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Review: Sage Escape #2

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Warning: I’m going to assume if you’re reading this you already read the first issue of Sage Escape, which I reviewed here. If I’m wrong, you might get some spoilers. There are very few details about issue 2 in here that I would consider spoilers, but if you don’t like to know even minor details then maybe wait until you read the issue before continuing. Thanks, and happy reading, nerds!

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When last we left our heroine, she had a run-in with a bounty hunter whom she was trying to convince of a massive cover-up involving the massacre of her home world. We pick up where we left off, with their ship landing on Sage’s home world. There are plenty of dangers here, in the form of level 6 “salesmen assassins”. These assassins’ special features include a hive mind, which means that if one of them identifies you the rest immediately know your location. This becomes a problem when just after finding survivors of the massacre, they are spotted. Not going to spoil how things turn out but let’s just say there is plenty of action (as well as a surprise visit from a mysterious time-traveler with the best possible timing). There’s also another story involving some cool looking aliens on Mars to break up the Sage storyline. The issue ends with Sage and her group getting out of one bad situation and into another. You’ll have to wait for the third and final installment on May 6th to find out the thrilling conclusion of Sage Escape.

 

Did this intrigue you? Then go to the website and download issue #2 now!

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Comic Review: Buzzkill TPB

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A superhero who gets his powers from addictive substances? Interesting! The main character’s ongoing battle between giving into his addictions and gaining the ability to be more than he was versus overcoming his addictions and returning to the (weaker) man he once was. Which side will he choose? And which side would you choose, if you were put in the same position?

I’m doing double-duty with this comic because, a few days after I received me review copy, I found out we would be discussing it in the SuperMOOC that I’m currently enrolled in, Social Issues Through Comic Books. So not only do I get to talk about it with my fellow classmates, I get to see their perspective of the comic in relation to my own.

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

The comic takes an interesting approach to addiction, as it takes the concept and expands it into a much more visual and moral realm of the struggles addicts go through. When you take addictive substances, it changes you into someone else. Your concepts of reality are altered and you may feel like you are stronger and better than you once were. But what if this were true? What if you became super, able to bring forth good as a result of your addiction? That’s what the main character, who we first know as Reuben, is faced with. He feels that he becomes a better person because of his addictions. However, he also becomes a more violent person, as do many addicts, and that counteracts the good he feels that he’s doing. Knowing this, he tries to overcome his addiction, but it’s also difficult to knowingly walk away from something that changes him into the man he seeks to be. What would you do in that situation?

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The ideas that somehow he will control and enjoy his liquor drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.”

Reuben feels like he can handle his addictions, but it’s immediately clear that he cannot. While he asserts that he can control the powers that he gains, it’s evident that he can’t. He was pushed to seek help after a bloody battle that put his opponent in the hospital. In group, it’s clear he has strong anger issues. How can he control something that’s ultimately controlling him? But on the opposite side, how can he cast aside the advantage it gives him when there’s bad guys out that that want to use his weakness to their benefit? If he gets help, he’s putting others in danger. If he doesn’t get help, he’s putting others in danger. It’s a no-win situation. Added to that is the idea of inherited addictions and inherited personality traits, as we see with his father and how Reuben turned out. Can he break out of the destructive cycle that he’s in or is he forever destined to be his father’s son? It’s a fascinating illustration of the battles addicts go through. Even when the intention of being better is there, the journey is difficult.

Pick up your copy of Buzzkill today. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

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What a fun romp of a book! I read this in one sitting, because it moves so very very fast. This book reads like a tight, procedural detective TV show.
What I liked:
-Holmes’ characterization
-the friendship between Holmes and Watson
-so very very action packed!
-a wonderful array of tropes from Sherlockiana that we Sherlock nerds know, want and love.
-references to Doyle. Quotes even.
What I did not like so much:
-I don’t know about the combination between Sherlock Holmes and supernatural forces. I mean,
Estleman did a good job as far as it goes–I will say he keeps Holmes totally in character
throughout, and does seem to have done his research.
-references to Doyle. Quotes even. It’s in the so close to a quote thing that I find it a touch
grating. The dialogue after the boat chase scene is nearly verbatim from The Empty House.
Why this irked me when the references of Moffatt, Gatiss, and Adams made me squee, I’m
not sure. Actually, I need to re-read it and get back to you on that.
Bottom line: highly recommended.
~Prof. Jenn

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Comics Review: Serenity–Leaves on the Wind

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Comics Review: Serenity–Leaves on the Wind #1-2 by: Zack Whedon, various

Review by: Prof. Jenn

 

…and if the title of the new comic series set just a little while after the events of Serenity doesn’t make you cry, go back and watch the whole series of Firefly, then the movie. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Tragically, it won’t take long…

Also: SPOILERS if you’re not a Browncoat, so be warned.

 

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The first two issues of Dark Horse’s new series Serenity–Leaves on the Wind takes up just a little while after Serenity the movie left off: River is still odd but much stabler in her new role as pilot, Zoe is about to have her baby (and is haunted by the ghost of her beloved husband), and everyone’s favorite Firefly-class ship and its denizens is in hiding. The ‘verse is reeling from the exposure of what the Alliance had done to Miranda, and rumors (and rebellions) abound. Some of the spunkier rebels will do anything to lasso Mal and co. into joining their cause, including conscripting Jayne (who’s not still on the ship but doing who knows what when we encounter him again, though apparently money still talks when it comes to Jayne) to run Mal to ground.

The storyline is engaging of course–I mean, who hasn’t been wanting to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT in the ‘verse–and the dialogue is written masterfully, with that same unique cadence heard in the television series. The art is what I would call “posh-comic” style: a semi-realistic look with muted colors amid the dark outlines. Overall as a sweeping statement, I would say the series is very high quality, and is shaping up to be an excellent mollifier to all of us still wanting to live in “the black.” One teensy little nitpicky thing I can mention is that sometimes the characters don’t look, well, like them. It’s a tricky balancing act, the comic based on a TV show, as I’ve been saying about the Doctor Who comics: there’s a fine line between doing actor-portraits and just portraying the character himself. In this series so far, it works most of the time, but every once in a while when we look at Mal or Simon especially we get yoinked out of our suspension of disbelief. This is a minor point, however, in light of the exciting tension and warmth of character continuing in this series. I cannot wait till #3!

Side Note: such a cute moment when Zoe reveals what her newborn daughter’s name is. That scene could have been right out of the TV show, if it had continued (/sniff).

Bottom Line: This series is highly recommended, though I would not start on it till after you’ve enjoyed Firefly in its entirety, including the movie Serenity. You’ll get spoilers and just won’t understand what’s going on unless you do.

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Hellboy The First 20 Years

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Editor Scott Allie and his crew have created a grand tribute volume that will delight fans. Within this 137 page handiwork we encounter the superb art of the man that has been inventively drawing Hellboy for 20 years, Mike Mignola. This opus invites the fan to view the interiors of Hellboy evolution.

Among the exceptional pages are covers like Hellboy: Wake the Devil #2, The Goon #7 and Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #4.  Mignola’s genius is displayed as we view sketches for an unfinished Hellboy painting and then the unfinished watercolor painting.  We are given an equal appreciation for the coloring of Dave Stewart, as we view his work, especially with the inclusion of the Trickster Print, and Hellboy in Hell front covers.

This is a welcome addition to the Hellboy body of work, but it is not a sequel to Art of Hellboy (released back in 2003). It is a tender tribute to the integral, unique work Mike Mignola has created over these 20 years.  Lighting struck the pencil, when Mignola created a downward shoulder, trench coat wearing colossus that we adore as he roughs his way through his world of monsters with humor and one massive fist.

This collection reminds us how fresh originality, can evolve and continue to inspire while entertaining the reader. Can’t wait to see what Mike Mignola has in store for the next 20 years. Hellboy The First Twenty Years is a must have for every shelf.  Happy 20th  Hellboy!

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Sage Escape

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Warning: Mild spoilers await you in this review. If you don’t mind getting a general idea of the plot, then keep on reading. If you hate knowing even the tiniest little thing then please wait until after you’ve read the comic before continuing any further. If you’d just like to know if I recommend the series: yes, yes I do. Thus ends my disclaimer. Enjoy the review, nerds.

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I have to admit – it took my awhile to figure out exactly what I was reading when given the first issue of the Sage Escape mini-series – but once I got the whole picture (well, mostly) I enjoyed what I had read.

Sage Escape (story and cover art by Damian S. Simankowicz) takes place in the future, where there are many technological improvements. Friendly Corp, the biggest military provider in the Universe, manufactures cybernetic/human hybrid warriors called “salesmen assassins”. Our main Character, Sage, is a new prototype of one of these hybrids who has gone rogue. Sage is the first teenager they have upgraded, and when she came online she was convinced she had memories. It takes a long time, but eventually you connect everything together and realize that Friendly Corp isn’t so friendly. In fact, they are potentially involved in the massacre of an Earth colony. Just when you think you’re about to get to the bottom of this mystery, Sage Escape pulls the rug out from under you, and you are left to imagine what just happened and how it will be resolved.

The first issue of this miniseries is currently available to download on their website. The second issue is due to be released April 8th, so you don’t have a terribly long wait to get your next fix. It’s a good thing too, because while I’m not going to spoil the ending, I will say it will leave you wanting more.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift: Part 1

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Warning: This one was hard to review without having a bunch of spoilers. I definitely leave the biggest surprises a secret, but if you don’t want any prior knowledge at all beforehand then I advise you to read the book first. If you were looking for help in deciding if it’s worth investing in, short answer is “yes”. Go buy it and devour before enjoying this extremely positive review. Thanks, and happy reading.

 

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The Rift is an Avatar graphic novel which takes place after the events of the TV series. The script is by Gene Luen Yang with art and cover done by Gurihiru and lettering by Michael Heisler. All of them combine to do a splendid job in creating a great story with vivid colors and drawings to match.

In the novel, you see a world where the Earth and Fire nations begin working together in a new era of peace. Toph is teaching at a metalbending school that she has started, and Aang also has a group of young airbenders he is training. During a celebration of the newly-found peace, Aang sees a vision of a past Avatar, Yangschen, who was the last Airbending Avatar before him. This leads him to what was once a sacred land to the air nomads, but now has a small town and the Earthen Fire Refinery. It seems like a great place, where Earth and Fire nation are working together to collect resources. Aang and Toph, who are no strangers when it comes to butting heads, argue over what is more important – preserving the past or creating a future where the whole world is united. There’s also a big surprise at the end as to who one of the people involved in the project is. I’m not going to spoil it, but they’re connected to someone in the group.

This story was great for people who wondered what the Avatar would do once he no longer had to fight the fire nation. It shows that while there is an overall peace between the warring nations, there is still plenty Aang can do with his time and talents. Part one was released on March 5th, and the follow-up will be coming out in July. If it’s as good as the first chapter I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.

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LeakyCon 2014: Orlando, FL, July 30 to August 3rd

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MORE THAN 5,000 FANS EXPECTED AT SIXTH ANNUAL LEAKYCON FOR

ONE OF FANDOMS LARGEST CELEBRATIONS OF EVERYTHING GEEKY

 

Fantasy film, television and book convention to be held July 30-August 3 in Orlando

 

 

If you know how to destroy a horcrux, what to do with a TARDIS and who Sam, Dean and Castiel are, then chances are you are headed to Orlando this summer for the sixth annual LeakyCon, one of the largest and most recognized conventions for fans of fantasy films, television shows and books. LeakyCon will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida July 30-August 3. Tickets are on sale now at www.LeakyCon.com.

 

Attendees can participate in programming that caters specifically to them and meet a community of like-minded enthusiasts. LeakyCon includes a wide array of special events, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, workshops, live performances, music concerts, celebrity meet-and-greets and a marketplace with a variety of vendors. Attendees will get a chance to meet their favorite authors, take pictures with celebrities from film and television and have 5 days of nerdy fun.

 

This year’s LeakyCon will also feature a special private event at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. The new attraction will be closed to the general public and available only to LeakyCon attendees, who will have an exclusive opportunity to see the Harry Potter-themed park.

 

In addition to the main convention, LeakyCon offers a special literary track with programming focused on books, featuring hands-on sessions and events with some of today’s most popular authors for teens and young adults.

 

Special guests to-date for this year’s event include: Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima (Mina Lima), graphic designers responsible for the visual look of the Harry Potter films; John Green, author (“Looking For Alaska,” “The Fault in our Stars”); Scarlett Byrne, actress (Pansy Parkinson in three Harry Potter films; Jon Cozart, YouTube sensation; Joe Moses, actor (“A

 

Very Potter Musical”); Tessa Netting, Broadway performer (“Billy Elliott”) and creator of popular YouTube parody videos (“HELLO-Harry Potter Book of Mormon”); Laurie Halse Anderson, author (“Speak,” “Prom,” “Wintergirls”); Holly Black, author (“The Spiderwick Chronicles”); Rainbow Rowell, author (“Eleanor & Park,” “Fangirl”). Musical acts scheduled to appear include Alex Carpenter and Harry and the Potters (Paul and Joe DeGeorge). Additional special guests and musical acts will be announced regularly leading up to the event.

 

“LeakyCon creates memorable crossroads between stories, those who love them and those who create them,” said Melissa Anelli, co-founder and director of LeakyCon. “This is all about being a fan and celebrating being nerdy and geeky in a fun, positive environment; it’s the ultimate outlet for fans to embrace their passions.”

 

Past events have included special guests from the Harry Potter films, “The Hunger Games,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” “Glee,” “Supernatural,” “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock,” “Sinbad,” “How I Met Your Mother” and many more films and television shows as well as authors of some of the top young adult books.

 

Attendees can choose between four different types of tickets. General admission tickets are available for $175 and include access to most of the events at the convention; general admission plus literary tickets are available for $275 and include general admission access plus special literary track programming; Rockstar tickets are sold for $375 and include preferred access to all events including literary track programming; and literary focus tickets are available for $125 and include access to literary track programming only. Tickets can be purchased online at www.LeakyCon.com.

 

LeakyCon is one of the largest and most recognized annual fandom conventions in the world and is attended every year by thousands of fantasy film, television and book fans. The event was started in 2009 as a conference for Harry Potter fans and has since grown to include fans of some of the most popular films, television shows and books in the genre such as “Doctor Who,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games,” “Supernatural” and “Firefly.” Past events have been held in Boston, Orlando, Chicago, Portland and London. More information is available at www.LeakyCon.com.

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Comic Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale Of The Golem HC

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Being a World War II historian and a fan of the golem legend, Breath of Bones was a perfect combination of good storytelling and fantastic line art that held my interest the whole way through. The tale is told from the point of view of Noah, an Allied soldier who is going to take care of the upcoming attack with a repeat of something that happened to him as a young boy. And, so, we get pulled back to his childhood and a recounting of how his village survived with faith and strength.

When Noah was just a child, his father went to war along with the other able-bodied men of their village. Noah was left to live with his grandparents and wait, everyday, for his father to return. Sadly, the stark reality of war is that he will never see his father again. The monsters of Nazi Germany has stolen away this young boy’s childhood and made him grow up way too fast. But pretty soon the war is not some far-away threat, but one that is knocking on their village’s front door.

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An Allied soldier by the name of Simon Richards crashes his plane near the village. Noah and his grandfather, along with the rest of the villagers, hide him away and put out the fires of the crash, but pretty soon the event draws the attention of the Germans who send two soldiers to check it out. The villagers almost get away with the secret they are keeping, but after accidental exposure of Simon during a search and a resulting shootout that leaves one German soldier dead, one German soldier injured yet able to escape, and Noah’s grandfather bleeding from a gunshot wound, it is evident that the monsters outside will soon be coming into their home. It is up to them to fight or run away scared.

This is where the golem legend comes into play. Noah’s grandfather, Jacob, gifted him with a small clay figure prior, one that has been passed down from grandfather to grandson for many generations. Jacob is going to use the golem legend to build a large clay figure that will come to life through the power of faith and protect them from the oncoming Nazi attack. He gets the townspeople’s help to create the figure and then sends them on their way, hoping that they can escape to safety before the Germans come back. Choosing to stay behind, Noah, his grandmother, Jacob, and Simon all stand their ground and watch as the golem does indeed do what it was meant to do. And once his mission is completed, the golem goes back to being just clay again. The village is safe, for now.

And it is this memory of faith and safety that Noah uses again in present day. As we close the series, he is beginning to shape another figure out of clay so that the golem can rise up again and defend good men against the monsters. It’s a wonderful ending to a wonderful story. If you’re a fan of WWII, or the golem legend, or just a fan of great artwork and great storytelling, you cannot go wrong with Breath of Bones. Pick up your copy today and revisit the notion that good can indeed triumph over evil.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1

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Note: There might be some mild spoilers in this review but nothing too serious. Still, if you haven’t read it yet and want everything to be a surprise then maybe give it a quick read first. Thanks, and enjoy.

When reading Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1, the first word that came to mind to describe it was “whimsical”. This is a fun and different take on Loki and the sibling rivalry between him and his brother Thor. One thing that is different about this one is that it is sympathetic to Loki, so if all you’re used to is Thor always being the hero then you’re in for a treat. Here we have Loki constantly vying for his father’s attention and being overshadowed by his brother. The comic almost makes us feel sorry for him, especially when the two brothers go on a mission together and Loki gets punished for failures that were totally his brother’s fault. So not fair! He turns his lemons into lemonade though, which seems to be what further issues will focus on.

Overall this first issue was a lot of fun. My favorite random part of the comic was a scene where you see Odin in a banquet hall with literally every god you could think of, including the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Yes, even the internet gods are real. I look forward to more adventures with Odin’s other son.

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