Review – House of Night #5

Story: P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Script: Kent Dalian
Art: Joëlle Jones and Eric Canete
Colors: Ryan Hill and Eric Canete
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Jenny Frison
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with Zoey and her friends relived of stress and worry after having a snowball fight and acting like average, everyday kids. That is , until one of them, Stevie Rae begins coughing up blood. We soon see that this was all just a nightmare, but it does give some back story which allows us to understand the dangers all these kids face in going through the transition from fledgling to vampyre. We begin to understand just how scared they are and how much the fear weighs on their shoulders. We also get a glimpse into Zoey’s love-life, both past drama of exes and present giddiness of new love. Most importantly though, Zoey is about to embark on her final lesson, spirit, with the Goddess Nyx. Zoey’s lesson is taught through Amazon vampyre Queen, Hippolyte and the immortal hero Herakles, enemies who wage a war against each other only to come together through love in the end. Their love however cannot last and Hippolyte must take drastic measures to sever their ties. Zoey believes she understands and has learned her final lesson and thinks she knows what she has to do, but she really doesn’t. The application of her newly learned lesson will come later and she will find out that it is much more important than what she originally thought.

This issue is great, I really love the way Zoey’s lessons are taught and how the stories are told. I really like that there is so much woman power within the pages, something that is lacking within our society a lot of the time and is a great message to send to younger girls. I also enjoyed the little bit of back story we are given on Zoey’s love-life, it really helps to flush out the character and helps us to realize there is more to her than her school life. The art is gorgeous and really breathtaking as are the vibrant and beautiful colors. This series has really come into its own and I’m really enjoying the richness of the characters, the story and its message. Each issue is better than the last and I can’t wait to find out where these characters are going to go.

Release Date: March 14th, 2012

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

Review – Xmas On TV: Act III: In Hiding

Written By: Alejandro Pina
Pencils & Ink: Ignacio Di Meglio
Color: Norman Wong
Cover: Alex Licausi & Aya Niibo
Producer: Sandra Calvillo
Book Design: Alejandro Pina

Xmas On TV is a story about iZZ, a gremlin, who lives in the town of Tradition. The town has been overrun by an evil army of Demonic Santa TV’s who have enslaved and entranced the citizens of Tradition. It’s now up to iZZ and his crew, who range from the sharply dressed, loose cannon Frank to the mellow and ninja like Jesus (yes, that Jesus) to free the mind-controlled townspeople. The Demonic Santa TV’s have put everyone to work year round and have turned Tradition into a consumerism based metropolis. The group works together to start a revolution and try to enlighten the people to the idea that they are being used, abused and turned into mindless drones with only the thought of spending dancing in their heads. Will iZZ and his friends save the town and destroy the Demonic Santa TV’s?

Xmas On TV is awesome and very unique. From the cleaver remote control shape and cover design to the content inside. The comic begins with a brief and humorous guide to all of the characters followed by a story with, a big brother or big Santa is watching vibe, mixed with a cautionary tale of consumerism, greed and the potential power of collective conscience. There is no dialog, the story is told only by the art but the message comes through loud and clear. The artwork is fantastic as is the concept. The message is one that we need to think about more often and this is a great medium to explore it in. I can’t wait for the next installment, viva la revolución!

For more information Xmas On TV check out the homepage located here.

Review – Forever Freshman and The Cunning Code Crackers of The Girl Network! #1

Story By: Neil Segura & Ray Mendivil
Written By: Ray Mendivil
Art By: Neil Segura

This is the story of two kids, Neil and Ray, freshman trying to lean the ropes at their new school and get the new girl to notice them. Adolescence is tough enough as is, but add in dreaded hall monitors (equipped with attack dogs) and a new state of the art detention center, and well, you got yourself a party ladies and gentleman.

Neil and Ray are just trying to navigate the mean halls of high school, with a little help from their ragtag group of friends (Ramon is awesome). When they see Annie, the new girl in school, things start to get interesting. They are determined to talk to her but in typical boy fashion they have no understanding of how to do this. Ray believes the best way to get her attention is to ignore her and Ramon thinks they should hit up the girl network. The girl network had been around since the beginning of time, so their plan is to talk to the girls they know in order to learn about the girl they don’t. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it’s not. The first girl they talk to is Annabelle, a girl who’s obsessed with a teen book series called “Teen Mummy”(think something Twilightesque), the boys try to sweet talk her by telling her they to love this book series. The plan backfires though, Annabelle can talk nonstop about Teen Mummy and she does. Neil, Ray and Ramon can’t take her incessant talking and move on to the next unsuspecting girl. We are introduced to all different types of characters, a raver girl, the cheerleader, the brainiac and others. We see that Ray and Neil can talk to girls, it just ain’t always pretty. They get into a bunch of wacky scenarios along the way while trying to dodge the hall monitors and their rabid puppies. Will luck and some crazy happenstance help them? Do they succeed in talking to Annie and will their friendship withstand their adventure?

This comic was adorable. Created by friends forever Neil Segura and Ray Mendivil there is a little something for everyone to relate to and they do a good job of capturing the essence of what is important to kids in high school. The writing is good and I especially loved Ramon. He’s the somewhat dimwitted friend of Neil and Ray’s and provides unexpected bursts of comedy. The art is simple but does an excellent job of capturing everything that’s going on. This is a very family friendly comic that I think anyone of any age would enjoy reading. The back of the issue has some sketches that didn’t make it into the issue (which is always cool to see) as well as a how to guide for drawing the main characters. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a comic without a zombie or monster in it and I really enjoyed it! Issue #2 is coming soon and this issue is already available for order.

Link: Forever Freshman

Aniplex streaming Madoka Magica Episode 5 worldwide

Aniplex has a treat for Madoka Magica fans on April 6th, because of the success of their last screening event they’re pushing for another shared event using their niconico channel. Residents in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan will all get a shot to view the episode for free. Of course you need to time it so you’re in the room when it all goes down. Check out the list below and be sure to stick through the whole event so you can catch the English cast in the room as well.

Event: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Episode 5 Screening Premiere

Date:
Friday, April 6, 20:30pm US Pacific Standard Time
Saturday, April 7, 12:30 Japan local time
Saturday, April 7, 3:30 UK local time
Saturday, April 7, 14:30 Australian Eastern Daylight Time

(* Total length 30 min: minute program with special greeting)

Streaming URL:
http://live.niconico.com/watch/lv85885951

If fans keep this support rolling it looks like Aniplex might make it a habit to run these special features for fans all over.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #5 Preview goes up

DC has a treat up their sleeve today for fans, the preview of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #5 is ready to roll with a cover and 3 pages of tease. With only 2 issues left they’re in a hurry to wrap this up for the fans and give it a strong finish. We see a flashback in the preview helping explain how Colleen came into the mix and what drove her commitment T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Wii Moss had this to say on the issue itself and how they’re handling this section specifically.

 “For such a key, character-driven moment, we needed someone like Michael Choi, an artist who handles the subtle nuances of facial expressions beautifully. Check out this preview (colored by Michael as well!) to see what I mean, then make sure to pick up the issue to read the rest — trust me, you don’t want to miss the ending of this issue!”

The expressions are solid, page 2 highlights that specifically in the preview teaser. Also included in issue #5 is the debut of the Undersea Agent backup story created by Michael Uslan and Trevor McCarthy. The new arc will span the rest of the  T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents miniseries. Check out the panels below to get a brief glimpse of what issue 5 is packing.

Image gears up with exclusives for Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon at the Washington State Convention Center is coming up on March 30 – April 1, if you’re going to be in Seattle at the time or live in the area you can catch these goods from Image Comics.

Bloodstrike #26 is one of their first offerings, a relaunch title from Tim Seely and Franchesco Gaston, the exclusive cover version will be available at Image booth #310 for $5. The Activity #4 will also be on hand in #C-09 with a special night vision cover for $10, goggles not included. Skullcrushers will have limited variant editions at the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund for issue #13 in #C-11 for $10 each and it will be available before the regular retail release hits shelves. Finally, Alpha Girl #2 will have a convention exclusive cover, while this won’t be released before it hits retail it’s still equally as collectible and cool though and will be at the Image booth #310 for $5.

   

The Walking Dead fans will get a huge treat as the ECCC exclusive T will be available with a custom illustration by Charlie Adlard, mens and womens sizes will be available at the ECCC show booth #514, sizes will set you back $20, if that isn’t your thing, you can get an Image Heroes shirt with the program guide cover image on it for $20 but it only comes in unisex form.

 

If shirts aren’t your thing at all you can score that image on an 11×17 poster for $20 but it’s limited to a run of 300 so get it fast or you’ll just be staring at the sample poster. Jeremy Haun will also have an exclusive The Darkness print with Jackie on top of the Space Needle overlooking the city. It is signed by Jeremy Haun for $20, the print is also in 11×17 form and limited to 300 copies.

 

The Infinite Horizon will also be on hand in all its glory, the retelling will take place in a near future scenario and carries 186 pages of goodness, on top of that, Image is releasing it to ECCC fans before the April 11th release date so fans can enjoy the tale early for going. It packs a $20 tag and can be found over at #P-03.

If none of that sells you, the new Image / Shadowline series Debris will have a free poster at the Image booth #310.

Secret Avengers #24 preview art goes up

So close right? Preview Art… just with no words. Hawkeye is weighed down by the outcomes of the last issue leaving the group to question his ability to still act as a responsible leader for the group. The Secret Avengers are stuck in the center of the Earth as Father and his group help spread the robot evolution. Only Venom can possibly save the squad but even that is a gamble for everyone.

The pages themselves are interesting, I’d love to know what’s going on but that will have to wait until March 28th to figure out what Lady Deathstrike is up to in that whole scene they have going on. Check out the gallery below for some extreme teaser shots from the book.

Link: Marvel News – Secret Avengers Sneak Peek

ComiXology goes HD, includes Social integration

With the latest iPad hitting retail it’s no shocker that everyone is trying to update and make use of the new hardware, ComiXology is rolling out CMX HD to bring high-resolution content to the new iPad for a select group of titles. Expansion will be inevitable and the company notes they’re already working on updating their catalog to the new standards hoping that HD plays a large part in their next milestone of purchases and sharing between comic fans.

In addition to the upgraded goodness of crisp art, CMX HD will also allow readers to share comics with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Email form to spread the word, it’s a unique way to keep friends updated on your tastes especially when the holidays come around and they go into panic mode. It’s also a solid way to turn those on the fence over to comics or more specifically digital comics through ComiXology.

Here’s a full taste of the app log, enjoy and chase it down if you’re already holding on to an iPad HD. If not just continue enjoying your collection and know that your SD titles will be getting a nice boost in the future as well!

CMX-HD Comics
Now featuring High Definition capable comics for the new iPad — with twice the resolution. Look for the CMX-HD badge in the store to find these HD comics and graphic novels.

Facebook Sharing
Finally, users also have the option of sharing comments via an individual’s Facebook wall or Timeline.

iOS 5 Integrated Twitter Sharing
Comics now uses the new Twitter APIs on iOS 5 to enable social commenting on any Comic Book.

iOS Email Sharing
Users also have the option of sharing via Email.  The Email share view displays the iOS app email compose view, including an HTML formatted email.

In all cases, including Twitter, if no network is available then the user will not see any share options.  If an account is not yet set up for the chosen share method, then Comics will alert the user to setup that particular sharing account.

The “Read Now” Button
Immediately after purchasing a comic book that begins downloading, users will be presented with a “Read Now” button (replacing the former “Downloading” button).  Now users can begin reading comic books without waiting for the entire download to complete.

Miscellaneous Bug Fixes & Stability Improvements 
Additionally to the above feature enhancements we have made substantial improvements to bugs, crashes and stability in the Comics App.

Justice League moves to the present in issue #7

Entertainment Weekly secured a preview of issue #7 to Justice League this week, the article securing information that our back-story arc about the league is coming to a close and we’ll get a taste of the heroes acting out in 2012. The issue is set to demonstrate many things, not just their actions and behavior but also the public perception of the group and the experience of the “Villain’s Journey”. It’s a hard hit that fans will see, they’ll also get a dose of SHAZAM! in a backup story as well as this new story picks up speed and gets readers on the present day journey.

The 4 pages of tease that EW has are great to open into, it’s almost a form of torture though. Seeing the desperation of the people and the vast amount of faith dumped into the league only to see the words “But that will change” as they arrive in time to save the people from a desperate hour. Fortunately the book goes on sale tomorrow so there shouldn’t be too much delay if you really need to jump in after catching these pages.