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AfterShock Comics Unleashes ‘Artemis & the Assassin’

Aftershock Comics released a new title this past week and it has been on my radar since Tuesday to get that story under my belt. Like so many around the globe, I’ve been relegated to working from home for at least a few days, which has mean no drive to work. Considering my commute is an hour each way, that time has been spent catching up on some much needed reading and Aftershock’s latest effort, Artemis and the Assassin, was destined to be part of that. Created by Stephanie Philips (Descendant), this series is already off to a heart-pounding start.

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‘X-Ray Robot’ is Curiously Magnetic

One can always rely on the smaller publishers (Image, Dark Horse, etc.) to create some of the more curious and quirky stories in the comic book world. Dark Horse is no exception with its latest effort, X-Ray Robot. As the old adage goes, you should never judge a book by its cover, but I found the sci-fi-heavy, pop culture-laden front of issue #1 to be so much in my wheelhouse, that I could not deny a chance to at least read what the book’s description was all about.  Once I saw dialogue about inter-dimensional travel and the origins of the universe, I was all in to kick back and see what this title had to offer.

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Dark Horse Fires Off First Issue of ‘Bang!’

Looking for a break from your standard super hero tales? Tired of interdimensional villains trying to step on Earth? Dark Horse has a flavor that is off the beaten path, though not one that hasn’t been done before. Written by Matt Kindt (X-O Manowar) with artwork by Wilfredo Torres (Black Panther), we delve into a tale of espionage and cryptic novel-writing in Bang! that will throw you for a loop before you can say ‘Agent Thomas Cord’.

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Superman: Red Son (4k Blu-ray Review)

In 2003, DC Comics did a total 180 with the world’s most popular superhero. The mega publisher released a three-issue mini-series titled Superman: Red Son. The Mark Millar-written tale (also known for his work on Kick-ass) could be construed as a “what if” in the sense that instead of Kal-El landing in Kansas after the destruction of Krypton, his escape pod crashed in the Soviet Union. Clark Kent is a name you won’t see in this story. Superman, however, is a name you’ll hear as he serves under USSR communist leader Josef Stalin in DC’s latest animated feature, Superman: Red Son directed by Sam Liu.

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‘Bloodshot’ Eyes Prize Above Mediocrity

Back in 1989, a startup comic book publisher known as Valiant had arrived on the scene. The company made it a point to offer up characters a little more complex than your average super hero as these newly developed personalities had allegiances and demeanors that were not always so clear cut. Some of their more premier characters and successful titles include X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and one in particular known as Bloodshot. The story of Bloodshot featured an expert soldier maimed by war and reclaimed by science only to build a better soldier. With a repeatedly wiped memory and the ability to take a ridiculously inhuman beating, Bloodshot has become the first Valiant character to hit the big screen.

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DC’s ‘Plunge’ is No Routine Dive

Debuting in February under DC’s Black Label (for readers age 17 and older), comic book writer/creator Joe Hill proudly released his latest effort, Plunge. Hill is best known as the mastermind behind the best-selling Locke & Key series, which is now a popular Netflix series. Plunge offers up a very different feel from its mainstream predecessor, though there is no less suspense in this nautical adventure. At two issues in, things are ramping up in this superbly paced story.

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Honey and Blue Make Their Musical Mark

February is a cold, cold month here on the north coast. Most people are hunkered down somewhere indoors, save for your skiers and other winter sport aficionados. It is certainly a little out of the norm to see any kind of outdoor gatherings, let alone a festival. Wait, festival? Here? In Cleveland? Uh, yeah. The Brite Winter Festival entered its 11th consecutive year and is dotted with various food trucks, ice carving demos, and of course the highlight of the event, the music.

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Coin Releases Third Album ‘Dreamland’

Last week, Nashville-based indie rock band Coin presented the world with their third album, titled Dreamland. The band’s first outing, a self-title record, was a largely upbeat, go-after-it-and-get-it feel accompanied with a couple tunes which occasionally slowed the pace. The second album, How Will You Know if You Never Try, featured an array of songs that seemed to have matured from its predecessor. That is not a negative connotation by any means as they were two, for the most part, different sounding records that validated the Coin’s multi-faceted persona. With the close of February comes Dreamland, the band’s first album in nearly three years.

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New Marvel Titles & Free Comic Book Day

With Free Comic Book Day a little over a month away, comic book publishers are busy promoting their titles that will be released on the fan-favorite, unofficial holiday. Until then, there is still plenty to get excited over, especially from the good folks over at Marvel who always have a slew of new titles up their sleeve. With a new series released this week, free titles on the horizon and an old face getting his own series this spring, there is indeed plenty to prepare for, Bub.   Snikt!

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‘Goalie’ Tells Real Life Story of Terry Sawchuk

Directed by Adrianna Maggs, who is best known for her writing on TV series like Frontier and Saving Hope, the film Goalie takes audiences behind the scenes of late NHL goalie Terry Sawchuk. Sawchuk’s career took place from 1949 to 1970 where he was a seven-time all star and four-time Vezina Trophy winner (best goalie). In that span, he amassed 103 shutouts and 445 wins eventually supplanting him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Still, his accolades on the ice were never medicine for his off-ice struggles. Maggs guides us through Sawchuk’s tragic story.

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Darth Vader Returns to Marvel

Technically he never left, but the black-clad Sith Lord has had two ongoing monthly series from Marvel in recent memory with this being the third. The most recent was the 25-issue series that was absolutely brilliant from start to finish (and one I hated to see come to an end). While that prior series took place during the tale end of Order 66, the new series picks up during the events of The Empire Strikes Back when he and Luke faced off in person for the first time.

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Biopic ‘Goalie’ About Legendary Netminder Terry Sawchuck

As an avid hockey fan and former player, I nearly did a backflip when I caught news of the upcoming film about hall of fame goalie Terry Sawchuk. While he played for numerous teams in the NHL, he was best known for his time with the Red Wings from 1949 throughout much of the 50’s and into the early 1960’s.  Now the late, great Sawchuk gets his own movie.

DARK STAR PICTURES will release the critically acclaimed GOALIE, starring Mark O’Brien (Marriage Story), Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects, “The Marvelous Miss Maisel”), and Georgina Reilly (“City on a Hill”) On Demand and Digital February 25. It based on the true story of hockey player Terry Sawchuk and is directed by Adriana Maggs.

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Swamp Thing: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

DC Comics has made a concerted effort to release some top tier programming on their streaming DC Universe platform.  Amidst their growing library of shows include Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, both of which are live action, and the insanely fun Harley Quinn cartoon.  Within that list of title is the king of the green, defender of the bayou, Swamp Thing.  The live action series debuted in 2019 and was unfortunately cancelled after one season, largely due to budget issues.  To put it plainly, the show got too expensive.  Swamp Thing comes out on Blu-ray this Tuesday, February 11th, and I had a chance to check out ahead of time. Let’s take a look how the ten-episode, two-disc series looks.

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Gregg’s Tremendously Tantalizing Top 10 Films of 2019

This list had me worried at the end of the summer.  It was rather sparse and I wondered if, for the first time, I wouldn’t have a sufficiently laid out list of top ten films on the year.  Once autumn arrived, however, movies started surfacing in theaters that would largely construct the upper half of the list below.  While I did miss out on Knives Out and Uncut Gems, I did manage to sneak in the Jumanji sequel at the end.  Funny and fun, yes.  As good as its predecessor, no.  Thus, those are three movies not on the list.  With that being said, there were plenty of others to pull from in the pool of 40+ films I experienced at the theater in 2019. Before we get to the ten on my list, here are some films that stood out in one form or another.  I laughed, I cried, I fell asleep.  We covered the emotional spectrum in films released this year.

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The Best Comics of 2019

I do long for the days of Robert Venditti writing X-O Manowar.  I also miss the ongoing Vader series dearly.  Alas, all good things must come to an end, but fear not!  Each year the comic book industry provides new surprises as well as continuity of greatness.  In addition, it is important to mention the case of two landmark achievements in 2019.  Both the series Detective Comics and Marvel Comics each reached their 1,000th issue this year and both were done very differently.  The former was a collection of short Batman stories, while the latter was a massive collection of one-page stories ranging from Daredevil to Darth Vader.  Personally, I found nothing to be gained by a story contained on a single page, but to each their own.  Enough talk, onto the awards!

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‘The Rise of Kylo Ren’ Debuts on Heels of ‘Rise of Skywalker’

The timing of Marvel’s latest comic book mini-series is certainly no coincidence. As anyone who lives near a TV, computer or other human may know, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker debuted in theaters this past week. Coming out the same exact day was issue one of four of The Rise of Kylo Ren. The series is written by the very talented Charles Soule, who is known for penning other Marvel titles such as Star Wars, the second Darth Vader series, Lando as well as Obi Wan & Anakin. If you wanted answers that weren’t given to you in the new film trilogy, The Rise of Kylo Ren should be your medicine.

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‘Superman: Red Son’ Flying to 4K and Blu-ray This March!

One of the most heralded comic book mini-series turned graphic novel, Superman: Red Son will make a grand entrance to standard and 4K Blu-ray this March! Originally released as a three-issue series in 2011 from Mark Millar (Kick Ass, Chrononauts), this iteration of the Man of Steel retells the tale of Krypton’s last son landing as an infant not in Kansas, but the Soviet Union. The concept itself opens a whole plethora of paths the story could go and Millar masterfully conducted all of it to satisfying cohesion. Now that the story jumps from the pages of the book onto various high-def home formats.

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Gregg’s Top 10 Blu-rays of 2019

Happy Holiday, folks! This time of year means the WSB staff opens the floodgates on their top 10’s. While I didn’t experience the treasure trove of films in the theater this year I had hoped for (by quality, not amount), the list of quality Blu-rays was lengthy, but alas, narrow it to ten we must. I did finally experience what WSB-founder Blu-ray Brian has been stating for some time now about Disney Blu-rays. While I absolutely loved Captain Marvel as a film, the audio on its Blu-ray release was incredibly mundane and severely disappointing. Shame on you, Disney. Off the list it went. Rest assured, however, there were plenty of titles clamoring to make our lists and while Captain Marvel on disc was left in the dust, there is more than enough entertainment to fill out ten impressive releases.

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