Dark Horse Digital gives away One Million Free Comics For its Second Anniversary!

 

 

 

 

onemillionfree

Now that the dust has settled on Dark Horse Digital’s incredibly successful two-year-anniversary promotion, the company is pleased to announce that it gave away a million free digital comics!

As part of the celebration of the second year of the company’s digital initiative and proprietary storefront, fifty free single-issue comics were made available for only forty-eight hours. In that time, thousands of fans took advantage of the offer and downloaded their favorite Dark Horse titles, to the tune of a million copies!

“The success of our digital promotion illustrates the growing reach of digital comics, which we believe are an important element in the recent resurgence of physical comic book and graphic novel sales,” said Dark Horse’s president and founder, Mike Richardson.

Dark Horse Comics launched its standalone comic-reader app and digital store on April 27, 2011, and has received incredible support from the continuously growing digital-comics fan base.

Since then, Dark Horse Digital has grown significantly in numbers and readership by featuring its most popular and best-selling titles, including Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity,Hellboy, Avatar, and Mass Effect, as well as exclusive digital-first series, such as Falling Skies, Prototype 2, and Dragon Age. Dark Horse Digital also provides sales and discounts for its reader base on a weekly basis. It currently offers thousands of comics and continues to increase the digital availability of the Dark Horse back catalog.

Dark Horse Digital is available through all modern web browsers and features cloud storage through both the Google Play and iOS apps.

Review – Prototype 2 #6 – The Labyrinth Part 2

Writer: Dan Jolley
Pencils: Victor Drujiniu
Inks: Jonas Trindade
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover: Victor Drujiniu, Jonas Trindade and Michael Atiyeh
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

On the move Sergeant Heller springs into action to get away from this testing complex, determined to see family again and to know freedom once more. He scrapes up the allies he can and makes a break for it with everything on the line. No mutant or enemy will stand in his way and with that energy we launch into the final book as Prototype 2 launches to retail tomorrow.

We learn a little more about Heller in Part 2 of this story, he’s a one man army when it comes to survival, his reaction speed is quick and his intensity allows him to stand up even in the worst odds, as a character he’s a warrior. As with any noble figure there’s the test in extreme cases like this, what lengths will he go to reach the outside and how far does his humanity go? As for the rest of the book, it’s short-lived and a quick whiplash moment that sweeps Heller around and leaves him unsure of what just happened.

The Labyrinth is a weaker closing story than one would anticipate for a series like this, while there is some action and development for Heller as a character, we’re left with a handful of moral compass choices and family memories. It wasn’t the high point of the 3 stories that hit, mainly because of the fast introduction and decisions made for the closure. It’s a transition leaving you to wonder the rest of the story that Prototype 2 will bring when it arrives but for those who have bought into this mini-series it might leave a bitter taste after these last issues.

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

Review – Prototype 2 #5 – The Labyrinth Part 1

Writer: Dan Jolley
Pencils: Victor Drujiniu
Inks: Jonas Trindade
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Victor Drujiniu, Jonas Trindade and Michael Atiyeh
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The final chapter of Prototype 2 is here and we get a peek at the main character behind it all, Sergeant James Heller, a man who on patrol blanked out and found himself deep underground and subject to a new series of tests. This final installment closes out the gates before launching into the campaign of Prototype 2 this week, with no time to spare lets jump in and see what Dan Jolley has written for our last adventure in this connecting series.

Heller finds himself in a mysterious complex, the details are vague but one thing is clear. He’s on his own and his memories and wishes will be the only thing that drives him forward to survive this experience. Unfortunately much of the story rests on the actual survival instinct within his cell and his resourcefulness within this scenario over all else, flashing between his time with his family and present day. It’s a short burst at 12 pages but at 99 cents one would be hard pressed to demand more from it right now. For those hoping to see this as a critical connection point between the game and the story it’s hard to pitch this one, unlike the first two storylines, this doesn’t do very much to outline about Blackwatch, the city or the active story.

As an instlalment it’s much weaker than the previous books in the series, one has to hope that part of of the Labyrinth helps elaborate this story a bit more and makes it enjoyable as a connection. As it stands it’s relatively lacking in comparison to the rest of the saga so far.

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

Review – Prototype 2 #4 – The Survivors Part 2

Writer: Dan Jolley
Artist: Chris Staggs
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Chris Staggs with Michael Atiyeh
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Prototype 2 The Survivors Part 1 left us with an odd taste, jumping into a completely new story and another set of dilemmas to navigate through in the pages of the book. The survival group goes on a fast paced journey from isolation and self-preservation into full action trying to spring themselves loose from the heavily contaminated Red Zone of the city, given some bad luck they end up crashing short of their promised land and wind up in the Yellow Zone.

Part 2 picks up right after this, we see a darker truth to improvements of the Yellow Zone, yes people are alive but they’re still surrounded with mutants and there’s a bad air about the situation as a whole with what Blackwatch is really doing for this entire situation. The group bands together again on a final journey, the escape to the Green Zone where they can break free once again, unfortunately luck in the Prototype Universe is clearly not on their side. The situation feels lighter than ever as they execute on their plan, soaring above the patch of freedom below, soon to be their home thanks to persistence and drive. Well, almost. Fate has a different plan in mind and Conrad didn’t even see it coming, we’re left to wait for the game to come out or possibly this next set of installments to help clear up all these loose ends and get some closure.

The art is a slight improvement for The Survivors Part 2, shape shifting isn’t nearly as common although the fish eyes still tend to pop up with Conrad making for some odd moments. Overall it was a style shift and it has to be accounted for, it’s more an issue that across a series there is some level of continued style expected as well. Design did improve and color delivered the drama with moments like Conrad resigning himself for the good of those who he wished to protect the most. As a whole though it’s getting tough to live with all these cliffhanger sections, we see a sweeping rush of conflict and hope and then complete hole to be filled by the game or another installment.

If you’re following the digital releases be sure to get your issues in pairs or the series will not make much sense, one can only guess what the final arc will bring before the release of the game.

Release date: March 28, 2012

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

Review – Prototype 2 #3 – The Survivors Part 1

Writer: Dan Jolley
Artist: Chris Staggs
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Chris Staggs with Michael Atiyeh
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Alex has set his path in the Prototype world, issue 3 moves us back to the contamination zone with 3 new souls, they’re in the heat of the infection in the Red Zone. Blackwatch is in full force and the battles on the street are life or death struggles. Conrad, Marcie and Ami Levin are the survivors hoping to make  a break from the contamination and purge zone into some level of freedom and safety from this madness. We get a dose of the marshal law holding down the zones and the lengths that anyone would go to in escaping a daily life of not knowing if there would be another day.

[spoiler show=”Show Issue 3 Spoilers” hide=”Hide Issue 3 Spoilers”]Conrad is holding hope that his wife may find his notes and her way back to his arms, writing letters along the way documenting their struggle and stress. Marcie is relatively shallow for information and Ami seems to be the most vocal about the events acting as a biblical judgement day for humanity. Blackwatch in the Red Zone puts the living at the bottom of the priority list, as ground zero it seems as if anyone found there is suspected to be infected and must be terminated without exemption. The trio is able to execute their plan to limited success, instead of total freedom they crash-land in the Yellow Zone leaving us to wait for more. These zones actually play a key role in Prototype 2 and it’s interesting to see a little about the drama within them coming forward before the launch of the game. Hopefully the story ties all of this and the character swaps together though so we can make sense of it all by the launch.[/spoiler]

 

While Jolley is able to drive an intense story even without Alex, the art shift from Diaz to Staggs is strong enough to notice, there’s almost a struggle in The Survivors. Marcie tends to shape shift throughout the book as does Ami, even Conrad has many morphing moments that break down the immersion. While the color and ink hold up under the stress it’s a hard switch to make between the two issues, hopefully there’s a chance for Staggs to rebound in the event The Survivors ends up being another 2 part installment.

Release date: March 14, 2012

Link: Prototype Digital Releases

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

Review – Prototype 2 #2 – The Anchor Part 2

Writer: Dan Jolley
Artist: Paco Diaz
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Paco Diaz with Michael Atiyeh
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

After having his solitude broken, Alex ventures to save the ones he’s bonded with in his snowy escape. Unfortunately what he’s sought to protect might not be as pure as he thought, in fact it’s only weight to his struggle to bond with humanity after being evolved. The story loses speed in issue 2, focusing on histories and going into detail about how Alex tries to get by in these infiltration situations while going full circle on the story of everyone involved. In this issue we figure out why Alex is screwed for finding redemption in humanity, we also see the outcome of this mini plot and unfortunately while it was starting to get good we’re moving to other areas in this bridge series.

[spoiler show=”Show Issue 2 Spoilers” hide=”Hide Issue 2 Spoilers”]Alex has his crusade cut short, learning more about Flint he realizes the man he seeks to protect is an incarnation of evil, torturing and destroying people for greed. The men he’s been disassembling in the compound are small fries compared to the retired kingpin he was residing with. The impact drives Alex over the edge and sends him on revenge directed in all ways, minus Autumn, he has to save her from the horrors that her father brought forward during his time and the corruption within him. Unfortunately Alex realizes he’s entirely too optimistic about humanity and those he thought he was close with. The dawn of judgement comes forward and few if any will escape the wrath.[/spoiler]

The Anchor Part 2, continues vivid artwork and graphic detail in each panel, the melee assaults and action sequences drive the intensity of the story. The color and ink keep the tones limited to the moment with night sequences, explosions and wilderness teams without bleeding into a single pattern. Overall it’s a great read to grab for 99 cents especially if you’re interested in a mini-series to hold you over for the next month.

Release Date: February 29th, 2012

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

Review – Prototype 2 #1 – The Anchor Part 1

Writer: Dan Jolley
Artist: Paco Diaz
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Paco Diaz with Michael Atiyeh
Designer: David Nestelle
Assistant Editor: Brendan Wright
Editor: Dave Marshall
Publisher: Mike Richardson
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Twelve months since the events of Prototype we step into a mid-story to connect the past arc to the future game, it’s a confusing time for Alex Mercer but we get a taste of the struggle he’s been trying to cope with since the release of the Blacklight virus in New York. Savior to the city or not for stopping a nuclear blast he’s at odds with the massive destruction he unleashed getting there with untold numbers of slayings.

Alex takes us into Part 1 of The Anchor to share his take on the events since then, a search for himself or what he could even call himself as he wanders the world hoping to reconnect with the human race again. Unfortunately he finds more questions than answers and his own resolution comes into question, why is he driving so hard to attach himself to this world and what does this help or support actually do to help these people? His travels bring questions of greed and self-preservation over the love of neighbors, friends or a community, that even in the worst of cases he still fails to see that redemption he desires from the humans to gather together and rise up as one.

All is not lost for Alex, as the title indicates, there is some hope. In seclusion he finds a new take on life that drives him back to that hope for restarting his life again without all the blood on his hands that he had grown accustomed to. Unfortunately fate could not be so kind to allow for such things and it all starts to go south, Alex finds that even in the most removed locations the corruption still finds a way to reach him in some form as those that he now holds dear face threats and extermination.

As a digital release the book is short, 14 pages including the cover work leave a lot to be desired given the shifts from Prototype to Prototype 2, the art is solid and detailed but the plot development doesn’t have time to move so casually. When hitting the final page I had to double-check to be sure that was really all there was in this first chapter, for 99 cents it is hard to hold such a thing against it, the only gripe would be the end of the issue hitting like a brick wall as the pace quickens once again. Fortunately the series is on a 2 week release schedule to keep everyone glued in for more.

Release date: February 15, 2012

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