review

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★★ 
Tim Seeley Cover

Review – Ex Sanguine #3 – A Romance between a Vampire and a Serial Killer

Script by: Joshua Scott Emmons and Tim Seeley
Art by: Tim Seeley
Colors by: Carlos Badilla
Letters by: CRANK!
Cover by: Tim Seeley with Dave Stewart
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Ashley and Saul have a unique relationship, one is a supernatural immortal that thrives on blood of the corrupt of the city and Ashley is a crazed murderer with mother and father issues. While that sounds like a strange pop culture comedy duo, it very much isn’t. Ashley since her introduction has been a thorn to Saul going so far as to frame him for actions he didn’t make in an attempt to validate herself and her legacy pursuit.

Issue 3 of Ex Sanguine continues the struggle and brings in some new blood to the picture, Saul going about his own life now while Ashley continues her streak of mayhem. The difference is that other dark figures have stepped in given the news and have taken interest in what they see as a defenseless city. It’s up to Saul to keep the borders protected and his girl of mayhem in check before something bad happens. Given the streak of the story so far, that sounds like an easy task but it really isn’t as Ashley prefers to only answer to herself.

The city is already in panic as news of her kills spread like wildfire in the paper, the last thing this situation needs is a social nuke drawing in more attention and undesirables to the town. The issue is very much about Ashley’s back story which helps shed some light on what happened to make her this messed up. Fans of the series should give it a read and new readers might want to take a look at the Dark Horse preview pages for a taste of Ex Sanguine.

Release Date: December 12th, 2012

Links: Preview | Order (Print)

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
Juan Cavia Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★½☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 
David Mack Cover

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☆ 
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Review – Ex Sanguine: The Hollow Man #1

Script by: Joshua Scott Emmons and Tim Seeley
Art by: Tim Seeley
Colors by: Carlos Badilla
Letters by: Joshua Scott Emmons
Cover by: Tim Seeley with Dave Stewart
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Saul Adams is a man who has a long history on this world, what kind of history is a bit of a mystery but it’s there and boiling to the surface in a turn of events to a world which he thought he had pinned for constants and reliability. Unfortunately a new darkness is making his town their new home and his familiars their prey as well. We only get a glimpse at this breach but it’s beyond anything this city and the feds have seen or known and it’s only the beginning.

Seeley and Emmons dive into crime drama, cults and the supernatural and deliver it in a single serving that drives up questions and shock as the story unravels. Saul is a man lost in his own world, not sure what year it is or even who he is but that after eternities have come and gone that he’s still here and getting by. This story may start off with an obvious twist, but it takes all the expectations and hurls them into the garbage bin in an instant. Saul is about to get some company in his life and it’s going to get ugly for everyone in this story, you don’t rock the boat of an immortal with arrogance and attitude and just get away with it.

Tim Seeley delivers excellent style and emotion to the pages of Ex Sanguine, the expressions, gestures and lapses are superb, it’s always rewarding to see artists that take the time to think out facial actions and even eye gestures before just laying it out there. When the mental flashes hit, the examinations and even Saul’s frustrations strike, they’re all executed with that extra bit of thought. My only dispute is that Seeley almost highlights our unexpected other supernatural force because the shift in style that happens. You can’t just deliver a massive change in color and detail and expect it to slide under the radar.

Other than that small issue, Ex Sanguine is something I’d love to see more of and I can’t wait until issue 2 arrives. It’s well restricted and doesn’t move to jump the shark with transformations and spells and random campy features, it’s cold and real and it captures your attention even though the story itself begins so vaguely. Issue 1 delivers many carefully selected mechanics and uses them at just the right time. Personally it’s a bit sad to see Saul suffering after such a long time as an immortal but it’s understandable that his brain would be overflowing with history.

Saul’s next battle kicks off in issue 2 and he’ll be attacking 2 fronts at once, be sure to read up on this story before just jumping ahead and hoping for the best, you’ll only rob yourself of a great story by doing so.

Release Date: October 17, 2012

Links: Preview | Pre-Order

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

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