Comic Review: The Paybacks #1

The Paybacks #1
Written by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal
Art by Geoff Shaw
Colors by Lauren Affe
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Geoff Shaw and Lauren Affe
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

A beautifully self-aware new series from Dark Horse Comics answers the question: What happens to superheroes who miss their loan payments? The Paybacks are sent as repo men. Goodbye, super-car, jet-sub, and invisible plane. The tropes are familiar, yet the writing of Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal is smart and the characters, original. The Paybacks #1 pays off.

The first issue covers two parallel storylines. Archibald Primrose III a.k.a. Night Knight is a vainglorious caricature of an English Batman. His clich̩d confrontation with arch-villain Reflectoid is interrupted by a heroic ring tone Рhis butler announcing that the Paybacks have come to collect.

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Comic Review: This Damned Band #1
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This Damned Band #1
Script by Paul Cornell
Art by Tony Parker
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Tony Parker and Lovern Kindzierski
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 5, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Tokyo. 1974. A rock band named Motherfather. Scratch that. Not A rock band, THE rock band. The seventies were a powerful time for musicians. Before the internet and before music television, live venues were the only place you could experience music. Sure, you could pop in an 8-track while driving or drop a vinyl record on the home phonograph but the true experience that is a live show was not something you could just watch. You had to be there. Rock musicians (no, almost all musicians) were almost deified in that era. I saw my first concert in 1977 and it was beyond my wildest dream. I continued to see band after band regularly until my thirties.

I tell you all this because if you missed this all then you have a need for a bit of background, an origin story if you will. But allow me to speak to This Damned Band #1 now that I’ve dropped some history on you.

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Comic Review: Barb Wire #1
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Barb Wire #1
Written by Chris Warner
Art by Patrick Olliffe
Inks by Tom Nguyen
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover art by Adam Hughes
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

Barb Wire #1 brings one of Dark Horse Comics’ original successes to publication for the first time in years, and what a return it is! This book is the same great comic that I remember reading almost 20 years ago.

Series creator Chris Warner returns to write the series, and he hasn’t missed a step with this debut issue. It’s got all the biting, satirical jabs at modern-day society that were a hallmark of the original series. Besides featuring a really solid story, Warner sneaks in some laugh-out-loud moments that are truly great. Underneath these moments are opportunities to actually stop and THINK about the message that Warner is sending, hopefully the message will get through to its intended audience. Now, don’t worry about this being a “preachy” social commentary comic, because it works on two different levels. The other level is that of a really entertaining, kick-butt story that’s loaded with action and fun, that also has some surprising twists and turns.

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Comic Review: Shaper #4

Shaper #4
Written by Eric Heisserer
Penciled by Ace Continuado
Inked Adelso Coronoa
Colored by Wes Dzioba
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Cover by Felipe Massafera
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 17, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

“This is the game. The game is this – Eradicate the Shapers in twenty turns or less. Without time, they have no family, they have no strength. Without strength, their heart is exposed. That heart is Solace. Destroy it, and then will the game be won.”

In Shapers #4, the penultimate issue of Eric Heisserer‘s 5-part series, the heroes’ hearts are exposed, and the game seems to be coming to a close.

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Comic Review: Tomb Raider #2
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Tomb Raider #2
Script by Gail Simone
Pencils by Nicolás Daniel Selma
Inks by Juan Gedeon
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Letters by Michael Heisler
Cover by Dan Scott
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50

Last year, the Tomb Raider universe was given the reboot treatment with Tomb Raider, a new video game which retells the origin story of adventurer Lara Croft and resets the franchise’s continuity. With the new video game comes a comic book series tie-in from Dark Horse Comics that picks up Croft’s story after the harrowing events that took place in the video game.

The comic book series was launched last month with Tomb Raider #1, which shows us the 21-year-old Lara Croft, the young adventurer who is one of the few survivors of the doomed ship Endurance. Croft and the crew had been on a quest to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai when the ship was hit by a storm and its passengers were marooned on an island. Now that she’s home, the young Lara can’t recall all of what happened to her on the island, but each night’s sleep bring nightmares that remind her of the painful experiences. She’s racked with guilt because it seems as though it was her decisions on the expedition that caused the most damage.

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