Thursday, May 29, 2014


Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: There are a lot of those guys
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

It has been a minute! I must say, it feels good to be writing for the HCB again. The guys have been doing some nice work in my absence, so make sure you check the archives because we have opinions that need reading by discerning fanboys and fanladies such as yourselves. On our way to becoming the most innovative comic review website in the business, we threw a lot of stuff at the proverbial wall. Some stuck. Some didn’t. This idea has turned into a tradition here among the site owners. If you’ve been reading, you might have noticed that the reviews are a little different lately.

For one month a year, we choose each other’s books. I literally drew names out of a hat in Busan, South Korea at my desk before classes started at my Technical High School. Art Bee and I were fated to cross swords this year (go homo), and he chose Ales Kot’s Zero for me to read. In its genesis, this was a way for Madman to get into some DC and for me to get into some Marvel. If I was going to give the old Mark Cuban speech I would be speaking on my deep seated Marvel prejudices that are inherent in the very fiber of my being. These days I don’t really read any superhero books. When they cancelled all of my favorites or watered them down to the point where they became unpalatable, the decision to cut the cord was really easy. All of that being said, I was glad that Art Bee chose an Image book for my yearly outside the box offering.

Even with the decline of The Walking Dead, Image has made some bold strides when it comes to editorial decision making. Image publishes the right books and will take chances on titles that may not be commercially successful. The best part is that some of them are, and when that happens, it completely changes the landscape of mainstream comics. There are a few odd books out, but it seems like these days everything worth reading is coming out of Image. If the sale of print comics continues to languish blame the Big Two, because at Image you’re at least getting your money’s worth.

Spy thriller books are normally not my bag, but when Art Bee assigned me Zero, I sat down and read all seven issues. By now you have probably noticed “There are a lot of those guys” under the artist’s credit. There is no other reason for this than there is one for every issue, and I read seven. That’s right, every single issue has a new artist making Zero quite a unique read. Issue three read like a one shot and it was a great book. While I appreciate the chutzpah it takes to release an ambitious title such as this one, the continuity in the major arcs was completely lost. Image is really swinging for the fences here, and while I won’t be continuing on through the rest of Zero, I could see why Art Bee has this title in his pull list.

If I were about 7 or 8 deep on monthly titles I would probably read this one too, but at the moment I am only into about five, and Zero missed the list. Not that it’s an uninteresting book by any stretch of the imagination; it was just outside my comfort zone. It’s not my genre, and I couldn’t get into the whole artist an issue gimmick going on in Zero. I almost felt like an old man shooing kids off of my lawn though while I wrote these words, and applaud the idea because Image actually made the decision to publish something so unique.

I’m not going to tell you to pass on Zero. If you want a spy thriller that is taking more chances than any other book out there artistically pick up this series. I can’t get books like Creepy where I live, but I read the shit out of that title and Eerie both whenever I can. Do they even publish those anymore? They were running quarterly last time I was in the States. Compilation books like the above mentioned horror titles and a little Dark Horse Presents aren’t off putting in the slightest to me. But if I’m going to read a title with arcs I’m going to need a little continuity in the art department consarn it! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go eat peanuts, drink Old Style, and watch the Cubs lose at 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon at the American Legion. It’s dark, slightly hot, smells like piss and stale cigarettes, and not a single woman has ever walked through the doors, not even for the pull tabs and/or bingo night.

Friday, May 23, 2014

REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Review by: Alexander J. Diaz

I went into this book with low expectations, as I do with all #1 issues by the Big Two, but this book was exactly what it needed to be for the return of Peter Parker. It wasn’t too over the top, and it didn’t try to close out any storylines. I hate when a #1 issue tries to smash a lot of story into the first book of the series, especially when they try to close loops from the last volume.

That’s what a last issue in a series is for, not a first issue.

The Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) didn’t do that, it kept any lingering storylines from The Superior Spider-Man (SSM) open for the moment, which helped the transition immensely.

​When I started to read ASM #1 it felt like putting on an old pair of jeans, it just felt right. Not to say I didn't like SSM, but Peter Parker is supposed to be Spider-Man. The story gave the readers the Spider-Man and the Peter Parker they have come to know and love. He was witty and had all his quips back when fighting the baddies. I mean they put every quip they could fit in. Some may say too many, but I love the quips.

We also had Spidey being put in awkward situations. I won’t spoil the book for those who haven’t read it, but let’s just say it could only happen to Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. For me one of the best parts of ASM has always been Peter Parker, and his inability to juggle his duel life effectively. ASM #1 didn’t let us down in this category either, as Peter has no idea what’s going on in his personal life thanks to what happened in SSM #30. I have to say the story was well put together for a first issue.

I’m going to give the biggest shout out to the penciler, inker, and colorist. This book’s story would not have worked if it had the same look as SSM. The lines were less harsh, and the panels were much lighter. Even dark rooms seemed brighter than day light in SSM. The artists did a good job of bringing the mood of ASM up, and showing that it was a lighter hearted and happier Spider-Man than was shown in SSM. This would not have come across in the story if not for the artists. I felt like Dorothy walking into Oz after going from SSM #31 to ASM #1, so bravo guys. I hope you can keep up the good work.

Now to get to the additional material Marvel tacked on to this issue to bump up the price tag…

"Recapturing That Old Spark"
Writer: Dan Slott & Christos Cage
Pencile: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Javier Rodriguez

​I’m going to start off by stating the obvious: I don’t like these kind of add-ons to an issue if it doesn’t help the book at all. Saying that, I felt this one did, mainly because this issue was about proving that the old Spider-Man is back, and nothing says that more than a classic villain. This story lets the readers know that Electro is going to be making a comeback to ASM. I know most of this is due to the new movie, but I’m okay with it. I liked the story, and it showed the kind of shit the older B-level villains have to deal with in the Marvel universe.

​The thing I liked the most about this story was the art. It had a retro vibe which fit with Electro. Again, it also showed that ASM is returning to its roots, which is what the fans wanted, so good on you Marvel for this story.

The next story is also one I enjoyed.

"Crossed Paths"
Writer: Dan Slott & Christos Cage
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: John Dell & Cam Smith
Colors: Antonio Fabela

​This is a story I wanted to read ever since Black Cat's run in with Spidey in SSM. I wondered what happened and was hoping to find out sooner rather than later. Marvel again helped me out. It filled in something I wanted to know and made me look back at the panels of ASM #1 to notice her appearance in the issue. It fit this issue perfectly and was to the point (which not all the add-ons were, but I’m getting ahead of myself). This was enjoyable and again brought the reader back to old school ASM.

​The art was enjoyable as well. Unlike the art in the previous two stories, “Crossed Paths” art seemed just like SSM, which was good because, to Black Cat, Spidey is still the same S.O.B. that put her in jail. The art let the reader know that not everything in ASM will get back to the way it was, and that some things have changed, maybe even forever.

Now to the add-ons I didn’t like. It was so nice of Marvel to put them all in a row at the end of the book for me.

"How My Stuff Works"
Writer: Joe Caramagna
Artist: Chris Eliopoulos
Color: Jim Charalampidis

​This add on let me know what Marvel truly thinks of it’s readers. I’m sorry to say, readers, that they think we are idiots. In a world where Spidey has been around for almost 52 years, there have been five movies about him in the recent past and numerous cartoons, and Marvel still thinks we need them to tell us what Spider-Man’s powers are. My response is
"Fuck You Marvel". This add-on was completely unnecessary, I know Marvel didn’t think its readers could use multi-syllable words, but this comic was asinine. That’s right, I said it like a writer bitches.

​The art even showed how Marvel sees us; it was drawn and colored to look like it belongs on Nick, Jr. I get it, Marvel, you think we can’t keep up. Next time just do the readers a favor and assume we know what Spidey’s powers are.

We also know that Wolverine has claws, Cyclops shoots beams out of his eyes, and that you guys are asses.

Next up, more crap.

"Homecoming. Sort of"
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Color: Jim Charalampidis

​This story had no business in this book, or any book for that matter. The story was pointless. We get that Spidey 2099 isn’t in 2099, and we didn’t need this pointless story to show us that. I can see Spidey 2099 coming up in ASM when Spidey and Spidey 2099’s paths will, have, or are going to cross in some important way, but this story does not have that kind of importance.

It’s just filler to up the price of this issue, and again, Marvel, Fuck You. This story was stupid, and you should be paying me for the time it took to read.

​On to the art of this crap story. Surprise, it was crap too.

The lines and inking were shit, and Spidey 2099 looked like crap. The lines showed too much detail about Spidey 2099, completely bringing me back to reality. Unfortunately, I kept reading on, and noticed the colors looked like some sort of retro/futuristic crap. It looked like Charalampidis wasn’t sure if he wanted this book to look futuristic in its color tone or retro, so he said, “fuck it, I’ll do both.” It didn’t work. I wish time travel was real like Spidey 2099 suggests, because then I could go back in time and tell Marvel, “You've got to do something about your kids!”

Writer: Chris Yost
Penciler: David Baldeon
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg

​For “Kaine”, I’m going to start with what I liked, which was the art and color. It was a beautiful looking story and enjoyed the look of each panel immensely. Unfortunately this wasn’t an art book, it was a comic book, and the story here was crap.

Are we as readers supposed to believe that after returning as Spider-Man Peter Parker has time to go to Texas to check up on a friend? This is a guy who can’t make it to dinner on time, has just come back from death, and has to figure out what happened in his absence, but he has time for a fucking trip to Texas to check up on a friend. Again, Marvel, I have to say get your shit together. This story could have made sense down the road, but not in the first issue. Maybe if you weren’t trying to make this issue worth more; you wouldn’t have devalued it with more crap.

​In Closing on "Kaine", I didn’t like it.

Learning to Crawl: “Amazing Reality”
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ramón Pérez
Color: Ian Herring

​Crap: that is the word I use to describe this story.

One, it didn’t belong in this issue. Two, the art and coloring were horrible. Three, the story was not even good.

​Let’s start with my first complaint. This was obviously another add-on to support the cost of this issue. In my opinion, it again did the opposite. It didn’t belong at all, and at the end it said to pick up ASM #1.1 to finish this crap. I don’t think so.

If you wanted me to read ASM #1.1 then you shouldn’t pull shit like this. I’m going to skip it just to spite you, Marvel.
​My second complaint was the art. It was not good. I could have colored this story better if all I did was eat some rainbow sherbet and puked it over the page. The inking was bad too, but the yellowish tone just got to me. I did not like it.

​Finally, the third problem with the story was that it was crap. It went nowhere and took its time getting there. I get that you want to sell ASM #1.1 Marvel, but do it with good storytelling, not by weighing your titles down with bad storytelling.

The last thing to review on this book is Inhuman #1.

Inhuman #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Joe Madureira
Color Artist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

​This review is two-fold. First off, I’m going to say that Inhuman #1 didn’t belong at the end of ASM #1. I get that Marvel again is trying to add value to this issue by adding more on to it, but Inhuman mythos is too much to tack on to ASM #1. Especially since Marvel already showed us they don’t even trust us to remember Spidey’s abilities. Saying all of this though, I did enjoy Inhuman #1, and I hope it gets people to read more Inhuman titles.

​The story in Inhuman #1 was great. It filled in the gaps if you were behind a bit, and it had some great action and storytelling taking place. It developed the beautifully presented characters and made me care about what happen to the protagonists.

As you can see I’m trying not to ruin it for the reader.
The art and color were also great. It was very rich, but also harsh in tone like the story. It made me enjoy each panel immensely, and definitely made me want to buy the next issue. I liked it, so at least Marvel ended this book on a high note.

In summary, this book was like a sandwich. It had some great stories at the beginning, and one at the end with some crap in between. I still would recommend reading ASM #1, just skip the crap.

Friday, May 16, 2014

REVIEW: Star Mage #1

Writer: JC De La Torre
Artwork: Ray Dillon
Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

So last month the fellas here at the HCB decided we would pair off and choose books for each other to read and review. It sounded like a good way for each of us to color outside the lines a tad and escape to the danger zone. On most days there are a fair amount of books that we all read and love, but the ones that we disagree on are what has given me a pretty good understanding of each of my fellow writers’ preference towards comics. So when I drew Will “wool trousers” Dubbeld out of the hat, I knew it was going to get interesting.

Star Mage here I come. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the cover was Harry Potter in space. Yeah, not so much.

Darien Connors is our guy. Darien is the stereotypical high school dorky bastard that all the jocks pick on. What’s not stereotypical is Darien’s old man’s day job. Douglas, the dorky bastard’s father, was an astronaut who was trying to be the first sausage to land on Mars. He mysteriously crashed and burned. Exactly two years after that fateful day, somewhere in Mars’ atmosphere, we find Darien in all his patheticness run up a flag pole by his under-britches once again by his arch-nemesis, the evil jock guy . . . yep.

All of the sudden the American flag gets hit by lightning, and our little nerdy bastard gets his magical hoodoo powers. Darien ends up escaping his tormentors and fleeing into the woods only to be abducted by aliens (yeah, that’s right, I said aliens) that look like humans, and happen to know Darien’s old man. Huh? Who knew? That’s where this here first issue leaves us. Darien Shanghaied is rocketing through space.

This book really, really needs a hug, because I’m about to call it bad names. I totally couldn’t get into the story or the middle-of-the-road artwork. There was an impressive half a page comb over, but hopefully you never have to see it. Just ignore it and it’ll go away.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2014: part 2

Ah, Free Comic Book Day . . .

It's like a nerd Christmas in May, and this year Santa was pretty good to me.

In previous years I've meandered up to the LCS, scored some loot and checked out the sales that invariably fall on Free Comic Book Day. Last year I was unable to attend as I was firing reproduction 19th century field artillery at the 200th anniversary of a War of 1812 siege.

C'est la vie.

This year, however, I would not be foiled. I picked out two shops and headed into the city for two of my favorite things: free and comics. The day started off with a bang. At the first shop I visited greeted me with a door prize, a complimentary variant Superman Unchained no. 5.

Free Comic Book Day was looking good . . .

This particular shop limited FCBD goodies to 4 per customer and my choices were as follows:

Valiant FCBD 2014 Armor Hunters Special

Valiant is busy being hailed as the company putting out the hot books, and their FCBD was pretty much an advertisement for the newest X-O Manowar mega-event. The book offered previews from 3 upcoming books, a pinup or two, interview with creator Robert Venditti, and a recap of the company's mission statement.
It was no Stan's Soapbox, but it'll do.
2 out of 4

Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories

Archaia's offering this year was a hardcover anthology. A FREE hardcover. Nearly 50 pages of free, hardcover comics. Outstanding! This book would probably retail for $12-$15. In addition to the titular comics, the anthology offers selections from Rust, Bolivar, Will O' the Wisp and Farscape. Admittedly, I know nothing about most of these selections. The Mouse Guard short was excellent, but I'm a bit biased as a Redwall fan. Likewise with Labyrinth and Farscape. The Labyrinth short was a fun story detailing Ludo's origin story, and the Farscape story is a throwaway, though sure to be enjoyed by a fan of the television show.

As an aside, I've realized how close a parallel there is between Farscape and the current incarnation of Guardians of the Galaxy, what with a displaced earthman tear-assing around the galaxy with a group of rough-and-tumble extraterrestrials. No accusatory reference to the House of Ideas, just an observation.

The other stories therein involved a tweener with a jet pack, a little girl and her sentient t-rex, and what appeared to be a mischievous voodoo raccoon.

Not much to cling to here. I really enjoyed a few of the shorts, and I applaud Archaia on giving away hardcovers.
3 out of 4

Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Yeah, yeah, I know. I should have used Free Comic Book Day to pick up an Indy book I'd not otherwise read in order to boost readership for creator owned material, but Marvel Zombie must buy product.

If it's any consolation, I actually wanted the Rocket Raccoon book . . .

So, here we are, plugging the GotG movie in comic format. It was very nearly a recap of the movie trailer, involving Tony Stark explaining to Flash Thomson who the Guardians of the Galaxy are. Each Guardian got his or her own page explaining how cool and explodey they are, and at the end of the story it's revealed to the reader that Tony Stark gave this information to Flash not to sell movie tickets but to prep him for his next assignment; he will be representing Earth as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy!


Also, Flash Thomson is currently host to the Venom symbiote, and although he no longer wants to eat Spider-Man's brain, he is still prone to psychotic episodes. Just the chap I'd want representing the Earth. The whole thing seems like a '90s gimmick, so I fully expect a Wolverine appearance if sales slack.

Story by Bendis, whatever. Nick Bradshaw's art was great, though. The book featured two more stories, one a preview of Jim Starlin's upcoming Thanos graphic novel and the other a preview of Dan Slott's new Spider-Man arc, Spider-Verse.

I'll certainly get the Jim Starlin book, because why would you not get a Jim Starlin cosmic Marvel book?


Why wouldn't you?

The Spidey story was a great teaser as well, involving Morlun fighting a Shakespearean Spider-Man and leading me to believe the arc is all about Morlun hopping dimensions and eating the respective Spider-Men therein.

I'm in.

Morlun is probably the most interesting Spider-Man villain to appear in decades, and Dan Slott has been breaking new ground with the Webslinger and doing a great job. Almost great enough a job to make me forget what a piece of garbage Brand New Day/One More Day/One Moment in Time was.

All said and done, Marvel's FCBD offering was little more than transparent advertising, and I'd've felt cheated if I had to pay money for it.

2 out of 4, on the merits of Nick Bradshaw's art.

Hip-Hop Family Tree Two-In-One

I'm going to try really hard to keep this from sounding like a b.j. for writer/artist Ed Piskor, but holy shit you guys this book.

Hip-Hop Family Tree is Ed Piskor's love letter to the formative days of hip-hop music told through sequential storytelling (that's comics, kids!) and for the love of god is this book well done. The layout is an homage to late '70s-early/mid '80s Marvel comics, from the cover to a faux 'Bullpen Bulletins' section.

Piskor's art is sharp and detailed, stylistically similar to many underground artists from that particular genres Golden Years. Stylistically I was reminded of Spain Rodriguez' art, albeit crisper and less chaotic.

I admittedly know almost nothing about hip-hop music, but Ed Piskor has done painstaking research into the genre. I've learned more about Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Run-DMC on Free Comic Book Day than I think I had my life previous.

Okay, that's probably not true, but it's still a damn good comic. I'm not even really a hip-hop fan. I'll absolutely be picking volume 1 & 2 of this book at the earliest opportunity.

Bravo, Mr. Piskor. Hip-Hop Family Tree ranks right up there with Minimum Wage and God Hates Astronauts as far as I'm concerned.
5 out of 5 for the big prize.

The first shop offered goodies from a slushy machine and a popcorn maker, had a young lady cosplaying as Power Girl, and a couple local artists who were mobbed by fans seeking autographs and sketches. There were also three spinner racks offering $4 tpbs, and I netted an Atomic Robo trade, Ultimate FF vol. 2, and the Ballad of Halo Jones.

Because four dollars is cheap for a trade paperback, folks.

My first stop finished, I whisked away to the second store on my route. And was horribly disappointed. Upon entering, the clerk looked up and said, "there's not much left". That may have been an understatement. There was a table scattered with what could only be described as scraps. Leftovers from Free Comic Book Days long past. There were no current titles to speak of, perhaps a Bongo Comics or DC kids book, but nothing I was ravening after. I ended up grabbing an Image Comics sampler from 2012, last years Smurfs book, and an interesting flier piece from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund called Raising A Reader! (exclamation theirs). This particular book is a public service tract detailing how graphic novels can improve literacy in children and can be an educational tool. I would leave copies of this book on every household doorstep and at every library and school classroom, were I able.

Aside from that, I picked up some free back issues including 3/4ths of Topps Comics Satan's Six miniseries and the first two issues of Teen Titans Spotlight from '86, which features Starfire vs. Apartheid. I've not read those yet, but apparently Starfire fights oppressive racism with the power of her bewbs, because holy crap that costume what were you guys thinking? I've always loved old-school Teen Titans, but Starfire looks like she should be in Heavy Metal or that Witch of the Black Rose comic.

Altogether a disappointing second stop, and no Atomic Robo or Rocket Raccoon books at either shop, but in all I'll mark this years Free Comic Book Day in the win column.

If for some bizarre reason there is a reader out there not taking advantage of FCBD, I'd encourage you to do so and spend some money at those brick-and-mortar shops while you're at it.

- Will Dubbeld

Monday, May 5, 2014


Cody “Madman” Miller and I, Art Bee, went to our LCBS (Local Comic Book Store) for Free Comic Book Day together with some of our other friends. It looks like FCBD seems to grow every year, under the watchful eyes of Stormtroopers and Spider-Man. The following are our thoughts on some of the books we picked up at FCBD.

Cody “Madman” Miller's Books
Free Book 1: Magic Wind – FCBD Edition

Creator/Writer: Gianfranco Manfredi
Artwork: Pasquale Frisenda
Color: Laura Piazza

As soon as I saw the Indian on the cover, this book became my main target and my first choice for FCBD 2014. I had to work for it too as my LCBS was completely out by the time I navigated the long line that only “Free Comic Book Day” can bring.

Ever since the first time I watched the movie Young Guns, I’ve been a sucker for a good western story. Wild West stories rank right up there with pirate tales as far as my tastes are concerned.

This edition happens to be an excerpt from Magic Wind Volume 4, the beast which hits shelves sometime in July. I, however, will not be buying it. This book was a huge disappointment, the writing as well as the art. This one is a definite meh.

Free Book 2: Sherwood Texas

Writer: Shane Berryhill
Art: Daniel Hillyard
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Ed Dukeshire

When I saw the preview list, this became my instant #2 selection. The cover just totally sold me. As the title suggests, it’s all about rough and tumble bikers. Within the first few pages, we have rival biker gangs. The Jesters and the Nobles, led by a guy named Queen ironically enough, duke it out over the grave site of Rob’s father. Rob is the main character in the book. Awesome scenario.

Rob turns out to be a Redman. Therefore, in the end, I got my Indian fix. I really enjoyed this title. The artwork was a masterful blend of rich pastels. I can see myself really getting into this title when the ongoing starts up later this summer.

At the very tale end, we are graced with the appearance of a preview of Troy Duffy and J.B. Love’s Boondock Saints. The preview was enough to guarantee that I will never buy this comic. Toby Cypress’ art looked like absolute crap. The story, however, is not much better. I’m staying well clear of these guys.

Art Bee's Books

Free Book 1: Publisher: Epicenter Comics
Story: Davor Radoja
Artwork: Well-Bee

Just to get it out of the way now, Entropy is just an insult to comic books. It uses boring cliché after cliché throughout the story without really building any substance. I realize this is just a preview, but the writer could provide some depth in the characters or the story. So this book just told me the real thing is a complete waste.

The art work is devastating to the comic, even worse than the story. It is grotesque with accents of a Quentin Tarantino film effects and Beavis and Butthead looking characters. This sounds like an absurd description, but Madman was in total agreement with me when I showed him the book.

The two short stories at the end of the comic really salvage the use of ink and paper. The first of the two is called “Vegetable” and is created by Tihomir Hrlic. The artwork, though not great, is far better than Entropy. It is a simple little story with a nice twist ending. The other story is called “Crossed” and is written by Davor Radoja. The four pages of this story are fantastic, even though I feel as if I had heard the story before somewhere. Nenad Cviticanin uses sharp defined lines in the details of his artwork, which really adds flair to the story.

Free Book 2: Publisher: Red Giant
“The First Daughter”
Script: Chris Crosby
Artwork: Tina Francisco
Color: Katrina Mae Hao

The First Daughter is a bright new concept in a super-hero mythos, and it has a lot going for it. Tasha Tasker is the daughter of the President of the United States and a protector of the world under the guidance of Nom, a gray little alien whom started the First Daughter project. The story is exciting and goes by just too fast. This is going to be a really neat story when it hits and will be a good read for children as well as older readers.

The artwork and colors are gorgeous. On the first page there is a front view of the White House with such detail that the sun is actually glaring off of the top of the building with photo quality.

Story: Kevin Juaire and David Lawrence
Artwork: Wilson Tortosa and Sebastian Cheng

Magika is a tale of some kind of fantastic fairy land in which a boy, Niko, is learning the ropes. This is a cute story and right up a child's alley. The artwork is glowing throughout the segment of the book. It is very much equal to a Disney animation quality. I am sure I will not get this one later, but my child is definitely be interested.

Free Book 3: Oni Press
Courtney Crumrin #1
Created by Ted Naifeh

Oni Press has been really impressing me lately. They seem to put out good quality comic books. Courtney Crumrin is definitely on that list. This free comic is a reprint of one printed in 2012, and it is quite fascinating. The story is centered around a girl, Courtney Crumrin, whom is a bit of a loner and a witch, and she reluctantly ends up making friends with the new girl, Holly. As their friendship develops the situation starts to sour.

Ted Naifeh's artwork resembles something from Cartoon Network, but it is clean and fresh. The images are very good and consistent. The real advantage of his art is the backgrounds; they are very elaborate. I feel I may need to keep my eyes open for the trade collections, even though I am not big on witchcraft themes.
Free Book 4: Capcom
Street Fighter #0

“Hong Kong Hustle”
Story: Jim Zub
Art: Hanzo Steinbach

This will be short and to the point. This short story lacked a real story and was very predictable. The artwork was dull as well, featuring a lack of depth and awkward action.

“Your Enemies Closer”
Story: Ken Siu-Chong
Line Art: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colors: Espen Grundetjern

My stomach could not handle it, so I did not finish this story. Enough said.

“Beyond The Hills”
Story: Chris Sarracini
Pencils: Joe Ng
Inks: Rob Armstrong
Colors: Espen Grunderjern

The story was not horrible, but it was not good either. At least the artwork was really good.

So lets face it, Street Fighter is a great video game and has been for a long time. As a story it is a bit lame. The characters speak then fight, fight and speak, fight and more fighting, and finally wonder when is the next fight. This is just too shallow of a concept to keep someone engaged in reading. I am certain there are video game nuts out there just frothing at the mouth for the next line of Street Fighter comics.