Review – To Hell You Ride: White Man’s Guilt #1 of 5

Story: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
Art: Tom Mandrake
Colors: Cris Peter with Mat Lopes
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Tom Mandrake and Cris Peter
Published By: Dark Horse

To Hell You Ride begins in 1880 and explains some Native American lore. When the land becomes desecrated by white men the Native Americans partake in a ritual. The ritual however, gets interrupted by these white men and it ultimately turns into a curse. Cut to present day, Seven George (a.k.a. Two-Dogs) is an Indian with some severe issues living in a world with no more traditions and balance. He’s a joke to the townsfolk and he is such a mess that all seems lost. All of this changes though when there are signs from his ancestors that he can not ignore and soon his life will change forever.

To Hell You Ride is a very interesting and sad story. The lore part of the comic is told very well and has a very different feeling than most other comics. The main character, George is very heartbreaking and tragic on many levels. The writing as a whole is great, it really projects feelings of despair very well. The art is very nice too, like the writing it conveys the emotions wonderfully. This comic doesn’t really tackle the subject matter I’m used to but it’s nice to read something different especially when it is so packed with emotion.

Release Date: December 12th, 2012

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

Review – Criminal Macabre: Final Night 1 of 4

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

Cal McDonald in his usual cantankerous way has a feeling that something bad is about to go down, he just doesn’t know what and he is isn’t sure if he cares. As he drowns his sorrows, a cop, Alice Blood, approaches him and asks for his help. Cal, always eager to help, get more details. Barrow, Alaska (home of 30 Days of Night) has been attacked and Alice wants Cal on the case. There has been more than the usual number of attacks (massacres) and Alice believes they stem from one vampire in particular. Meanwhile, Mo’lock and the other ghouls are facing a threat of their own and are on a mission to find the perpetrator. They soon learn that the ghoul attack is very connected to Cal’s new case and something needs to be done…quickly.

Criminal Macabre: Final Night is the first issue in a four-part series crossing over Steve Niles’ other masterpiece, 30 Days of Night. This issue sets up the story nicely and ends with all hell breaking loose. Cal is such an awesome character and for all intents and purposes should be completely unlikable but Niles manages to make him and his toxic personality a great anti-hero that you really root for! Christopher Mitten’s art is amazing. It’s dark and unique and really brings the story to life. Criminal Macabre has so many great elements that it becomes difficult to single any one thing out. I am ridiculously excited about this crossover and can’t wait for the next issue!

Release Date: December 12th, 2012

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

Review – Orchid #11

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

After getting the crap kicked out of them, Orchid and Simon are a little worse for the wear. Luckily, Barrabas, who has now turned on Wolfe, has shown up and is kicking some genetically modified animal ass! Once some of the dust settles, Orchid sees that her ally Westin, has betrayed her and the movement. Things have not gone according to plan and Orchid is feeling defeated. Just when things are looking their worst Orchid finds unexpected help and regains some much-needed strength. The Shadow Rebels are beginning to take a dent out of Wolfe’s army, but Wolfe is determined to come out the victor, and unearths the big guns!

With all hell breaking loose and only one issue of Orchid left to go everything is in chaos and only one side will be able to emerge victorious. This issue of Orchid does an amazing job setting up the last issue for the Shadow Rebels last and undoubtedly biggest stand of their lives. Inspirational and maddening at the same time, Orchid is perfection. Tom Morello’s writing is awe-inspiring and the artwork of Scott Hepburn is breathtaking. Orchid has come together flawlessly and I have no doubt that the final issue will be the pièce de résistance!

Release Date: December 12th, 2012

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

Review – Orchid #10

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

The battle has begun and things are not looking so good for our band of Shadow Rebels. Enzio is overwhelmed and relying on Orchid to finish her mission of killing the heartless, disgusting Tomo Wolfe. Thanks to their explosive expert, Westin, Orchid and her army have penetrated Wolfe’s fortress and are on their way to destroy him. Wolfe, unaware of Orchid’s arrival has just learned that Barrabas has turned on him and is wreaking havoc in Fortress Penuel. His day quickly gets worse as Gletkin, Wolfe’s mindless drone of a right hand man tries to restore order but fails miserably when Wolfe gives the order to find Barrabas and kill him. Wolfe, as his world is unraveling, soon learns that they have a new secret weapon, a traitor to the Shadow rebels! What would a revolution be without a few hiccups? Still, nothing will stop Orchid and her crew and she may have a few tricks up her sleeve as well.

The Shadow Rebels fight has reached a fevered pitch with only a couple of issues of this amazing comic left to go. Everything is coming to a head, death on both sides, small triumphs, big losses. Who will come out on top? Like every past issue this one is excellent and exceeds expectations. The writing is poignant and the art is impeccable. The end of Orchid is bittersweet, I can’t wait for the conclusion but not having an issue to read every month is to put it simply, gonna suck! At least there are a couple of issues left and it’s going to be a helluva ride!

Release Date: October 17th, 2012

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14 Join The Fight Part 1

Story: Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Grenberg
Script: Jane Espenson
Pencils: Karl Moline
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines an Michelle Madsen
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with two teenagers, a boy and a girl, hanging out talking about love, life and everything in between. We soon find out that life is not so great for the boy, Billy. Billy is gay, a teenager and like a lot of kids in his situation gets tormented regularly for being “different”. Billy has the support of his grandma but she seems to be one of the few people in his life that is. While Billy’s trying to find his place in the world, Zompires are multiplying like bunnies! Billy soon meets some Zompires and all does not go great, but he is aided by a boy who Billy has watched from afar for some time. A plan is concocted and for the first time a potential Slayer is not chosen and not a girl.

Billy is a likeable character and you instantly feel sympathy for him and his plight. The concept of a male Slayer has always been interesting and I like that it comes about in a different way that doesn’t follow Slayer lore. The writing is excellent but it is Jane Espenson so that’s not a really big surprise since she is so amazing! The art is also great and really succeeds in capturing the anguish Billy is feeling. This was a solid read and I like the twist of the male Slayer!

Release Date: October 10th, 2012

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

Review – The Untold Tales of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy One-Shot

Story: Filipe Melo
Art: Juan Cavia
Colors: Santiago Villa
Translation: Raylene Lowe
Letters: Pedro Smedo
Adaption: João Pombeiro and Martin Tejada
Published By: Dark Horse

The stories from Dark Horse Presents are all collected here in one handy-dandy one-shot. The story begins with an introduction to the characters. First up, Pazuul, a 6,000 year old smoking, mute demon, who resembles a cute little girl, next is Eurico a.k.a. Pizza Boy, an intern and Dog’s whipping boy and finally Dog, a humble man who calmly tells us he saved the world…twice. Into the story we go. Flashback to 1898 where we get the origin story of Dog himself, which is a tragic tale of death, misfortune and werewolves! In a story that takes place in a brutal disgusting Nazi concentration camp that has been set up for misfits and “monsters”, the story manages to stay both riveting and goofy, which is not an easy feat with this kind of material. The issue is full of Dog recalling stories from his past which are all awesome and far beyond entertaining!

I had never heard of Dog Mendonça before but I after reading this issue I am a fan. The stories are very sad at times with Dog and Pizza Boy breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the reader at times. Their promotions of a fictional product and “selling” panels within the comic to make money added a much needed burst of levity. The dialog is excellent, it manages to hit an array of emotions sometimes running the gammit on a single page. Juan Cavias’ art is out of this world, Pazuul’s looks of boredom, irritation and lack of interest are captured expertly. I can not wait to search out more of this series and I suggest you do the same!

Release Date: October 24th, 2012

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

Review – Ghost #1 In The Smoke and Din 1 of 4

Story: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Art: Phil Noto
Letters: Richard Starkings
Cover: Phil Noto
Variant Cover: Alex Ross
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue is told by a woman, a mysterious woman who doesn’t know who she is or why she is here. She does know one thing though, how she came to be here. Two men (isn’t that always the case?) Tommy and Vaughn, stars of the T.V. Show Phantom Finders used a black market contraption to pull this woman into our world. Feeling lost and angry she wants to know who she is. She randomly goes into “ battle mode” and can not control it. She can not take it anymore and demands that Vaughn and Tommy track down the guy they bought the device from, Alexander Smalls, and off they off they go to find answers. Aside from the larger story line is a story that focuses a little bit on Vaughn’s ex, Caroline, who is now in a different relationship but still feels attached to Vaughn, even if it is in just a pity kind of way. I have a feeling Caroline and her new relationship are going to play an important role in the rest of this story, as her boyfriend may not be exactly as he seems!

Ghost is a fascinating story and a really great idea. I love the strong women characters and whether they are good or bad it is refreshing to see powerful women portrayed in this medium. I love some of the questions that the comic raises and it is a really great, enjoyable read. I love the narrative and how it really conveys a sense of sorrow, anger and determination. Phil Noto’s art is as always fantastic and as an added bonus Alex Ross drew the variant cover of this issue. One issue in and this is already a great story and a definite must read!

Release Date: October 24th, 2012

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike #3 A Dark Place Part 3

Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Paul Lee
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Cris Peter
Cover: Jenny Frison
Alternate Cover: Steve Morris
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with a flashback, Pearl (of Pearl and Nash fame) has just spent a “romantic” evening with a demon, who after their romp, thinks she needs to die. After Nash fails at rescuing her, the ever gallant Spike (joined by Dru) arrives. However, more than chivalry this is mainly just coincidence, this particular demon happens to owe Spike cash and the demon’s inevitable demise just happens to save Pearl in the process. Cut to present day where Spike, Pearl and Nash just happen to run into each other but, Spike who is running low on patience, tangles with the terrible twosome. Finally away from danger, Spike and his bug crew are joined by their new mystery gust Morgan. They set off into space to their next destination, a hell mouth. The bugs are none too happy with the new plan and they do not hesitate to let Spike know; however, Spike as captain of this boat want to stay on course. Luckily the bugs suspicions have got Spike thinking and he decides to do some investigating of his own. Spike and Morgan have a long chat and she explains who and what she is, while this puts Spike at ease the bugs are still not convinced!

I think out of all the Buffyverse titles the Spike series thus far represents the feeling and voice best. I have enjoyed all the titles but this one seems to have a lot of the elements that give you that Joss feeling and this issue is no exception. Spike is really captured amazingly and perfectly. I also really love the bugs, they have a lot of personality and really add humor and heart. I really enjoyed this issue and I think fans of all things Buffy will as well!

Release Date: October 24th, 2012

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

Review – Colder #2 of 5

Script: Paul Tobin
Art and Cover: Jaun Ferreyra
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue finds the very cold (literally) and mysterious Declan attempting to explain to the extremely confused Reece what the hell is going on. Declan has been in an essentially comatose state for years when he suddenly snaps out of it. As he and Reece walk around the city she begins to demand answers, but with each of Declan’s “answers”, Reece understands less and less. Declan is very hands on and decides to show Reece rather than tell her. We also see a man who knows Declan and seems, to put it lightly, off. This guy is wreaking havoc throughout the city and Declan knows that he and Reece need to make a quick getaway before the crazy mystery man catches up with them. In a quick instant we learn that Declan and this man have a very long history. Longer than expected!

This comic is pretty awesome, it’s interesting and very different from anything I have ever read. Reece is assertive but at the same time she is freaking out and Declan is calm but cryptic. Both of these characters play off of each other very well. Juan Ferreyra’s art is great, I really loved it and especially loved the monsters! The writing is great as well. In a kind of confusing story the dialogue really keeps everything on track. I’m not sure where this story is going but I’m excited to take the ride!

Release Date: December 5th, 2012

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

Review – Willow #2 Wonderland Part 2

Script: Jeff Parker
Inks: Jason Gorder
Pencils: Brian Ching
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: David Mack
Alternate Cover: Megan Lara
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Willow, in a magical wonderland with her new friend Marrack, is in a fight with a big nasty who almost gets the best of Marrak before Willow works her magic mojo. With the nasty inevitably meeting a particularly gruesome end she now has to deal with a snide caterpillar who is quite pissed at the mess she has left behind. Soon into her journey Willow starts meeting some interesting creatures, some of which are good and others that are very bad. Willow quickly learns that she has quite a reputation when she meets up with an old friend. She thinks she has found what she has been looking for but is disappointed in the results. Will she find the answers to restore magic in the world or is the journey hopeless?

I really like this Willow series, she has always been an interesting character and she has always been deserving of a more concentrated storyline. Her voice is captured nicely and the art is beautiful. The story itself is progressing at a nice pace and the extra characters have proved to be pretty interesting thus far. I enjoyed this issue, it is definitely an entertaining read and obviously a must read for Buffy fans!

Release Date: December 5th, 2012

Link: Dark Horse Digital

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