Dark Horse Comics celebrates 100,000 Facebook fans with free comics!

The fans have done it! 100,000 fans on Facebook and now Dark Horse is giving away 4 of their latest digital releases to fans for a limited time! Be sure to catch these while you can, they had a similar event mid-March but those copies in their post have expired.

Check out the list:

Conan: Queen of the Black Coast #1
The Guild: Zaboo
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1
Prototype 2: The Anchor Part 1

Congratulations to Dark Horse Comics on their accomplishment, we’ll keep an eye out to see what happens when they hit their next milestones as well.

Also if you haven’t checked out Dark Horse Comics on Facebook just click the link and head over.

Review – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – War #4 of 5

Script: John Jackson Miller
Pencils: Andrea Mutti
Inks: Pierluigi Baldassini
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Benjamin Carre

Two plans are underway, Zayne versus Kace and the fate of the young Jedi’s rest in the balance. The war effort is in full swing and Kace will stop at nothing to capture the recruits as his own for the Mandalorians and their strike against the Republic. Zayne has no choice but to call upon his own captured crew to turn the tide of this battle including Morvis who he’s smashed heads against countless times now. This time Zayne has found an effort that he’s willing to risk it all for and we’ll see him play his greatest hand to do anything to see it through.

The story in issue #4 is actually quite light compared to the series so far, we see Kace at a relative calm for most of the issue only really looking to chime in about his upcoming success and check on his own forces ready to come up behind him after the first wave launches into action. Even Zayne is reduced to a simpler role as he sneaks around to get the troops ready  to roll, although part of this comes from Kace removing Zayne from the forefront of the effort due to the revelations about his history and plan that came in issue #3.

It isn’t to say that nothing happens though, Zayne’s latest plan takes the whole story into the realm of spaaaaacee maaadness and causes a scene with the crew unlike anything they’ve encountered. Luckily for Zayne he was able to play his luck just right and pull it off, although for those wondering the cover obviously gives the ruse away.

The art of Knights of the Old Republic War retains consistency for the series, although Zayne appears to have aged considerably in some panels which throws the book off for those keeping tabs on the characters. The expressions have gotten better as well, the rage and horror at the new disease striking the crew was priceless, Zayne in his moments of rage and infection are great gestures to see in the book. Overall the illustrations are strong and effective and in the case of Dantooine it’s priceless to see the planet so radiant in space.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic War #4 is a building block in the series, leading up to the final installment in issue #5 next month as this mini saga comes to a close. The tension between Zayne in Kace in the race to save Dantooine really gets some momentum and we learn about the madness behind Zayne’s methods in greater detail. Is he a brilliant strategist or just a really really lucky guy? You’ll see as it unfolds in this issue.

Release Date: April 11, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Fate/Zero Singer LiSA is coming to North America and Anime Expo 2012

Aniplex of America has been on a roll for fans, this summer they’re bringing LiSA to Anime Expo 2012 as a guest of honor and likely as a concert feature as well. As a bonus, Aniplex is bringing her work to a domestic release in North America as well, four of LiSA’s albums will be imported and sold, two of the releases will come in Limited Edition packaging with Blu-ray or DVD’s enclosed depending on the release. The whole package will hit retail on May 1st for those unable to get in on the pre-orders through Right Stuf.

Titles coming over:

  • Letters to U – SRP $32.00 | Store Price $25.00
  • LOVER”S”MiLE (Limited edition CD & BD Combo) – SRP $50.00 | Store Price $40.00
  • LOVER”S”MiLE – SRP $38.00 | Store Price $30.00
  • Oath sign (Limited Edition CD & DVD Combo) – SRP $20 .00 | Store Price $15.00

Pre-orders for those who can’t wait will start this Monday on April 2nd at Right Stuf so be sure to check back or you might miss out on some of those goods.

For those unfamiliar, LiSA made her hits with shows like Angel Beats as the vocals for Yui when singing, also her single Oath sign was chosen for Fate/Zero which helped shoot her into stardom.

Links: Aniplex | LiSA

Review – Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 10 – Wrath of the Gods

The final episode for Spartacus: Vengeance is here, the temple has been raided and the slaves went on the run, pushed up to high to the mountains and stuck to starve this is their great battle for survival. Wrath of the Gods wastes no time bringing the tensions and stress of the group to the forefront. It is here the slaves make their final battle, clashing and starved and desperate to see light through this conflict and the entire season comes to a single head.

For Spartacus this episode is everything, moved from their camp and food and drink they hold up on the mountain holding a high ground and narrow path advantage over the Romans. Unrest is settling in and the fate of the people is grim at best, they rest in the winds and storms with small fires to keep warm but lack any additional comforts in their lives. It’s only expected the group would eventually snap and seek their own fate instead of being left to die on a barren hill, in their moment of conflict the first of many turning points hits his group. and the war begins.

The Romans fare no better, Ashur and his band of killers still rub the Roman soldiers with worries, their heightened status above the rest of the men continue to drive ill feelings between the soldiers. Such attitude is his downfall though, arrogant and dreaming about the world post-battle he embeds himself with no doubt about victory. Ilithiya and Lucretia have other plans for him though, setting him up for a challenge that even serpents tongue might not be able to escape and that which sets up his final task on the stage.

Unfortunately for Glaber, this decision while it seems to go into his favor, goes completely against him. Instead of stirring unrest and a breakdown in the ranks of the slaves, it gives new light and alliance. It also brings about the fire that was almost extinguished while sitting in the winds and gives a bloodthirsty new life to the group. Fans of Ashur if such a thing exists, this is a heart breaking moment to come, for the rest of the population, you can expect retribution in the most violent of ways. Ashur marks the start to the second half of this war and the real battle begins.

The Romans face their next move from Glaber, sacrifice and be victorious, storm the gates or in this case the mountain and rise to victory. On the other side, Ilithiya faces her task assigned, dispose of the corruption and evil that only Lucretia knows of , little does she know that this task and return to the house will prove to be an experience she can never forget or live down. An heir awaits, the storm is closing in madness rises throughout the land.

The final act of this episode is one that everyone has been waiting for, a clash of sides in the battle for freedom, in a moments notice the tide shifts, the slaves and Romans clash in battle, and the battle begins. Glaber sees that even in his most well fortified moments that anything can happen and the final battle begins. It’s takes up almost 14 minutes of the episode and it’s as ruthless as it gets. We see favorites embrace combat and tragic moments strike, the final section of this series comes to a close with as much intensity as they can bring to it. Lucretia, Ilithiya, Glaber, Spartacus and so many more bring their own ends to this arc of vengeance.

Visually this episode rises to their limit in Vengeance, capturing the right moods and moments with lighting, CG and while slow motion may feel overused it tells very specific moments in this episode especially in the final battle. It’s not the best but given how much they had to accomplish it’s up to par. Lucretia captures many moments from the lighting and drama in her scenes built up by the camera team.

Spoilers – These are the big ones

[spoiler show=”Show Episode 10 Spoilers” hide=”Hide Episode 10 Spoilers”]We say goodbye to many characters in this episode, their ends are highlighted and mourned in the heat of battle and struggle though.

Mira – Met with an axe to her chest and shoulder, trying to provide ranged protection as Spartacus rescues troubled deserters. Her death is almost immediate as they reach the hill again.

Ashur – Slain by Naevia, a slash to his manhood sees him to his knees, a brutal rage filled hack-a-thon takes his head from his shoulders.

Oenomaus – Meets his end with the Egyptian, a powerful duo attack with Gannicus struggles to take down the giant

The Egyptian – Gannicus goes into what can only be seen as a complete rage, he fights in a way unseen and ends him for good.

Lucretia – Determined to lift the curse upon her house she sacrifices herself over the legendary cliff with another

Ilithiyas Child – Also lost as sacrifice to all the evil done in the house by Ilithiya, Glaber, Lucretia, Batiatus and Spartacus, the boy falls in Lucretia’s hands as she falls to her death.

The servants of the house of Batiatus – Lucretia takes them with her on a knifing spree

Glaber’s army – decimated entirely by fire and steel, no one is left to tell the tale not even the henchmen Ashur recruited.

Glaber – given death by Spartacus, his fight is desperate and weak but his end is epic, his end marks the next chapter of the story, they are no longer rebels or slaves, they are an army to rise against the empire.

[/spoiler]
Story:★★★★½ 
Cinematography:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Alabaster: Wolves #1 of 5

Written By: Caitlín R. Kiernan
Art & Letters By: Steve Lieber
Colors By: Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover By: Greg Ruth
Variant Cover By: Michael Avon Oeming
Published By: Dark Horse

Dancy Flammarion, a young albino girl, is being directed by an invisible angel and appears to be on a mission to rid the world of various monsters. This issue introduces us to Dancy, our heroine as she waits at a bus stop in what appears to be a dilapidated, abandoned town. As she waits, a bird with a serious attitude appears and they strike up a tenuous conversation. This conversation is our first indication that the world is a little different from what we are used to. We also learn, as a woman appears, that Dancy has quite the reputation, she’s a badass that’s being guided by a higher power! This issue focuses on Dancy and the stranger who we quickly learn wants to kill her. They participate in a battle of wits which finally ends in a battle royale. Will Dancy live to fight another day and if she does will there be consequences for her actions?

This is an amazing story. Dancy has the perfect mix of youth, smarts and the will to survive. I was intrigued from start to finish. There is enough mystery to keep you glued to the page and enough explanation that you don’t feel lost. I loved and was blown away by the art. The cover is amazing. The muted tones really do an excellent job conveying the mood of the story and the strangers slow transformation is fabulous. The dialog is phenomenal and the character development is spot on giving you just enough to want more. The story itself moves at a great pace and builds tension
as it progresses. This is a fantastic read, it’s highly recommended and I can’t wait for the next issue!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Orchid #6

Script: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Published By: Dark Horse

On the anniversary of General China’s death, Anzio’s impending execution will be a spectacle to mark the day the Rebellion was crushed. On a day known as “Final Victory Day”, all around bad guy and Penuel’s Lord, Tomo Wolfe is trying to pump up his subjects for the execution. He is trying to convince them that they are better off than most and with Anzio’s death they will start anew, cleansed and revitalized. However, things won’t go so smooth for Wolfe because as we learned in the last issue Simon, Orchid, Opal and their new friends were on a mission to rescue Anzio. I think by now we know that this bunch is resilient and that they never stop until they succeed in righting whatever wrongs the elite have committed. Even with their never say die attitude, things begin to look grim, that is until the mask is brought out and Opal puts a whole new spin on ass whoopin’! Opal’s on a mission and nothing can stop her and everyone will soon learn that it’s just best to stay out of her way.

Every month I read Orchid thinking it has to have reached its peak or at least plateaued, but it never fails, every month I’m blown away at how amazing it really is. It just continues to get better, which is insane because it’s unbelievable to begin with. The characters and storylines are so rich and in this issue we get some back story on Tomo Wolfe, supreme leader of Penuel. Unlike some of the other back stories we have gotten on the bad guys, this one made me feel no sympathy for the character. He’s terrible, some people just are. Opal in this issue (just like past issues) is awesome, she has made up her mind and no one is going to stand in her way. Adding Anzio to the group is going to add an additional dynamic because of his die-hard freedom fighter roots. The art is perfect, and each month I look forward to seeing what new animal hybrid concoction will be introduced. The dialog is touching, maddening and inspiring (quite a feat really). It’s safe to say that you really need to be reading this comic. It’s at the top of my list each month for the comics I’m most looking forward to and each month it never ceases to amaze me!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Mass Effect: Invasion Trade Paperback

Story: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Published By: Dark Horse

This collection contains issues 1 through 4 of the Invasion series and as an added bonus contains a short story from Dark Horse’s digital store. I don’t think it’s necessary to go over each issue contained in the collection, if you haven’t yet check out my reviews of each issue, you can find them right here on this very site! I will however talk about the new addition to the book, the short story Conviction. Conviction tells the story of Lieutenant James Vega, a man who likes using his fists as his primary form of communication. The story takes place “…after the annihilation of a Batarian system by Commander Shepard” where there is clearly tension in the air and everyone is on edge. After a brawl, Lieutenant Vega is called to duty much to his dismay as he learns his new mission is to guard a VERY important prisoner!

This collection is very nice, it allows fans of the comic or those who are new to the series to have it collected in one place in its entirety. Plus, you get the short story which was definitely intriguing and for the first time, in print form. The end of the book contains a short preview of the Mass Effect art book “The Art of the Mass Effect Universe” (check out my review for that as well). Whether you were happy with Mass Effect 3’s ending or not there is no denying that Invasion was a stellar series and is definitely worth a read!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012
Price: $16.99

Mass Effect Invasion reviews: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Overall:★★★★☆ 

Review – Dark Matter #4 – Rebirth 4 of 4

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art:  Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The final issue of the Rebirth saga is here for Dark Matter, I speculated on the ability to wrap this story up with the expansions going on but I’m happy to say it was a good experience. The Raza sped off to FTL speeds and left the crew behind, Ferrous Corp was closing in with countless soldiers for a wipe out event on the planet and doubt was still in the minds of the crew after discovering their true identities. What would happen? What could happen?

Rebirth 4 of 4 makes good on the developments brought through the 4 part series, giving closure to story gaps that were forming and showing that even without full memory, this group can lay down serious damage in a moments notice. New sides to the crew keep popping up as well, Marcus stands out in the issue as the lone wolf out for self-preservation over all else. Ryo emerges as a hopeful that views the upcoming battle with an optimism of chance and Griffin seems to want redemption for his past and doesn’t mind getting dirty to do it. While we don’t get to know who all of these people really were in their past we get a tease in the final panel that assures it will be handled in the future.

Artistically Dark Matter is a favorite of mine, it’s a new experience and a fresh one at that, the characters are well animated and crisp, the dark ink shadowing has lightened up consistently as the information flowed about the characters. The color and atmosphere and worlds felt like something familiar and yet new, the mining town stepping away from so much of the sci-fi experience with just normal humans running around is a perfect example of this. As a new series it’s a great ride to have the complete issue evolve from one to the next.

Spoilers!

[spoiler show=”Show Issue 4 Spoiler” hide=”Hide Issue 4 Spoiler”]For those wondering, Rebirth is over, but a new adventure begins. The question we have to ask is, who on earth is Jace Corso?[/spoiler]

Release Date: April 11, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Judge Dredd and the Dark Knight return this December from DC

DC and 2000 AD are pairing up for a special collection for fans of the Dredd / Batman crossover of the 90’s, even if you weren’t a fan or familiar with the books then, it’s still a great opportunity. The stories written by Alan Grant and John Wagner showcase some great art from talent like Simon Bisley, Cam Kennedy and more. As a bonus, the crossover will come in a hardcover and get a digital release domestically and across the UK and Ireland.

Notable inclusions to The Batman / Judge Dredd Collection:

  • Judgement on Gotham
  • Vendetta in Gotham
  • The Ultimate Riddle
  • Die Laughing
  • Lobo / Judge Dredd

December is a while off and it gives fans plenty of time to debate if they pick it up on hardcover or just download it for super portability. DC should have more info rolling out on this in the future as we close in on the release.

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #8 – Apart Of Me Part 1

Script: Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie
Pencils: Cliff Richards
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

It’s finally here, after what seemed like an eternity, we finally get answers! Buffy, after losing her arm and finding out she’s not human (?) is not having the best day. She’s pissed and she wants to know what the hell is going on. She and Spike go to Andrew and demand an explanation, there’s some pregnancy talk amongst other things but Andrew in a, “what’s the big deal” kind of way, is not giving Buffy what she needs. After a little prodding, he spills the beans and explains the entire thing! Buffy and Spike are confused, hurt and mostly just mad. There is a little bit of Spuffy action followed by a very angry Spike. We also check in with Xander and Dawn, who it seems like we really haven’t seen for an eternity and all does not seem well there. Finally, a nasty makes their return but as of now their intentions are unknown.

This issue wasn’t bad but it did feel like a couple really complex storylines were wrapped up quite easily. The pregnancy, the Buffy Bot, all taken care of, just like that! There was some mention of the Siphon and not wanting to get too spoilery, the nasty who returns (again) could be interesting especially because they didn’t do what would have been expected of them. Having Andrew in this issue provided some laughs, his goofiness and obliviousness are always great. The art was good and so was the dialog but ultimately it just felt like it was missing something. Obviously, it’s a must read for those of us who were dying at the end of the last issue but don’t expect too much, hopefully this new arc will get everything back on track!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★☆☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆