There are some comic book characters that are always recognizable, and Dark Horse Comics has one that’s just that. There’s a good chance you have heard of Hellboy, and there’s also a good chance you know that he’s red, has shaved-off horns, and sports a noticeably long tail.

Fol rol de ol rol.

I first read Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge in his short story collection, Smoke and Mirrors.  In typical Gaiman fashion, it’s a story that is both familiar and disquieting, one where you feel like you’ve heard it before but you’re still surprised by events.  In that way I’ve always found his writing to be a little like a nightmare, but one that I can’t stop myself from wanting more of.  I’m not sure that this entirely makes sense, but it does convey the fact that I’m already familiar with the tale and that I find the original work terribly moving and upsetting (again, in a good way.  It’s so hard to accurately describe this without the weight of word connotation misconstruing my meaning.  Gaiman makes me have to redefine language.).

Listen up, Tomb Raider fans!  We have less than a month before Rise of the Tomb Raider - a video game originally released for the Xbox One platform - will be available for PlayStation 4 on October 11th.

In the meantime, us Crofties (I new term I coined for any fan of Lara Croft) at least have Dark Horse Comics’ ongoing Tomb Raider comic book series to help keep our eyes unglued from the PlayStation store in hopes that the DLC version might arrive early. It won't. I already checked.

At a glance, The Battles of Bridget Lee: Invasion of Farfall appears to be another in a long line of post-apocalyptic alien invasion comics, albeit one aimed at younger readers, but to dismiss it as unremarkable wouldn’t be giving it enough credit. There’s something truly charming in Bridget Lee, and arguably something rather important, too, and in that, it manages to surprise. This is a comic I want to see go places.

The latest in John Byrne’s ongoing tales of the voyages of the USS Enterprise is also one of the best to date. “Swarm” – not to be confused with the similarly-named Voyager episode – is in many ways the epitome of the New Visions concept, bringing together classic Star Trek storytelling with effects the show would never have been able to afford. In this case, those effects are the massive swarm of alien vessels that seem to be making stars go supernova – and only the Enterprise stands between them and a disaster that could claim billions of lives.

I did it, you guys! I didn't skip a month!

Naturally, I'm talking about being all caught up with our ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic book series, written by the legends themselves Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz. If you haven't been reading this series, now is an excellent time to start, because I feel like last month started us on a whole new adventure.

For five issues now, Mia has been tossed around by circumstance. A scientist sent to investigate her father’s possible murder on an underwater station six miles below the surface of the ocean, she has been met with one disruption after the next. Sabotage, giant squids, rescue missions, crazed chefs, it has been nonstop survival with almost zero actual detective work on Mia’s part. It seems like she hasn’t slept in days and that no one wants to actually figure out what happened to her father. This has been just as frustrating for Mia as it has been the reader.

Holy crap. Black Hammer #3 was downright riveting and with nary an action scene. After spending Issue #2 getting to know the tragic tale of Gail, we now delve into Barbalien’s past, and it’s bittersweet as hell. Taking a page from Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous series, Jeff Lemire titles this issue, "The Warlord of Mars," which is smartly fitting in multiple ways: Barbalien’s home planet, the time period in which these types of serials were huge in comics, and the irony in how it deals with Barbalien’s political stance.

While the story moves forward and the format of how the story is being told makes more sense now, I still am finding it difficult to get my emotional footing. Kingsway is a killer, or at least war turned him into one, but the one thing that was keeping him human was the love of his life, his wife Sonia. Now, she’s been chased off and Kingsway and a kind of crazy guide, Zozo, along with her pet dragon are helping him find Sonia again. Even though Kingsway doesn’t want to kill, his hand is being forced and that’s drawing the attention of The United States of New York. See, this story is an alternate universe story where not everything has worked out as our own history has. Western and fantasy mythologies are shaking hands, all friendly like.

’I’ve been following you since your Belle Wood days.  Tell me - were you truly prepared to fight all of these men with just your fists and a short blade?”
“No.  I planned on grabbing a bottle of whiskey and clubbing some of them to death with it.”
“Outstanding!“

Paris, 1923.  The Great War has been over for 5 years, and everyone is reveling in the Jazz Age. Everyone except Francis Carver, back for the first time since he left six years earlier to fight in the War.  Back bearing a guilty soul, a distinctive scar, and a heavy legend… “The Bloody Marine of Belle Wood.”  Brought back by letter from the one woman he can’t forget and followed every step by the Paris Underworld.

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