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Comic Review: The Paybacks #1
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Dr. Curiosity   |  
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The Paybacks #1

The Paybacks #1
Written by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal
Art by Geoff Shaw
Colors by Lauren Affe
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Geoff Shaw and Lauren Affe
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

A beautifully self-aware new series from Dark Horse Comics answers the question: What happens to superheroes who miss their loan payments? The Paybacks are sent as repo men. Goodbye, super-car, jet-sub, and invisible plane. The tropes are familiar, yet the writing of Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal is smart and the characters, original. The Paybacks #1 pays off.

The first issue covers two parallel storylines. Archibald Primrose III a.k.a. Night Knight is a vainglorious caricature of an English Batman. His clichéd confrontation with arch-villain Reflectoid is interrupted by a heroic ring tone – his butler announcing that the Paybacks have come to collect.

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Comic Review: This Damned Band #1
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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This Damned Band #1

This Damned Band #1
Script by Paul Cornell
Art by Tony Parker
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Tony Parker and Lovern Kindzierski
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 5, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Tokyo. 1974. A rock band named Motherfather. Scratch that. Not A rock band, THE rock band. The seventies were a powerful time for musicians. Before the internet and before music television, live venues were the only place you could experience music. Sure, you could pop in an 8-track while driving or drop a vinyl record on the home phonograph but the true experience that is a live show was not something you could just watch. You had to be there. Rock musicians (no, almost all musicians) were almost deified in that era. I saw my first concert in 1977 and it was beyond my wildest dream. I continued to see band after band regularly until my thirties.

I tell you all this because if you missed this all then you have a need for a bit of background, an origin story if you will. But allow me to speak to This Damned Band #1 now that I’ve dropped some history on you.

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Comic Review: Barb Wire #1
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PS Hayes   |  @   |  
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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: Shaper #4
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Maximus Prime   |  
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Shaper #4

Shaper #4
Written by Eric Heisserer
Penciled by Ace Continuado
Inked Adelso Coronoa
Colored by Wes Dzioba
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Cover by Felipe Massafera
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 17, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

“This is the game. The game is this – Eradicate the Shapers in twenty turns or less. Without time, they have no family, they have no strength. Without strength, their heart is exposed. That heart is Solace. Destroy it, and then will the game be won.”

In Shapers #4, the penultimate issue of Eric Heisserer‘s 5-part series, the heroes’ hearts are exposed, and the game seems to be coming to a close.

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Comic Review: Tomb Raider #2
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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Tomb Raider #2 cover banner

Tomb Raider #2
Script by Gail Simone
Pencils by Nicolás Daniel Selma
Inks by Juan Gedeon
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Dan Scott
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

Last year, the Tomb Raider universe was given the reboot treatment with Tomb Raider, a new video game which retells the origin story of adventurer Lara Croft and resets the franchise’s continuity. With the new video game comes a comic book series tie-in from Dark Horse Comics that picks up Croft’s story after the harrowing events that took place in the video game.

The comic book series was launched last month with Tomb Raider #1, which shows us the 21-year-old Lara Croft, the young adventurer who is one of the few survivors of the doomed ship Endurance. Croft and the crew had been on a quest to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai when the ship was hit by a storm and its passengers were marooned on an island. Now that she’s home, the young Lara can’t recall all of what happened to her on the island, but each night’s sleep bring nightmares that remind her of the painful experiences. She’s racked with guilt because it seems as though it was her decisions on the expedition that caused the most damage.

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Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #3
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Pfeff-Bot   |  
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Serenity Leaves On The Wind 03 Cover Dan Dos SantosSerenity: Leaves on the Wind #3
Written by Zack Whedon
Produced by Joss Whedon
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Inked by Karl Story
Colored by Laura Martin
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Cover by Dan Dos Santos
Alternate Cover by Georges Jeanty with Karl Story and Laura Martin
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

The third installment of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind builds upon the foundation of issues one and two, and launches the series into full action mode.

The comic begins by bringing readers inside of River Tam’s clear and imaginative mind in her induced coma state. Combing her own mind for Alliance secrets, River has a startling vision, revealing new information about her time in captivity.

Meanwhile, mercenary Jubal Early makes his way around Serenity, quietly taking prisoners and attempting to take control of the ship. To the delight of all Kaylee fans, the adorable grease monkey shows she has more than just mechanical skills. With resources running low and Inara taking care of baby Emma while Zoe is imprisoned by the Alliance, Captain Mal attempts to make vital decisions, while keeping the weight of them to himself.

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Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #2
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Jimmy theMC   |  
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Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #2 cover by Dan Dos SantosSerenity: Leaves On The Wind #2
Firefly Class 03-K64
Written by Zack Whedon
Pencils by Georges Jeanty
Inks by Karl Story
Colors by Laura Martin
Letters by Michael Heisler
Covers by Dan Dos Santos, and Georges Jeanty with Karl Story & Laura Martin
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 26, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

The second installment of Serenity: Leaves On The Wind, written by Zack Whedon with art by Georges Jeanty, sets the stage for the overall plotline in this comic book arc. It introduces a new enemy to be reviled, as Commander Rodgers replaces The Operative from the movie and appears to be more of a military resource then an Agent assassin. Though at the moment, Rodgers doesn’t appear to have a better plan than his predecessor.

The real excitement in this installment is the return of everyone’s favorite bounty hunter since Boba Fett: Jubile Early. Complete with his cool red armor and peculiar speech patterns, Jubile Early demonstrates why he is the most formidable enemy the Serenity crew encountered during Firefly‘s all too brief run on television. If there is any disappointment to be found it is in the fact that Jubile’s plan hasn’t changed at all either. You can argue that his technique is successful but over all, Serenity isn’t showing us anything new. Same evil government, same evil plan, rehash best villain.

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Comic Review: Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #1
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RevN4   |  
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Dark Horse: Serenity - Leaves on the Wind #1 cover by Dan Dos SantosSerenity: Leaves On The Wind #1
Written by Zack Whedon
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Colored by Laura Martin
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Executive Produced by Joss Whedon
Cover by Dan Dos Santos
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 29, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

Picking up right after the events of the film Serenity, Serenity: Leaves On The Wind finds the Firefly ‘verse in turmoil over the revelation that the Alliance created the cannibalistic Reavers. Mal and the crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity are laying low, though. Despite their victory over the Alliance, they are deeply injured by losses of their own. But with the ‘verse ready to once again challenge the power of the Alliance, a leader is needed… and that leader is Captain Mal. If he can be found.

Comic book spin-off series are always a scary venture for fans. Beloved properties are often mistreated and bland versions of the universes they present. Dark Horse, however, has pulled together a fantastic team for Serenity: Leaves On The Wind and this title feels like a true follow-up to Joss Whedon’s Firefly television series and Serenity film.

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Comic Review: Star Wars #10
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cGt2099   |  
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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: Halo: Initiation #2
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TheRawrMonster   |  
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Halo: Initiation #2Halo: Initiation #2
Written by Brian Reed
Art by Marco Castiello
Colored by Michael Atiyeh
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Cover by Paul Richards
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 11, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

Halo: Initiation #2 takes us through the story of the most recent Spartan program, and the new Spartans. In this installment, we see the the new Spartans struggle to use their new abilities and start to get a feel for who they are.

The writing is crisp and clear, making the reader be drawn in and want more. The story is great, working well within the established Halo Universe. The artwork, by Marco Castiello, is rugged and angular, which I like for this story. I like how it draws attention to important characters by having them drawn more clearly than the background characters.

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