest is definitely a series for more mature readers.)

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Comic Review: The Returning #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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The Returning #1 cover by Andrea MuttiThe Returning #1
Written by Jason Starr
Illustrated by Andrea Mutti
Colored by Vladimir Popov
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Frazier Irving
Boom! Studios
Release Date: March 12, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

It’s no secret that modern readers still enjoy zombie tales. You know, mindless undead shambling around with their next meal their only priority? (The zombies, not the readers!) Jason Starr shakes up this well-established genre and steers it in a new direction with The Returning from Boom! Studios.

Instead of falling victim to a viral outbreak or the after effects of a passing comet, the undead of The Returning are everyday people who experience near death experiences (NDE) and are then resuscitated. This common occurrence somehow changes the person’s psyche and makes them prone to extreme acts of violence—they are then labeled as one of the Changed. Our protagonist, Beth, awakens from a coma following a car accident and finds that, even though she feels the same as before, her life is suddenly turned upside down because of the NDE she experienced.

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Comic Review: Rogue Trooper #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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Rogue Trooper #1 cover by Glenn Fabry and Ryan BrownRogue Trooper #1
Written by Brian Ruckley
Illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli
Colored by Stephen Downer
Lettered by Tom B. Long
IDW Publishing
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

Novelist Brian Ruckley (The Edinburgh Dead and the Godless World trilogy) has revived one of 2000 AD’s most iconic characters for the next generation of post-apocalyptic comic fans in the new series Rogue Trooper from IDW Publishing. Ruckley’s Rogue Trooper #1 is the writer’s first attempt at a serial script, and he has stepped into this format slowly and carefully in order to preserve the mystique of the title character.

Rogue, also known by his call sign “Blue,” is revealed for the first time in color in the ruined landscape of Nu-Earth, where he was created as one of an army genetically modified to breathe the poisoned air and endure dangerous levels of radiation. The last of a massacred unit of super soldiers, Rogue is convinced that he and his brothers in arms were somehow set up and ambushed. His mission now is to find out who might have been behind the ambush and why.

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Comic Review: Headspace #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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Headspace #1 cover by Eric ZawadzkiHeadspace #1
Written by Ryan K. Lindsay
Illustrated by Eric Zawadzki and Chris Peterson
Colored by Marissa Louise
Lettered by Eric Zawadzki
MonkeyBrain Comics
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Cover Price: $0.99

If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek into a killer’s mind, then Ryan K. Lindsay (best known for Ghost Town) has created a lens that will let you do just that in Headspace #1 from MonkeyBrain Comics.

Much like a fever dream, the debut issue of this digital serial introduces the reader to two landscapes—one in our real world, the other inside the head of murderer Max Johnston. What we discover in each realm is quite a bit more than even your typical criminal psychologist is trained to handle.

In Max’s mind is an island called Carpenter Cove. A morphed memory from his childhood, Carpenter Cove has somehow become a very real prison for its residents. Led by Sheriff Shane Garratty, those imprisoned are reclaiming their own memories of life before the island and are acting out in desperation to try and leave it.

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Comic Review: Krampus #1
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Krampus #1 cover by Dean KotzKrampus #1
Written by Brian Joines
Illustrated by Dean Kotz
Colored by Ron Riley
Lettered by Charles Pritchett
Cover by Dean Kotz
Image Comics
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

What happens if you mix an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones with the sass and sarcasm of Hellboy, and then sprinkle it with a heaping helping of holiday magic? You get the surprisingly entertaining dark comedy from Image Comics: Krampus #1 by Brian Joines.

It’s probably tough to pull off a Christmas-themed comic that actually appeals to fans who prefer a gritty story over one covered in sugarplums and dipped in chocolate, and I say this because I recall only one other (The Last Christmas by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan) that managed it. Brian Joines, however, has stepped up to the Christmas comic challenge and has emerged victorious thanks to his delightfully wicked “hero” and his own twisted sense of humor.

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Comic Review: Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1 cover by Francesco FrancavillaSherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1
Written by David Liss
Illustrated by Daniel Indro
Colored by Josan Gonzalez
Lettered by Joshua Cozine
Cover by Francesco Francavilla
Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: December 11, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

David Liss does an amazing job of channeling the voice of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Dynamite’s new Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1.

The reader is thrust into Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls just beyond the last pages of the legendary tale of the showdown between Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty. As the title of this release alludes, Moriarty survives the fall that was presumed to have killed him and decides to hide out in a nearby village until he can rebuild his criminal enterprise.

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