By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
Two fan favorite Marvel characters are teaming up in a new comic series coming out in 2015.
Peggy Carter and Howard Stark will star in Operation S.I.N., a five-issue series chronicling their worldwide adventures following the events in the series Original Sin. In it, they will be trailing an alien energy source that has been discovered in Russia and must keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
Hydra is also seeking the alien technology for their own nefarious purposes. When Carter and Stark encounter a man named Woodrow McCord, they will see how far someone will go to keep the Earth safe. But just who is this mysterious McCord?
Though not related to the upcoming Agent Carter TV series, the two seem to share similarities, as where both have Stark pull Carter away from her desk job and into the action.
Operation S.I.N. hits shelves this January.
By Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Sleepy Hollow #1
“I have mastered pushing the little red button.”
Sleepy Hollow certainly has its devoted followers. The show is pretty solid, despite being grounded in a somewhat ridiculous version of reality, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable in the first place. BOOM! Studios wants to take readers into town for another ride in Sleepy Hollow #1. The issue is written by Marguerite Bennett, illustrated by Jorge Coelho, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by Jim Campbell. “Movie Night” is written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson.
After dying on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War, Ichabod Crane awakes in present-day Sleepy Hollow, New York. His resurrection is tied to the reappearance of the Headless Horseman, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Realizing it is his mission to help stop the end of the world, Ichabod teams with the SHPD’s Lt. Abbie Mills to meet each evil threat head-on. When minor miracles start to sweep the town, they’re glad something good seems to be happening for once. No decapitations, no headless horseman, no worries, right? But as one by one the miracles start to backfire, more and more violently, Abbie and Ichabod must find time between saving the world to save the citizens of Sleepy Hollow.
The show Sleepy Hollow does exceedingly well in the outlandishness department, as it realizes it’s over the top and embraces it. That comes through very strongly in the banter between Ichabod and Abbie Mills, which Bennett taps into beautifully in the dialogue in Sleepy Hollow #1. Their repartee is just as fast-witted and curious, which makes the book feel as if you’re watching an episode of the series. That seamless transition carries over to the plot as well, with Bennett throwing the duo into the thick of things against a large group of witches. The concept of the issue is very plausible within the Sleepy Hollow universe as envisioned in the show and gives readers a lot of familiar aspects to grab hold of. The pacing of the issue maintains the briskness of the show as well, moving along quite effortlessly between action and investigation.
Sleepy Hollow has an established look that Coelho captures very well. Both Ichabod and the Leftenant maintain their familiar appearance, with Coelho even managing to work their mannerisms into the book as well. Beyond the expected, Coelho’s illustrations boast very sharp angles, with many characters exhibiting slightly elongated body types. This is definitely appropriate for the demonic visitors, but it looks a little strange at some points for other characters; it’s not a distraction or anything, just noticeable. Bonvillain’s colors are very vivid, effectively showcasing effects such as lightning, police lights, and fire. All of the coloring breathes further life into Sleepy Hollow and makes it feel like a living, breathing entity (which it largely is to some extent).
Sleepy Hollow #1 is a great adaptation of the show that hits all the right notes. If you’ve never really checked out the show, it’s a perfect primer of sorts, as it captures the tone and atmosphere very well. Bennett’s script is very snappy and maintains that “how-is-this-happening-I-don’t-care” aspect of the show. Coelho’s art is equally as outlandish in some ways, offering almost a caricature look at Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow #1 is really a lot of fun and offers plenty of enjoyment if you go in knowing that you’re not necessarily getting an accurate, historical representation of a folk legend. That’s what makes it so good as a legend though, which translates into Sleepy Hollow #1. Plus, there’s a pretty awesome short at the end by Stevenson that further captures the zaniness of the property.
Sleepy Hollow #1is in stores now.
Planet Gigantic #1
“Nice landing. Some ‘master of gravity’ you turned out to be.”
Exploration brings with it a lot of unknowns. Discovering those unknowns is the fun part and naming them can be even more exciting. Sometimes though, it’s just as simple to name a place something based on its physical description, as in Planet Gigantic #1 from Action Lab Entertainment. The issue is written by Eric Grissom and illustrated by David Halvorson. It’s broken into two stories: “Planetfall!” and “The Eye of the Sun.”
When two genetically-engineered teenagers named Yuri and Valentina crash-land on a strange planet, they must learn to rely on themselves and their still-developing powers as they face down a giant rock monster. The rock monster turns out to be the least of their worries though, as their encounter with Queen Neva of Woodmere doesn’t go quite according to plan. Meanwhile, in “The Eye of the Sun,” Lyana the Seeker braves a cursed tomb in search of the fabled Eye of the Sun.
Blending the worlds of space and fiefdoms, Planet Gigantic #1 is a happy medium of two genres. Grissom’s world is equal parts technology and kingdom, which makes the story feel pretty imaginative and capable of bigger things. As leading characters, Yuri and Valentina are pretty likable, even if they read somewhat familiarly as a cocky brother and slightly more cautious sister. Their encounter with the natives of Woodmere throws them right into the thick of things, even giving them a glimpse into their adoration towards Queen Neva. Grissom’s script is pretty airy and breezes along, moving the reader from discovering the planet to discovering the enemy to discovering trouble. It’s a simple set-up, but it works.
Planet Gigantic #1 relies on something of a funky art style, courtesy of Halvorson’s penchant for doodling. That’s not to say the art feels simple; rather, he imbues it with a sort of hands-off feel that really works for the context of the tale. Characters are illustrated with newspaper comic accents and features, with sharp, bold outlines defining their bodies and faces. The settings show a certain level of intricacy that make the panels feel very dynamic, especially those where the two teens are in the midst of combat. Panels feel exciting as well, with a lot of variation in their presentation and positioning.
Planet Gigantic #1 is a pretty fun first issue. It does a great job of introducing the reader to a new world that boasts a blend of technology and sorcery in some respects. Grissom’s script is very evenly paced and pretty light, not really requiring a lot on the part of the reader to fully grasp what’s going on. Halvorson’s illustrations are the perfect style for the work as well, offering a style that feels pretty relaxed. Planet Gigantic #1 is a pretty strong first issue that sets the tone for an adventurous tale in a new world.
Planet Gigantic #1 is in stores October 29 (Diamond Order code AUG140943).
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1
“Now that you ask, there’s a small coven in Greendale, just starting up…”
Life as a witch brings with it equal amounts of joy and pain. The times when you’re on and tapping into your abilities are great, but the times when you’re being scorned for your powers and inadvertently summon unspeakable evils aren’t so good. Adding those into the perils of high school just adds another layer of complexity, something that Archie Comics explores in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1. The issue is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Robert Hack, and lettered by Jack Morelli.
Before she was a teenage witch, Sabrina was born to a warlock father and human mother. That union proves to be problematic for Sabrina later on, as her aunts claim her because of a deal made by her father. Eventually, she ends up in Greendale and takes up residence in an abandoned funeral home. There she’s joined by a talking cat named Salem and Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose, preparing her to tackle possibly the scariest thing of all in high school.
Riverdale has been made famous by its most notable resident in Archie, but there are lots of other interesting characters there as well. Aguirre-Sacasa does a fantastic job shining the light on Sabrina as one of them, offering a first issue that serves as both an origin issue of sorts as well as a familiarizing of her character. Sabrina dabbles in the dark arts much like any other growing witch would do and the progression of the issue is a great chronology of developmental milestones. There are some rather humorous events, such as telepathy on a young birthday and an aunt scaring a bully, but that doesn’t prevent Aguirre-Sacasa from venturing into the darker corners of witchcraft. And that’s really where Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 excels most, offering up a tale that’s equally as dark in tone as it’s light in humor.
Considering the enduring appeal of a character like Sabrina, Hack does a great job of maintaining a balance between what everyone remembers her looking like and what a slightly more modern take looks like. Hack relies on a lot of pretty harsh shading throughout, which gives the book an eerie atmosphere. It’s almost as if you’re watching a horror movie, where you know something bad is going to happen. Being able to convey that tension through the art reflects talent in Hack, as he clearly knows how to translate that unease into illustrations. The panel layouts feel old-fashioned in a sense as well, standing amidst empty gutters to emphasize the wide array of character looks contained within.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 is a very deliberate first issue that knows exactly what it wants from itself and the reader. The story is a great introduction to the character for those who aren’t as familiar with her, while also eliciting some acknowledging smirks from readers a bit more in the know about her troubled life. Aguirre-Sacasa clearly understands Sabrina and what makes her tick, imbuing her with the right blend of youthful naivety and fascination with her powers. Hack’s illustrations are the perfect fit for the content of the story as it taps into the calm that accompanies impending evil. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 is a strong first issue that features a little something of everything mixed together very organically.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 is available now.
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.
That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.
“I just want to forget.”
Atonement is an ongoing theme of The Walking Dead and it’s on full display in “Strangers.” In that regard, both Rick and Carol need to atone for various decisions they’ve made: Carol for the killing in the prison and Rick for banishing her. Their exchange was very simple yet powerful, with both showing respect for the other’s choices. Rick has gotten to the same point as Carol slightly slower than she did, but the point is that both find ways to survive. They’ve always respected one another because of their capabilities and that respect just continues to grow as they endure together.
The introduction of Gabriel is a little heavy-handed, but it does serve a greater purpose for the direction of the story. Gabriel traditionally represents a messenger from God sent to certain people and in this case he’s sent to the survivors to remind them that everyone isn’t evil. It’s a harsh lesson for the jaded survivors, especially in light of their most recent situation. Carl’s continued ascension as “good angel” on Rick’s shoulder is a further embodiment of Gabriel’s message, as Carl believes that not everyone is bad. It’s a very tough pill to swallow in this world. Rick doesn’t seem to think that people are capable of being good, evidenced by his rather trying test for Gabriel.
Rick’s insistence on getting answers to his three questions is a nice sort of reminder of how things are. When they first appeared, they were done as a means of setting the tone for one of his first random encounters. Since then though, it acts as something more of a litmus test for Rick’s trust. Gabriel offered probably some of the more original answers rooted in his devout belief in his religion. He proves himself to be very religious, but not without a sketchy past as evidenced by the carvings on the side of the church. No man is without sin, especially in the world of The Walking Dead.
Some of the other relationships are also getting their time in the spotlight. Tyreese gets to reunite with his sister, who’s vey open in her affection for Bob. Glen and Maggie continue their life together, with a brief respite thrown in. Carol and Daryl seem to rekindle their past kinship, save for a few secrets that Carol refuses to discuss. It’s largely implied that those secrets have to do with some of her decisions to kill the living. Carol feels as if she doesn’t belong with the group and is on the verge of leaving, but that impending departure gives Daryl the coincidence he needs to pick up the trail on Beth.
Beth’s abduction was somewhat strange last season, mainly because there was little else mentioned about the abduction. All he remembered was the white cross on the back of a car and that was dropped as a loose reference in the first episode of the season. It reminded the viewer that Beth is still around, but there’s still very little mention of who abducted her in the first place. It’s a pretty big dangling plot thread that hopefully won’t have the same drag to it that the Sophia storyline in season two did. Beth grew into a more interesting character as last season progressed and Daryl clearly had something invested in her personally.
The big reveal of the episode was the return of Gareth and the hunters. The group has been stalking the survivors and their first victim was Bob. It was a little interesting that he was the first one taken, but it’s readily apparent that he won’t be the last. The group is desperate to survive and prove that they will do whatever it takes to do so, even if it means continuing their cannibalistic ways. The end scene of the episode was probably one of the more jarring of the series, really setting the tone for the season to come.
“Strangers” is a very interesting episode that does what The Walking Dead does so well in bringing together disparate personalities. Those personalities aren’t always brought together in concert, as evidenced by the hunters’ desire to survive at all costs. Rick is still in full distrust mode, refusing to believe that Gabriel is being completely forthcoming with some of his past decisions. Daryl and Carol may be on the path to something else entirely, while Abraham and his crew are still fighting to get to Washington, DC. Their trip may be put on hold though as they fight for their lives yet again against their new enemies.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
Kids, gather ‘round and let me tell you a story. Back in my day, when you wanted to bring your music on the go, there were no iPods. There were cassette tapes. And thanks to Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy, more and more young people are learning about these now-ancient relics.
Quill brings his precious “Awesome Mix Volume 1” with him everywhere in the movie. Soon, you’ll be able to as well.
Marvel Music and Hollywood Records have announced the release of a cassette version of the 10th best selling album of 2014. You’re already able to buy the digital album, the CD, the vinyl, and even the Deluxe Edition, but this will be the real deal, just like in GOTG.
The limited edition cassette will be issued on Nov. 17, only to independent retailers partnered with Record Store Day (which is actually celebrated in April) and will be available through Dec. 31, or until supplies last.
It even comes with the cover art as seen in the movie, along with all the song titles written in pen.
Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on DVD on Blu-ray Dec. 9.
By: Ricky Strong (@strongricky)
Welcome to another installment of Instant Gamer! This month on the Playstation Network, there are some really great games available for FREE for Playstation Plus subscribers. Playstation 4 owners have three games: Dust: An Elysian Tail, Spelunky, and Pix the Cat, with Driveclub Playstation Plus edition coming soon. Playstation 3 owners will be able to download Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. Playstation Vita owners have both Pix the Cat and Rainbow Moon available for free on the Playstation Store. Today, we are going to take a look at Spelunky on the PS4.
Spelunky is a randomly generated platformer that was originally released on PC in 2008. Since then, Spelunky has undergone a facelift and been brought to XBLA and Playstation Network. Spelunky’s Adventure Mode is the meat of the package that sends one to four players on a quest to adventure through all the levels while finding as much treasure as possible. There is also a deathmatch mode, as well as a daily challenge that pits your time and treasure against others on a leaderboard.
Spelunky is good old-fashioned fun but it can be very difficult to master and actually complete, especially if you are playing by yourself. Each level is randomly generated, so there is no memorizing where the exits, stores, treasure, and damsels are in each level. The first section of the game is the mines, with four levels within the mines. Within the mines, there are levels that could possibly be dark and require the player to carry a torch, have a pit of snakes, or even contain a bunch of huge spiders, but the layout is never the same.
The levels in Spelunky are completely destructible, and they’re only limited to the number of bombs the player can currently hold. Accidently blow up a ledge you need to use? Luckily the players each have a limited number of ropes to throw up and climb to a higher area or use to drop down a huge hole. There are tons of monsters within each level of Spelunky that can be killed by jumping on them, hitting them with your whip, or by throwing any of the objects you find lying around each level. And oh yeah, there is a ghost that comes after your spelunking crew if you are taking too long on a level! If said ghost touches you, it is an instant kill, so find that exit in a hurry!
One of the most fun and challenging aspects of Spelunky is that when you die by either losing all your lives or by an instant kill, you have to start completely back over at 1-1. The only way to skip the mines is to complete them a certain amount of times, which allows Tunnel Man enough resources to complete a shortcut for you. So make sure that when you finish level 1-4 that you have some bombs and rope in your inventory to donate to Tunnel Man!
Spelunky is a lot of fun, especially with friends. It is a game that will challenge you to become more skilled so you are able to complete each new challenge. Spelunky boasts easy to learn controls, gorgeous graphics, and tremendous replayability. The best part about Spelunky is that you can download it for free right now on the Playstation Network for the PS4, PS3, and Playstation Vita.