Alienated, on the simplest of levels, could be described as the anti-E.T. It’s about three loners in high school, each with a variation of the name Sam, who discover an alien entity in the woods and find that their innermost thoughts and memories become linked to it and each other. One Sam is an Anonymous self-styled vlogger who wants viral fame. Another Sam is a young woman who just wants to get out of this small town and reset her life. The third Sam is a Pakistani kid who is gay and tries to fill the void in his soul by trying to please literally everyone. They share a common trait in that they are holding on to deep-seated levels of anger, and now with inexplicable psychic abilities, the question is, how will they use that power?

After last week’s season premiere of The Mandalorian exceeded most viewers' incredibly high expectations, the second episode of season two certainly had an uphill battle ahead of it. While it’s near certain that some fans will be chomping at the bit to get to that next glance at a certain someone, this second episode sees Payton Reed (Ant-Man and The Wasp, Bring It On) in the director’s seat. It might not feature the infamous bounty hunter some are looking for, we do get a visually beautiful chapter that further explores the clash between the untamed Outer Rim and the encroaching establishment of the still youthful New Republic.

Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So… things are getting kind of dire. Xander still has Jenny Calendar captive, forcing her to work on some kind of spell for him. The good news is that, at least on a personal front, it looks like things are going well between Buffy and Robin, and it looks like Kendra and Rose have hit it off, too. Oh, and Willow is back, seemingly entirely well adjusted.

I just had a very strong, visceral reaction to Crossover #1. I’m not sure if it was spiritual or emotional or maybe a little bit (or a lot) of both. I’m writing as I process it, but I want to cry, which doesn’t usually happen after the first issue of a comic book, and there’s a lot of reasons for that.

You know how in spy and espionage movies the characters seem to set up an impossible series of things in advance, so just when you think they’re done for, we see a flashback of all the stuff they set up or already thought of just so they can make it out of the current, very specific situation and we’re always meant to think, “Oh, wow, clever!”, when really it’s absolutely absurd? Well, Chelsean Cain and Lia Miternique just sent that trope up in a blaze of beautiful glory while still staying 100% faithful to the super spy and mermaid-laden world they’ve created.

Issue #5 of Bang!, the end of the first story arc, comes with a bang of a story change up. It wasn’t completely unexpected on my end, but I don’t think that was the point. We’re still only just getting to know our team of pop culture-inspired heroes, and throwing them too big of a curve ball would be a waste of emotional storytelling this early on. Our team includes: Thomas Cord (our nifty James Bond) who shares a history with Paige Turnier (who is a sort of 80-year-old Jessica Fletcher by way of Jacques Clouseau), Dr. Queen (a high-tech, gizmo-laden Emma Peel who relies on her suit to stay upright as her back was broken), and John McCl—ahem Shaw, John Shaw who is a riff on John McClane of the Die Hard franchise, and who, no matter where he goes, always seems to be without shoes. This is, of course, all completely bonkers and rightfully so, as a Philip K. Dickian writer named Philip Verve has assembled them to take down a worldwide evil organization called Goldmaze.

Christopher Sebela is a master at crafting intricate, fascinating worlds that grab your attention from the very beginning. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Welcome Back, a series which explored forbidden love in a world of reincarnation and assassination. Now, with Pantomime, he’s exploring the bonds of chosen family set against the background of daring and elaborate heists—and that’s only the beginning of what this comic has to offer.

Expectations are high for the second season of The Mandalorian, especially in a year that's seen almost every notable feature film release delayed indefinitely. The Disney+ series was fortunate enough to complete the filming of its sophomore season before the global pandemic shut down production across the board in Hollywood, and now it seems it may be 2020's most anticipated release that actually, well, released. Series creator Jon Favreau takes on double duties in this premiere, both writing and directing the first chapter of Season 2, and if the rest of the season is anything like this first episode, it seems like we're all in for an even bigger and badder Outer Rim adventure than our last time out in the Razor Crest.

"The Impact of Audio" review series will examine the impact that audiobook narration has on our relationship with the stories we love. We will be taking a look back at titles with which we may already be familiar, as well as exploring newly released publications . . . all with the goal of exploring how this vital form of storytelling connects us to the ways #StoriesMatter.

Working at a flea market in South Pasadena, Anna is an artist who specializes in making adorable stuffed dragons. Robert, who clearly has a thing for her, has the booth next door where he sells cool-looking armor and swords. When Anna decides to take a break, she discovers another vendor who sells some of the most beautiful material she has ever seen. Thinking the material is too expensive, the vendor agrees to give her the luminescent fabric as long as Anna promises to not only make dragons out of them, but to insert a piece of brimstone within each one. With the help of her friend, Mae, Anna makes good on her promise but wakes up the next morning to a brood of living, fire-breathing baby dragons! Little does she know that the vendor, Kalsaru, who sold her the fabric is more than she lets on . . . as is her neighbor, Robert.  Will they come to her aid or try to take the dragons she has grown to love away from her? As with all magic, there is a price to be paid.

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