Review – King Conan: The Conqueror Part 1 of 6

Writer: Timothy Truman
Artist: Tomas Giorello
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Cover Artist: Tomas Giorello
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

After nearly getting the jewel from Beloso in the Hour of the dragon 22198Arc, Conan after some time has now tracked Beloso and the jewel down to Messantia. .[spoiler show=”Story Spoilers” hide=”Story Spoilers”]The kingdom of Messantia is know for its trade and Conan has figure that if Beloso is to sell the jewel it would be here, so in order to find more info about Beloso’s whereabouts he sneaks into Publio’s villa and demands him to help find Beloso, Publio agrees to help Conan but not before secretly stating he’ll get rid of the cimmerian once and for all. At the same time a group of assassins set to capture or kill Conan have arrive, when publio returns he tells him that Beloso is sleeping in the house of Servio. When night falls Conan makes his way to Beloso’s room, when he arrives Beloso is laying dead with the mark of Set on his chest, Conan comes to realization that someone else is also tracking the jewel and maybe still be around, After noticing a ship leaving the bay Conan tries to follow but is confronted by some men Publio paid to take his life, outnumbered Conan is knocked out by the men and is left for dead. Meanwhile the assassins have confronted publio about Conan and where he may be hiding, At first publio tries to lie saying that he sent Conan to the house of servio but when one of  the men he sent to take out Conan returns and tells him and the assassins that they have killed Conan and his body lays at the seaport, the assassins then make Publio and the man show them where the body is laid. When they get to the port Conan’s body is no longer there and they notice a ship leaving, the issue ends with heavily wounded Conan rowing away on the boat and the assassins vowing to follow Conan to wherever seas he may go even to hell if needed.—————————[/spoiler]

The Conqueror starts off fast from the jump, Truman doesn’t waste anytime getting into it. The pacing is extremely fast, mostly due to the fact that its a continuation story, so character development and other things that involves a new arc aren’t really explored feature in this issue, So new readers may want to catch up on some back issues in order to figure what’s going on. that aside King Conan: The Conqueror Part 1 is a typical Conan issue, and i mean that in a good way.

Timothy Truman’s King Conan arcs are completely different from Brian Woods, While woods likes to show more emotions in his version of Conan, Truman keeps Conan at his purest and true savagery nature which in actuality is Conan’s true character. Artist and Colorist Tomas Giorello, Jose Villarrubia are back and bring that consistency we all come to expect from the both of them.

As expected in a first issue nothing big really happened, Turman uses The Conqueror Part 1 as a setup for the next issue so expect more in the next issue.

Links: Preview | BuyNow
Release Date: February 26, 2014

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

Review – Conan The Barbarian – The Nightmare Of The Shallows Part 1

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Massimo Carnevale Cover

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

This new adventure for Conan and Belit starts in the city of lanthe,Ophir a place with vast mountain ranges and forests that is said to have Ancient beasts leaving within the shadows. It also seems to be a city for the wealthy, with the rich living up top where domes and towers that has ruby rooftops; the lower part of the city is for those who seek out more personal pleasures. As Conana and Belit enjoy the lavish lifestyle that they’ve built form themselves and unknown me comes to and presents to them a pill with is called the “Yellow Lotus”, he promise that it will grant their minds pleasures and experiences that they have never had before. A reluctant Conan declines but is quickly convince by Belit to take the Yellow Lotus and enjoy it with her, as they sit with their eyes closed.

In a dreamlike state Conan and Belit are running through the woods, she talks about how when she was a little girl the woods frighten her, at the same time Conan with bow in hand ask Belit how did they get there and how he’d get a bow, as they continue to walk deep in the forest, they come across Argus and its Captain Tito and the rest of his crew form Messantia are all slaughter and hung form trees.

This where things get weird, Conan and Belit are soon attacked by an unknown enemy, as arrows rain towards them a undead member of Argus talks to Conan about how his guilt is consuming him, But the switches to him and Belit laying and bed talking when all of sudden their unborn son comes rushing in the bedroom shocking Conan. Then it jumps to Conan in the snowy woods ready to fight the great bear god Mathghamhain, the fight ends quickly with Conan fatally striking the Bear god down. As the corpse lays next to him it begins to talk to him and it says things t similar  to what the undead man form before had said to him.

The issue ends with Conan and Belit who are still in a dreamlike state are now at the beach and swimming peacefully underwater in the ocean of The Devils Shallow, and once again they come across what looks like a bunch of dead pirates and their ships.

Final Thoughts: Let me start by saying for a first issue it has very good writing The Nightmare Of The Shallows Part 1 dives into the mind of Conan and how every adventure he and Belit had has affected him in some way shape or form, Brian Wood once again brings out another emotion Conan’s not use to dealing with and that’s guilt. Wood touches upon this issue multiple times throughout the comic with past characters he has encountered. You can expect the pacing and flow to be the same as his previous arcs such as Queen Of The Black Coast and Border Fury.

Davide Gianfelice is the artist for this arc, his style is similar to Becky Cloonan in that it features more heavy handed illustrations for each panel, while its not highly detail it is easy to follow and understand.

In the end The Nightmare Of The Shallows Part 1is a good start for what looks like an arc that my have a few twist and turns in the future, and that alone makes it worth picking up.

Links: Preview | Pre-Order
Release Date:  May 15, 2013

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
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

Links: Preview | Order (Digital) | Order (Print)

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

Review – Spike #1 A Dark Place Part 1 of 5

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
After deciding that he can’t just sit around and wait for Buffy to call, Spike jumps in his roach mobile and takes off for the calm and serene vacation spot known as the dark side of the moon. In an attempt to gather his thoughts and clear his mind with various libations, Spike and his bug crew are on their way. Once arriving on the moon though Spike can’t seem to shake his super sad mood and the memories of Buffy seem to be everywhere. Spike’s bug friends refuse to sit back and watch him wallow in his misery so they devise a plan to get him back on track, which works, for a while anyway. Meanwhile, we learn that just like on Earth the moon has its own group of nasties with bad intentions. We quickly learn what those intentions are and all hell breaks loose. Will Spike and his bug army ever get off the moon or are they destined to become space junk?

It has been no secret that I am a huge Spike fan, so truth be told I was extremely excited about this series but also worried about how it would turn out. I first have to begin with Jenny Frison’s cover, it is spectacular in every way, everything she does is always amazing but she somehow out did herself with this one. Victor Gischler’s writing is superb. He captures the nuances of Spike perfectly. There is a bunch of funny, but there is also the torment and pain which really encapsulates what Spike is all about. The entire team working on this series is top-notch, from the cover, to the writing, to the art inside everything is really amazing. This was a great intro issue and Spike’s bugs really add a nice touch with their oddness and full personalities. If you are anything like me, fear not, this is a great issue and an excellent addition to the ever-growing Buffy cannon.

Release Date: August 22nd, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Paper) | Preview

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

Review – Conan The Barbarian #7 – Border Fury Part 1

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Massimo Carnevale

While recent Aventures in Messantia haven driven them closer together, it also brought a new path of uncertainly for the barbarian and Queen of the Black Coast. Now in Cimmeria the homeland of the her beloved, a place where her status as the black queen is unknown and not respected or feared…

This adventure starts in the present day with Conan and a blind Belit on the run from unknown warriors in the snowy high mountains of Cimmeria. As they take cover, Conan promises Belit that she will make it out alive. From there, it jumps back weeks where the two first leave the Tigress and make way through the Northern lands until reaching the valleys, hills, and the Dark wooded under skies of Cimmeria.[spoiler show=”Story Spoilers” hide=”Story Spoilers”] At the village of Duthil, Conan and Belit are greeted by his mother who shows some bitterness towards her son, she tells him that he must meet up with the elders to discuss recent events that have taken place. An angry Belit question’s his mother asking why does she have so ill of feelings toward her son. The Cimmerian woman replies sharply telling Belit that woman here conduct themselves differently then where she is from. The next morning Conan meets up with the elders to talk about an unknown man who is using his name as he causes havoc in local villages, the conversation ends with Conan agreeing to rid Chimmeria of a man who would tarnish his name and kill his own fellow Cimmerians. Meanwhile, Belit seems to be have trouble adjusting and has a brief confrontation with some of the villagers, to which Conan intervenes and promises her that if she stands with him and helps find the man who is dishonoring his name that he’ll do the same for her. Scene changes, we see a village being burned down and its inhabitants captured and murdered by unknown warriors dressed in black armor. As the men round-up the rest of the villagers, a man who looks exactly like Conan is sitting on a horse and proclaims himself as Conan

—————————[/spoiler]

Final Thoughts: Border Fury Part#1 is filled with narrative  dialog’s, something I’ve noticed a lot from writer Brian Wood. Wood likes to script his tales in third person omniscient narration and in my opinion this format works for all of Conan’s adventures. It gives you sense that Wood himself is telling the tale and guiding the reader. One main focus for this issue is Belit, it seems the Queen of the Black coast is having a hard time adjusting to the non-piracy life and its quickly taking a toll on her mentally. Like Conan in the Argos Deception and Queen of the Black Coast adventures she is struggling emotionally. Wood is doing a role reversal with the two in Border Fury tale, which has sparked my interest greatly, I am waiting to see how this adventure unfolds and if Belit can keep it together. Artist Becky Cloonan is brought back and she brings a significantly darker and unique art style to this new tale.

Links: Preview | Pre-Order
Release Date: August 08, 2012

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

Review – Star Wars – Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral #1 of 5

Script: John Jackson Miller
Pencils: Andrea Mutti
Inks: Pierluigi Baldassini
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Paul Renaud
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

On our latest journey across the stars we come across the planet Kesh. A world cast into darkness 2000 years ago when a freighter for the Sith Lord Naga Sadow came upon it in an unexpected manner. Instead of falling to ruin, this group stood up and forged their will and became survivors or even better as the Tribe.

Naturally it’s not all so dramatic, we take a focus on Officer Takara and two youth seeking to make some drama out of a celebratory event and the events that lead them into a grander situation. The thing is, Kesh is still divided among natives and Sith as they were the ones to enslave the natives and use their intellectual and engineering superiority to plant themselves above the rest so there’s a bit of anger and general rage sitting around still.

In the story we see a build up of this tension and around Takara who stands on the Sith side as an enforcer or supporter of the law. Her upbringing has never left her to question much until meeting a person who defied all she knew and that’s where our story picks up. Breaking out of the bubble and challenging a new world we see these two crash skulls and take off into the unknown even if the other isn’t exactly crazy about the idea. Did I mention the primary city that both of these guys reside in is pretty much the only main establishment and they know absolutely nothing of what they’re getting into? Well there’s that also.

It’s a bit of a relaxation from the current Star Wars story lines that have been going on lately, everything always so dead serious and tense. While you can feel for the characters in Spiral you don’t sense an immediate danger to their well-being to ponder how they’ll get by or if they’ll even be alive in the next issue. Miller has a fun story coming out and I hope it stays just as entertaining for the next 4 issues.

For those curious about the art, Mutti develops interesting atmospheres that lend themselves to the Star Wars universe but more importantly to a world that would inhabitable to Humans as well given they were able to survive this long. Atiyeh develops color in the world that varies not only from climate to climate but throughout the general moods shown in the panels as well, although I’m still in awe over the palette used to develop Takara’s red hair as it just glows.

Release Date: August 8, 2012

Links: Preview | Pre-Order

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

Review – Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #11 Guarded Part 1

Script: Andrew Chambliss
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Nathan Massengill
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Phil Noto
Alternate Cover: Georges Jeanty and Michelle Madsen
Created By: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse

Now that Buffy’s mind and body are back together in human form, it’s time for her to get back to reality and figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. Enter Kennedy, she’s got a job for Buffy, which Buffy accepts immediately in her never-ending quest to be a “grown-up.” As quickly as Buffy begins her new job, her inability to be led rears its ugly head. Buffy is used to being in charge but now she’s supposed to follow, which, surprise surprise she is not too keen on! Buffy soon learns that maybe she should listen to others, even if it means no longer listening to her Slayer instincts. Since she is the Chosen One we can expect that this new lesson she learned won’t change her mind for too long and her new career may be short-lived. A demon approaches her for help and off she goes. Unfortunately, Buffy finds that her one true calling, the thing that really sets her apart from everyone else, slaying, is not as needed by society as she thought. After a little bit of soul-searching and career consideration, she decides to get her job back with Kennedy which may soon have her facing a past SUPER big bad!

This issue was solid. The ending alludes to an exciting big bad that could really potentially cause some big trouble. As per usual the art and writing were great. I’m not a huge Kennedy fan so seeing her wasn’t anything great for me but I’m sure some people will be happy with this. The only complaint I have in this issue (and Season 9 in general) is that Buffy sometimes comes off as kind of a twit. Buffy is a strong woman who has survived countless apocalypses, pure evil, she’s died…a lot and yet sometimes it seems as if she is written like she’s 15 and new to this whole situation. In these instances, she lacks confidence, maturity and experience. I love Buffy and I love these characters and I think the stories that are being written are for the most part excellent but I do wish Buffy’s mentality and overall essence was portrayed in more of a linear fashion (as linear as a Slayer in her 20’s can!). My tangent is over and I feel fully confident in saying that while there have been issues in this series it is still a must read and it’s definitely worthwhile to pick up.

Release Date: July 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order (Jeanty) | Pre-Order (Noto) | Preview

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

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 2 Hits #1 On The Charts!

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In an amazing show of demand for Dark Horse’s latest graphic novel, Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Promise Part 2 soared to the top of the BookScan charts and the New York Times bestseller list last week!

Written by Gene Luen Yang, author of the National Book Award–nominated American Born ChineseAvatar: The Last Airbender—The Promise Part 2 follows the Airbender television series and ties directly to the brand-new smash-hit television series The Legend of Korra!

Ever since the conclusion of Avatar: The Last Airbender, millions of fans have been hungry for more—and it’s finally here! The Promise rejoins Aang and friends for exciting new adventures, beginning with a face-off against the Fire Nation that threatens to throw the world into another war, testing all of Aang’s powers and ingenuity!

Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Promise Parts 1 and 2 are must-have additions for any Airbender fan! This is the latest release in an ongoing partnership between Nickelodeon and Dark Horse to bring you the very best in Airbender books.

Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Promise Parts 1 and 2 are on sale now!

Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Promise Part 3 is on sale September 26, 2012!

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Review – Angel & Faith #11 Family Reunion Part 1

Script: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover: Steve Morris
Alternate Cover: Rebekah Isaacs with Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published By: Dark Horse
One flat in England just got a little more crowded. Faith’s (Giles) house is full, Giles Great Aunts, Lavinia and Sophie are still making themselves comfy and now everyone’s favorite red-headed witch has just landed in town. Willow quickly lets Angel know that she’s privy to his resurrecting Giles plan and just as quickly lets him know that she thinks it’s a bad idea. The twist though is that Willow, on her own mission to restore magic to the world, needs Angel’s help and agrees to help him as long as he returns the favor. Angel is leery to help her, making Willow none too happy to which she immediately tells (and shows) him so! After an outburst or two, Willow succeeds and the group is on their way to a fresh locale where they meet up with another old favorite. After some pleasantries their mission begins! Will Willow be able to restore magic to the world and will there be any casualties along the way?

The writing in this issue is fantastic. It harkens back to “Angel” and really comes across genuine and completely in line with the characters we know and love. It ends with suspense and leaves the reader with a lot of anticipation for the next issue. The art, as always, is great. All the feelings and emotions jump out of the page. The new arc/storyline and the special guests are amazing! I found myself completely immersed in what was going on, bummed when it ended and anxious for the next issue. Pretty much everything you could want in a comic. There’s not much more to say except that I absolutely LOVED this issue and this new arc has the makings of being the best yet!

Release Date: June 27th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

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