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Comic Review: Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness
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Doc Brown   |  
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Billy the Kids Old Timey OdditiesBilly the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities
Vol. 3: The Orm of Loch Ness
Trade Paperback
Written by Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz
Illustrated by Kyle Hotz
Colored by Dan Brown
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Kyle Hotz and Dan Brown
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Cover Price: $15.99

The twisted minds of Eric Powell (The Goon) and Kyle Hotz (Evil Ernie) have crafted a new tale of adventure starring their gruff and salty western hero in Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness, the third volume in this brain-bending series from Dark Horse Comics.

Without even cracking the cover, and whether or not you’re familiar with the earlier books in the series, the title alone implies that you’re in for a wild (and strange) ride alongside one eccentric cowboy. Let go of any hold you have on reality right there at page one and let Powell and Hotz sweep you into their bizarre alternate history in which Billy the Kid works as a hired gun to protect a traveling freak show. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed that you did.

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Comic Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1
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Doc Brown   |  
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Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1
Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by Dave Watcher
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

Fans of Hellboy, B.P.R.D. Secret Origins, and FUBAR should definitely straighten up and pay attention! The latest addition to the horror-and-mythology-meet-WW2 family – and arguably the most beautifully rendered of the lot – is Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem from Dark Horse Comics.

Set in Poland just before the German invasion, the story unfolds around a Jewish boy named Noah who watches all of the men in his village — including his own father — march off to join the Allied forces in an attempt to hold back the enemy. Noah stays behind with his grandparents and has only the regular radio broadcasts to keep him informed of the battles that are drawing closer every day to the peaceful countryside he calls home.

After the long wait for his father’s return to the village with no word of his condition, Noah and his grandfather brace themselves for news of his death. This moment of emotional bonding between the boy and the old man quickly takes a turn when an Allied fighter plane roars overhead and crashes just outside the boundaries of their village.

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Comic Review: The Black Beetle: No Way Out #4
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PS Hayes   |  @   |  
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The Black Beetle: No Way Out #4The Black Beetle: No Way Out #4
Story & Art by Francesco Francavilla
Lettering by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Francesco Francavilla
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

The Black Beetle #4 is the EPIC conclusion to the first miniseries for Francesco Francavilla‘s creation. I’m very happy to say, it measures up to the previous three issues.

Writer and artist Francesco Francavilla wraps up this excellent miniseries with more of the same – excellence. I have to tell you, even though I’ve been reading this character for four issues, it really feels like I’m very familiar with The Beetle and his universe. It’s like when you read a comic that you haven’t read in years and a wave of nostalgia comes rushing back. While I won’t spoil it, this issue is full of really shocking resolutions to the mysteries that have been running in the book, and, of course, leaves the door open for The Black Beetle’s next miniseries.

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Comic Review: The Black Beetle: No Way Out #2
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PS Hayes   |  @   |  
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The Black Beetle: No Way Out #2The Black Beetle: No Way Out #2
Story & Art by Francesco Francavilla
Lettering by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Francesco Francavilla
Editor: Jim Gibbons
Designers: Justine Couch & Francesco Francavilla
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 20, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

The Black Beetle #2 is pretty much the same as issue #0 and #1 – AWESOME!!! I’m not sure when it became hip to do pulp characters, but I’m very grateful that it did. It is because of this that we’re getting some of the best comics that have been published in years, and this book is no exception to that rule.

First, let’s talk about Francesco Francavilla the writer. First off, you can tell that this is a total labor of love by Francavilla, and it shows in every way possible. The story is well told, and fits right into the world of the pulpy era of days long gone by. I don’t know what it is about that era, but Francavilla writes it like he actually lived through it. This issue is pretty much all action and it’s fast paced, intense, and gives you a real sense of danger for the character. Also, there’s an actual SUPER VILLAIN in this issue. Not just some gangster in a suit and fedora. Another nice touch by Francavilla.

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Comic Review: To Hell You Ride #1
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Lucid Crash   |  
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To Hell You Ride #1To Hell You Ride #1
Written by Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
Art by Tom Mandrake
Colors by Cris Peter with Mat Lopes
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 12, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

To Hell You Ride (the title is a play on words inspired by the comic’s Telluride Colorado locale) combines the debut comic writing talent of actor Lance Henriksen (best known for his role as Bishop from Aliens and for acting in nearly every genre film in the last 40 years) and Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film), with art by Tom Mandrake (The Spectre, oodles of Batman). Those names are certainly enough to sell comics on their own merits. However, it is their deft synthesis of Native American folk tales with horror and western genres that allows Dark Horse’s new series to read less like standard comic fare, and more like a well-paced film that stays with you long after the credits stop rolling.

With a byline like “White Man’s Guilt” and a plot that involves white settlers in the 1880s interrupting a tribal sacrifice ritual that unleashes a supernatural curse that affects the denizens of the Colorado mountain town up to the present day, one might assume this is a book about race. However, that’s hardly a fraction of the point. Without any specific agenda, this comic is already asking more questions than providing answers and thus providing space for an epic journey to unfold. With statements like “The world falls further out of balance with each new generation. The only thing that changes are out intensity of our indifference.” This could be a rather heavy handed comic without the advanced cinematic timing and character development skill of its authors. Existential questions about the environment and ignoring the messages of the land and the importance of ritual are expressed within the frame of a grand adventure, with lots of supernatural elements thrown in.

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Comic Review: The Guild: Fawkes #1
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Zenestex   |  
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The Guild: Fawkes #1The Guild: Fawkes #1
Written by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton
Art by Jamie McKelvie
Color by Matthew Wilson
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Paul Duffield
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 23, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50

The Guild: Fawkes is a one-shot, backstory comic for one of the best characters in Felicia Day‘s insanely popular web series. If you don’t already know what The Guild is, then firstly, shame on you. Secondly, this comic will probably not make much sense to you; it’ll just be a story about some kilted sociopath who oddly resembles Wil Wheaton. You should probably watch all five seasons of The Guild to truly appreciate this comic. Hey, the web series is short, free, and hilarious. You have no excuses.

Back in February, Dark Horse Comics released a preview image of the cover, the first ever glimpse of Fawkes’ in-game avatar. The character looked amazing. Not how I would have pictured Fawkes — just infinitely cooler. I was floored and instantly said, “I’m so gonna cosplay Fawkes at DragonCon.” Yeah, I’m a complete mark for this whole Guild metaverse thing.

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Comic Review: Masters of the Universe: The Powers of Grayskull, Part One
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PS Hayes   |  @   |  
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Masters of the Universe Mini Comic #1Masters of the Universe: The Powers of Grayskull
Part One: The Legends Begins
Story by Scott Neitlich
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Wellinton Alves
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Letters by Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
Cover by Eric Powell
Designer: Justine Couch
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Cover Price: $22.00 (Only available with Thunder Punch He-Man from Matty Collector
)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Masters of the Universe franchise, Mattel and Dark Horse Comics are releasing brand new mini-comics, just like the ones that were included in the original toy line. Last year at the San Diego Comic-Con when these plans were announced, He-Fans, myself included, literally stood up and cheered. So, does The Powers of Grayskull: Part One live up to the hype? Let’s take a look…

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Comic Review: Criminal Macabre: Die, Die, My Darling
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Spartacus!   |  
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Criminal Macabre: Die, Die My DarlingCriminal Macabre: Die, Die My Darling
Story by Steve Niles
Art by Christopher Mitten
Colors by Michelle Madsen
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Fiona Staples
Designed by David Nestelle
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 04, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50

Criminal Macabre: Die, Die, My Darling finds its anti-hero, Cal McDonald, adjusting to life after life. To being undead in other words. How is he taking the transition? He’s disgruntled, sure, but whatever, he seems to be disgruntled about a lot of other things, too.

Since 1990 writer Steve Niles, who you should know from the 30 Days of Night books/film (and if you don’t that’s your loss) has been doing his own take on the Paranormal Sleuth sub-genre in both comics and prose. Specifically, by Sleuth I mean the hard living, solving-crime-in-a-drunken-have type, and by Paranormal I’m talking about a casual slathering of vampires and werewolves. You like John Constantine? Give this a try.

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Comic Review: House Of Night #5
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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House Of Night #5House Of Night #5
Story by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Script by Kent Dalian
Art by Joelle Jones and Eric Canete
Colors by Ryan Hill and Eric Canete
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Jenny Frison
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 14, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

This month we get to see Zoey Redbird complete her initiation into the five elements in House Of Night #5. Her lesson for the last element, spirit, is one that holds a lot of meaning for her. Not everyone is able to survive the change from human to vampyre, and it takes four years of training to do so. We learn that the stress on their bodies and minds can take a toll.

Zoey spends this issue coming to terms with a choice she made prior to her training at the House of Night. Having imprinted on someone from her past, it seems only fitting that the story of Hippolyte and Herakles contained the same problem. Learning from the mistakes of vampyres past has aided Zoey several times and this is no exception.

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Comic Review: House Of Night #4
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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House Of Night #4House Of Night #4
Story by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Script by Kent Dalian
Art by Joelle Jones and Jonathan Case
Colors by Ryan Hill and Jonathan Case
Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover by Jenny Frison
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

We return to the story of Zoey Redbird, a fledgling vampyre attending the Tulsa House of Night and learning to control her newfound powers. House Of Night #4 addresses the issues of overconfidence and vanity. When Zoey accidentally destroys something sacred to her goddess, she decides to concentrate on repairing the damage done and learning from the experience.

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