Review – Dragon Age: The Silent Grove #4 Part 4 of 6

Story: David Gaider
Script: Alexander Freed
Art: Chad Hardin
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Ramil Sunga and Nick Thornborrow
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue picks up with Alistair, Isabela and Varric getting acquainted with the Witch of The Wilds, Yavana. Alistair, who is familiar with her family lineage, seems justified in his skepticism of her. After reaching an understanding, Yavana gives Alistair what he came for, information on his father, King Maric. He quickly learns that the answers he’s seeking are far more complex than he had ever imagined. Then…all hell breaks loose when an unexpected visitor arrives and attempts to stop Alistair, Isabela and Varric dead in their tracks!

This issue is much better than the last one. The story is interesting and it picks up the pace considerably. There is some action and the relationship that has developed between Alistair, Isabela and Varric is really nice to see. The camaraderie is believable and adds a little something extra to the comic as a whole. As usual, the art is fantastic and the dialog is at its best so far. I can’t wait for the next issue. It seems like the issue will have some focus on Isabela and Varric, which is great because those characters are my favorite part of the comic. This series is right back on track and with only two more issues to go it’s a safe bet that things are about to get super interesting!

Digital Release Date: April 4th, 2012
*Note: Cover art and preview pages are not currently available, we will update when we get a unwatermarked version


Review – Dark Horse Presents #10

Cover Art: Fiona Staples
Variant Cover Art: Thomas Yeates
Back Cover: Geof Darrow
Publisher & Editor: Mike Richardson
Published By: Dark Horse

Dark Horse Presents #10 is chalk full of goodies, so let’s get right to it!

  • The Massive: The Barrents Sea- Modern Day by Brian Wood and art by Kristian Donaldson This is very short. Honestly, it was way too short to get into it or understand exactly where the story was going. It was over before it began.
  • UXB by Colin Lorimer. A futuristic story that instantly brings the funny. Even though it’s super short, the amazing art and witty dialog is an instant draw. This preview definitely drew me in and had me wanting more.
  • Finder: Third World Chapter 8 by Carla Speed McNeil.
  • Criminal Macabre: They Fight By Night Part 1 by Steve Niles and art by Christopher Mitten. This was the one I was most excited for and it did not disappoint. This gives us a new peek at the new arc! An assassination has occurred and Cal is not too happy about it. Even in this short preview, Cal’s coolness shines through.
  • House of Fun Featuring Milk and Cheese and The Murder Family by Evan Dorkin. We find the odd pair Milk and Cheese ordering x-ray spectacles in this issue which provokes them into going on a rampage, drunk with the idea of their new “superpower.” The Murder Family is the story of a ghoulish family consisting of two parents, two sons, their daughter and a wacky uncle. Presented in a sitcom setting complete with commercials and laugh tracks, we see the daily life of this weird and dysfunctional family. Their name suits them well!
  • The Once and Future Tarzan Chapter 3 by Thomas Yeates and Alan Gordon.
  • Amala’s Blade: Skull and Crossbows Part 2 by Steve Horton and art by Michael Dialynas.
  • Dead Reliable by Andrew Vachss and art by Geof Darrow. This was another stand-out piece. It was an extremely sad, touching story that really packs a shocking punch at the end. I loved it!
  • Skultar Chapter 4: The Trainable by M.J. Butler and art by Mark Wheatley.
  • The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne Chapter 3 by Rich Johnston and art by Simon Rohrmüller.

There are some real standouts in this issue, not all of them were my favorite, but I was able to discover some things I had never heard of and really enjoyed reading this book. A solid buy, especially for the price!

Release Date: March 21st, 2012
Links: Buy now | Buy Digital ($ 7.99) | Preview


Review – Criminal Macabre: Die Die My Darling! (One-Shot)

Story: Steve Niles
Art: Christopher Mitten
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Fiona Staples
Published By: Dark Horse

Cal McDonald is more angry than usual. He’s coming to grips with the idea that he’s dead…forever and fighting is his eternal lot in life. All the things he’s enjoyed (the very few) have all become not so enjoyable and his future seems dimmer than usual. Cal deals with these setbacks in his trademark style, cantankerously to put it mildly. Tensions are running high and Cal and his ghoulish companion Mo’lock are not dealing with all these changes well. A mysterious stranger and his, um, sister(?) make their way through the tornado that is Cal and Mo to tell Cal his next mission. She explains that a war is upon them and Cal must follow her instructions or all hope for humanity will be lost. Cal takes all of this in stride and by “in stride” I mean very lightly. After understanding what they must do, Cal and Mo go on their way. After discovering the “threat” is not at all what he had expected, Cal decides to make his own decisions rather than follow orders. Will Cal’s choices mean the end of the world? I sure hope not, because this is a wild ride and I don’t want it to end any time soon!

This is a great issue for newcomers of the series to start with. The issue does a great job explaining the back story without bas
hing you over the head with it. The reader is able to understand Cal’s personality and the dynamic between him and Mo. The dialog and story are awesome. Cal is such an unlikable character that you can’t help but absolutely love him. He’s completely flawed and his relationship with Mo is completely screwed but their dynamic is amazing. Cal’s “fuck it” attitude and perpetually bored with life mindset is enough in itself to read the comic, but add in the awesome story and Christopher Mitten’s mind-blowing art and you end up with a can’t miss, must read comic!

Release Date: April 4th, 2012
Links: Pre-Order | Preview


Review – Dragon Age: The Silent Grove #3 Part 3 of 6

Story: David Gaider
Script: Alexander Freed
Art: Chad Hardin
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Ramil Sunga and Nick Thornborrow
Published By: Dark Horse

In this installment of Dragon Age: The Silent Grove, we find Alistair and his crew on a boat with the mysterious man Alistair broke out of the Crow’s prison. We quickly learn that this man is not his father, King Maric, but his cellmate. Alistair goes to him to get information on the whereabouts of his father. He is told by the man his father was “rescued” by the Witch of The Wilds many years ago. Alistair, unhappy by this news, also learns from the man that King Maric left a message for his children. As Alistair deals with his daddy issues, he asks Isabela for help in locating his now missing father and is compelled to find out if he is dead or alive. Isabela doesn’t hesitate and they head off for the Tellari Swamps. As they continue on their journey it soon becomes clear that the Swamps are not a place anyone wants to go. Will they survive long enough to find what they are looking for?

This issue isn’t my favorite. It progresses the story well enough, but it just feels like it is lacking a little something. The art is great and I really like the cover. I will say though that the ending is very good and shows a lot of promise for action and major story development in the next issue. All in all, it is an entertaining enough read and is definitely necessary to read to stay in the story loop.

Digital Release Date: March 21st, 2012
Links: Download ($0.99)| Preview


Mark Ryden and Porterhouse Fine Art Editions release the YHWH Red, Gold and Blue

Mark Ryden fans rejoice! A brand new, very limited run of quality Mark Ryden vinyl “YHWH Red, Gold and Blue Edition” figures will be available March 27th, 2012 at 8:00 PDT. In conjunction with Porterhouse Fine Art Editions, these figures will be available either as set of three (red, gold and blue) for a discounted price of $500 or individually for $200. There are only 100 of these large (16.5” X 9” X 1.75”) figures made and each one comes with a certificate of authenticity and a special numbered mini-print. These figures are modeled after a beautiful painting that Ryden created and are a definite must have for the serious collector.

Order individually here

Order as a set of three here

New details for The Walking Dead The Game emerge

Walking Dead fans get ready, Telltale Games has just released some news about their upcoming, 5 part episodic game release and if you’re lucky you just might have the chance to die! Telltale is offering a discount for PC and Mac users if you pre-order The Walking Dead game now for $22.49 (instead of $24.99) and you get access to the developers forum. That’s not all though, one lucky fan will get to be in the game (episode 4) as a human survivor who dies in a way that they are describing as something “…even Robert Kirkman would shudder at.” In addition, up to four other lucky fans will be chosen to be zombies in the game. Telltale Games, the masterminds behind games such as “Back To The Future” and “Jurassic Park” are extending a super deal to The Walking Dead pre-orderers. For just $20 more you can add the “Almost Everything Pack” to your order and get the above games plus “Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People”, “Hector”, “Sam & Max Seasons 1-3” and “Puzzle Agent 1 & 2”! For only $20 more this is a huge savings and gives you a bunch of new stuff to play while you wait for The Walking Dead (the first episode is slated to be released in late April) game to come out.

Pre-order The Walking Dead here at TellTale Games

Review – Spartacus: Vengeance Episode 9 – Monsters

Spartacus weighed his hardest decision last episode, leaving Ilithiya and his possible son to live or cutting her down as retribution. While he picked the noble path for himself it was one he would later regret as Glaber was all but noble in his effort to recover his wife and child. Maybe it was the whole new relationship with Seppia but it was quite a creep move. We see things push forward in Monsters and get a deeper darkness right from the start.

Spartacus starts off the mix disturbing his own people to the harsh reality they live in. Setting them on high alert in a trauma inducing test, no lives are lost but humiliation runs high, the trio are set to bring their people to readiness for the war they’re stepping into and push them out of the calm they’ve been resting in. Unfortunately even Spartacus is questioned when stirring up a storm this large within his own party, defending himself for his choice to free Ilithiya as higher action over the Roman opposition.

His decision rings through on both sides though, the Romans are shaken by Ilithiya’s return, although the one hit the hardest is Ilithiya herself, stumbling and dazed she returns to what she thought as her home. She finds this place though, it is far from a place of comfort or welcome for her, instead it’s simply a conduit to play house while Glaber sets his pursuits in war and his own personal desires. There is some hope at least, Lucretia plays a friend to Ilithiya and offers support, although even she steps back when Ilithiya breaks the news of the truth to the child and only one can wonder what is going to become of such information.

While Ilithiya wishes the light to hit Seppia, Lucretia also enlightens her that she already knows a deeper truth to it all. With that, well a new plan is already underway from the duo to bring the suppressed rage to a boil and out into some level of retribution or downfall to Glaber for his evil in striking down Seppius. The whole affair is quite a mix as an old face comes into the company of the group and shakes Glaber to his core with troubling news from Rome. The man takes the one thing dearest to Glaber and sweeps it away setting up a massive finale to come.

The episode is a mix of social development and drama, we see Seppia struggle to establish her worries as such a young girl in a world of corruption and authority. Without sufficient cause to prove anything she can only stumble and fall learning the harsh ways of the world and find the end she wishes.

Spartacus faces the same to greater reward from his own people, putting them to the test in combat and alliance, to find their resolution so strong that they can rest easy about the horrible battles to come forward as the Romans set to close in on them. It’s a brutal world coming up and we see the darkness roll in throughout the episode.

If the show seemed to be dark before, it holds nothing to the plague of evil that develops in this episode, to top all of that off the slaves are set to their ultimate test that sets up the final episode of this series with only madness ahead and the eyes of Rome fixed solely upon them from this point on. If you’ve been waiting for the show to sink into the depths, if you’ve wanted harsh and hard battles in your face, it’s safe to say that Monsters does this and it does it so well it drives a desire to know what this final episode will bring in Wrath of the Gods for the Vengeance series.

Visually some of the episode could have been done better, it’s understandable as they break out into the open across so many locations that cutbacks might be needed. Unfortunately having some wounds look like a bottle of tempera paint is shooting out doesn’t quite get it done and tends to pull away from the immersion, given they’ve managed to get this aspect right so many times before it’s a bit of a shock to see issues with blood still going on for the team. They nailed this quite a few times this season so it’s a wonder how they can’t keep it consistent, hopefully the teams can get this settled soon as it breaks the sense of action when you’re able to question if someone got their neck cut or if a bucket of paint exploded. It’s one of the few areas slamming this season down for quality as the rest tends to feel seamless.

Spoiler rundown:

[spoiler show=”Show Episode 9 Spoilers” hide=”Hide Episode 9 Spoilers”]Romans

  •  Ilithiya plays second to no one, Seppia and Glaber will learn of this the hard way
  • Varinius makes a return to steal the capture of Spartacus and ride him about Ilithiya
  • Glaber is ordered to return to Rome immediately to answer for his shortcomings
  • The dark duo of Ilithiya and Glaber reunite to step out of the cloaks and unleash hell
  • We see the last step of a trio of kills made by those residing in the House of Batiatus
  • Glaber before news from Varinius promises to leave the estate to Ashur


  • Surprises his own people in an ambush using his own weakness of their temple, shakes them up
  • Opposition and tempers flare as morning sets in and they’re put to task
  • They’re able to intercept Varinius but Glaber launches a sneak attack unlike any other
  • The lack of preparation strikes hard at his people, making for difficult times ahead