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Comic Review: Hellboy in Hell #1
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Hellboy in Hell #1
Story & Art by Mike Mignola
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Clem Robins
Cover by Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
Designers: Mike Mignola & Gary Grazzini
Assistant Editor: Daniel Chabon
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Mike Richardson
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 5, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99

Hellboy in Hell #1 was the first Hellboy comic that I’ve ever read. Ever. I have nothing against the character, is just seemed that it was one of those books that never interested me. That being said, what I found when I read this comic surprised me.

Mike Mignola packs a LOT of humor in this story, and frankly, I really wasn’t expecting that. Again, I’m not familiar with the Hellboy character or universe, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it sure wasn’t this. As a character, Hellboy is very tongue in cheek and quite a wise-cracking badass. Unfortunately, I found the story a little hard to follow. This is obviously aimed at Hellboy fans, so I’m sure I missed a ton of “in jokes” and references to past stories, but that’s OK. It’s an entertaining read with a couple of really good, funny parts to the story.

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Comic Review: Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit
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Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit
Story by Steve Niles
Art and Lettering by Scott Morse
Edited by Scott Allie and Daniel Chabon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Cover Price: $19.99

Writer Steve Niles may have had greater success with works like 30 Days of Night, but it’s the embittered hunter of the supernatural demons, Cal McDonald, that is his iconic character and the one Niles has continually returned to for 22 years. And, after all this time, it seems as though Cal is having a bit of an existential crisis with his current predicament.

Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit takes a little excursion from the main narrative of the series – the war between man and seemingly every supernatural monster ever dreamed – to do a one-shot detective story. When the book opens, Cal is trying to come to grips with his recent… undeath. The bad is that he can’t sleep, he has no blood, and his hands are kind of cold and clammy; the good is he can still drink and smoke (and do both without the adverse health effects, I assume, so: bonus?) and has picked up the ability to sense other members of the undead. I’m sure Niles will explore it further, but whatever rules he has for the undead, the message seems to be that there is no relief from life in undeath. Or, as Cal put it: “I seemed pretty much like myself, just dead and tooling around like before.” The mechanics of being undead are perhaps the most interesting thing about this comic, and I don’t mean that as a backhanded insult. It’s the kind of thing that keeps Cal compelling beyond the mysteries he’s trying to solve.

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Comic Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #10
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #10
Story by Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie
Pencils by Cliff Richards
Ink by Andy Owens
Colors by Michelle Madsen
Cover by Phil Noto
Alternate Cover by Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created by Joss Whedon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 13, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 is all about the big existential questions interspersed with some brief action scenes and lovey bits thrown in. Joss Whedon is still the producer and occasional writer of his original creation, so all of those elements seem just as entertaining and challenging as ever. The Apart (Of Me) storyline has been no exception with Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #10 rounding up the arc in an orderly fashion. There are no big explosions or revelations, but with a more internalized plot like this one, that would have just been rather tacky. Not to worry, there is stuff actually happening.

Buffy-Bot (body of robot, brain o’ Buffy) and Buffy-Not (body of Buffy, brain o’ Robot) get in a tussle with the latest big bad, the rough slayer Simone, Spike’s “bug army” shows up, Detective Dowling is upset over the loss of his partner turned zompire Cheung, Buffy makes a decision about her coffee shop gig, Spike and Buffy make some progress in their relationship etc. All that is rather important, as it sets up the next wave of Buffydom tales in a very natural manner.

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Comic Review: Star Wars: Jedi, Volume 1 – The Dark Side
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Star Wars: Jedi, Volume 1 – The Dark Side
Story by Scott Allie
Art by Mahmud Asrar
Colors by Paul Mounts
Cover Art by Stéphane Roux
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Cover Price: $18.99

2011 saw the resurrection or rebirth of a Star Wars comic series called Jedi. Initially envisioned as chronicles of specific individual Jedi Knights during the events of The Clone Wars, the new incarnation of the series instead delves a little deeper and further back into the history of the order, and concentrates on Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the days he was a young trainer of apprentices and well before the time of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Subtitled The Dark Side, the new series shadows the final mission of Jinn’s padawan Xanatos and his subsequent fall to the Dark Side of the Force. Xanatos, as a character, had previously been explored as an antagonist in the Jedi Apprentice young adult book series; but this trade paperback delves into an era when he was still a boy.

Intractable and brooding, Xanatos as a 13-year-old padawan evokes the same feel as the Anakin Skywalker of Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. It is almost as if the Jedi surrounding him cannot sense the menace and darkness beginning to envelop him; but in the words of Jedi Grand Master Yoda, “hard to see, the dark side is.”

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Comic Review: Masters of the Universe: The Powers of Grayskull, Part One
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Masters of the Universe: The Powers of Grayskull
Part One: The Legends Begins
Story by Scott Neitlich
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Wellinton Alves
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Letters by Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT
Cover by Eric Powell
Designer: Justine Couch
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 16, 2012
Cover Price: $22.00 (Only available with Thunder Punch He-Man from Matty Collector
)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Masters of the Universe franchise, Mattel and Dark Horse Comics are releasing brand new mini-comics, just like the ones that were included in the original toy line. Last year at the San Diego Comic-Con when these plans were announced, He-Fans, myself included, literally stood up and cheered. So, does The Powers of Grayskull: Part One live up to the hype? Let’s take a look…

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