Thursday, December 31, 2009

Comic Review: Unknown: Devil Made Flesh #2 (Boom! Studios)



Because I had previously reviewed the hardcover of The Unknown, I was interested to see how Mark Waid would carry the story forward. I have to say, he didn’t disappoint. With this, the 2nd issue in the 6-issue series, the story has the same supernatural vibe as before. This time, Cat Allingham is with a new partner (if you read issue 1 you know what happened to her former partner, Doyle), and they are in Alabama investigating a string of murders with a macabre twist.



This issue opens with a direct continuation of where issue 1 left off, and we are thrust into the action immediately. Cat finds herself being held at gunpoint by her new partner, and she has to protect herself and the young boy who is with her. Once the scuffle is over, she comforts the boy, who keeps calling for his father. Cat discovers his father has been murdered and has the word “Only” on his back in blood. This helps Cat and the boy solve the mystery of the Alabama town. (I won’t share details here—you have to read more about it!)

As with the previous Unknown arc, the story is well-written and everything I’d expect from a writer of Mark Waid’s caliber. It’s a perfect blend of suspense and mystery, and Cat is a likeable character. Minck Oosterveer’s art shines with both the crime scenes and the cheesecake buxomness of Cat and the Adriana. Cat’s a pin-up with a lot of brains, which is appealing to me.

All in all, I’d recommend picking up this series. If you liked the original 6-issue storyline, you’ll enjoy this one as well.

Stacey Rader
Staff Reviewer
http://geekyvixen.blogspot.com
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Comic Review: Kill Audio #3 (Boom! Studios)



Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert return to the story at hand in the 3rd installment of the 6-issue series, Kill Audio. Once again I’m intrigued by the story and Mr. Sheldon’s art. Shades of black, red, and white complement the chaos the Void is fighting so hard to contain. This series from Boom! is one of the most interesting I’ve read in a long time. It’s indicative of the reasons I love indie comics so much. They tell stories that the mainstream publishers don’t always have the freedom to tell.



In this installment we return to the problem of the music genres the group has found so far. Kill Audio (KA, for short) is concerned that they haven’t located a Father, a figure representing one of the big genres. The main one they mention is Father Jazz, and they receive a tip where they might be able to find him. In the meantime, KA is getting acquainted with his siblings and learning more about the Void and his role in it. An odd interlude on the street leads to an insightful discussion about the nature of art and artists. Some facets of art are passive, but KA observes that since there are so many genres, musicians are more adamant about the process, which begs the question of whether a musician’s motivation is the end product or art for art’s sake.

This comic once again proves that it’s not just a story with some pretty pictures. It’s an in-depth critique of art and how people perceive and create it. Sanchez does a great job of telling a story that people are interested in reading and gets them thinking in the process. As a huge fan of all genres of music I appreciate what Sanchez is trying to say. Given his background in music, he’s obviously thought about this extensively, and he wants others to do the same. As I recommended with issue 2, I urge you to pick this up and urge your friends to do the same.

Stacey Rader
Staff Reviewer
http://geekyvixen.blogspot.com
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Comic News: Marvel Stockholders Approve Disney Merger



Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), a global character-based entertainment and licensing company founded in 1939, announced that at a special meeting held this morning, Marvel stockholders approved the adoption of the Agreement and Plan of Merger entered into by Marvel and The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”), which provides for a merger in which Marvel will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Marvel anticipates that the merger, which, based on the closing price of Disney’s common stock on December 30, 2009, has an estimated value of approximately $4.3 billion, will be completed today after the close of the market.

The completion of the merger is subject to satisfaction of remaining conditions disclosed in the definitive proxy statement/prospectus filed by Disney with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Rule 424 on December 2, 2009. Read more...

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Toy News: NEW USAGI PLUSH TOY ARRIVES FROM DARK HORSE DELUXE!



THE RABBIT RONIN FINALLY GETS HIS OWN PLUSH TOY!

DARK HORSE DELUXE ANNOUNCES A NEW USAGI YOJIMBO PLUSH TOY
FOR RELEASE THIS SPRING


In celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Stan Sakai’s best-loved character, Dark Horse brings this fluffy, badass bunny to life with an all-new plush toy, with art direction by the creator himself!

Usagi Yojimbo is a long-running comic set in seventeenth-century Japan, with anthropomorphic animals replacing humans, featuring the lovable rabbit ronin, Miyamoto Usagi, who wanders the land as a shugyosha (student warrior on a pilgrimage), occasionally selling his services as a yojimbo (bodyguard). Usagi Yojimbo is one of the most celebrated ongoing comics, adored by critics and fans of all ages for the last twenty-five years.

This new toy stands fourteen inches tall from his carefully detailed sandals to the tips of his movable ears. Stan Sakai, who provided extensive reference art for the project, oversaw every detail in the design process.

“I have always thought that a doll of this type would be an excellent presentation of Usagi,” Sakai remarked, “and have been happy to assist as the prototype evolved with commentary and revisions. I think he came out very well indeed.”

“We at Dark Horse couldn’t be prouder to be associated with one of comics’ most cherished characters and its creator,” product development head David Scroggy said, “and feel that this might just be the best 3-D way to present him. One thing’s for sure—it is by far the cutest presentation! We worked hard to get the nuances right, and I am happy to say that I think we nailed it.”

The upcoming Usagi Yojimbo plush toy hits Diamond’s Previews this month, with an on-sale date of May 2010.

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Toy News: Gentle Giant December 2009 solicitations




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Comic News: CHEW'S INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR CONTINUES WITH THE SERIES' SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE SELL OUT!


John Layman and Rob Guillory's CHEW continues its new story arc with a total distribution-level sell out, despite significant overprint!

CHEW, the highly acclaimed new series by writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory, continues its second story arc, "International Flavor" with yet another complete distribution-level sell out!

"WOW. Months ago, if you told me that CHEW would still be selling out by the seventh issue, I'd have asked what you were smoking," Guillory said. "Thanks to everyone, retailers and readers alike, for making this book such an incredible success story well beyond anything John and I could've dreamed up. You guys are the ones that make CHEW a hit!"

CHEW's star, Detective Tony Chu, is a cop with a secret. As a Cibopath, Detective Chu gets a psychic impression from whatever he eats. While it means he's a hell of a Detective if he can stomach the evidence, once his secret gets out the government makes plans for him, whether he likes it or not. CHEW blends horror, mystery and the strangest ability of them all in an ongoing series of horrific crimes solved in the most horrific way possible. While copies may still be available at your local comic book store, there are no plans to reprint the issue at this time.

CHEW #8 (NOV090374), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, will be in-stores January 27, 2009.

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Comic News: The Year of Spider-Man Is 2010



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Comic News: Celebrate New Year’s Eve Eve With Marvel Today!



Before you celebrate the New Year, join Marvel and participating comic shops to celebrate the first ever Marvel New Year’s Eve Eve Party today!

Fans of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, and all things Marvel are invited to visit your local comic shop for free giveaways including a 2010 Marvel Super Hero calendar, Exclusive Avengers ID Cards to collect & trade, a free comic book - Origins of Siege – which features an all-new prologue to the 2010’s HOTTEST event by Brian Michael Bendis, and more!

Swing by your participating local comic shop TODAY for your free giveaways at the Marvel New Year’s Eve Eve party and make yours Marvel in 2010!





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Masters of the Universe Classics 2009 Top Ten, Part V



And now for our final awards of 2009...


Teela, with Samurai Spawn sword.


Number 2 Teela

Winner: Best Sculpt Award

The first female character in the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line, Teela is quite a stunning action figure. She’s got a terrific sculpt and fantastic paint scheme and applications and her package is pretty much bursting with accessories.

Although she is one of the best figures of this series, she does loose points for a problematic neck joint, and the restricted movement in her waist. Check out our full review of Teela here.



The Secret Emerald of Rakash sold separately and completely made up by me.


Number 1 Mer-Man

One could make a good argument for almost any of these figures (at least in the Top 5) being the year’s best. Some exceed in areas where others do not, but Mer-Man is the one figure where all of the elements come together to give us an all around great action figure. His sculpt may be largely based on the Skeletor body, but he adds some nice new elements like the neck gills and the open hand and don’t forget about the beautiful work on the weapons, armor and the fantastic bonus head which loaded with incredible detail and character. Squidish Rex sports one of the better paint jobs of the line, an appropriately glossy dark green with yellow armor, gloves and boots and a nice wash over both his body and armor. While his packaged head is only so-so, the bonus head based on the original card artwork is full of character and really captures Mer-Man’s wide-eyed, fishy dimness. Although the open hand denies him the ability to hold both of his weapons at once, it also allows lots of interesting posing possibilities.

Read our original review of Mer-Man here.



And our final award goes to...Stratos!


The MASTY Awards After Party...



Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Masters of the Universe Classics 2009 Top Ten, Part IV



On to numbers 4 and 3...



Number 4 Hordak

Drawing heavily on his minicomic origins and 200X characterization, Hordak comes to us as the not only the leader of the Evil Horde but as a dark sorcerer and master to Keldor. His figure in MOTUC draws some inspiration from his 200X design and is much more menacing and scary than his 80’s counterpart. He has one of those headsculpts that is loaded with character. In fact, he kind of looks like he’s about to tell someone off. Probably Callix.

Hordak is also one of the more accessory-heavy figures with a big staff, a crossbow and a small gargoyle-type creature that clips to his arm as well as a molded plastic cape and removable armor. Mattel and the Horsemen did a great job updating this figure and it was a real treat to have him included so early in the line.


Check out the full review for this figure here.





Number 3 Man-At-Arms

Winner: Best Accessories!

While Man-At-Arms features the basic male body for these figures and an unremarkable paint scheme and applications, he really excels when it comes to his accessories. In addition to his armor, weapons and a bonus head, Duncan also included a (poorly-kept) secret accessory: the 200X powersword.

This is exactly what we should get for a $20 action figure. He really feels like a value for the money, in a line where some of the figures do not. Read our original review of this figure here.



Patrick Garone
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Comic News: CHRIS GIARRUSSO RELEASES NEW FREE ONLINE G-MAN VIDEO GAME!



Mini-Marvels cartoonist Chris Giarrusso brings his superhero hit G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS to the interactive computer screen once again!

While most comic books are taking a week off, Mini Marvels cartoonist Chris Giarrusso invites fans to fill that time with G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS: ESCAPE FROM DARK FOREST, the all-new video game featuring his beloved creator-owned superhero!

"I'm very happy to see that comics and gaming fans have been enjoying the classic 8-bit style G-Man video games we've been adding to chrisgcomics.com," Giarrusso said. "Long-time gaming fans dig that familiar old-school feel they grew up with, while younger fans are discovering the undeniable charm of these games for the first time. I personally couldn't be more thrilled with the way these games tie directly into aspects of the Cape Crisis comic series."

ESCAPE FROM DARK FOREST adapts the memorable chase scene from G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS #4, where G-Man must stay one step ahead of the deadly forest monsters seeking to devour him. Once readers are finished being thrilled, they can head down to their local comic book store in January to pick up the shocking conclusion to G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS, as well as the currently available digest collection of G-MAN's previous comics, G-MAN: LEARNING TO FLY.

G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS #5 (OCT090421), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, will be in stores January 13th, 2009. Printable order info can be downloaded at http://www.chrisgcomics.com/newspages/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/OrderForm_GManCC.pdf to help your retailer assist you in finding G-Man books. G-MAN: CAPE CRISIS: ESCAPE FROM DARK FOREST is available for free online play right now at http://www.chrisgcomics.com/ccgame3.html

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Comic News: The Year of Spider-Man Is 2010



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Comic News: ASTONISHING X-MEN MOTION COMIC BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO



Marvel is proud to present the latest Astonishing X-Men BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO #6

Get a behind the scenes look at the chart-topping Astonishing X-Men Motion Comic with this all new video! Based on the acclaimed story by superstars Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and John Cassaday (Captain America), the X-Men are faced with a mysterious new villain and a possible cure for the mutant gene! Now Cyclops, Wolverine and all your favorite mutants must face the greatest threats of their lives and, before it’s all done, experience one of the most jaw-dropping moments in Marvel history!

video
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Masters of the Universe Classics 2009 Top Ten, Part III



Numbers 6 and 5...


Tri-Klops with Mandarin Spawn katana.

Number 6 Tri-Klops

Masters of the Universe Classics really hit its stride over the summer and August’s figure, Tri-Klops, is a perfect example of that. Tri-Klops is a great update of the classic figure with a few subtle nods to the 2002 version of the character. He's still evil and he still sees everything.


He comes with a good amount of accessories such as his classic sword, a Doomseeker with mount, and even a replica of the classic glow-in-the-dark MOTU ring. Probably my favorite thing about this new Tri-Klops is that there is actually sculpting under the visor where you can see his robotic eye implants. Check out the full review of this figure here.


Number 5 He-Ro

While the final MOTUC action figure of He-Ro is impressive in its own right, the fact that he was finally made after all these years is pretty damn cool. He is, of course, based on the unreleased prototype from a cancelled MOTU spinoff series and his very 1980’s fantasy deco may not be to everyone’s taste but He-Ro is a great looking figure with a look that is quite unique in the line.


Within the context of Masters of the Universe Classics, He-Ro was also remarkable for introducing a lot of new tooling, such as new a new loin cloth, wrist guards and boots. He includes both a repainted “cosmic” power sword and a large, articulated golden staff which features a hidden spellstone, which came in one of three possible colors.

Read our original review of He-Ro here.

Check back tomorrow for numbers 4 and 3.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer
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