StarCraft: Ghost Spectres Kindle and Mass Market Pre-orders Available

The pre-order of the Kindle version of the StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres novel by Nate Kenyon is now available. Pre-order now and the novel will be auto-delivered to your Kindle or other device on September 27, 2011.

The mass market version pre-order is also available.

If you don’t have a Kindle device, the Kindle App allows you to read books in your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7.

Product Description

Following on the heels of the release of StarCraft II —the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s groundbreaking strategy game—Nova, an elite stealth operative with telepathic and telekinetic powers who embarks on a heart-stopping mission that pits her against her own kind and her tragic, hidden past.

About the Author

Nate Kenyon’s first novel, Bloodstone, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist and won the P&E Horror Novel of the Year award. His second, The Reach, also a Stoker Award finalist, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was recently optioned for film. The Bone Factory was released in July 2009, and was called “masterful” by Booklist. His fourth novel, Sparrow Rock, was released in May 2010.

Kenyon’s cyberpunk novella, Prime, was released from Apex Books in 2009. Four of his stories were featured in the recent Dark Arts anthology When the Night Comes Down. He has had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Monstrous anthology, Horror World, Dead Lines, The Harrow, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has several others forthcoming. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

TOKYOPOP to Shutdown in May

World of Warcraft: Shaman TokyopopTOKYOPOP CEO Stu Levy announced the US Division located in Los Angeles, CA will shutdown this upcoming May 31, 2011.

Stu Levy wrote a farewell note recapping fourteen years of history. One can feel his love for manga and the japanese culture, a second home to him. Barely a few weeks ago, Stu Levy posted images of his trip to Japan where he helped a community sheltered in a school after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

It was a great experience for Levy to interact and give so much to the culture that inspired him to found TOKYOPOP prior to shutting down. Live long and prosper.

A few months ago, many employees were laid off including the World of Warcraft manga Editor Troy Lewter and Hope Donovan. The staff was reduced down to only six employees.

It’s a sad day for millions of Blizzard fans who enjoyed many awesome stories which spawned tie-in characters and plots in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign, and World of Warcraft expansions: Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

In October 2010, TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment were proud to learn the World of Warcraft: Shaman manga by Paul Benjamin hit the New York Times Bestselling Manga List.

TOKYOPOP published several manga inspired in the StarCraft and Warcraft universes after signing a three-year contract with Blizzard Entertainment. Click the links to order them while supplies last. Now that TOKYOPOP is shutting down, thousands of fans will rush to catch up to gather the manga collections.

Below are the links to all the StarCraft and Warcraft manga, followed by Stu Levy’s farewell message.

Warcraft Legends Series

World of Warcraft Classes Series

Warcraft: The Sunwell Saga

StarCraft: Frontline Series

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Series

    “Dear TOKYOPOP Community:

    Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company “Mixx”, meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.

    Starting with just four titles — Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon — we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.

    Over the years, I’ve explored many variations of manga culture – “OEL” manga, “Cine-Manga”, children’s books we called “Manga Chapters”, the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called “manga” at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met.

    Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I’ve also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.

    Fourteen years later, I’m laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we’ve served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).

    For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.

    In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we’ve succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.

    Arigatougozaimasu!!

    Stu Levy

    Founder, TOKYOPOP”

TOKYOPOP to Shutdown in May

World of Warcraft: Shaman TokyopopTOKYOPOP CEO Stu Levy announced the US Division located in Los Angeles, CA will shutdown this upcoming May 31, 2011.

Stu Levy wrote a farewell note recapping fourteen years of history. One can feel his love for manga and the japanese culture, a second home to him. Barely a few weeks ago, Stu Levy posted images of his trip to Japan where he helped a community sheltered in a school after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

It was a great experience for Levy to interact and give so much to the culture that inspired him to found TOKYOPOP prior to shutting down. Live long and prosper.

A few months ago, many employees were laid off including the World of Warcraft manga Editor Troy Lewter and Hope Donovan. The staff was reduced down to only six employees.

It’s a sad day for millions of Blizzard fans who enjoyed many awesome stories which spawned tie-in characters and plots in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign, and World of Warcraft expansions: Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

In October 2010, TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment were proud to learn the World of Warcraft: Shaman manga by Paul Benjamin hit the New York Times Bestselling Manga List.

TOKYOPOP published several manga inspired in the StarCraft and Warcraft universes after signing a three-year contract with Blizzard Entertainment. Click the links to order them while supplies last. Now that TOKYOPOP is shutting down, thousands of fans will rush to catch up to gather the manga collections.

Below are the links to all the StarCraft and Warcraft manga, followed by Stu Levy’s farewell message.

Warcraft Legends Series

World of Warcraft Classes Series

Warcraft: The Sunwell Saga

StarCraft: Frontline Series

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Series

    “Dear TOKYOPOP Community:

    Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company “Mixx”, meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.

    Starting with just four titles — Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon — we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.

    Over the years, I’ve explored many variations of manga culture – “OEL” manga, “Cine-Manga”, children’s books we called “Manga Chapters”, the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called “manga” at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met.

    Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I’ve also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.

    Fourteen years later, I’m laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we’ve served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).

    For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.

    In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we’ve succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.

    Arigatougozaimasu!!

    Stu Levy

    Founder, TOKYOPOP”

April’s Fool 2011: World of Warcraft, StarCraft Motion, Diablo III

This year Blizzard Entertainment deployed another great April’s Fool series of inside-jokes as announcements of upcoming content to their video games. For those kinda slow, upcoming content that ain’t ever going to happen — nudge-nudge.

First the new World of Warcraft feature: Crabby, The Dungeon Helper. It’s a blue Ghostcrawler that pops in-game on the bottom-right to help you with tutorials — wait we already have this minus the crabby. Each time the Crabby shows up you see a yellow sticky note to either inform you or ask you. The crabby resembles way too much the Microsoft Word Office Assistant animation which looks like a Clip with two big eyes.

The Tomb of Immortal Darkness looks like a tie-in joke between Wold of Warcraft and Diablo III. Everyone remembers the infamous rant of some verbal community fans who complained Diablo III looked too much like World of Warcraft when it was first announced in Paris at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. These fans demanded Diablo III should look dark and grittier. The Tomb of Immortal Darkness is a World of Warcraft dungeon that is so dark and grittier you can barely see anything. Blizzard even announces the revolutionary Deep Dark technology …

The third April’s Fool is based on Diablo III’s Horadric Cube. It shows a iPhone App — which is an interactive flash animation on your web browser — where you drag some icons into the Horadic Cube and transmute to get a combination of results. There are up to 40 variations. I posted below at least 39 (yea, took me a while to brainstorm). Actually, it would be awesome if Blizzard created a Diablo III iPhone / iPad App for the Horadric Cube or whatever they end up featuring. That way players can check up what possible combinations there could be, or even save formulas. That’s a great idea right there.

The most hilarious of the April’s Fool in my opinion — because it looks realistic and serious-toned with actual video footage and actors — is the StarCraft Motion. Blizzard makes fun of recent rumors and even video demos by touchscreen display companies showing StarCraft II gameplay using your hands rather than a keyboard. In this case, with a twist. StarCraft Motion is StarCraft II using XBox 360 Kinect … I recommend watching the video.

Note: Large images, please hold down your mouse’s right-button and choose open in new tab to see full size/resolution.

Introducing Crabby, The Dungeon Helper

The next content update for World of Warcraft introduces a brand-new feature designed to make your experience in Azeroth a whole lot user-friendlier. Meet Crabby: The Dungeon Helper! This adorable and knowledgeable crustacean companion will guide you through the game with useful hints, tips, and tricks for every situation. Read more about this upcoming feature on our new Crabby information page.

Preview: Tomb of Immortal Darkness

Deep below the damp graveyards of Duskwood, an ancient evil stirs in the darkness…. Featuring new gameplay mechanics, revolutionary Deep Dark® technology, three challenging bosses, and a host of incredible rewards, the Tomb of Immortal Darkness will be the third dungeon to see the light – well, maybe just a dim spark in an ocean of utter blackness – in the next World of Warcraft content update. Click here for a preview of the epic adventures that await!

Hold the Power of the Horadrim in Your Hands

After years of fevered development and tireless research into the mysteries of the Horadrim, we’ve finally succeeded in capturing the power of one of Sanctuary’s most enigmatic artifacts in a portable, downloadable form…. Behold, the Horadric Cube app for your smartphone or supported mobile device! But beware: great power often comes at a terrible price. Visit our Diablo III Horadric Cube app page to learn more, if you dare.

Horadric Cube Combinations

Visagebook + Catch Dotcom = Soulmatch
Visagebook + Angry Imps = Wirt’s Leg
Visagebook + Agro Town = Fallenville

Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = Imp Finder
Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal

Angry Imps + Agro Town = Angrytown

Soulmatch + Angry Imps = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Prismatic Tome
Soulmatch + Agro Town = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Yawp

Wirt’s Leg + Catch Dotcom = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Curse Village

Wirt’s Leg + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal
Tome of Town Portal + Catch Dotcom = Imp icon (no name)
Fallenville + Catch Dotcom = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Angry Fruit
Tome of Town Portal + Visagebook = Khalim’s Will
Khalim’s Will + Angry Imps = Kindling
Tome of Town Portal + Angry Imps = Imps vs Tomes
Imps vs Tomes + Visagebook = Imps vs Visages
Angrytown + Visagebook = Cut the Hope
Cut the Hope + Catch Dotcom = OK …
Angrytown + Catch Dotcom = Double Hell
Double Hell + Visagebook = Scarytown
Imp Finder + Visagebook = ChirpStack
Chirpstack + Agro Town = Impville
Imp Finder + Agro Town = Fetish!
Fetish! + Visagebook = Cheaply
Soulmatch + Angrydom = Full Rejuvenation Potion
Wirt’s Leg + Tome of Town Portal = Secret Cow Level
Fallenville + Imp Finder = Jade Ring
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = B’gemmed
B’gemmed + Agro Town = Chat Gem (when you click the blue chat gem it turns purple)
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Goatspace
Goatspace + Angry Imps = Angry Goats
Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps + Agro Town = Imps vs Goatmen
Imps vs Goatmen + Visagebook = Hooks-up
Fallenville + Angry Imps = MeSpout
MeSpout + Catch Dotcom = Chatter
note: one is bugged without text.

Experience StarCraft Like Never Before

We’re proud to present the next step in the evolution of the StarCraft series… and Blizzard Entertainment’s long-awaited return to the console scene. Check out our new game information page for all the details, and get ready to fight for control of the Koprulu Sector like never before!

April’s Fool 2011: World of Warcraft, StarCraft Motion, Diablo III

This year Blizzard Entertainment deployed another great April’s Fool series of inside-jokes as announcements of upcoming content to their video games. For those kinda slow, upcoming content that ain’t ever going to happen — nudge-nudge.

First the new World of Warcraft feature: Crabby, The Dungeon Helper. It’s a blue Ghostcrawler that pops in-game on the bottom-right to help you with tutorials — wait we already have this minus the crabby. Each time the Crabby shows up you see a yellow sticky note to either inform you or ask you. The crabby resembles way too much the Microsoft Word Office Assistant animation which looks like a Clip with two big eyes.

The Tomb of Immortal Darkness looks like a tie-in joke between Wold of Warcraft and Diablo III. Everyone remembers the infamous rant of some verbal community fans who complained Diablo III looked too much like World of Warcraft when it was first announced in Paris at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. These fans demanded Diablo III should look dark and grittier. The Tomb of Immortal Darkness is a World of Warcraft dungeon that is so dark and grittier you can barely see anything. Blizzard even announces the revolutionary Deep Dark technology …

The third April’s Fool is based on Diablo III’s Horadric Cube. It shows a iPhone App — which is an interactive flash animation on your web browser — where you drag some icons into the Horadic Cube and transmute to get a combination of results. There are up to 40 variations. I posted below at least 39 (yea, took me a while to brainstorm). Actually, it would be awesome if Blizzard created a Diablo III iPhone / iPad App for the Horadric Cube or whatever they end up featuring. That way players can check up what possible combinations there could be, or even save formulas. That’s a great idea right there.

The most hilarious of the April’s Fool in my opinion — because it looks realistic and serious-toned with actual video footage and actors — is the StarCraft Motion. Blizzard makes fun of recent rumors and even video demos by touchscreen display companies showing StarCraft II gameplay using your hands rather than a keyboard. In this case, with a twist. StarCraft Motion is StarCraft II using XBox 360 Kinect … I recommend watching the video.

Note: Large images, please hold down your mouse’s right-button and choose open in new tab to see full size/resolution.

Introducing Crabby, The Dungeon Helper

The next content update for World of Warcraft introduces a brand-new feature designed to make your experience in Azeroth a whole lot user-friendlier. Meet Crabby: The Dungeon Helper! This adorable and knowledgeable crustacean companion will guide you through the game with useful hints, tips, and tricks for every situation. Read more about this upcoming feature on our new Crabby information page.

Preview: Tomb of Immortal Darkness

Deep below the damp graveyards of Duskwood, an ancient evil stirs in the darkness…. Featuring new gameplay mechanics, revolutionary Deep Dark® technology, three challenging bosses, and a host of incredible rewards, the Tomb of Immortal Darkness will be the third dungeon to see the light – well, maybe just a dim spark in an ocean of utter blackness – in the next World of Warcraft content update. Click here for a preview of the epic adventures that await!

Hold the Power of the Horadrim in Your Hands

After years of fevered development and tireless research into the mysteries of the Horadrim, we’ve finally succeeded in capturing the power of one of Sanctuary’s most enigmatic artifacts in a portable, downloadable form…. Behold, the Horadric Cube app for your smartphone or supported mobile device! But beware: great power often comes at a terrible price. Visit our Diablo III Horadric Cube app page to learn more, if you dare.

Horadric Cube Combinations

Visagebook + Catch Dotcom = Soulmatch
Visagebook + Angry Imps = Wirt’s Leg
Visagebook + Agro Town = Fallenville

Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = Imp Finder
Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal

Angry Imps + Agro Town = Angrytown

Soulmatch + Angry Imps = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Prismatic Tome
Soulmatch + Agro Town = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Yawp

Wirt’s Leg + Catch Dotcom = Plenty of Imps
Plenty of Imps + Agro Town = Curse Village

Wirt’s Leg + Agro Town = Tome of Town Portal
Tome of Town Portal + Catch Dotcom = Imp icon (no name)
Fallenville + Catch Dotcom = Fruitbook
Fruitbook + Angry Imps = Angry Fruit
Tome of Town Portal + Visagebook = Khalim’s Will
Khalim’s Will + Angry Imps = Kindling
Tome of Town Portal + Angry Imps = Imps vs Tomes
Imps vs Tomes + Visagebook = Imps vs Visages
Angrytown + Visagebook = Cut the Hope
Cut the Hope + Catch Dotcom = OK …
Angrytown + Catch Dotcom = Double Hell
Double Hell + Visagebook = Scarytown
Imp Finder + Visagebook = ChirpStack
Chirpstack + Agro Town = Impville
Imp Finder + Agro Town = Fetish!
Fetish! + Visagebook = Cheaply
Soulmatch + Angrydom = Full Rejuvenation Potion
Wirt’s Leg + Tome of Town Portal = Secret Cow Level
Fallenville + Imp Finder = Jade Ring
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps = B’gemmed
B’gemmed + Agro Town = Chat Gem (when you click the blue chat gem it turns purple)
Visagebook + Catch Dotcom + Agro Town = Goatspace
Goatspace + Angry Imps = Angry Goats
Catch Dotcom + Angry Imps + Agro Town = Imps vs Goatmen
Imps vs Goatmen + Visagebook = Hooks-up
Fallenville + Angry Imps = MeSpout
MeSpout + Catch Dotcom = Chatter
note: one is bugged without text.

Experience StarCraft Like Never Before

We’re proud to present the next step in the evolution of the StarCraft series… and Blizzard Entertainment’s long-awaited return to the console scene. Check out our new game information page for all the details, and get ready to fight for control of the Koprulu Sector like never before!

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 On Sale

Tokyopop launched today StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 3, wrapping up the series. The manga based in the StarCraft: Ghost universe was written by David Gerrold, with art by Fernando Heinz Furukawa.

You can find it at a bookstore near you, or order it online here.

Ghosts are the Dominion’s ultimate weapons – elite terran operatives capable of reading thoughts, becoming invisible, and much more. One location possesses the technology and expertise required to teach these mysterious individuals their unique and deadly talents: the Ghost Academy. Struggling to forget her harrowing past, Nova, a powerful psionic soldier-in-training, has found strength in her fellow trainees: Tosh, a hard-line Dominion supporter; Kath, a mouthy vice-president’s daughter; Delta, a bubbly newbie; and Lio, a scatter-brained technopath.

Together, Nova and her teammates undergo brutal physical and psychological exercises as their unique telepathic and telekinetic powers are twisted to serve the Dominion. Nova and her team are dispatched to an abandoned mining planet for a real-world training exercise. There, they pick up a distress signal from a nearby planet. Following the signal through hordes of terrifying zerg, they rescue what turns out to be friends from Nova’s past! But even if the ghosts-in-training escape from the zerg-ridden planet, will the Dominion allow them to keep the memories of their heroic deed?

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 On Sale

Tokyopop launched today StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 3, wrapping up the series. The manga based in the StarCraft: Ghost universe was written by David Gerrold, with art by Fernando Heinz Furukawa.

You can find it at a bookstore near you, or order it online here.

Ghosts are the Dominion’s ultimate weapons – elite terran operatives capable of reading thoughts, becoming invisible, and much more. One location possesses the technology and expertise required to teach these mysterious individuals their unique and deadly talents: the Ghost Academy. Struggling to forget her harrowing past, Nova, a powerful psionic soldier-in-training, has found strength in her fellow trainees: Tosh, a hard-line Dominion supporter; Kath, a mouthy vice-president’s daughter; Delta, a bubbly newbie; and Lio, a scatter-brained technopath.

Together, Nova and her teammates undergo brutal physical and psychological exercises as their unique telepathic and telekinetic powers are twisted to serve the Dominion. Nova and her team are dispatched to an abandoned mining planet for a real-world training exercise. There, they pick up a distress signal from a nearby planet. Following the signal through hordes of terrifying zerg, they rescue what turns out to be friends from Nova’s past! But even if the ghosts-in-training escape from the zerg-ridden planet, will the Dominion allow them to keep the memories of their heroic deed?

Tokyopop Launches Online Shop: Blizzard Manga Available

Tokyopop launched [about time] their own Online Shop, currently in beta. As such, only a handful of titles are available including the following Blizzard-themed titles:

Checking Amazon and Barnes & Noble, most of the prices in the Tokyopop Online Shop are two dollars cheaper — except for the Essential Sunwell Collection.

Among the Current Tokyopop Top 10 Manga Bestsellers are The Essential Sunwell Collection (position # 8 ) and the Cataclysm tie-in … World of Warcraft: Shaman (position # 10).

Tokyopop Launches Online Shop: Blizzard Manga Available

Tokyopop launched [about time] their own Online Shop, currently in beta. As such, only a handful of titles are available including the following Blizzard-themed titles:

Checking Amazon and Barnes & Noble, most of the prices in the Tokyopop Online Shop are two dollars cheaper — except for the Essential Sunwell Collection.

Among the Current Tokyopop Top 10 Manga Bestsellers are The Essential Sunwell Collection (position # 8 ) and the Cataclysm tie-in … World of Warcraft: Shaman (position # 10).

Review – Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2

imageStarcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 hit the bookstores recently on August 3, 2010. The former author Keith R.A. DeCandido is no longer aboard as writer of the manga. He’s busy with Boom! Studios comic books; and for some months he was knee deep working with the U.S. Census 2010 — so at least we know he’s all good. We’ll miss him. He’s earned it.

Tokyopop’s David Gerrold (aka Jerrold David Friedman) took over the Starcraft: Ghost Academy mantle, and as you will soon find out, he’s quickly sync into the Nova universe. No surprise here. David Gerrold has written a Starcraft story before, which means he’s read the Starcraft Bible 101 and been in contact with Chris Metzen and the Blizzard Creative Team.

David Gerrold wrote the story titled “Fear the Reaper” in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4. He’s written several Star Trek novels and manga. He’s a celebrity among Trekkies as a matter of fact — don’t believe me? Guess who wrote the televised story of “The Trouble with the Tribbles” (Star Trek: The Original Series, TV) which aired on December 29, 1967. The original script was titled “A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…”

The artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa did a kick ass job through each page of the manga, specially the zerg scenes, but overall academy scenes were great. We’ll see more of him in Starcraft and Warcraft manga no doubt.

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 explores the ongoing happenings within the Ghost Academy under Mengsk’s close watch. The ghost academy was formerly a Confederate program, and as such, Mengsk needs to protect his image before the people; and to make sure the academy is run by the book to avoid inhuman treatment scandals. (more below)
For those fans who love to keep track of the Starcraft timeline, at the end of Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2, Emperor Mengsk is weeks away from celebrating the first anniversary of the Terran Dominion.

Mengsk controls every single word that airs on the UNN network, but there are pirated broadcasts sent by people working for Michael Liberty — and those do bite a dent into Mengsk’s reputation.

The manga starts with a UNN TV show titled “The Dominion and You” by reporter E.B. James [suspiciously sounding like EB Games]. He interviews the Ghost Academy director Kevin Bick in relation to the recent expulsion of Aal Cistler from the ghost academy. This took place at the end of volume 1.

It’s kinda funny to have two non-heroes take centerfold in the story. Kevin Bick runs the academy with unscrupulous drug experiments to research how ghosts’ abilities can be affected or increased. Some students are panbrained, brainwashed, and tortured in secrecy.

Aal Cistler by the other hand is a young playboy with wits who thinks his every whim comes into reality by paying the right price. He might not be too far from being right though — he’s the son of Emperor Mengsk’s finance minister — ouch. Not an enemy you would want to cross with in your path.

Aal isn’t a telepath, but he loves challenges. He came to the ghost academy to train, but was caught selling drugs to Lio Travski (a technopath, student). While the Ghost Academy knew about the drug addiction of Lio and that Aal was providing it, they allowed it to happen to study Lio’s performance under heavy addiction. When the ghost academy grew tired of Aal, they expulsed him from the academy and provided the UNN with camera recordings of Aal’s drug selling activities.

Aal, however, goes to the UNN to denounce he was framed, and the unusual training practices held at the ghost academy. The reporter E.B. James crucified director Kevin Bick in the show. The director got the message … Emperor Mengsk disapproves.

Mengsk controls everything the UNN says, so this was a direct on-your-face slap message to Kevin Bick to immediately detox Lio, and to stop underground experimentation with students. Most of this is in the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview scans.

From what we have learned in Starcraft: Frontline, Mengsk is turning around the old-ways of the Confederate who used cruel brainwashing and aggression inhibitors to control the Ghosts, who were likely former criminals.

Mengsk is now using Wranglers [psi-sensitive agents with a PI 3.5] to hunt for kids and teens with latent telepathic abilities to train them as teams in the ghost academy under the excuse they are too dangerous to themselves and to the populace if not trained properly — because untrained ghosts attract the Zerg.

In reality, that’s a lie. Mengsk has used psi-emitters before to control the zerg, and he continues to do so underground without the knowledge of the public. Such was the case of the Colin Pash story in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4 — where wranglers are authorized to use lobotomized zerglings with a neural gadget to control them to hunt for the telepath kid.

The same can be proved with Starcraft: Ghost Academy when we see an unidentified terran vessel launching a drop-pod on planet Shi [of the Baker’s Dozen] which contained a … zerg drone. Mengsk has much more under his sleeve than we originally taught — as you can see in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty [Piercing the Shroud mission].

Why should you read this manga? It brings a fresh view into the ghost academy with at least four cliffhangers. Don’t you love cliffhangers? I do. They keep the plot in suspense. Sometimes you can foresee things, but sometimes the writer surprises you with a twist. That’s what keeps you coming back for the next volume.

GHOST ACADEMY

Nova Anabelle Terra, Gabriel Tosh, Lio Travski, Kath Toom and Delta Emblock of Team Blue continue their ghost training with high stake life-threatening missions within the academy where they must learn to use their abilities in a teamwork environment.

When you see an older Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and see this younger Gabriel Tosh in the Ghost Academy and compare both — you can already see where the story is heading to. Tosh used to be an idealist teen who idolized and believed in Mengsk as a humble leader who works for the people and for the benefit of humanity.

What the Ghost Academy does is to train the best telepaths to service humanity and to unite it under the flag of Mengsk, who fights for freedom — Or so used to think Gabriel Tosh in his early days at the Ghost Academy.

Considering we will see more of Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm — now that Jim Raynor sided with him to free New Folsom’s Spectre prisoners — it would be nice to keep in touch with this character’s past and backstory, and how his loyalty to Mengsk shattered. We will learn more of that in Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 — and hopefully in the upcoming novel Starcraft: Ghost Spectres by Nate Kenyon (on sale November 1, 2010).

In this volume, we learn the two most important ghost trainees in observation by Superintendent Angelini are Nova and … Lio the technopath. No one else matters. Just those two. Thus … we should keep an eye on what plans Blizzard might have for Lio, if any. Will he be an ally when we next see him in future games, or will he be a dangerous enemy (knowing his special power set)?

Lio can telepathically control technology, he created an android that resembled his girlfriend, and he seems to be a powerful telekinetic — [in a scene he telekinetically floats some PDAs into the air and sorts them out to his teammates, and he also blocks incoming projectiles with a TK shield]. Now that he’s not under the influence of hab (a drug), he seems to have better control of his powers.

We get to see the influence that Team Red’s jealousy and rivalry has on Team Blue. Things get more complicated when Aal Cistler makes his triumphant return to the Ghost Academy and this time around he joins Team Red to make Nova and her team’s lives more pleasant … not.

With how Lio has been manipulated by director Bick and superintendent Angelini, one has to wonder … how such a powerful telepath as Nova and her teammates never detect the psi-screams of Lio when he gets panbrained? Why are all these odd things going on backstage without other telepaths knowing about them?

The answer is too complex to guess in its entirety, but the author gives you enough hints to figure out some of it … Colin Phash.

The Ghost Academy is using this boy’s ability to project his astral form away from his body as a surveillance system. Nova has been able to see his astral projection, but never manages to talk to him. However, there must be something else shielding other telepaths from the atrocious acts of the Academy’s leaders. Maybe a mysterious figure from the past? Likely someone we have heard of in Starcraft: Ghost Nova [Looks at the odd humanoid in Chapter 2: Shadows Before Them].

There was one male telepath as high-level a telepath as Nova and Sarah Kerrigan who is mentioned in DeCandido’s StarCraft: Ghost Nova book to be dead, but you never know. Maybe his body and brain were kept alive to serve as an instrument of the Confederates? Those cables coming out of the skull with no pupils on his eyes made me remember that deceased character. Matter of fact, that figure is never shown in Vol. 2, so we might learn who exactly this guy behind Angelini is. Maybe a half-cybernetic-enhanced Old Family slave of the Dominion? I might be seeing too much into it.

COLIN PHASH

Like in the first volume, the fate of Colin Pash continues to be unfold in short scenes that let you figure out how the Ghost Academy tutors do what they do with the students, and why the telepaths aren’t aware of what’s going on.

Colin Pash is the telepath child son of ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Pash. Colin was captured by the Dominion in the Starcraft: Frontline series. His father Corbin Phash now resides as a guest of the Umojan Protectorate, plotting to take revenge against Mengsk and to recover his son back. The story of Colin Phash is told throughout Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4, and continues in Starcraft: Ghost Academy.

THE OLD FAMILIES

Another plot hanging in the manga is the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families. Ever wonder if any of the Old Families survived the Zerg invasion to Tarsonis? Let’s remind you a bit of old-school Starcraft lore … The invasion was caused by the Psi-emitter Arcturus Mengsk ordered Kerrigan to activate. Ya’ know, that Starcraft mission where Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to her fate before the Zerg.

As the invasion of the Zerg hit Tarsonis, the Old Families sent their offsprings to safety to planet Shi — the fourth planet in the Baker’s Dozen system: a collection of 13 mining planets owned by Arturro Calabas [one of the Old Families].

This story runs parallel with the main plot without interacting with each other; using the narrative technique of going back and forth in the timeline.

Every now and then, the narration about the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families takes you to a year before the present time [ghost academy Vol. 2’s time which is nigh a year after Brood War]. Then to the present.

When least you know, you are taken to 8 months before the present, seven months, six months … so and so until we reach the point of a month before the present.

I love those interludes in stories to be honest. All that apparent, unrelatedness with the main plot comes to an end when the next ghost academy mission is scheduled to take place in the fifth planet of the … Baker’s Dozen. That’s a cliffhanger alright. That takes us straight into collision course with Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 [in stores March 1, 2011].

The aweful part of this manga is the long wait for the next one. Can’t you guys clone your staff to pump these babies monthly? I want more!!!

Special thanks to Troy Lewter (Tokyopop Editor) and Hope Donovan (Tokyopop Editor).

You can view the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview here.

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