Something For The Weekend… Dark Horse Miscellany, Part I

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Blade of the Immortal #63 by Hiroaki Samura
Virtually a standalone issue, and an ideal jumping-on point. Don't be put off by the the fact that this is issue #63, it eases you into the ongoing saga by not even having the main character appear. Rather, this concerns itself with the object of his quest, the leader of the Itto-ryu clan, and provides his background and covers his plans for the future succinctly and clearly. Excellent book.

Star Wars: Jedi Quest #4 by Ryder Windham, Pop Mhan and Norman Lee
The final part of this mini-series, and allegiances are finally revealed, masks are removed, and a real strong hint as to Anakin's future path is given as he takes what could be called the first step on the path to the Dark Side. It rattles along at a fair old pace, although you do get one or two twinges of doubt that someone who has ruled with an iron fist so effectively and for so long could be toppled from power in the space of a few short pages.

The Tenth: Resurrected #3 by Tony Daniel and Romano
Rather frustrating in not having a recap in any way, shape or form of the last two issues, you are thrown in at the deep end with this book with no idea what is going on, or who is who, or who you should be rooting for. The pace quietens down in a couple of nice "real world" segments - in fact these are the highlight of the book, forget the hideous monsters, cliched battle dialogue and poses of the lead characters in fantastical situations, if The Tenth spent more time looking and feeling like the real world scenes in this comic it would be improved a dozen-fold. Has potential, but one for those who have issues #1 and #2 already.

Star Wars Starfighter: Crossbones #1 by Haden Blackman, Ramon Bachs and Raul Fernandez
Bit of a mouthful, the title of this book, and you begin to suspect the worse when you know this comic is a tie-in to a computer game…things don't look too bright to being with, when a typical pirate-type ambushes a ship, sinks it, and steals all the treasure. But it perks up a little with an extensive background check on the hero of the rest of the series, a reformed pirate called Nym. Then the best idea in the book, Nym is a hired mercenary in the middle of a televised war - it almost doesn't matter which side wins, as long as the footage is exciting. Promising, but a way to go to be a classic.

Star Wars: The Stark Hyperspace War #1 & #2 by John Ostrander, Davide Fabbri and Christian Dalla Vecchia
This four-part story is a flashback to 14 years before The Phantom Menace, detailing a trade war over Bacta, a medical drug. Various Jedi have missions here, there and everywhere, and whilst these are interesting enough in themselves, the whole thing feels a little unnecessary, almost as if this was a fill-in four-part story. Various new Jedi masters are introduced, and you immediately know that they are going to be killed before the end of the story (one bites the dust early on). So interesting for the fan, but little to entice non-readers into the book.

Oh My Goddess! Part XI #3, #4 & #5 by Kosuke Fujishima
Also subtitled "Mystery Child parts 1, 2 and 3" this continues the seemingly never-ending saga of goddess Belldandy and her sisters Urd and Skuld bringing chaos into the life of college student Keiichi Morisato. Oh My Goddess! is usually a light-hearted, fun read, with not much to recommend itself to the student of serious comics. Not this time. Mystery Child kicks off with a seemingly innocuous problem back at Goddess Mansion for Urd and Skuld to return home to deal with - but this already looks to be much more serious than they let on, time is beginning to run wild and a crisis looms. Meanwhile, on Earth, Belldandy and Keiichi receive a stranger visitor, a kid who knows Belldandy extremely well, has immense personal charisma, and some set of weird powers. Obviously he's from the same dimension as Belldandy, but whether he's a manifestation of the Goddesses' father, or some alternate time-line friend and/or lover of Belldandy (or even Keiichi as goddess-equivalent from the future), we don't yet know. All we know is that time is playing up, that something is seriously wrong, and that Earth is in immense danger. Superb comic, get it now.

All of these books are published by Dark Horse Comics, and are available at your local comic shop, on back order if not on the shelves. Check out their website at http://www.darkhorse.com/ for more information.

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