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Friday, January 16, 2004

DARK HORSE COMICS FOR APRIL

Following are Dark Horse Comics' solicitations for April, with information coming from the company.

3 x 3 EYES VOLUME 8: DESCENT OF THE MYSTIC CITY TPB

Written and art by Yuzo Takada.

Pai doesn't look a day over 16; of course, she's 300 years old and the last of an ancient mystical race. Yakumo looks no different than your average Tokyo teen; however, he's been resurrected from the dead as Pai's immortal slave and defender. They're both on a quest to return Pai to her hidden homeland and ultimately to return Yakumo to his mortal form. They've been through hell and high water to find a lost Tibetan shrine that holds the keys to the Sacred Land of Kunlun. But with the mission accomplished, the return to Kunlun turns out not to be the heartfelt reunion Pai had hoped for, but could instead reveal her incredible journey to be only a ruse that could well release the evil Kaiyan Wang from imprisonment in the Sacred Land. Collecting stories from Super Manga Blast! issues #32-40.

288 pages, black and white, $18.95, in stores on May 5.

B.P.R.D.: A PLAGUE OF FROGS #2

Written by Mike Mignola, art by Guy Davis.

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense traces the disappearance of a giant fungus to a deserted town. Separated from the group when their helicopter crashes, Roger the Homunculus, enthralled by a mysterious child, winds up hanging from the neck in an abandoned building. Meanwhile, the rest of the B.P.R.D. team lies unconscious at the crash site, and Abe Sapien dreams of underwater terrors.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 7.

BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL #88

Written and art by Hiroaki Samura.

"Light and Shadow." Hunted by the surviving members of the Shingyoto-ryu clan, Rin continues her flight towards Edo. She travels in a strange alliance with Anotsu, her sworn enemy who is suffering from a mysterious ailment. Will Rin have her chance to finally take him out...or will she find herself fighting alongside him? Done in Hiroaki Samura's kinetically masterful fashion, the thrilling action sequence in this one-shot issue is on par with Rin's "Flight of the Golden Wasps" move. With Manji also hot on Rin's trail, several major players in this revenge epic begin to move closer to an inevitably bloody reunion.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on April 14.

CANNON GOD EXAXXION STAGE 3 TPB

Written and art by Kenichi Sonoda.

Hoichi is Kano is a typical Tokyo teenager...except that he pilots a state-of-the-art integrated gunsuit and the antimatter-powered, cannon-toting, mega-robot Exaxxion and he may be humankind's last hope against colonizing aliens. Other than that, heıs just your absolutely typical teen. Luckily, these extras will make matters a bit easier when he has to rescue his high-school crush--and his Mom!--from alien imprisonment. Of course, he may have to spend a bit of time explaining about his sexy shape-shifting android assistant, and he might need to do some image damage control after he levels a building or two, but that's nothing any teenager couldn't talk their way out of, right? It's not like he stole a car or something. Collecting issues #14-20 of the series.

224 pages, $16.95, in stores on May 12.

CONAN #3

Written by Kurt Busiek, art by Cary Nord, colored by Dave Stewart, cover by Joseph Michael Linsner.

In the aftermath of "The Frost Giant's Daughter," Conan heads into battle with the men of Asgard, never suspecting the treachery they hold in store for him, nor the horror coming down from Hyperborea. Dark Horse's new interpretation of Robert E. Howard's greatest creation.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 28.

EL ZOMBO #1

Written by Kevin Munroe, art by Dave Wilkins, cover by Wilkins and Tony Washington.

El Zombo is the story of the unlikely friendship between a temperamental undead wrestler and an equally difficult 10-year-old girl from East L.A. Pro wrestling champ El Zombo gets a second lease on life after being unceremoniously murdered in a back alley for refusing to take a dive in the ring. His deal is to return to Earth to help Belisa Montoya--a troubled girl about to fall victim to a horrible unknown accident. Returning at first for selfish reasons of revenge, El Zombo soon finds himself at a crossroads, forced to choose between his own vengeance and saving the life of this girl he now deeply cares for. El Zombo #1 is the first of a three-issue series.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 21.

THE GOON VOLUME 2: MY MURDEROUS CHILDHOOD (AND OTHER GRIEVOUS YARNS) TPB

Written and art by Eric Powell.

The Goon and Franky have been best friends ever since they was tykes. Find out how the two little ankle-biters became best pals, and how they muscled their way into the rackets of big-time crime-boss, Labrazio--who, incidentally, nobody's seen in a while. This trip down memory lane ain't gonna be no joyride, neither. Franky and the Goon are going to have to take on a horde of zombies, an army of hoboes, a couple of grave robbin' mongoloids, a guy with a gold head and his killer robot, a pie-crazed skunk ape, one homely, man-crazy sea hag, and whole lot of other things that smell just as bad if not worse. Pick up a copy, because those uptown rich people may have the cops and their G-men, but down here all we got is the Goon. Collecting issues #1-4 of the Dark Horse series, plus the 8-page story from Drawing on Your Nightmares, "The Brothers Mud."

128 pages, $13.95, in stores on May 5.

THE GOON #6

Written and art by Eric Powell.

As if the Goon doesn't have enough to worry about, what with zombies, werewolves, vampires, bog lurks, and psychic amphibious mammals running around, the last thing he needs is an alien invasion. A gelatinous space blob comes to town for a little Earthly vacation, but all hell breaks loose when he unleashes an unstoppable, towering, fire-breathing, Mexican lizard. All seems lost until a figure from the past steps in to lend the Goon a hand, but will it be too late?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 14.

HELLBOY: WEIRD TALES #8

By Kia Asimiya, Tommy Lee Edwards and Jill Thompson, cover by Michael W. Kaluta.

This award-winning lineup of creators present their takes on the paranormal investigator's entanglements with a monstrous toy company, WWII fighter pilots, and a skeleton casting call. Featuring a pin-up by Gary Fields. On the heels of the Hellboy film premiere, Hellboy: Weird Tales #8 is the conclusion to the series.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 14.

THE INVINCIBLE ED TPB

Written and art by Ryan Woodward.

A regular geek at Chesterton High, Ed, mistakenly receives the alien power of invincibility but to his horror, being a superhero just hurts like hell. Without super strength, heat vision, or anything at all, Ed learns the ropes of being a superhero with only an extremely high level of pain tolerance. Jealously enraged at Ed's benefit, Lance Lundgrin, schemes to overthrow the geek-gone-super geek. Through the relentless and hilarious pain inflicted on him, Ed learns how to believe in himself and make self sacrifices for the greater good. Collecting the four-issue mini-series.

112 pages, $13.95, in stores on May 12.

MICHAEL CHABON PRESENTS . . .THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF THE ESCAPIST VOLUME 1 TPB

By Michael Chabon, Glen David Gold, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Baker, Jim Starlin, Gene Colan, Steve Lieber, Scott Morse, Eric Wight, Kevin McCarthy and Mike Baron.

Master of Elusion, foe of tyranny, and champion of liberation--The Escapist. Operating from a secret headquarters under the boards of the majestic Empire Theater, the Escapist and his crack team of charismatic associates roam the globe, performing amazing feats of magic to aid all those who languish in oppression's chains. The history of his creators, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, was recently chronicled in Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The best of the Escapist's adventures are now collected into one volume. This volume of Michael Chabon Presents...The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist collects the first two issues of the comic book and features an original story penned by Michael Chabon, the comics debut of novelist Glen David Gold, a new story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, the painted artwork of Bill Sienkiewicz, and a wraparound cover by Chris Ware.

152 pages, $17.95, in stores on April 28.

OH MY GODDESS! #107

Written and art by Kosuke Fujishima.

The "Sora Unchained" storyline revs into high gear this month, as Belldandy comes to meek Sora's assistance with some confidence lessons. Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand to swipe one's fears aside on the road towards success. Shy and clumsy Sora has the brains and the light frame it takes to master cart racing. Now all she needs is the gusto and the self-assurance! Roaring towards a fun, hectic conclusion, Kosuke Fujishima delivers another extended tale filled with complicated relationships, hilarious scenarios, and good-intentioned goddess magic.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on April 7.

OH MY GODDESS! VOLUME 18: THE PHANTOM RACER TPB

Written and art by Kosuke Fujishima.

Motorcycle mania has gotten the best of Meguimi, Keiichi Morisato's little sister and college student (and Goddess roommate). Driven to be the best biker around, she decides to test her skill against the Phantom Racer, a ghostly apparition that sometimes appears on a dark stretch of country road. Keiichi and his earthbound-goddess girlfriend, Belldandy, aren't far behind to keep an eye on her, but Meguimi better watch the road, because racing phantoms could get her killed! Meanwhile, at Keiichi's technical school, the cybernetic creations of a nutty professor nicknamed "Dr. Moreau" are trouble waiting to happen. Can Keiichi and Belldandy stop the crazed Doctor from unleashing mechanized mayhem on the unsuspecting college campus? Collecting issues #96-104 of the ongoing series.

256 pages, black and white, $17.99.

THE RING VOLUME 2 TPB

By Takashi Hiroshi and Meimu.

The fabulously creepy story of The Ring takes a side step from the plot of the original Japanese film, taking the reader into life after all that tragedy and mystery. And guess what? Sadako, the psychic killer, isn't so easily disposed of. Beautifully illustrated by the adept Meimu, The Ring Volume 2 takes the reader into the life of Mai Takano, after her beloved Professor Ryuji is killed by Sadako. Adding to the sci-fi element, both Mai and little Yoichi, son of Ryuji and Reiko, have developed psychic powers and are often haunted by the powerful Sadako. This thick volume of material presents sci-fi action and horror reminiscent of Steven Spielberg's Poltergeist.

192 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on May 12.

SERAPHIC FEATHER VOLUME 5: WAR CRIMES TPB

By Hiroyuki Utatane and Toshiya Takeda.

The lure of powerful alien technology discovered on a buried alien starship on the dark side of the moon is the nexus for an international, even interplanetary, game of power, deception, and violence. The key players: Sunao Oumi, a young paranormal unwittingly caught up in the maelstrom; M-ZAK, a beautiful (and lethal) super-agent; Kei Heidemann, Sunao's back-from-the-dead former love; and Apep Heidemann, Kei's brother, a mysterious scientist who has harnessed the alien craft's unimaginable power. M-Zak and Sunao are on the trail of vicious kidnappers who've taken Kei hostage. The kidnapping is only part of a plot by the Dystra Corporation to stage a coup and take control of the moon from UN forces, with a final goal to make the moon independent from earth. Collecting stories from Super Manga Blast !issues #35-43.

240 pages, black and white, $17.95.

SHI: JU-NEN #1

Written and art by Billy Tucci.

Dark Horse celebrates Shi's 10th Anniversary with a new Tucci series. Ana Ishikawa returns to her native Japan where she desperately tries to avert an all out war between the secretive sects of the Kyoto and Nara Sohei. And with the Narans of the verge of annihilation, the Kyoto Sohei are about to rub it in--with the encouragement of the Yakuza and with potentially disastrous consequences. Once again, Ana in the guise of Death Incarnate, will take up the naginata and don her grandfather's Kabuki face paint in order to save both cities, even if it means turning to her father's murderer Masahiro Arashi to do so.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 14.

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS VOLUME 4: LIGHT AND DARK TPB

Written by John Ostrander, penciled by Jan Duursema, inked by Dan Parsons, cover by Thomas Giorello.

The Jedi are taught to use the Force for good; to avail themselves only to the light side. But the dark side can be a dangerous temptation to even the strongest Jedi, as Aayla Secura learns when she battles former Jedi-in-training Aurra Sing, and Quinlan Vos discovers when he crosses swords with a true master of the dark, Count Dooku. Set against the backdrop of the Clone Wars, this novel-length adventure is filled with espionage, betrayal, and amazing lightsaber battles. It all begins with a dangerous undercover assignment that leads to...well, we dare not reveal the shocking ending. A story that is sure to have Star Wars fans talking‹and wondering whether the fate of the Jedi lies in the light, or the dark... This volume collects Star Wars: Repubic issues 54 and 63, Star Wars: Jedi‹Aayla Secura, and Star Wars: Jedi‹Dooku.

112 pages, $12.95, in stores on May 12.

STAR WARS: EMPIRE #20

Written by Ron Marz, art by Tomas Giorello, cover by David Michael Beck.

It's six months after the destruction of the Death Star, and every Rebel in the galaxy has a price on his or her head. Worse, the Rebel Alliance still has not been able to locate a new, secret location for a base. But Princess Leia has an idea: an acquaintance from Alderaan has a hunting preserve on a small, uninhabited moon. It might be the idealt spot -- provided she can persuade her friend to allow it, and that the Imperials don't find out, and if the local wildlife doesn't prove to be too dangerous... The perfect spot for the Rebel base may just be the perfect spot for a princess to die.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 7.

STAR WARS: REPUBLIC #64

Written by John Ostrander, art by Greg Tocchini, cover by Tomas Giorello.

As the fires of revolution sweep across the galaxy, it's impossible to gauge the number of personal tragedies caused by the Clone Wars. But some tragedies are more calculated than others, and when they result in the deaths of a Jedi Master and his Padawan, they deserve a closer look. Jedi Ronhar Kim strikes up a friendship with a rising politician, never dreaming that, years later, the relationship will make him the target of one of the greatest evils the galaxy has ever seen.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 28.

STEVE RUDE'S THE MOTH #1

Written by Gary Martin, art by Steve Rude and Martin.

The unbridled action spilling from the pages are an understandable consequence of teaming (penciler) Steve Rude and (writer/ inker) Gary Martin. In this issue, The Moth runs smack into the face of trouble, in the form of his archrival, Nestor the bounty hunter. Check out the picture of Nestor, in the dictionary definition of the word scum.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 21.

SUPER MANGA BLAST! #42

By Kenichi Sonoda, Mohiro Kitoh, Makoto Kobayashi, Yuzo Takada, Hiroyuki Utatane and Yo Morimoto.

Featuring Cannon God Exaxxion, Seraphic Feather, Whatıs Michael?, Club 9 and Shadow Star.In Cannon God Exaxxion, when aliens threaten to enslave the world, Hoichi Kano becomes humanityıs hero as the pilot of the gigantic Exaxxion robot! Dark science fiction drama collides with full-tilt, futuristic thrills in Seraphic Feather. With a revolution stirring on Earth's moon, Sunao becomes both sidekick and protector for two U.N. investigators. The secrets that these two women hide may save the moon colonistsŠbut will they also lead him to his death? Makoto Kobayashi's hilarious Whatıs Michael? features the worldıs most conniving cat as he continues to charm and alarm his various companions. In Club 9, country girl "Hello" Hattori has just settled into college life and her new job in the big city, but the affections of several admirers will bring humorous, unwanted complications. Shadow Star, races to a dramatic confrontation, as Shiina continues to cope with incredible new friends and a growing, malicious group of dragon bearers bent on world chaos.

128 pages, black and white, $5.99, in stores on April 28.

TALES OF THE VAMPIRES #5

By Joss Whedon, Alex Sanchez, Brett Matthews, Sam Loeb and others, cover by Brian Horton.

Joss Whedon wraps up his Tales of the Vampires series, finally revealing the truth behind the young Watchers' training program and their introduction to their ancient vampire tutor. Brett Matthews returns with a story of Buffy's favorite vampire--Angel.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 14.

TONY MILLIONAIRE'S SOCK MONKEY: UNCLE GABBY HC

Written and art by Tony Millionaire.

The Sock Monkey returns home from the University where he has become a Master Poet dedicated to the Science of Un-naming Objects. He embarks on a journey of sentimentality as he rediscovers his childhood home. However, things are not as he remembers them, and he is subjected to an avalanche of heart-breaking realization.

40 pages, $14.95, in stores on May 18.

TRIGUN MAXIMUM VOL. 1: THE HERO RETURNS TPB

Written and art by Yasuhiro Nightow.

As an anime series, Trigun gained a multitude of fans across the otaku landscape, before gaining a burgeoning mainstream manga audience. Now, Trigun Maximum goes beyond the story available in the anime and the first two top selling manga volumes. The hero Vash the Stampede disappeared for two years after blasting a crater onto the moon above the desert planet he saved from annihilation. But with good people and bad alike trying to track him down, he won't stay lost for long. Count on more crazy gunslinger action, new dastardly villains...and a new outfit, to boot.

192 pages, black and white, $13.95.

ULTRAMAN TIGA #9

Written by Tony Wong, art by Khoo Fuk Lung, cover by UDON.

Itıs all-out war. The alien presence controlling Japan's military reveals its true identity and makes a stand against the Ultraman called Tiga. As Tiga and the gigantic monstrosity take their fight to the skies, the former members of the Global Unlimited Task Squad are doing all they can to stop the anarchy in the streets below. Just when things can't seem to get any worse, a new and deadlier enemy emerges; an opponent from Tiga's long-dead past carry a destructive secret and the power to lay the Ultra-warrior to waste. Continuing the electrifying Hong Kong series.

40 pages, $3.99, in stores on April 28.

USAGI YOJIMBO #75

By Stan Sakai.

Stan Sakai concludes the gripping two-part "Hokashi" storyline in his multi-Eisner Award winning adventure series Usagi Yojimbo. After surviving recent life-threatening incidents, wandering ronin Usagi and his young ward Jotaro are joined in their travels by Katsuichi-sensei and his student Shunji. In this brief reprieve, Usagi debates if he can risk keeping the secret of Jotaroıs parentage--the two could soon be parted for years, but does that justify shattering their trust? Usagi had better decide soon, though--they might not live long enough for it to matter! 24 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on April 28.

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