This week we check out the new a new Mass Effect mini, Xenoholics, The Dunwich Horror & the return of Batman Odyssey.

Mass Effect Invasion #1

Writer: Mac Walters & John Jackson Miller

Artist: Omar Francia

Publisher: Dark Horse

Age: Teens

Mass Effect Invasion #1 is an essential purchase for any diehard Mass Effect fan who also like comics. It is written by the lead writer of games Mass Effect 2 and 3, Mac Walters. As such, the comic series is considered canonical and events in it may tie into upcoming novels, movies and even games.There is a lot of action in the issue and one doesn’t necessarily need to be a fan of Mass Effect to appreciate the book. It works as straight-forward Sci-Fi as well. The artwork certainly is colourful and kinetic. The tale of a space station that is under attack is one that most Sci-Fi fans can appreciate. The different alien races from the Mass Effect world are well incorporated and the dialogue is spot-on. There is some betrayal that happens and I would be interested to see how it turns out. Main character Aria is already a fan favourite and this series promises to push her to the
edge, a definite perk for Mass Effect fans will be seeing a great character getting her mettle tested. – Paul

HP Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror #1

Writers: Joe R. Lansdale

Artists: Peter Bergting & Menton3

Publisher: IDW

Age: Older teens

The Dunwich Horror is a modern updating of the classic H.P. Lovecraft story. A small group of friends discover one of their number is missing. After a small history of dabbling in the occult, they suspect foul play and begin to wonder what horrors they may have unwittingly unleashed. With that fear also comes the decision that they need to fix the problems they may have caused and begin to investigate. And from that first issue, we’re set up for the rest of the run. It’s a familiar set-up, but that’s not what really matters. What matters most in these types of stories is mood. Is the tone foreboding? Will it actually create a sense of dread? Lovecraft’s horror wasn’t based on gore or cheap scares, but instead a sense of foreboding and unease. That sense of eeriness does appear in the comic and it functions well as a set-up. Whether it can continue for the rest of the story and escalate to the point Lovecraft used to cultivate is another matter. For Lovecraft fans this will be welcome reading, but it may not be enough to draw in new people. The comic also features a back-up story titled The Hound, which features art by menton3. - George

Xenoholics #1

Writers: Joshua Williamson

Artists: Set Damoose

Publisher: Image

Age: Older teens (language)

Xenoholics is a fast paced story following Bob, a man who claims to have been abducted by aliens. After getting abducted his life falls apart and finally in a bid to be able to see his kids, he joins the Xenoholics. The Xenoholics are a group of people who meet to discuss their various alien abductions. This is a rag tag group that are all crazy to some extent, the question we ask ourselves throughout the book is exactly how crazy they really are. When I flipped through this book, the art didn’t really do it for me. Luckily I decided to read it anyways and I was pleasantly surprised, Seth Damoose has this cartoony exaggerated style that goes well with Joshua Williamson’s writing style. Damoose is able to keep up with Williamson as he blazes through, many times giving Damoose only one panel to accomplish scenes that in many books would’ve been a page or two. Williamson’s script keeps you smiling and is good for a laugh or two. He could have lost me if he decided to pace slower, the charm of the book comes from it’s break neck speed. We end off with a couple of nice twists, and it really sets itself up for what should be a crazy second issue. I still can’t decide whether I want to keep getting this in issues or wait for the trade, but either way I will be pursuing this series at sooner or later. - Ray

Batman Odyssey #1

Writer: Neal Adam

Artist: Neal Adams

Publisher: DC

Age: Teens

Batman Odyssey by Neal Adam’s returns with volume 2 of the highly unpredictable and genuinely nuts series. This story arc promises to show what happens when Batman must kill or be killed. If you thought that volume 1 was crazy, its worth it to pick this up and see if it can out-crazy itself. This issue starts off with a shirtless Bruce Wayne just hanging out and chatting about anti-Batman conspiracy theories. This is actually very neat, because imagine your average paranoid person then multiply their paranoia and intelligence by a thousand and you get Bruce Wayne. Essentially Talia al Ghul has been kidnapped and in order to save her Batman must make a “Journey to the Center of the Earth”-esque voyage into an underworld that may or may not be only accessible from the Batcave (I’m really not sure). For unexplained reasons he can’t take Robin, even though Robin desperately
wants to come, and must instead take Batman and Robin underworld analogues Jamroth and Primus. After that they fight some dinosaurs and my brain exploded. I recommend this to anyone who can read as its fabulous. Neal Adams has been experiencing a rebirth as of late since returning to Marvel in 2005 and his 40-plus year career is nothing to scoff at. This series is a gem, a lovely weird gem. Oh and Ra’s al Ghul just hangs out at the mansion with Alfred while Bruce is adventuring underworld. I’m assuming throughout the series we will have many scenes of them just hanging out watching football and drinking tea. – Paul