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Comic Review: Evil Empire #1
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Evil Empire #1 cover by Jay ShawEvil Empire #1
Written by Max Bemis
Art by Ransom Getty
Color by Christ Blythe
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Jay Shaw
BOOM! Studios
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

As a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stories, I’m always pining for the next Walking Dead or Jericho that’ll satisfy my primal curiosities about a world where the material comforts of modern suburbia have been ripped away. Enter writer Max Bemis’ new series Evil Empire. Perhaps my expectations of fire and brimstone were misplaced; what we get is more TMZ than DMZ. And, yet, that’s not a bad thing.

Evil Empire follows the rise of a totalitarian regime in a near-future America. Reese is a rap star whose politically charged lyrics brand her as a lone, dissenting salmon swimming against the rip tide of political conformity. Just as Reese scoffs at a vacuous political commercial, the star of the ad, Sam Duggins, makes a surprise appearance backstage. The aspiring politician seeks to tap into the energy of Reese’s fanbase by befriending her and, presumably, winning her endorsement. After some hokey cardboard cheesing that’s typical of a big-name politician, Duggins intrigues Reese enough to win her reluctant attention.

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Comic Review: Veil #1
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Veil 01 Cover by Toni Fejzula Dark HorseVeil #1
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Toni Fejzula
Colors by Toni Fejzula
Letters by Nate Piekos
Cover by Toni Fejzula
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

Writer Greg Rucka’s comicography reads like a wishlist of every kid who ever dreamed of creating comics. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Punisher, Spider-Man, Wolverine, the man has penned all the main eventers. Lately, Rucka has focused on his creator-owned comic Lazarus. Veil is his latest project. Rucka claims that this concept has been fermenting in his mental brewery for over 20 years. Shit, man, that’s all you had to say!

Veil #1 opens with a bizarre scene in an empty, locked subway filled with rats, pentagrams, money exchanging hands, a gun, and a crazy naked chick with amnesia. It makes no sense. Two pages into the book and my mind was already loaded with a cross-examiner’s list of questions.

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The Batman Workout: 9 Exercises For A Superhero Physique
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The Batman Workout

So, you want to be a superhero, do ya? Unless you’re the last survivor from an alien planet who’s blessed with the ability to absorb yellow sunlight and shoot laser beams from your eyeballs, you’ll need to work yourself into reasonable shape.

Enter Neila Rey’s Batman Workout. This routine is a full-body circuit built on a set of nine basic exercises: squats, push-ups, mountain climbers, dips, cross-punch sit ups, jumping lunges, side plank crunches, leg raises, and bicycles. The workout has you plow through ten sets of the entire circuit, performing ten repetitions of each of the 9 exercises in the routine. Easy enough, right?

We gave The Batman Workout a try, so continuing reading to see what we thought of it and to view the full workout details.

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Dragon Con 2013: Cosplay Photos
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Dragon Con 2013: Cosplay banner

It’s Labor Day weekend, which can only mean one thing: DRAGON CON! The cosplay is out in force this year with likely record crowds at Atlanta’s annual geek convention. The thing that really sets Dragon Con apart from other conventions that I attend is the insanely fun nightlife where the geeks invade the hotels in downtown Atlanta. The best cosplay can be found around midnight at the Marriott where you’ll find yourself engulfed in a mass amalgam of amazing cosplayers encompassing every genre imaginable.

This photo set here below covers cosplayers from Friday night, the downtown parade, and Saturday afternoon. Cosplaying legend Yaya Han (Heroes of Cosplay) was the highlight of this set as she manned her booth decked out in a Star Trek uniform. Other great cosplayers include Marty McFly and Doc, a huge foam Cylon, an amazing Tron uniform, and Shonuff from Last Dragon. While waiting in the two-hour pre-registration line we set the over/under for twerking Miley cosplayers at three. We ran into the first one around 1am on Friday night.

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Comic Review: The Creep
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The CreepThe Creep
Written by John Arcudi
Art by Jonathan Case
Cover By Tonci Zonjic
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 24, 2013
Cover Price: $19.99

Heads up: The Creep is a bit of a downer. It’s a sullen and occasionally depressing crime mystery about Oxel Karnhus, a private investigator. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story, just set The Creep aside if you’re having a bad day.

Oxel finds himself sucked into investigating a teen suicide case that the cops brushed aside. It’s a favor for Stephanie, an old flame from his younger days. Since they last saw each other, Oxel developed a case of acromegaly, a condition that causes body tissues to get larger over time. In Oxel’s case, his jaw grew crazy-huge like Rondo Hatton.

The Creep contains the full series which follows Oxel’s investigation into Curtis’ suicide. Apparently his suicide is somehow linked to his buddy, Mike’s suicide a few months earlier. These suicides lead directly to Jeff Brinke, Mike’s grizzly grandfather who took the boys out into the wilderness for some good, old fashioned outdoor activities. He was a role model for the kids and the woods gave them a release from the torturous existence of the image-conscious teenage world. Oxel digs into Jeff’s past and finds out that he has a past with mental issues and was admitted to a hospital at one point.

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Free Comic Book Day 2013: Aphrodite IX #1
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Free Comic Book Day 2013 banner

Aphrodite IX #1Aphrodite IX #1
Written by Matt Hawkins
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Letters by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions, Inc.
Release Date: May 4, 2013
Cover Price: FREE!

Spring time is in the air, which can only mean one thing: Free Comic Book Day is upon us! To celebrate the occasion Matt Hawkins, the writer of Think Tank and Cyberforce who also moonlights as COO of Top Cow, is resurrecting Aphrodite IX from the vaults.

With a vague reference to a war-torn past of scarred atmospheres and moon colonies, Aphrodite IX #1 introduces us to a post-apocalyptic setting that’s equal parts fantasy, sci-fi, and cyberpunk. What little area of the planet is still habitable has been divided into two rival camps: a drake-riding, theocratic monarchy and a futuristic, totalitarian society of cybernetic-enhanced humans. A strain on the planet’s limited resources forced these two factions into battle.

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Comic Review: Taking Eden
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Taking Eden #1 CoverTaking Eden
Issues #1–4
Created by Jason Beckwith & Malcolm Johnson
Written by Jason Beckwith
Art by Nino Harn Cajayon
Colors by Gonzalo Duarte
Never Static Pictures
Release Date: December, 2012
Cover Price: $4.99

Jason Beckwith takes us into the murky depths of a sordid, occult-tinged club scene in his new series Taking Eden. The comic’s genesis was a writing exercise between Beckwith and Malcolm Johnson while working at a design agency. Beckwith ran forward with their idea, refining the story over the past 10 years. The result is a wonderfully dark indie comic that mixes novel-like, scene-setting, third-person narration with sequential art.

Marnie is a small-town, down-home girl brimming with naiveté. Taking Eden begins a year after the actual story with Marnie offering a vague hope that she was a puppet rather than acting on her own volition. The story then jumps back to when she made her move to the big city to follow her dreams of becoming an actor. Her cousin, Gretchen, shows Marnie a good time by letting her tag along while she DJs in the club scene. Marnie’s innocence is the key ingredient that an unscrupulous sorcerer, named Sky, needs to produce the hottest drug on the scene: Eden. Sky is a hot-shot club owner who’s creating his own empire based on Eden, which only he knows how to make. His club gives him access to young, innocent women to juice his new drug.

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Comic Review: Recollection #1
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Recollection #1Recollection #1
Written by Rodney Roger
Art by Ferry Ickhwano
Color by Warnia Sahadewa
R-Comics
Release Date: April 10, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

Eddie Lawrence is a former member of a spook organization called the Delta Pack that rained down some holy terror during the Iraq War. How does a hardened killer and adrenaline junkie make a living in the real world? By killing for profit, of course.

Recollection #1 quickly establishes the meaning behind its title, but it’s not what or from whom you might think. As a first issue, you figure that this book is all about Eddie Lawrence and his adventures in assassination, but it’s just as much about his latest customer, Skyler Jean. Her contract seems like easy money. She’s an exotic dancer who simply wants a pervert stalker to disappear. Eddie’s spider sense tingles on this Skyler Jean — he feels like there’s much more to this story. However, he ignores his instincts and gets wrapped up in the Skyler’s delusional world.

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Comic Review: Tokyo Babylon, Book One
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Tokyo Babylon, Book OneTokyo Babylon, Book One
Written by CLAMP
Art by CLAMP
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Cover Price: $19.99

For the uninitiated, CLAMP is a wildly successful, all-female group of manga creators from Japan. They’ve produced hits such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer, Chobits, and Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE. Tokyo Babylon is one of CLAMP’s earliest titles that ran from 1990 to 1993. Just a warning to parents up front: this comic deals with occult themes and includes a possible adult-teenager homosexual relationship. If that kind of stuff gets your tighties in a bunch, then you may want to snatch this manga away from young, impressionable eyes. Relax, this isn’t a porn book; it’s not yaoi. In fact, the homosexuality part is only talked about. Mostly jokingly. I think.

Tokyo Babylon follows the story of Subaru, a 16-year-old who moonlights as something of a ghostbuster. He’s what’s known as an onmyoji, a Japanese occult-sorcerer type, who investigates a variety of supernatural mysteries. His family, the Sumeragi, have protected Japan from evil spirits since ancient times. The other two main characters in this story are Subaru’s twin sister, Hokuto, and their friend Seishiro the veterinarian.

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Kickstarter Spotlight: American Terror: Confession Of A Human Smart Bomb
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Kickstarter Spotlight: American Terror

Director Eric Ramos is adapting Jeff McComsey’s graphic novel, American Terror: Confession of a Human Smart Bomb, for a short film release. They launched a Kickstarter in February that’s set to expire on March 30th, 2013 at 11:30 PM. The film is completed, but the group needs your help to fund post-production work such as color correction, sound design, an animated intro, and the musical score.

The short film will closely follow Volume 1 of Jeff McComsey’s graphic novel series. Victor Shepard, now an old man at the end of his life, lives in obscurity under a false identity. In his lonely solitude, he counts the days before he draws his last. The Rooster, the last of his comrades has passed. En route to his funeral, he is visited by the ghosts of his past, his memories of a life long gone. We then learn of his beginnings, before he became the father of a revolution that would forever alter the world.

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