America is widely considered an odd place to live, especially to those who don't live within its borders. Undiscovered Country ups the ante with a speculative, future version of the United States that has locked off its borders, both figuratively and literally, with a massive wall that has made the land a black box, with no information about it going in or out.

Oof, wow. Issue 9 of Grek Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis’ Ronin Island is particularly heartbreaking. They begin the issue with a flashback, reminding us of Hana’s background. She’s the daughter of a poor Korean farmer living on a secluded island with a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean people and cultures. 20 years prior, the Great Wind swept across the land and killed almost everything in its path, except for the people on the island.  As much as they are supposed to be a community, living and thriving together, racism and classism still exist. Hana takes the brunt of both, but she’s reminded by an elder that she has her place and will be the one to make it better.

The Winter Solstice has come and gone, but Hellboy and his friends are bringing their Winter Special to us in the New Year. I’ll take any new tidbits to the Hellboy mythology whenever I can get it.

Several years after Emmy left Harrow County, her dearest friend Bernice Anderson had been left as a protector, making sure that the local haints (weird creatures that haunt the local forest) are all in check and that the townsfolk are happy and healthy.  After years of peace, however, a strange song is being sung at night, and the ghosts of the dead are returning and seem just as confused as the townsfolk. The song is also bringing back some pretty monstrous creations.

For Jeff Lemire, the world of Black Hammer is an open canvas. He wants to write a Punisher comic but doesn’t want to work for Marvel? So, he writes Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy. With his spin-off series, Lemire has explored everything from the Golden Age of superheroes in Spiral City to future sci-fi worlds, the multi-verse, the WWII era, to the present day. Skulldigger is about as close to present day as we can get.

The main premise of Anderson Cowan’s debut feature film, Groupers, sounds simple: Psychology grad student Meg kidnaps two barhopping young men (Brad and Dylan) to use as subjects for her thesis experiment on whether homosexuality is a choice.  As the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that there is much more at stake than a simple test, and as Meg’s careful plan spirals out of control, the only constant is that homophobia is so totally ridiculous.

This jumbo-sized issue picks up immediately after Firefly #12. The Second Unification War is over with minimal casualties on both sides, thanks to Mal and his crew. Ma Reynolds is still at large, and Mal gave himself up so that his friends could skedaddle. Due to his heroics in the Second Unification War, Mal is granted a conditional pardon. The provision: He brings his mother to justice.

Previously, on Buffy Kendra the Vampire Slayer: Kendra’s timely arrival saved Rose and Cordy from the vicious attack of a classmate with some serious Hellmouth-inspired female hate. None of the menfolk seem to be immune to the Hellmouth’s influence, which could prove to be a serious problem for the new Slayer.  

Vampires, vampires, vampires. Everyone loves vampires, and this comic book series is not an exception.   But unlike the sexy heart-throb glittering types, here, we get the dredges of the universe who were created to serve a higher purpose. In short, it means these vampires are expendable.  

Over the past four decades, there have been hundreds of non-fiction books written about all aspects of Star Wars: making-of stories, behind-the-scenes accounts, scholarly analyses, picture books, encyclopedias, biographies, and so on. While this gives the impression that everything that could possibly be said about Star Wars has been said, there’s always a new text that shines a new light or perspective on the beloved franchise.

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