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Comic Review: 24 Underground #4

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When last we left our hero, he was trying to rescue his girlfriend from the Russians. Little did he know that she had already escaped. Jack also doesn’t realize the Russians aren’t the only problem he has to worry about. The CIA is on his tail and getting warmer…

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We start this issue of 24 where we previously left things. Sofiya may have escaped, but she’s not out of the woods yet. The Russians are tracking her down, but of course haven’t told Bauer she went missing. The CIA are tracking her as well, so that they can use her to find Bauer. Who will get to her first? Will Jack be able to outsmart the Russians during their meet? in true 24 fashion some of the answers will be revealed now, some will have to wait until the next issue.

I have to say that I have really been enjoying this story so far. Not only does it work well on its own, but it also was great information to have in the back of my head while watching Live Another Day. (Side note: not going to spoil anything but OMG DID YOU SEE THAT FINALE?! Only 24 brings you that kind of energy). I definitely recommend reading the back issues if you’re just starting out. Whenever Jack referenced his family on the show, I pictured the events happening in the comic and wonder if this is the family he was referring to. I assume that will be made clear when this story reaches its thrilling conclusion.

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Comics Review: Batman Silver Age

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Comics Review: Batman Classics–the Silver Age Newspaper Comics vol.1 by Ellsworth, Moldoff, Infantino, et. al

Review by Prof. Jenn

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What a fun collection of vintage comics featuring everyone’s favorite dynamic duo! It’s a trip into the cheesy one-liner past of Batman’s late 1960s appearance in newspapers. This collection begins with a wonderfully detailed rundown of the history by Joe Desris, and is enlightening to read just before plunging into the series of snippet-length strips.

These are not old comic books, they are comic strips from newspapers 1966-67, so they are all brief, cheesy, sketchy, mid-low quality art, with a little joke or a PSA at the beginning of each (“Never fight with a smiling fortune-teller.” “Unless you want to strike a happy medium!”). We meet several of our favorite villains, with some I’ve not heard of before. And yes, there is some material here not appropriate for a modern audience, in the realm of sexism, and racism especially. Any of you Batman nerds remember The Laughing Girl? Ugh…

For all its vintage kitsch, this volume is a pleasure to read, and certainly anyone who collects Batman should have this in their library, even if they prefer the dark Nolan variety of the Caped Crusader. It’s a funny, refreshing collection that is a nice reminder of where Batman was before his gritty reboot.

Bottom Line: This collection is highly recommended, old chum.

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Comic Review: 24-Underground #3

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Previously on 24… Jack has been trying to help protect his girlfriend’s family from the Russian mobsters who are after them. Things got tense though when said mobsters came knocking on the door. Will Jack be able to save them? Let’s find out…

We’re now on issue #3 of our adventure with Jack in Ukraine, and things are really starting to heat up. The Russian mob is after him and his girlfriend Sofiya’s brother (Petro). In the last issue Jack was able to save Petro’s family, but in this issue we see that Sofiya has been kidnapped by the mobsters, and they are now looking for an exchange: Sofiya’s life for Jack. Now Jack has to find a way to save her.

SUPER SPOILER TIME! STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO STAY SURPRISED.

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Everything seems pretty straightforward up until this point. Jack needs to save his girlfriend, plus the CIA is still after him (but finally starting to wonder if there’s more going on than they realize). The big twists come at the end. One is that while Jack is gearing up to meet the Russians, his girlfriend manages to escape in a scene I imagine would have been pretty badass in the tv series. So Jack is walking into what is probably a trap right now, and doesn’t even have to. Hopefully Sofiya can contact him before it’s too late. Oh, and he also has to watch out for the CIA because Petro’s kid has just called in with information on his whereabouts. Pretty much Jack is in all kinds of trouble, but it’s not like that is anything new. Will he be able to handle the Russian mob and the CIA without getting caught (or worse)? We’ll have to wait to find out. Personally I hope the CIA shows up at Jack’s meet-up with the mob and ultimately ends up helping him escape by accident. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know how right or wrong I was as we continue this adventure with our hero: Jack Bauer.

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Comic Review: 24-Underground #2

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 I gotta say, when I first heard they were making a 24 comic, I wasn’t sure if it would be a one-shot that would lead into the premiere of the series or something longer, but I am more than willing to follow Jack down two paths at the same time. It shows that he was on the CIA’s radar more than once before he was finally “caught”. Now’s the part where I assume everyone has seen the tv show up until this week (which I’m planning on watching after I write this so it’s the only thing I can guarantee no spoilers on). I also assume you’ve read the first issue of the comic, or else why would you be here, right? With that messy SPOILERS AHEAD business out of the way, let’s see what’s happening to Jack in the Ukraine…

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When we last left our hero, we saw that he had a nice new life with a family in the Ukraine, but there was also trouble brewing. But on the show we see him on his own again… Confused much? I’m assuming after this whole business wraps up it will end in bloodshed (like most things in Jack’s life) and all will make sense. Either that or he’ll have to run away in order to protect his family. Either way, it doesn’t matter now. For now, this is where we’re at, with Jack not surprisingly in a bit of trouble.

 

We continue our story with Jack and Petro jumping from one life-and-death situation to another. Now that they’ve been double-crossed, they have to protect their families before the bad guys get them. And in other news, the CIA still want Jack’s head on a platter for being a “traitor”. So pretty much everyone wants Jack in their custody, which leaves him with very little options. What will happen to our hero? Will he make it to his family before Mishka’s men do? You’ll just have to read for yourself to find out.

 

What? I can’t spoil everything… All I can promise you is it will have just as much action and go by just as quickly as you would expect a 24-related thing to do.

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Comic Review: 24 – Underground #1

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24 – Underground #1, brought to you by the good folks at IDW, takes place in between the “series” finale and the upcoming new series. The story shows us what happened during the lead character’s time in exile in the European Underground

Our hero, Jack Bauer, has taken a new identity and found a new life living with a woman in the Ukraine. Unfortunately his new family seems to have gotten into a bit of trouble, and of course Bauer is going to have to get them out of it. I swear, this guy is a magnet for calamity!

Anxious to get your hands on this hot new item? Well it dropped in stores yesterday! My only critique (and it’s a minor one) is that some of the action scenes don’t translate well in comic book form, but other than that the art and story are great. Plus it feels good to have Jack back in any form. So do yourself a favor and grab a copy from your local comic shop, folks. It’ll give you something to salivate over while you await Bauer’s return to television (which is May 5th, in case you somehow missed the memo on that one).

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Two Comics reviews: Rat Queens & Sherman & Peabody

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Comic Review: Peabody and Sherman #1

Review by: Prof. Jenn

How delighted was I to learn of the origin story behind dynamic time-traveling duo, smart-dog MR-PEABODY-AND-SHERMAN-1Peabody and his boy Sherman. These two have long been a favorite of mine in the Rocky & Bullwinkle pantheon, and this comic delivers in style, both the witty, snappy writing and the bold, colorful art design.

In issue #1, we learn of genius canine Peabody’s early life and his reasons behind (and early struggles with) acquiring and taming a pet boy. Of course  as any genius knows, the best way to keep a little boy occupied so he doesn’t mess up the house is to build a time machine, natch. This first issue is just as rollicking and quick-witted as its cartoon origin, and I’m happy these characters live on in comic form.

Bottom line: highly recommended.

Comic Review: Rat Queens #2

Review by: Prof. Jenn

You know? I *like* these ladies. I like em a lot. They are a terrific balance of chummy buddy-comedy fun, bitchy good humor, sexiness, and straight out action adventure. The pseudo-D&D setting is splendid and well drawn, and as we travel and fight (and drink) with these ladies, the more interesting, round, and complex they get as characters. Moreover, the story is unfolding sort of like a good adventure video game (like old school Thief or Assassin’s Creed) in that, the more we survive with them, the more information is revealed as to who may be behind the trouble we  been getting into.

As you’ve heard me say before, the art of Rat Queens is superb. I especially like the costuming. :) Dark outlines, rich color, and dynamic, diverse character appearance all adds up to an adventuring group I’ll be happy to keep following.

Bottom line: yep, still good. Better and better.

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Locke & Key Omega #5 Review

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Writing: Joe Hill

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Review by Melissa Megan

 

Locke & Key Omega #5 is the final issue in what was originally rumored to be the end of the series, but now we know Locke & Key will actually close with two extra long issues in an ‘Alpha’ set. This one is by far one of the most intense and harsh issues to date and that’s saying a lot.

Dodge has finally succeeded in opening the black door, trapping the graduating class of Lovecraft Academy in the drowning cave with him. The dark shadows are his army now as he begins to march the students to their deaths at the bottom of the cave. Kinsey is trapped on the walkway, being tormented by evil versions of her friends who have become terrible servants of Dodge. She does everything she can to keep some hope that her family will rescue her, but with every minute that passes death creeps in.

Tyler Locke is hanging on the edge of life himself thanks to an accidental gunshot wound to the stomach. His mother races to save him using a magical medical cabinet. Her desperate move sets up a heartbreaking and honest reunion between Tyler and his late father.

As Dodge wastes the lives of students who either refuse to follow him or do follow him but are apparently found to be unfit for the blessings of the black door, he presents Kinsey with a horrible choice. A game to set up the final scene of his plan. What is his plan? That is unclear at this point, which is a genius approach to take.

The dark shadows are moving in from every side, the black door is open and the alien terrors have begun feasting on souls. The few members of the Locke family still alive and free from Dodge’s grasp don’t seem to have the power, ability or time to help Kinsey. The entire situation is looking very grim. Without any knowledge of exactly what Dodge is doing with the black door and the only person with full knowledge of who Dodge is being the mentally challenged Rufus, Locke & Key Omega does not appear to have a happy ending.

This is a fantastic final issue for Locke & Key Omega, but obviously not the end of the story for the Locke family. Good thing, because after all the suspense and sadness this story has built up, if this were the absolute end I would be pissed. I need to see this thing to the close, even if that means watching the brutal destruction of the remaining Locke kids. The Locke & Key series has been both fun and crushing. Endearing and sweet but dark and heavy. It is a perfect marriage of writing and art, making the ultimate love child of a comic series. Locke & Key will forever be on my ‘top recommendations’ list.

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Review: Locke & Key Omega #3

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Writing: Joe Hill

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Colors: Jay Fotos

Review by Melissa Megan

 

The evil, murderous Dodge has settled himself in to little Bode Locke’s body and succeeded in getting his hands on the long sought after Omega key. The “Last Dance” has begun and it’s ugly. Bode/Dodge is headed to the black door to welcome his terrible, alien friends to this world and he won’t let anyone stand in his way, starting with poor Nina Locke.

While darkness is falling over the Locke house, Tyler and Kinsey are enjoying prom with their friends. Tyler accepts what he can get from the woman he loves and comes to terms with the tragedy of being in love in high school. Kinsey revels in the unique qualities of her closest friends and as the night comes to a close, chooses the after party over home. Everyone is headed for the caves, where the final party of the year is just beginning, in more ways than the Locke family realizes.

If you’ve been reading Locke & Key, by now, if you have a heart, you should be desperate to see this family come out on top. At the least see them stop hurting. The Lockes have lost so much and struggled so hard to keep their family whole, it kills me to watch them be defeated by the weasley, arrogant Dodge. And as much as I really, really hate to see Locke & Key come to an end, the suspense of how it will all end is becoming unbearable. Oh please, please let the Locke family stop the demons. They deserve that much.

 

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Review: Criminal Macabre: Final Night- 30 Days of Night Crossover #2

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Writing: Steve Niles

Art: Christopher Mitten

Issue #2 of the Criminal Macabre / 30 Days of Night crossover continues the clash of Cal Mcdonald, hunter of everything supernatural and evil, and vampire leader Eben Olemaun. Eben is building  a huge army of blood sucking monsters in hopes of taking over the world from humans. Cal and his ghoul sidekick, Mo’Lock, have teamed up with a pretty female FBI agent named Alice Blood. For the first time, Cal is actually getting some assistance from law enforcement, mostly because the vampires have been massacring agents and police officers all over L.A.

Cal is a ghoul now and having some challenges adjusting to that, but it hasn’t stopped him from carrying on his business or living hard. Eben Olemaun is kicking ass inside his circle to reclaim the remains of his wife and to express his rage over her death on the human race. Very soon, these two will clash and the battle will be ugly.

Crossovers are a tough thing in comic books; stories are not written to melt in to each other and combining them often takes something away from one or the other. This combination is working, maybe because the backdrop of supernatural power struggles are so similar in Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night. The personalities of Cal McDonald and Eben Olemaun are both intense and raw, there can only be an explosion when the two are brought together.

Steve Niles has been rumored to say that only one of these characters (and their series) will survive this crossover. Personally, I’m betting on Cal McDonald and Mo’Lock. I’ve been a fan of the Criminal Macabre series for years and it would be a terrible loss to comics to see his story end. Do you hear me, Steve? Let Cal live!

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Review: 30 Days of Night #10

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Writing by: Steve Niles

Art by: Christopher Mitten

Eben’s vampire army is growing by the hundreds every day. He’s driven to get revenge for the brutal death of his love, Stella. he is also attempting to forge some kind of alliance or at least a truce with the deceitful European vampires. At the same time, FBI agents are crossing lines to find an advantage in their fight against the blood thirsty creatures. They’re bringing big guns and no fear, throwing rules and protocol to the wind.

Scary tale spinner extraordinaire Steve Niles continues the trek of Eben and his immortal tribe of vampires in 30 Days of Night #10. This series has been going for a long time now, and it’s featured a few artists along the way, but the work of Christopher MItten feels really harmonious here. Issue #10 doesn’t bring much action, really, but instead takes a slow burn to build up the tension for upcoming confrontations and likely messy battles.

30 Days of Night is one the best horror series on the shelves today, so if you aren’t already reading it, start now. There’s plenty of material out there already.

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