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Comic Review: Barb Wire #1
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Barb Wire #1 review header

Barb Wire #1
Written by Chris Warner
Art by Patrick Olliffe
Inks by Tom Nguyen
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover art by Adam Hughes
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Barb Wire #1 brings one of Dark Horse Comics’ original successes to publication for the first time in years, and what a return it is! This book is the same great comic that I remember reading almost 20 years ago.

Series creator Chris Warner returns to write the series, and he hasn’t missed a step with this debut issue. It’s got all the biting, satirical jabs at modern-day society that were a hallmark of the original series. Besides featuring a really solid story, Warner sneaks in some laugh-out-loud moments that are truly great. Underneath these moments are opportunities to actually stop and THINK about the message that Warner is sending, hopefully the message will get through to its intended audience. Now, don’t worry about this being a “preachy” social commentary comic, because it works on two different levels. The other level is that of a really entertaining, kick-butt story that’s loaded with action and fun, that also has some surprising twists and turns.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #10
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Dark Horse Comics: Star Wars #10 cover by Hugh FlemingStar Wars #10
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda, Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by Hugh Fleming
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 09, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Ten issues in and Brian Wood’s Star Wars persists in delivering the goods, and while this issue comes across as more of an effort to position our characters for the events of the next chapters, it was still a delight to read, with some beautiful artwork to complement the writing.

On an undercover mission, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles are hidden aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer – one tracking down the location of the Rebel Fleet. Whilst awaiting their inevitable upcoming battle, the two share a private moment that is both distant yet touching, highlighting the developing friendship between them. It is during this moment the moniker “Rogue Squadron” is raised, adding an origin element to the famous X-Wing squadron.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #9
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Star Wars #9Star Wars #9
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Ryan Kelly, Dan Parsons, Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by Hugh Fleming
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 11, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Brian Wood’s Star Wars comic from Dark Horse persists in delivering the punches, with a flavor that will make you hear John Williams’ soundtrack as you read. Recovering from a less-than-stellar episode a few issues ago, Wood has positioned our heroes in a variety of settings, magnifying the risks, and exploring character interrelations where possible.

The Rebel Alliance is in a dire situation as it’s believed a spy is in their midst, tipping off the Empire of their locations and operations. Princess Leia, along with Luke Skywalker, and Wedge Antilles form a new Stealth X-Wing squadron, to take on black-ops missions in an effort to root out the mole. Han Solo and Chewbacca, meanwhile, are on a separate mission for Mon Mothma in the heart of the Lion’s Den: Coruscant aka Imperial Center.

Star Wars #9 opens with Leia returning to the ruins of Alderaan to observe a private moment of remembrance. There she comes across a hijacked Star Destroyer from the Clone Wars era, with one passenger: a lone Alderaanian who is seeking to preserve elements of his planet’s culture and history. But there is more to this character than meets the eye, and Leia’s astromech droid’s concerns are not without reason.

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Comic Review: Invincible Universe #6
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TheRawrMonster   |  
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Invincible Universe #6Invincible Universe #6
Written by Phil Hester
Art by Todd Nauck
Colored by Gabe Eltaeb
Lettered by Rus Wooton
Cover by Todd Nauck and Gabe Eltaeb
Image Comics
Release Date: September 4, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Invincible Universe #6 starts with people in the control room of GDA Headquarters in Washington D.C. watching the big screen. There’s a man covered in blood screaming the end of the United Nations. General Cho, after slaughtering many people in the U.N. headquarters, swats off the attacking squad by breaking all of Monster Girl’s bones in a blur, then he disappears.

The story, starting out loud, slowly reveals all the details as to how the event was even able to happen. Through this, we see how Cecil, Director of the Global Defense Agency, comes to a conclusion that will change how they operate and how they interact with the world in issues to come. The artwork is just as awesome, strong and bold, and fits it well.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #7
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Star Wars #7Star Wars #7
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Gabe Eltaeb, Ryan Kelly, Dan Parsons
Cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 10, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

To put it mildly, the previous issue of Brian Wood’s vision of Star Wars was a disappointing installment in the series. While the latest seventh issue of the new Dark Horse line doesn’t see a return to the form seen in the first five chapters, it is much better than #6, and establishes several new elements and movements that begin to move the story along again.

Within the Rebel Alliance, there is a spy of some kind, betraying information to the Empire – the sabotage is preventing the freedom fighters from finding a new base of operations, finding them limping through deep space. While returning to Tatooine to finally lay his aunt and uncle to rest, Luke proposes a covert mission to Leia, in which he and Wedge will infiltrate the Star Destroyer that keeps intercepting their efforts.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #6
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Star Wars #6Star Wars #6
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda and Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 12, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

While the first five issues of Brian Wood’s Star Wars "self-titled" series from Dark Horse have been spectacular, the latest chapter seems to take an unusual turn, as the story delves from what felt and seemed to be an inevitable conclusion to a transitional tale.

Stranded in the middle of space, Leia’s small stealth group of starfighters float helplessly – after being discovered by an Imperial fleet and attacked, the group retreated blindly, resulting in the Princess’ X-Wing sustaining extensive damage, and with her dangerously wounded. Luke, along with new friend Prithi both rush to the rescue of the stealth group – but the Empire is on to them, and it is only a matter of time before that Star Destroyer shows up.

The new Star Wars series has brought with it some substantial character-focused content, highlighting elements (both emotional and transitional) that have rarely been opened up in previous Expanded Universe media. This has been a welcome breath of fresh air – though with issue six, the writing is relatively void of this content. Though we follow a spacewalk-based rescue (which is actually pretty damn cool) revolving a dilemma into a tactical advantage (also cool)… The action is then followed by a sequence of events that do very little to wrap up significant elements and instead act as lackluster teaser material for the next installment.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #5
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Star Wars #5Star Wars #5
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Covers by Rodolfo Migliari
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 8, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

The penultimate issue of Brian Wood’s Star Wars puts the chief characters into position for their finale. Continuing directly from the previous issue, Wood and the artistic creative team maintain their high standard in focusing on the heroes and villains of Star Wars not long after the events of A New Hope, and this time, we also get to see a cameo of Boba Fett!

On a mission leading a group of her stealth Grey Squadron, Leia and her team are detected by an Imperial fleet, including an Interdictor Star Destroyer preventing them from leaving the system via lightspeed. As they are overwhelmed by TIE Fighters, the group fights against the odds. But in these precarious maneuvers, their actions could end up resulting in disastrous consequences for them and the Rebellion.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #4
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Star Wars #4Star Wars #4
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Artwork by Alex Ross
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 10, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Brian Wood’s new Star Wars comic book series is refreshing. It feels to me, as a longtime fan, that the saga is going through a rebirth, what with the new Sequels coming, Lucasarts switching to licensing only, and this ongoing series continually smashing expectations. With Issue #4 of the new Dark Horse series, straightforwardly titled Star Wars, we continue following the heroes and villains from A New Hope in the weeks following the Battle of Yavin.

Princess Leia, leading the stealth X-Wing unit of Grey Squadron, is focused on the mission of finding a new base for the Rebels, while also aiming to uncover the alleged Imperial Spy in their midst. But while on their first mission, Leia’s detachment is caught in a targeted firefight with Imperials, indicating the Imperial espionage could be deeper and closer than she previously anticipated.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, grounded from the elite stealth squadron due to his cockiness at letting the "man who destroyed the Death Star" hero-worship go to his head, receives a message in the Force from his spiritual mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, warning him of the danger Leia is encountering; but is surprised to discover he is not the only one who hears Kenobi’s voice from the grave…

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Comic Review: Star Wars #3
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Star Wars #3Star Wars #3
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Art by Alex Ross
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 13, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t sure whether Brian Wood would be able to top #2 of Star Wars, but he has absolutely blown above and beyond all expectations in this third installment. Coupled with the fantastic art team of Carlos D’anda and Gabe Eltaeb, Dark Horse is delivering the goods on this new Star Wars series, adopting a deeper glance at key characters from the saga, while upping the ante for expectations.

Now with the secretive "black ops" X-Wing group christened Grey Squadron, Princess Leia leads her team in training operations in preparation for the ongoing search for a new Rebel Base location, and to uproot the suspected Imperial spy. Luke Skywalker, also in Grey Squadron, falls short of expectations in the team, as his heroic reputation begins to corrode his sensibilities and cause him to be reprimanded.

Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbacca have snuck onto Coruscant, the heart of the Empire, on a secret mission based on intelligence provided by Mon Mothma. They are placed into an almost impossible quandary, cornered by Imperial Stormtroopers after their intelligence is found to be compromised.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #2
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Star Wars #2Star Wars #2
Script by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’anda
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Art by Alex Ross
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 13, 2013
Cover Price: $2.99

Continuing the new series, simply and boldly self-titled as Star Wars, Dark Horse enters the second chapter with a little action, along with much context that moves the story along significantly. Writer Brian Wood continues proving his chops with Star Wars #2, whilst artists Carlos D’anda and Gabe Eltaeb are beginning to forge a unique style for this new series.

Star Wars #2 begins with Han Solo and Chewbacca on a detached mission, still relatively unclear though involving a lot of credits, as they move through a sequence of rendezvous points and longwinded hyperspace jumps to avoid detection. While everything seems to be going like clockwork to begin with, the challenge of the mission makes itself clear when a particularly well-known bounty hunter, accompanied by an Imperial Star Destroyer, show up…

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