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By Jessica Brister On 2 May, 2014 At 07:10 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarStar Wars has been in the news recently for the announcement of the new cast for Episode VII.  Many fans are excited that their beloved characters are coming back to the silver screen, albeit a bit older.  It may be the natural tendency for some die-hard fans to reach for one of the many novels while waiting for the new movie to come out.  However, there are other options for Star Wars literature.  Star Wars comics are nothing new, but they are one of the Star Wars universe’s best kept secrets.  Typically grittier in tone, the comics expand upon the Star Wars universe, and their plots are interwoven between the novels.  One of the darker series is the Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy.  Set six years after Return of the Jedi, Dark Empire explores Luke Skywalker’s decent into the dark side.

The Dark Empire series was originally a bi-monthly series that started in late 1991.  Published by Dark Horse Comics, the trilogy consists of Dark Empire I (six issues), Dark Empire II (six issues), and Empire’s End (2 issues).  The series is written by Tom Veitch.  However, there was an artist change between Cam Kennedy, who did Dark Empire I and II, to Jim Balkie, who drew for Empire’s End.  The trilogy was published in a hardcover edition in 2010, which unfortunately appears to not be in print at the moment, which has caused the price of this edition to skyrocket.  However, buyers can still purchase the individual paperback books fairly cheaply.  Another alternative is purchasing in e-book format.  For the purposes of this review, the hardcover addition will be highlighted.

Dark Empire begins after Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy.  The New Republic is desperately trying to battle the last remnants of the Empire.  However, they have even more to deal with than they had bargained for: a new type of weapon, called “World Devastators” are wrecking havoc all over the galaxy.  Not only that, but Emperor Palpatine is back in a cloned body.  Wanting to smash the rebels once and for all, he develops his power even more by studying the Sith.  The Emperor, however, has plans in mind for Luke, who this new Emperor “Reborn” hopes to turn to the dark side.

The story is especially fun, since Luke turns into a much darker character.

The story is especially fun, since Luke turns into a much darker character.

The story is faster-paced when compared to some of the novels and highlights the “core” Star Wars characters: Luke’s struggle with the dark side, Han and Leia’s relationship, and the Emperor, a bad guy that readers just love to hate.  The tone is dark, serious, and desperate.  For Star Wars fans who want to see the darker side of the series, it is a must-read.  If reading as a stand-alone from the rest of the novels, the story could become a bit confusing at times, as it assumes that the reader had prior knowledge of many of the plot lines that have happened in previous books and movies.  These comics are not recommended for casual Star Wars fans.  If reading the hardcover edition, it does include the Dark Empire Handbook that walks through all of the characters, places, and terms.  It still might be a little daunting, though.  However, many die-hard fans will enjoy the direction that Veitch takes with the storyline and tone.

Both Kennedy and Balkie are amazing artists.  Although their styles are different, the overall tone was kept the same, making the transition from Dark Empire I and II to Empire’s End pretty easy.  Kennedy’s  drawings are a little sharper, focusing on sharper lines.  Balkie’s art is a little softer both in the way that he draws the characters and scenes.  Both are enjoyable to go through, although probably the best piece in the hardcover edition is the cover art by Dave Dorman, which features Luke Skywalker in his “dark side” outfit.

Here Luke and the cloned Emperor fight.  Kennedy is a bit more sharp in his images.

Here Luke and the cloned Emperor fight. Kennedy is a bit more sharp in his images.

Overall, this series is a must-have for hard-core Star Wars fans, especially ones who have all of the rest of the novels lining their bookshelves but haven’t dabbled into the comics.  The writing, storyline, and art are top-notch.  Star Wars: Episode VII writers and producers might want to take note of this one.  This is the way to do a good Star Wars plot.  Dark Empire is a series that takes the fantasy of Star Wars and adds a more artistic element to it, not only in the artwork but also the story.  Here’s hoping that Episode VII is half as good.

By Amy McGarey On 30 Apr, 2014 At 07:09 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, News, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe real Peter Parker is back in a seven story giant-sized comic!


This issue sets up the rest of the series – how Peter Parker is cleaning up the mess Doc Ock made as the Superior Spider-Man, the villains he will face this series, and his alliances. If you didn’t already know, in the past 31 issues of Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock had been possessing Peter Parker’s body, while the real Peter Parker remained hidden inside Doc Ock’s subconscious. Doc Ock decided to take on the challenge of keeping Spider-Man a hero, saying he would be superior to Peter Parker before him. In the past year, Doc Ock had made some improvements to Parker’s life – curing Aunt May’s bum leg, getting a PhD, and opening his own “Parker Industries” for research. However, Doc Ock had messed up a lot of things, too – quitting the Avengers, putting up surveillance all over New York, blackmailing people, and being generally disliked among the neighborhood. One thing that caused a change in Doc Ock was falling in love with Ana Maria Marconi. Ana Maria ends up getting captured by the Green Goblin, and Doc Ock knows the only way to get her back is to let a real hero, Peter Parker, take over his body to save her.


In issue #1, we see how Peter Parker plans on repairing the damage of the past year. He makes a public vow to separate himself from Spider-Man, saying he will no longer provide tech for him. “Recapturing That Old Spark,” shows us that Electro will be a main villain in the series, which is no surprise since he’s the main villain in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie. Another major player is Black Cat in “Crossed Paths,” which shows her getting put in prison by Spider-Man. You can tell she’s going to be around for a long time when she says, “You took everything from me. Now you’re going to pay for it with your life. But only after I’m done playing with it.”


We also get to see previews of upcoming series. In the beautifully illustrated “Homecoming. Sort of,” we get a sneak peak of the new Spider-Man 2099 comic coming out in July. “Kaine” is a tie-in for New Warriors. Two stories also pay homage to vintage Spider-Man – “How My Stuff Works,” will take you back to the days when Spider-Man used to explain his gadgets at the end of each Amazing Spider-Man volume one issue. “Learning to Crawl: Amazing Reality,” gives you the point of view of a boy in the audience of Spider-Man’s old wrestling shows. This story suggests we will see alternate points of view of major Spider-Man events in the future.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 has raised some questions for me, though. How is Peter Parker going to handle Ana Maria – especially now that she knows his secret? Also, is Spider-Man going to make his way back into the Avengers? This issue has opened up many new stories in the Spider-Man universe and has grown it exponentially. I can’t wait to see what more Marvel has in store for us with the Amazing Spider-Man!

By Amy McGarey On 24 Apr, 2014 At 11:37 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarlumberjanes

Publisher: Boom! Studios
Written by: Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Illustrated by: Brooke Allen

Have you ever wanted to go to summer camp for hardcore lady-types? Lumberjanes tells the tale of five cabin mates at an all girl adventure camp. Their motto? Friendship to the max! Our story starts with the girls sneaking out of their cabin late at night to investigate a “weird old lady” outside of their cabin. They end up in the forest and fight off a pack of three-eyed foxes. After defeating the foxes, their howls spell out a message: “Beware the kitten holy.” Believing to have just beat some cat-hating foxes, they sneak back to their cabin hoping not to wake up their camp counselor, Jen. Of course, Jen catches them on their way in and takes them directly to the camp director for punishment. After all, they broke eight camp policies. When the Lumberjanes tell their story to Rosie, the camp director, she seems more interested in the adventure, rather than kicking the girls out for sneaking off. She gives them a badge for being “up all night.” The girls are shocked that she isn’t going to call their parents.

I loved the first issue of Lumberjanes. It was full of action, adventure and it reminded me of the same kind of humor as Adventure Time. I can’t wait for the next issue to find out what kind of magical items the girls discovered. Also, I can’t wait to see more of their battle formations, like “Little Red” formation. The next issue will be out May 14th.

By Amy McGarey On 16 Apr, 2014 At 06:18 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews | With 1 Comment

No Gravatarbatman_eternal

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration of Batman, a new comic book series called Batman Eternal debuted last Wednesday. This series will last 60 issues and be written by a revolving team of all-star Batman writers including John Layman, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley. Batman Eternal will work alongside the regular Batman series, which is also written by Scott Snyder. Batman #28 serves as an introduction to this new series.

In Batman Eternal #1, we see Commissioner Gordon battling head to head with Professor Pyg. Gordon makes a mistake while trying to apprehend one of his henchmen and causes a disaster of epic proportions. Batman can’t even save Gordon from the wrath of the corrupt Major Forbes. We’re also introduced to a new transfer cop from Detroit, Jason Bard, who seems to represent a younger Jim Gordon – someone who believes that Gotham City is worth fighting for.

With Gordon off the grid, I’m excited to see how Batman’s relationship with the Gotham City Police will survive. Will Jason Bard be Batman’s new go-to man? Are Batman’s allies going to be picked off one by one? Batman Eternal is well worth picking up. The first issue already has some movie-worthy scenes which further the battle between light and dark in Gotham. This first issue was written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with art by Jason Fabok.



By Amy McGarey On 2 Feb, 2014 At 01:01 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarxfactor2

X-Factor is one of my new must-read series out of the All-New Marvel NOW! reboots. I love how this ragtag team is shaping up, along with the introduction of some other shady mutants who are new to me. I’m impressed by how genuine Polaris, Quicksilver, and Gambit are. They know who they are and they aren’t ashamed to be themselves. Just like in the last issue where Gambit has to pickpocket people so he doesn’t get rusty. This is a welcome change from all the million concurrent Wolverine series where he’s always struggling with his current role as a teacher and his past as a killer. With X-Factor, they don’t stray far from who they are.

In the last issue, Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver had just invaded an A.I.M. laboratory to save mutants that were being experimented on. In this issue, we continue the fight against Dr. Hoffman. Gambit and Quicksilver fight their way through the lab, while Polaris saves the injured Fatale from torture. We find out that Fatale, along with Reaper and Abyss, had been transported to another dimension after Quicksilver had turned them into walking time bombs. This new dimension froze time and prevented the three of them from detonating.

Dr. Hoffman transported them out to his lab in order to siphon off their explosive energy. Fatale can’t imagine why he would want to do that, but on their way out she and Polaris run into the newly formed Dr. Hoffman. He’s used the power to turn himself into a giant full of energy. He questions the mutants on why they didn’t think of the transformations for themselves. Gambit and Quicksilver team up to take him down with just a simple playing card. In the end, Dr. Hoffman isn’t really good at maintaining all that energy, especially while unconscious. Even though Quicksilver saved their lives, Abyss, Reaver, and Fatale are sill not ready to forgive him for what happened in the past.

I enjoyed this issue just as much as the last one, so I give it an A. We got to see more action in this issue and everyone’s individual fighting style. I got a taste of how they will work together in future issues. I’m still waiting to see why Serval Industries hired them in the first place and why they think Mutants’ lives are worth protecting. I’m completely excited about the next issue, since the cover has Gambit covered in kittens.

By Tiffany Marshall On 28 Jan, 2014 At 02:36 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarDeadly ClassThere’s a must read comic on the scene this month! If you can, you should drop everything and run to your nearest comic book store to pick up this new series from Rick Remender with story, Wes Craig with art, Lee Loughridge with coloring, Rus Wooton with lettering and design, and Sebastian Girner as editor.  Image Comics served as the publisher.

Deadly Class is about a group of teenagers in a high school, but not your typical high school.  In this high school, they learn how to kill and become assassins.  It’s Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts.  Deadly Class follows Marcus Lopez Arguello, a homeless teenager, trying to make his way on the streets of San Francisco after his parents were killed.

I give Deadly Class an A+ as it impresses in story, art, and intrigue.  I recommend this for anyone that may be interested in assassins and an alternative twist on the world with a darker nature.  Deadly Class, however, is rated M for Mature so I do not recommend this for children.

Issue #2 will be out on February 19, 2014.

Deadly Class 2

By Tiffany Marshall On 22 Jan, 2014 At 08:02 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAlex Ada Issue 3

Issue #3 of Alex + Ada came out this week – January 15, 2014 to be exact.  Alex + Ada is written by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn with the art and cover done by Jonathan Luna.  The series is published by Image Comics.  As seen in my previous review of this series, I have been skeptical, but this issue has me somewhat excited for what’s to come.

In this issue, Alex grapples with feeling like something is missing from Ada (his android), as if she is too “robotic.”  I can’t say I blame him as Ada, at the moment, comes off as too aiming to please anything he asks.  It’s a bit eerie.  Alex begins searching for ways to deal with this problem and upon the end of the issue starts looking for answers in a group called the “Degrees of Freedom.”

Although I am still waiting for more from this series, this issue has gotten me more interested in what will happen with Alex and Ada.  It’s stepping away from that “been there, done that” feeling and making the premise its own.  I give this issue a C+ as it has improved from the first two issues, but it still leaves something to be desired.

Issue #4 of Alex + Ada will be out on February 12, 2014.

By Amy McGarey On 17 Jan, 2014 At 01:41 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarxfactor

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never read an X-Factor comic in my life. I thought I would try All-New X-Factor issue one since it’s one of the first week releases for the All-New Marvel NOW! reboot. I have to say, I really liked this issue. I was afraid I would have no idea what was going on, but if you have a basic understanding of the X-Men, then you’re good to go with reading this comic.

This issue focuses on Gambit, and in the beginning he gets what I call a “stern talking-to” from Wolverine, as Wolverine catches Gambit breaking into a house. Wolverine tells him if he wants to keep his teaching position at the Jean Grey school, then he needs to put his thieving life behind and focus on the students.

Gambit gets bummed out and visits a bar, where he meets his old friend Polaris. She brings him to the company she works for, Serval Industries, and introduces him to the CEO, Harrison Snow. He offers Gambit a position with the X-Force, Serval Industries private mutant task force. Snow brings in Quicksilver to coerce him into joining.

In the end, Snow sends the X-Force on their first mission – to save a mutant from being experimented on by Dr. Hoffman. There are still a few questions that remain, though. Why does Snow even care about mutantkind? What does he get out of saving mutants?

I’m really excited about this new series and I give issue one an A. With the release of All-New X-Force and Black Widow this past week, I would say that the All-New Marvel NOW! reboot had a very strong first week.

This article was originally posted on my blog, R2D2Cupcake, on January 14, 2014.

By Tiffany Marshall On 9 Jan, 2014 At 06:07 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarRevival

Revival is written by Tim Seeley with art from Mike Norton and published by Image Comics.

The characters at the head of the story are sisters Officer Dana Cypress and Martha “Em” Cypress.  In a small town in rural Wisconsin, there has suddenly been this revival of the dead.  No one knows why and strange things are happening to some that have come back to life.  Revival captivates you from the very beginning and cinches the reader from a cliffhanger at the end of the first issue – Em is one of the revivers.  Due to this strange phenomenon the government has quarantined the town to prevent it from spreading and the CDC has come in to try to get a grasp on what’s going on.

The art is absolutely stunning and unique in emphasizing the suspenseful story.  Revival is not your typical zombie story as the dead that have risen vary between those that aren’t so responsive to those that “seem” very much like they were before “Revival Day,” or are they?

There is a lot unknown about these revivers, but so far I’m intrigued to find out more.  Dana is scrambling to search for the cause, while keeping an eye on her sister.

HIGHLY recommend this series to anyone that enjoys a good mysterous zombie-esque story.  The characters are all interesting with a depth not yet revealed, but insinuated in its existance.  Revivers are out and about, hidden and revealed.  Demons are wandering around in search of something.  Revival is an enthralling twist on the “zombie” premise and guaranteed to keep you wanting more.


By Tiffany Marshall On 3 Jan, 2014 At 07:06 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarLDB

Recently, I caught wind of a wonderful comic book series titled The Li’l Depressed Boy written by S. Steven Struble and illustrated by Sina Grace.  The Li’l Depressed Boy is published by Image Comics.

This series resonated so much with my own personal struggles. It was nice and refreshing to see depression shown with some truth. I have anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with a depressed mood. It’s always been interesting describing how I feel/behave and why I think I feel/behave the way I do. The Li’l Depressed Boy does an amazing job of showing some of that.  To see a representation without a particularly negative light is refreshing.

The series follows LDB which is Li’l Depressed Boy for short.  The story is simple and follows the life of LDB as he navigates the world in an attempt for happiness despite his depression.  The art for this series is very well done and the coloring style is amazing.  It works very well with the story being told.

Of course, always remember that anxiety and depression differ from individual to individual so this is one perspective.

The series features 5 volumes of story numbered 0 through 4.  Unfortunately, The Li’l Depressed Boy seems to be on a hiatus so it isn’t known when it will return.

If you’re looking for a refreshing take on depression or mental health in general or even a simple story in the day in the life, I highly recommend The Li’l Depressed Boy.