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Fresh Ink

Crack The Spine: 'Groom Lake' #1

Posted March 30, 2009 - By Eugene Morton

Groom LakeComic books about earth bound extraterrestrials tend to fall into one of two categories. There's either the ultra serious book that explores what an alien invasion might be like if it really happened or the cartoony book where the aliens are wiseacres that are way into pop culture and even the villains aren't really all that villainous. Groom Lake splits the difference between the extremes, successfully balancing an incredibly dark set of circumstances and characters with events which have all the levity of a well told "farmer's daughter" joke. It's like the X-Files with a lot more anal probe humor or a version of Men in Black where everyone from the agents to the aliens are a-holes.

The book takes place mostly in New Mexico, where the US government is detaining advanced alien life forms, not ones that have crash landed here, but ones which were invited to the planet so that their technology could be harvested. Of course, not all of the detainees are so willing to be locked up and they often try to escape so that they can either enslave or destroy humanity. Preventing any such disaster, there stands a line of no-nonsense government suits, who will stop at nothing to protect the planet and reverse engineer intergalactic WMDs for Uncle Sam.

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Crack The Spine: Character To Watch: The HoodRarely do I find any comic book character to be frightening, but New York's new Kingpin of Crime, The Hood is truly one scary dude. While Wilson Fisk, the former Kingpin has gone soft in the pages of Daredevil, The Hood has been busy running the New York supervillain syndicate, making a grab for power as one of the Dark Illuminati and kicking the collective ass of the super hero community.

Taking advantage of the vacuum created by the Civil War event, The Hood first rose to power by using the abilities granted to him by the demon, Dormammu to gain the unwavering obedience of NY's greatest supervillains. You don't get that kind of obedience from murdering psychopaths if you're not someone to be feared (plus, nobody wants to anger a guy with enough balls to shoot Wolverine in the crotch at point blank range). Both the Avengers and the Punisher have learned on multiple occasions that, like the Wu Tang Clan, Hood's criminal underground ain't nothin' to #*@! with.

Recently, The Hood joined the ranks of Norman Osborn, Dr. Doom, Emma Frost, Namor and Loki in the Dark Illuminati, a secret cabal which has designs on world domination. Not only did that make him and his criminal organization untouchable by law enforcement, it also garnered him personal support from the kind of people that take over countries. Not even at his strongest did Wilson Fisk ever have that kind of power on his side.

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Fresh Ink Online: Crossed, Elektra, and Battlefields! »

This week, our comic expert, Blair Butler, reviews Fantastic Four, Guardians of The Galaxy, Crossed, Elektra: Dark Reign, Top 10 Special, Umbrella Academy, and Daredevil.

And, Blair finally silences the critics regarding her apparent dislike for all things Garth Ennis by giving a favorable and pensive review of Battlefields: Dear Billy. It's another home run episode of Fresh Ink Online, delivered with Blair's always-insightful look into the world of comics.

Please make sure to check us out on Facebook and MySpace too, damnit!

Tags: Comics, Fresh Ink


Fresh Ink Online: Hotwire, Special Forces, Invincible »

Host Blair Butler explores the latest and greatest in comic book offerings, including Uncanny X-Men, Special Forces, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Potter’s Field: Stone Cold, Hotwire, and more. And did Invincible rock Blair’s world yet, again? It sure did. It suuuuure did.


(And join us on Facebook and MySpace, por favor.)

watchmenWith great relish, AOTS is celebrating the DVD release of Tales of the Black Freighter, the animated adaptation of the comic within the Watchmen graphic novel. However, that's not the only time comics have appeared within other comics. Some of your favorite comic book characters love funny books as well. Find out which heroes enjoy reading pulp fiction and which books they bag board.

Batman - Until crime has vanished from Gotham, the man under the cape and cowl is stuck living the life of a masked vigilante. To escape his self-imposed torment he reads the Spanish romance comic, El Romance del Multimillonario about a suave, young billionaire who spends his time running his company, gallivanting in the big city and wooing the ladies. You see, that's the life he so longs for, but can't have. Bruce Wayne only plays the role of a billionaire playboy in the same way nerds at Comic Con cosplay as Batman. For him, El Romance del Multimillonario is pure escapism, a glorified look at the life he wishes he had.

Howard the Duck - This foul mouthed fowl doesn't read comics. Instead, he spends those free hours not used decrying society's ills watching successful comic book to movie adaptations. It's gotten so bad, he routinely mouths along to lines from Blade and X2: X-Men United. It doesn't make him forget his aborted attempt at crossover success back in 1986, but it does sooth the pain for ninety minutes at a time.

Spider-Man - Funny enough, Spidey reads All Star Superman. The epic battles with out-of-this-world villains mirror his own, but unlike Peter Parker's alter ego, Clark Kent's super persona receives nothing but love and adulation from the public. The web slinger cries himself to sleep wishing he could get the respect that Supes does, leaving only soaked comic book pages and unfulfilled dreams.

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Tags: Comedy, Fresh Ink

Crack The Spine: Books To Watch - 'Mysterius, The Unfathomable'Nerds, these are bleak times in comics. Most geeks are either trying to survive the Dark Reign or dealing with the fallout of the Infinite Crisis. However, over at Wildstorm someone's having a good, carefree time and his name is Mysterius, the Unfathomable.

The star of the new comic of the same name is a genuine sorcerer who has walked through history having wild, magical adventures in this world and beyond, all while posing as a dimestore illusionist and flimflam artist  (along with his ever changing roster of assistants). He keeps himself in snake oil and fairy dust by helping wealthy clients deal with their irksome paranormal problems and there seems to be no shortage of them.

This is the kind of comic you hope goes on for a million issues, because there are just so many possibilities and you know that writer, Jeff Parker and artist, Tom Fowler (whose work here definitely takes a cue from the art styling of MAD Magazine) won't disappoint. In the first two issues alone we see Mysterius botch a seance (leaving his benefactor in Hell), spend some time living it up with a Satanic sex cult and fight a coven of raunchy witches. It's scary, evil stuff that's treated with an air of whimsy. Time and again the licentious magic man walks into and out of the most dangerous, bizarre situations imaginable and behaves as if it were no more unusual or lethal than shopping for groceries. The world, maybe the entire universe is his playground and all he wants to do is get by and get laid, and he does.

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Crack The Spine: 'Killer Of Demons' #1 Of 3If you see demons all around you and get messages from the Almighty through angelic messengers, you're either a prophet, crazy or Dave Sloan, the hero of Killer of Demons. Actually, Dave might be both a prophet and crazy and that's one of the more intriguing things about the new mini series from X-Men writer, Christopher Yost.

Once upon a time, Dave lived a normal life. He worked at a nameless mega- corporation, made love to his cop girlfriend and basically waited for death, like most  people. However, he woke up one day and realized that things were suddenly different, mostly because his head had become a glowing, blue inferno and he had been joined by an angel sidekick (neither of which anyone but him could see). It's amazing how little things like that can totally change your life. One day you're doing accounting work in a tiny cubicle, the next you're gutting demon strippers and beheading infernal hash slingers.

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Fresh Ink Online: Wolverine, Jonah Hex, The Goon »

This week, Blair Butler visits Jonah Hex, Batman Cacophony, Daredevil, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, No Hero and The Goon.

That’s not all!

Blair also gives us two wonderful bonus interviews from WonderCon: Common speaking about a possible Green Lantern movie and Bryce Dallas Howard chatting about her love of The Sword! Nerdtastic! All this and more on this week’s fabulous webisode.

And make sure to check us out on Facebook and MySpace too, damnit!

Crack The Spine: 'The Zombies That Ate The World' #1For my money, zombies are the scariest supernatural monsters ever. It's purely a numbers game. No matter how many you kill, there will be millions more looking to eat your madula oblongata like it was a house salad. The utter hopelessness of a zombie epidemic is what makes George A. Romero's flicks so damn compelling. It's also the reason I'm reviewing Devil's Due Publishing's, The Zombies that Ate the World.

The story takes place in an alterna- 50s Los Angeles, where zombies have risen from the grave to... just sort of hang around. I bet you thought I was going to say "eat the world." No sir, the zombies, or Life-Impaired, have come back from the heart of the earth to do the stuff they did during life, like hang out on the street corner blasting their stereos and interrupt sex between their daughters and sons in law. You can see how that might become meddlesome after a while, especially if you were saddled with the legal responsibility of taking care of the living-deceased. That's where the series' protagonist, Karl Neard comes in.

Karl is a zit faced, thirty-something, loser who still lives at home with his mom, but when you need a zombie wrangled without the fuzz getting involved or you happen to collect zombie celebrities, he's the guy you want to talk to. He's like the zombie-apocalypse version of animal control, only we're guessing nobody in animal control digs up corpses for wealthy "collectors."

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Fresh Ink Online: New Avengers, Capt. America, The Sword »

After sitting out so that comic legend Greg Rucka could learn y’all from the floor of New York’s Comic-Con ’09, host Blair Butler is back!

This week, we delve into The Umbrella Academy, Green Lantern, Captain America, Fantastic Four and New Avengers. Plus, The Sword is back and bloody, baby! So get ready to rumble!

And make sure to check us on Facebook and MySpace and visit our Forums.

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