Review – Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1 of 4 – Hell On Earth

Script: Mac Walters
Art: Eduardo Francisco
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Anthony Palumbo
Alternate Cover: Mike Hawthorne
Letters: Michael Heisler
Published By: Dark Horse

The next installment into the Mass Effect universe takes place in 2186, days after Earth’s Reaper invasion. Life on Earth, as well as life on other planets are moving en mass to the Citadel in hopes of finding a safe haven. We soon see James Vega and quickly learn some of his back story including his tumultuous relationship with his dad and how that impacts James who is trying to make a better life for himself. His father seems to be standing in his way and James’ loyalty to his dad is making it hard for him to move on. His dad knows exactly what he is doing to James and doesn’t seem to care. After making some tough decisions and with some help and advice from his Uncle Emilio, James takes control and changes his life forever.

Mass Effect: Homeworlds is a four-part series that will focus on one character per issue. Each issue will be written by the writer who wrote the character in the game. I like this format, it gives the reader some insight into the stories of these characters. The dialog was good and the story itself was compelling. The art, like all the previous Mass Effect comics is great. This was a very good, interesting read and I’m excited to see which character is up next!

Release Date: April 25th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

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

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 – The Art Of The Mass Effect Universe

Captions By: Casey Hudson & Derek Watts & Chris Hepler
Published By: Dark Horse

This very big, very comprehensive Mass Effect hardcover art book breaks down into sections for each game, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and finally Mass Effect 3. As the Mass Effect series will soon be releasing the final installment, Mass Effect 3 in March, this book takes a look at the entire series, gathering everything in one place for the die-hard fan. What is really awesome about this collection is that with the insider captions on each picture you also get the concept art. I always love the prototype art because it really gives you a peek at the process to get to the final product. Sometimes the concept art is not too far off from the end result but sometimes they are completely different and that is always really amazing to see. Nothing is lacking in this collection. Characters, ships, environments and weapons, yep, they’re all here. This is an absolute must have for all Mass Effect fans!

Release Date: February 8th, 2012
Price: $39.99

Overall:★★★★★ 

Overall: 5 stars

Preview the book here on Dark Horse Digital or check our mini gallery below!

Review – Mass Effect: Invasion 4 of 4 – At Death’s Door!

Story: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Alternate Cover: Paul Renaud
Published By: Dark Horse

Paul Renaud Cover

In this final installment of Invasion the action is in full force, gearing everyone up for the March release of Mass Effect 3. The issue starts us in the middle of the ongoing battle for Omega and never stops. The Illusive Man’s Colonel Ashe, General Petrovsky and their troops are now falling apart and dying left and right due to the team that has assembled under Aria’s command. General Petrovsky devises a plan that he is sure will work, but he underestimates Aria’s intelligence. Super angry and super determined, Aria refuse to back down and she devises her own plan. After a giant battle, a few history lessons and a lot of lives lost we are left wondering who will ultimately control the coveted Omega. I think it’s safe to say that Aria is a fierce opponent and will stop at nothing to get what she wants!

Like the previous issues of Mass Effect: Invasion, this one is full of massive amounts of action. Even though it is the same length as previous issues, it felt like it ended fast because of how gripping it was. As I was reading it I found myself fully immersed and really didn’t want it to end. This series has been an awesome lead up to the Mass Effect 3 game release and it will be fantastic to continue the story when the game finally comes out. The art, dialog and story are all top-notch and the ending was not exactly like I has expected which was a nice surprise. This series is a must read for Mass Effect fans, so if you haven’t picked it up yet I suggest you do before March.

Massimo Carnevale Cover
Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 

Review – Mass Effect: Invasion #3 – Omega Under Seige! Part 3 of 4

Story: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Alternate Cover: Paul Renaud
Published By: Dark Horse

Massimo Carnevale Cover

Omega’s defenses are down, unmanned and vulnerable, it seems that everyone and everything is using this opportunity to gain control of Omega.  Colonel Ashe and his men, at the direction of the Illusive Man, are now hoping to act fast and take over Omega before anyone else has the time to regroup and step in.  Aria is still imprisoned by Oleg and is unable to use any of her powers to escape.  After an important conversation with Oleg, Aria proves that she is not just physically powerfully but also mentally powerful.  She succeeds in planting seeds of doubt in Oleg’s head about the Illusive Man and Oleg’s loyalty to him.  Even though she is imprisoned in such a way that her powers are stifled, she is still a badass and manages to find a way to escape.  As Aria makes her way back to Omega we learn that Colonel Ashe and his crew have pissed everyone on Omega off so bad that they have successfully made all the warring groups come together in unity to destroy the Cerberus crew.  Will they succeed under Aria’s direction or will the Illusive Man come out on top?  We will find out in the next and last issue of this series!

This issue is very good, I enjoyed it a lot more than the last issue.  There is more action and the dialog moves along at a better pace.  The dialog and story progression also helps to make many of the characters, like Oleg and Ashe, deeper and more interesting.  The art, as always, is great; however, a little more facial detail might bring the emotions that the characters are feeling to life just a bit more.  This issue is definitely recommended but if you are new to the series, do yourself a favor and start with #1, jumping into the series in the middle would be impossible to follow!

Paul Renaud Cover

Release Date: December 21st, 2011

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

Mass Effect: Invasion #2 “Nobody &!#%$ With Aria” Part 2 of 4

Massimo Carnevale Cover

Story: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Alternate Cover: Paul Renaud
Published By: Dark Horse

Continuing from Invasion #1 Aria is still attempting to hold off the incoming enemies and shows no signs of backing down. She commands with an iron fist and proves time and time again that weakness and fear will not be tolerated. Her harshness works for her because those under her command live terrified of her. Even though fear is a prominent feeling of her followers there is a definite feeling of respect there too. It seems clear that they trust and believe that defending Omega is her priority, since it is theirs also, the relationship works.

Even though she is a stay, fight and die if you must type, her stay and fight attitude doesn’t have the impact that she had hoped for (she’s losing the battle) so we see Aria finally have to put her faith in another person. As they try to regroup and figure out how to win what appears as a losing battle they are continually hit with a barrage of unforeseen circumstances. After a particularly tough fight we see exactly why Aria is as feared as she is! However, celebration over a mini battle win is short-lived, many are vying for control of Omega and the demise of Aria, the issue ends with Aria’s fate in limbo. I do think it’s safe to say though that Aria will not be taken down easily.

Paul Renaud Cover

This issue was good. I enjoyed #1 more, it felt more action packed as opposed to this one which seemed slower. That is not to say that it was not enjoyable, it was, but there was some filler in the middle. The end however was very good and alone has me waiting for #3 so I can find out what’s going to happen. The art is very good, I especially LOVE the cover. I would definitely recommend this issue, although I do hope that #3 has more action and progresses the story faster!

Release Date: November 16th, 2011

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

Dark Horse Comics November updates

Dark Horse Comics has been on a roll of as of late, today we have a ton of new release information to pass along though.

First up! Dragon Age the digital comic series, we’re getting a 6 part event starting in February 2012 with issues priced at $0.99 each, quite a steal if they stack up to the quality of the Mass Effect releases so far. Readers will be able to follow Alistair, Isabela, and Varric on their latest adventure to Antiva, a land ruled by some of the deadliest foes they’ll face. More information is coming and we should have a preview sometime in January for the book. In the meantime, check out the current art for the book below.

Next we have a new project to be announced next week by Caitlín R. Kiernan of such fame as The Red Tree, Silk, A is for Alien and more. We only have the teaser art for that as well but the image title leads one to ponder if it’ll be a graphic adaptation of her work Alabaster… Check it out with the Mass Effect art and speculate for yourselves.

What happens when Nate Cosby, Evan Shaner and Rus Wooton walk into a room and start cranking out a comic? We’ll find out in Dark Horse Presents #9 with Buddy Cop and more. For those scratching their heads, Nate and Evan worked on The Storyteller and Rus Wooton is from Walking Dead fame. Expect some epic stories and twists in that issue when it drops in February as well.

Finally, Dark Horse Digital is going into overdrive, catch the release list for this month below. Goon fans can rejoice as they crank up the releases for that series too.

Dark Horse Digital release list (November 2011)

Release Date: 11/02/2011

Trigun vol. 1 & 2

BPRD: 1947 #1-5

BPRD Hell on Earth: Russia #2

Crying Freeman vol. 1 & 2

Hellsing vol. 1-3

Lady Snowblood vol. 1

Lone Wolf and Cub vol. 10

Old Boy vol. 1 & 2

Path of the Assassin vol. 1

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #3

Star Wars Legacy #13 – 15

Chimichanga

The Goon #26

Star Wars: Crimson Empire III: Lost Empire #1

 

Release Date: 11/09/2011

House of Night #1

Baltimore: The Curse Bells #3

Conan the Cimmerian #13 – 16

Gear School #2

Lady Snowblood vol. 2

Orchid #2

Paradox Entertainment Presents: Kult #4

Serenity: Downtime and Other Half

Star Wars: Empire #1 – 4

Star Wars: Boba Fett: Overkill

The End League #1 – 4

The Goon #27

 

Release Date: 11/16/2011

Mass Effect: Invasion #2

Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest #2

Gigantic #1 – 5

Hellboy: Weird Tales #1-4

Kull: The Cat and the Skull #2

Dark Horse Presents # 5

Samurai Executioner vol. 6

Star Wars: Purge #2

Star Wars: Dark Times #1-5

The Goon #28

The Occultist #1

Fallout: New Vegas

 

Release Date: 11/23/2011

Usagi Yojimbo # 141 (200th Issue)

BPRD: The Ectoplasmic Man

Conan: Road of Kings #10

Groo: Hell on Earth #1-4

Hellsing vol. 4

Path of the Assassin vol. 2 & 3

Rex Mundi: Book Three

Star Wars Adventures: Boba Fett and the Ship of Fear

Star Wars Invasion #0-5

Star Wars: Invasion: Revelations #5

Star Wars: Knight Errant: Deluge #4

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #19-24

The Goon #29

Trigun Maximum vol. 4

 

Release Date: 11/30/2011

Hellboy: House of the Living Dead

Color of Rage

Conan the Cimmerian #17-20

Hellboy: House of the Living Dead

Star Wars Adventures: The Will of Darth Vader

Star Wars Legacy #17-20

The End League #5-9

The Goon #30

Review – Mass Effect: Invasion Part 1 of 4

Story: Marc Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Massimo Carnevale
25th Anniversary Cover: Paul Renaud
NYCC Exclusive Cover: Ben Huen
Published By: Dark Horse

Massimo Carnevale Cover

Mass Effect fans rejoice, while you may have months until Mass Effect 3 is released, you now have a little something to tide you over in the mean time.  Mass Effect: Invasion has been highly anticipated and the wait is finally over.  The comic has a decisive Mass Effect feel to it,  nothing has been lost in the translation.  The art is very good, as is the dialog, however, the dialog at time times can be just a little confusing, mainly because there is just so much going on.  This is an excellent introduction into a limited series.  The entire comic from start to finish is a fun, fast paced adventure full of anticipation.  There are some slow points but for the most part it is non-stop action.

Invasion follows Aria T’loak, who is very much a dictator type, and her mission to defend Omega from an invasion of nasties who are threatening all her and her people have fought for.  We learn of Reaper technology and what that exactly entails.  We see those who will be working against her and those she has to make allies.  Aria’s people believe in her but often times it seems that they do so more out of fear than loyalty.  Either way they have her back and refuse to go down without a fight.  In the end we see a character who is planning a coup against Aria and her mission.  Mass Effect: Invasion ends in such a way that leaves the reader wanting more.

This comic is recommended whether you are a Mass Effect groupie or someone who has never heard of it before today and just likes sci-fi. It’s a strong, good, enjoyable read!

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

 

EA / Bioware announce Dragon Age 2 for PS3/360/PC

Today RPG fans can go wild, Bioware brings official confirmation that Dragon Age 2 will be coming in March of 2011 to the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The latest story will take players into the role of Hawke a Blight survivor and hero set to transform the world.

Details are vague on the changes to the game for the sequel, noting only that the game will deliver the same epic story and a new bar for action. The key of course is that they still wish to keep original fans happy and familiar with the sequel instead of jumping beyond the target. New combat systems, improved graphics and storytelling are just some of the foundations to be focused on.

From EA/Bioware:

Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a penniless refugee who rises to power to become the single most important character in the world of Dragon Age. Known to be a survivor of the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, the legend around Hawke’s rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumor. Featuring an all-new story spanning 10 years, players will help tell that tale by making tough moral choices, gathering the deadliest of allies, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history. The way you play will write the story of how the world is changed forever.

For more information, keep an eye on the Dragon Age website / twitter / facebook pages.

Continue reading EA / Bioware announce Dragon Age 2 for PS3/360/PC