Star Wars: Dark Times – A Spark Remains #1 (Dark Horse) – Fan favorite Jedi and top candidate for film treatment Dass Jennir has reunited with the crew of the Uhumele, both parties having had significant adventures, and not all for the best. The crew is availing themselves to the master Jedi’s help in a plan that will see them taking direct action against the Empire itself. Not only that, they plan to go after the right hand of the Empire, Mr. Breathy McDarkhelmet himself. They have all had everything in their lives taken from them and they feel they have nothing left to lose, and while Jennir may have felt the same way in their earlier encounters, he now has a companion in his life that he must think of. Randy Stradley’s script focuses on the characters for this issue, with the action sure to be taking the front seat in coming installments, and he does a great job of projecting the mindset and motivations of the Jedi and crew. Star Wars regular artist Douglas Wheatley provides his usual crisp and clear artwork for pages that look consistently good throughout the book. If anyone is truly comfortable and in their element drawing SW it is certainly Wheatley, and that familiarity with the subject is noticeable. Dark Times has always been a must-read series and that is probably not changing anytime soon; with the way things are going we should be seeing some epic things happen, ie. Jennir vs. Vader showdown.
Dinosaurs Attack! #1 (IDW) – Just in time for its 25th anniversary, IDW has plundered far enough into Topps old catalogue to exhume goofball sci-fi series Dinosaurs Attack!. Gary Gerani, Earl Norem, Herb Trimpe, and George Freeman’s over-the-top 60’s B-movie parody comic, based on the trading card series, was only ever given life as a single comic published by Eclipse Comics in 1988, the two remaining issues never seeing the light of day. Now the series is not only being resurrected with the re-publishing of the first installment, IDW will be finishing the series as a 5 issue run. Although this is IDW, so expect any number of license tie-ins and spin-offs, ie. Popeye and Transformers Vs. Dinosaurs and Martians at a Kiss Concert. The comic feels very much in the vein of the similar Mars Attacks! card and comic series, which means all tongues are held firmly in cheek and violence is all for show in its comedic absurdity. Though we don’t get much of the gory stuff in the first issue, unless you count the card collection in the back, but we can expect much dino nibbling in coming installments. Dinosaurs Attack! is a fun book, one that reads like an old school 80’s sci-fi comic, with the aesthetic to match, but gives the genre a good dose of parody.
Blood Brothers #1 (Dark Horse) – If you are going far enough down pop culture stereotype lane to do a vampire book, you might as well make it a buddy comedy while you’re at it. Which is essentially what Blood Brothers is: a pair of blood sucking friends who have traipsed the globe through history together, enjoying the backseat in many influential events involving the likes of Genghis Khan, Michelangelo, and the founding fathers. Of course, after all that time any relationship can be tested, and when one of the two VFF’s (Vampire Friends Forever) is found to be breaking the one month rule for dating a human things become testy. Especially when you throw in an evil vampire seeking world domination into the mix. Always gotta have one of those. The script is actually pretty funny, and there are a handful of good jokes used for the occasional history flashbacks involving anything from counseling Genghis on his beheading fetish, to schooling Michelangelo on proper orgy etiquette. The back and forth dialogue between the two vampire pals is mostly series of formulaic buddy comedy retorts, but it works well enough and never becomes annoying. Appropriately enough, the art is being handled by Evan Shaner who recently illustrated the Buddy Cop comic for Dark Horse. His panels are fairly simple, but are still fluid and the action sequences are slick and cohesive. Altogether, Blood Brothers is a pretty decent comic, it’s got a few good laughs, likable characters, and enough fighting to keep it from being too goofy. If you’re looking for something fun to pass the time, go ahead and check it out.