Tag Archives: Dark Horse Comics

Review: Spell On Wheels TPB

Best friends. Road trips. Fighting the patriarchy. Found family. Magic. Really, what more can you ask for? Dark Horse’s Spell On Wheels was one I picked up the first issue of then completely forgot about in the mess of life. Definitely a mistake that I wanted to correct with this trade and I’m glad I did.

The overall plot architecture of set forth by Kate Leth is a pretty similar one to early seasons of Supernatural, Buffy, or Charmed: monster-of-the-week with a metaplot that strings it all together like beads on a necklace. In the case of Spell On Wheels, it’s more of an item-of-the-week. Our protagonists, a trio of Northeasterner witches, have their house broken into and looted for the tools of their trades. When they can’t find who’s responsible, they track down the buyers for their stuff on a road trip to make sure they aren’t the last witches out there.

It’s not all adventurous romps though. Jo, Andy, and Claire help where they can and correct some of the wrongs they end up running into along the way. We see a world where, even though the supernatural certainly exists, it’s not the only thing people ever care about. It makes the world as a whole feel far more real than it would otherwise. The charming and often rounded art of Megan Levens is a good fit for this story. The characters and words here aren’t sharp and aggressive, they’re inviting and open. The colors of Marissa Louise provide just the right amount of pop to the frames, pulling the eyes exactly where they need to go.

Overall, Spell On Wheels is definitely a trade to grab then continue with individual issues if you’ve enjoyed it. It really takes those first five issues to suck you entirely into the slow burn. This story wouldn’t be the same without the creative team that it has and it shows.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Megan Levens
Color: Marissa Louise Cover: Jen Bartel
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0
Recommendation: Buy, especially if you’ve been binging Charmed or The Magicians lately

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Legends Collide When Wonder Woman and Conan Meet

The wondrous Diana of Themyscira comes face to face with the Cimmerian barbarian Conan in a new miniseries this fall—Wonder Woman/Conan. DC Comics and Dark Horse have teamed up for a crossover of epic proportions, bringing back fan-favorite Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone and Wonder Woman artist Aaron Lopresti for an adventure unlike anything seen before—a collision of legends.

Our tale begins as Conan the Barbarian arrives on the shores of an unknown land, and soon meets the world’s most fearsome arena fighter—Wonder Woman. Ill-fated circumstances force them both into slavery. As they attempt to free themselves from the grips of the rich and powerful slave-owner Dellos, a dark magic descends upon their land, a presence that wants to destroy them both. But who has the might to stop the most talented gladiators who have ever existed?

Wonder Woman has been a pivotal character in the DC Universe for over 75 years as a member of the Trinity and the Justice League, and as a notable icon around the world. Conan the Barbarian, similarly, has long been an important character since his creation 85 years ago. Dark Horse has been publishing Conan stories since 2003, and new and exciting tales continue to hit shelves.

A tale of myths and magic, Simone and Lopresti bring to life a new world for these two heroes—weaving a story of fantasy, mythos and adventure. The six-issue saga begins September 20.

Preview: Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1

Story: Kevin Panetta
Art: Paulina Ganucheau

An elite group of teenage girls with magical powers have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests–they re also battling monsters!

After defeating a former ZS member and her mean-girl minions, the girls thought they d get a little break! But a new big bad s come out to play, and demons are starting to overrun the downtown!

Review: Predator Hunters #2

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Two privately owned islands in the South Pacific. One an idyllic paradise overseen by a benevolent doctor, the other a jungle hell where monsters rule. The Predator hunters have come looking for big game, but it’s the traps you never expect that will kill you…

Predator Hunters #2 relies heavily on flashbacks. That focus helps to solidify some of the characters’ backgrounds aboard the ship giving us more depth and an idea of what to expect. It also shows us the various reasons why they decided to hunt the galaxy’s deadliest hunter. There is a big reveal in that a Predator has a hunting sanctuary on Earth. Which does beg one small question, how long has it been here?

The art manages to portray past and present as the plot shifts and makes it easy to determine when we are in the story. There is also some solid short hand to hand combat scenes as the crew preps for its hunt which primes the series for the eventual battle to come. I’m curious to see how that is useful against a Predator.

I am a bit curious to see how useful that is against a Predator.

Story: Chris Warner Art: Francisco Ruiz Velasco
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Flashback Friday Review: The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century

MW1We all know someone who’s never seen Star Wars or doesn’t gets it when you say “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!,” it’s from Jaws by the way. Whenever I meet someone like that I let them know how they have a void in their life that needs filling. When it came to Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons Martha Washington I was the one who had a void to fill, but thanks to Dark Horse Comics for publishing The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century, this trade paperback collects every page of Our shero Martha Washington. My life is complete as I take a flashback to this visionary work from two of comics greatest storytellers.

The late 80’s- early 90’s saw a huge number of creators becoming so disenfranchised with the big comic companies that they struck of on their own or headed to smaller companies to form boutique labels. This new freedom allowed Miller the ability to further his critique on current events and society from the viewpoint of heroine Martha Washington.MW2

Woman, soldier, leader, weapon, protector, explorer, Earth Mother all attributes and details that give you a very broad description of Washington. This black woman born in the slums of Chicago’s infamous Cabrini–Green Homes housing project, a maximum security “home” in this story, becomes the most influential person in history, saving the US and Earth from enemies foreign and domestic. Again the most basic, lay explanation of this book I could think of because Miller and Gibbons create a world that hits a little too close to home with a parody of US international and domestic politics, thankfully Washington is there to help them survive.

MW6This edition collects every appearance of Martha, including the short black and white stories, now fully colored and remastering and has a great crossover with Miller’s other creation, Big Guy from Big Guy and Rusty. The trade is graced by a brief introduction from Miller but the true value is Gibbons insight for each stage of the various story arcs, backstory of the series publishing herstory in addition to pages of concept notes and design ideas.

MW5Sadly the importance of this book is I feel more relevant in today’s world of 45*, ecological disasters on the horizon, Hydra-Cap, the seduction of artificial intelligence and America at a critical juncture for its collective soul. You won’t be able to not compare timelines and you’ll wonder if her version of the 21st century is better than ours, if only Millers crystal ball of social comictary could comfort us in knowing that we’ll make it through the next four years with only minor bumps and bruises.

If you’ve never read it go fill that void in your life like I did.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Review: Aliens: Dead Orbit #2

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Having narrowly escaped the deadly xenomorph, Wascylewski moves around the hold of the ship, wary of his terrifying pursuer. His reflexes are tested again—but this time, by a sudden, massive breach in the hull. Will he survive?

Written by James Stokoe, Aliens: Dead Orbit #2 reveals what caused Wascylewski’s current situation and how the Aliens got on board. He also manages to reveal some of the events that happened on the ship they found in the past. Given how cryptic some of the information they found is, begs a lot of questions. Yet one manages to stand out, will who that ship was working for show up?

The art style by Stokoe amps up the gore tremendously. Especially as the larva stage of the alien appears. He manages to show the sheer agony of the process in superb fashion. Yet it also manages to show the sheer distress of Wascylewski well as things continue to worsen.

Story: James Stokoe Art: James Stokoe
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey is On Sale Now

The first ever whiskey based on Mike Mignola’s legendary Hellboy comic book character was announced officially today by Dark Horse Comics, XXX Distillery LLC and Prestige Imports LLC. Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey is a craft distilled, small batch, naturally flavored cinnamon whiskey retailing for $19.99 for a 750ml bottle. The 66.6 proof Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey is available nationally.

Hellboy Hell Water is micro-distilled, hand bottled and styled in the old traditional process of making Southern Corn Whiskey. Old fashioned corn whiskey uses only the finest corn, natural ingredients, spring water, glassware and craftsmanship.

Since Mike Mignola’s Hellboy first hit the stands in 1994, it has become a cultural sensation, racking up a dozen Eisner Awards and inspiring numerous spinoffs, from a novel line, to video games, to animated films and live action feature films. Hellboy has also inspired a draft ale, a wine and now Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey.

DOTA 2 Heads to Print Courtesy of Dark Horse

Dark Horse and Valve present a collection of comics that dive deep into the characters and history of Dota 2, the most played game on Steam. The Dota 2: The Comic Collection assembles Valve’s Dota 2 web comics in print for the first time ever. This chronicle is the perfect fit for Dota 2 fans everywhere! The publication of Dota 2: The Comic Collection follows Dark Horse and Valve’s 2011 release of Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories.

Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online video game developed and released by Valve Corporation in 2013. Dota is a competitive game of action and strategy, played both professionally and casually by millions of passionate fans worldwide. Players pick from a pool of over a hundred heroes, forming two teams of five players. Radiant heroes then battle their Dire counterparts to control a gorgeous fantasy landscape, waging campaigns of cunning, stealth, and outright warfare.

Dota 2: The Comic Collection goes on sale August 1, 2017.

Mini Reviews: Dept. H, American Monster, The Howling, Smoketown, and more!

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Christopher

Dept H. #14 (Dark Horse) – Unable to return to the surface, the surviving crew of Dept. H must make some difficult choices, with air and livable space at a premium. Will they have to sacrifice one of their own in order for the rest to survive? Meanwhile, we begin to see the larger role that Verve has played in the fate of our crew.Things are beginning to look up, as someone self-sacrifices to get the rest of the crew to the surface. Yet that still doesn’t answer who kills Mia’s father. Given they have two issue still to come, I hope they manage to answer that. Since that has been the lingering question throughout. Overall the story and art continue to impress. Merging both past and present. Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan

Dead Inside #5 (Dark Horse)* – A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula’s prison murder mystery complete with a Tarantino-esque Mexican stand-off on steroids? This is pretty much why I love comics in a nutshell. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

American Monster #6 (Aftershock)* – Just when you think that all Brian Azzarello is capable of these days is mailing it in, along comes the second arc of this amazingly depraved series complete with Juan Doe’s usual gorgeous, eye-popping artwork. Every single character here is a reprobate — even those who only show up for a page or two such as the couple splitting up at the start of this issue — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of moving pieces and subplots within subplots going on here, so it pays to give every single word and ever single image very close attention indeed. Heady stuff, to say the least. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash # 22 (DC Comics)* – So, “The Button” began with the death of the Reverse-Flash and ends with — the death of the Reverse-Flash? So, what was all that bullshit in between about, then? Spoiler time: Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter — at the behest of their editors, no doubt — contrive a way to bring back Jay Garrick for a few pages before exiling him off into the Speed Force again, and Dr. Manhattan goes from looming over events off-page to looming over events on-page, but if you’re looking for anything resembling a resolution, look elsewhere: this is pure set-up for DC’s sure-to-suck “Doomsday Clock” mini-series that will finally see the Big Blue-Vs.-Superman punch-up that none of us in our right minds ever wanted to come to fruition. Kill me now, please. Or better yet, kill this whole “Watchmen-Vs.-DCU” idea before it goes any further. I know, I know, it’s too late for that vain wish to come true, but still, one can live in hope. Overall: 1.0 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #23 (DC Comics)* – Seemingly out of left field, Tom King delivers the stand-alone story that almost makes the rest of his hugely disappointing run on this title worthwhile. Seeing the Dark Knight team up with Swamp Thing is always great, but King’s take on the former Alec Holland goes well above and beyond, giving us the best iteration of the character since a certain bearded gentleman from England, and Mitch Gerads’ art — apart from a couple of goofy-looking pictures of Batman on the last page — is just plain incredible. Both a moving tribute to Bernie Wrightson and a heartfelt rumination on the relationship between fathers and sons, this is straight-up comic book magic, not to be missed under any circumstances. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Allie

Night Owl Society #2 (IDW Publishing) – I had hopes for this. Not high hopes but hopes. Sadly, Night Owl Society #2 let me down again. As I mentioned in my review before, the writing and story presented here is bland and predictable. The main character has no redeeming qualities and the foils around him are all two-dimensional. Simply put, there’s just no reason to put any emotional stock behind these characters and reading made it feel like it was just a matter of when the “twists” would come less than what they would be. All in all, another disappointment that makes me want to drop the series entirely, if for no other reason than that I can probably call the ending right now. Recommendation: Hard Pass

 

Patrick

Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #3 (Dynamite) – I finally nailed what’s been bothering me about this competently-written, competently-drawn series: it’s trying SO HARD to be Noir, when the actual genre of the Hardy Boys novels is Procedural. The former assumes that nothing can be solved; the latter assumes that every crime can be solved with the application of reason, science, and intelligence. So the mixing of the two genres could be interesting – but they just don’t dig in deep enough. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: Corpsemakers #3 (Dynamite) – Normally I love Fernando Francavilla, and the Black Beetle is a favorite. But maybe I’ve just read too many Spirit stories, so anything more than 8 pages gets too far away from the Platonic ideal of Eisnerian. I had the same problem with the Cooke/Bone/etc version a while back. It’s also devilishly hard for us goyim to really nail the Yiddishkeit of the originals – that combination of pathos and humor, romance and tragedy. Overall 7.0 (because Francavilla after all) Recommendation: Pass

Smoketown #2 (Scout Comics) – As an Army brat, I’m always happy to see stories that explore the life of military personnel and the demands that are made of them without most civilians really understanding what we’re asking them to do. Writer Philip Kennedy Johnson does a pretty good job with this crime fiction of a soldier returned from Afghanistan and the demands that his new civilian life makes of him, without understanding what has happened to him and what he’s dealing with. Artist Scott Van Domelen is also pretty good here, though still I think in a no man’s land between graphically flashy and kitchen-sink drama (I can’t help but compare his war sequences to Leandro Fernandez on The Old Guard). There’s something there, but not quite there yet. Overall 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Howling #1 (Space Goat Productions) – Try as they did to recap the 1981 movie in the first few pages to bring us up to speed for this sequel, I found myself having to go back and rewatch it. So how does writer Micky Neilson and artist Jason Johnson’s work stack up? Pretty poorly. The original movie at least had something to say about the end of the 70’s, California cults, and the beginning of the 80’s fascination with the media. But this comic is just another werewolf story, and not even a particularly scary one at that. The writing is paint-by-numbers and the art is just too well-lit and neatly-delineated for the genre. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass (but do watch the movie!)

 

Shean

Star Trek TNG: Mirror Broken #1 (IDW Publishing) – In this debut issue of the Mirror Universe implications for the TNG crew, what one finds is a much more sinister and cynical crew. We find a muscle bound Picard wanting to climb the ladder in rank but is stuck on a ship called the Stargazer. While at HQ, he stumbles upon what looks like plans for a new class of ship. He recruits Laforge into his dastardly evil plans and gives the reader, a familiar sight on the horizon. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Aliens: Defiance #11

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The mangled Europa is in a state of free fall in Earth’s atmosphere with Zula, Davis, Hollis, and a previously frozen xenomorph onboard. Davis battles the alien threat while Hollis and Zula scramble to the escape hatch. Impact is unavoidable; survival is doubtful.

After all of the intense action Aliens: Defiance #11 returns us to Earth. As one might expect, things don’t go according to plan for Zula or Hollis. Despite Zula’s agreement with her doctor, they both find themselves under arrest. I think they’re only being kept alive to be used as scapegoats for the mission being a failure. I’m curious to see how this plays out for both Hollis and Zula.

The art style shifts some to something more grounded which makes sense considering the setting. The flashbacks do come off as confusing though they are intriguing. Unfortunately that all seems out of place. It feels like it builds in the mystery making me wonder if there are more to them than it appears.

Story: Brian Wood Art: Stephen Thompson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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