Comic of the Week: Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins – Series II #1...phew!

By d. emerson eddy —  Critical Role could be considered a kind of cultural phenomenon in mainstream appeal of Dungeons & Dragons, helping bring interest and entertainment to the game, both to playing and to watching others, all through the adventures of a group of “nerdy-ass voice actors” every Thursday night. Critial Role started small with a stream on Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel and has now ballooned into a multimedia juggernaut, a growing company with numerous productions, its own merchandise, and one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns to finance an animated series (it was originally just a special and then ballooned with donations and stretch goals) based on the characters from its first campaign. Critical Role also had a comic series in 2017 that served as an introduction to the characters and a gathering of the team.

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Comic of the Week: No One Left to Fight #1 asks, what happens after the big battle?

By d. emerson eddy — There's been an interesting resurgence of stories recently that endeavor to tell the story of what happens after the happily ever after (or the opposite) at the end of a tale. Basically, filling in the what's next after the end of a story. Not as a sequel or a deconstructionist take on a particularly genre, but an attempt to explore what happens once the big fight, the big world-saving struggle, is over and there's seemingly a jarring absence of purpose. No One Left to Fight #1 embraces that literally in its title, as we're treated to the beginning of the story of what happens when a hero who has saved the world countless times realizes that there's no one left to fight.

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Comic of the Week: Canto #1 is offbeat, thought-provoking, heartrending, and more

By d. emerson eddy — In the past few years, we as readers have become absolute gluttons for unique, personal stories told in comics that come at storytelling from oblique angles, presenting things that are offbeat, thought-provoking, and often heartrending. Stories that embrace the limitless possibilities of comics and tell something new. Canto is one of these stories, catching me off guard with its simplicity and beauty. It's a fable in the vein of Edward Scissorhands or 9, of potential constructs proving that they're more than the sum of their parts.

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Comic of the Week: Hellboy and the BPRD - The Beast of Vargu is a new beginning

By d. emerson eddy — Hellboy and the BPRD: The Beast of Vargu is kind of a new beginning for the title. It does not follow the previous yearly format, and it is not the expected “#26 in a series”, as it essentially becomes the new heart of the Hellboy universe since BPRD itself has now finished. And it does so with the creative team responsible for some of my personal favorite Hellboy stories in the Wild Hunt Arthurian trilogy and The Midnight Circus. It's an interesting and welcome choice to start off this new era with a one-shot tale from Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, Dave Stewart, and Clem Robins, offering an easily accessible tale for new…

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Comic of the Week: Event Leviathan #1, a gateway to an intriguing superhero espionage story

By d. emerson eddy — The “Leviathan” crossover has been building at DC Comics for a while now, starting with the “Leviathan Rising” storyline in Action Comics and then coming to a head two weeks ago in the Superman: Leviathan Rising Special. We've seen the intelligence community in the DC Universe shaken to its core, with entire organizations obliterated, seemingly, by Leviathan. Even that organization itself has seen a kind of upheaval, as Talia al Ghul no longer seems to be its head, and a new unknown character calling himself (or herself, who knows?) “Leviathan” has taken over the reins. To what end no one knows yet.

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Comic of the Week: Thumbs is a brilliant level up by the creators of The Few

By d. emerson eddy — These days it feels like practically everyone is a gamer. Whether it's on a console, PC, or mobile device , we all seem to be playing something. Even businesses have apparently been working in a gamification process for workplace activities, if reports on Amazon practices are to be believed. Indeed, the widespread popularity and acceptance of gaming seems to have permeated Western culture, with all eyes turned to coverage of announcement conventions like E3 and what feels like every kid on the planet playing games like Fortnite, Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, and old stalwarts like Call of Duty and Battlefield.

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Comic of the Week: Road of Bones #1

By d. emerson eddy — The Kolyma Highway was a project started in 1932, utilizing criminals (ones having committed what we'd generally consider an actual crime and others who were essentially railroaded through to fill labour quotas) to build a road in the Far East of the USSR. Conditions were reportedly cruel and harsh, hard living in an arctic and sub-arctic region with little when it came to food or shelter, workers collapsing with regularity, giving the highway its name of the Road of Bones. It's this history that Rich Douek, Alex Cormack, and Justin Birch tap into in the first issue of this horror series, Road of Bones.

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Comic of the Week: Last Stop on the Red Line #1 is an intriguing mix of crime and horror

By d. emerson eddy — There are many different kinds of horror. Some horror stories are straightforward monster tales, with a slasher out to get you. Others are more insidious, doling out terror via psychological means. Recently, there has been a push towards mixing the sub-genres, working through ideas and themes that are common across them, and presenting a more cerebral kind of horror, utilizing the things that go bump in the night to make you think about more of the existential terrors in your everyday life. Last Stop on the Red Line #1 appears to be one of those things.

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Comic of the Week: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6, a poignant story of everyday heroics

By d. emerson eddy — Every now and again there is a story in comics that kind of blindsides you, something profound, poignant, and moving that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Stories that tackle difficult subject matter in a heartfelt, intelligent way that often can only be told through the allegory of super-heroes and how powerless even godlike beings are in the face of certain forces. Marvel has done a number of these in recent years, including the gun issue of Champions #24, and Deadpool #20's handling of a suicidal girl. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6 doesn’t quite deal with a big issues topic, like gun control or suicide, but it’s…

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Comic of the Week: Self/Made #6 is a layered and complex finale

By d. emerson eddy — Since the first issue, Self/Made has been about change. Unexpected change and strange revelations, but change nonetheless, going from one state of being to the next. A large part of that has been rooted in playing with genre conventions and upending the status quo from issue to issue, so I don't want to go into detail about the plot so much, but I will say that the structure of revealing layers upon layers as the story progresses, like an onion, is one of the freshest narrative methods I've seen in some time. It's not so much an “everything you know is wrong” type of shock, but a continuous evolution of perspective. There is always…

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