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by Paul Montgomery

Though much of the federal government remains in shutdown, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." soldiers on unabated, the most essential of essential agencies. In this second outing, Skye joins Coulson's fledgling field team for a taste of the adventure she previously dismissed as Big Brother meddling (from the safety of her blog van).

We open on the Bus -- call sign for the group's jet black not-a-helicarrier -- as the hull gives way and somebody tastes stratosphere. Of course, that's getting ahead of ourselves because it won't happen for another nineteen hours, "Alias" style (That's Sid Bristow now, not Marvel's Jessica Jones, mind you). What leads the team to this treacherous point?

It all starts with an Easter egg hunt.

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Coulson

by Paul Montgomery

Unabashedly earnest, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." offers the same unassuming charm of its most valuable asset, the still-beating heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Clark Gregg's Agent Phil Coulson. Paired with Ming-Na Wen's steely, enigmatic Melinda May, the affable, competent Coulson leads an oddball crew of operatives weaving around the footfalls of giants. Coulson knows the way, but the transition of Marvel Studios from the big screen to network television isn't without its turbulence.

A New World

In a generous cameo as Agent Maria Hill, Cobie "Not-The-How-I-Met-The-Mama" Smulders posits that the Loki-led Chitauri assault on Manhattan—and the formation of the Avengers to halt it—marked the end of the world. Hill and her colleagues in the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement (breathe) and Logistics Division shepherd humanity through a new world where people can do the impossible, though no lifetime's consumption of comic book origin stories could possibly prepare them for it.

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Arrow Sacrifice

by Ryan Rigley

Last night's explosive "Arrow" season finale kicked off, appropriately, with a callback to this season's pilot episode. As a desperate Robert Queen holds a gun to his temple, he tells his son Oliver to survive. Picking up exactly where last week's episode ended, "Sacrifice" opens on a beaten and bruised Oliver Queen, chained up in a dark room, as the evil Malcolm Merlyn thanks him for saving his life and makes fun of his inability to best him in combat.

In a flashback to the island of Lian Yu, Oliver and company watch on in horror as the Chinese aircraft slowly flies to its assured doom. Suddenly, Oliver breaks free stabbing his captive with ease. As Slade and Shado also break free of their restraints, Edward Fyres picks up his walkie talkie and orders his men to fire their missiles. Cut to present day, where Oliver manages to break free of his restraints and is saved by his trusty partner in crime: Diggle.

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Darkness on the Edge of Town

by Ryan Rigley

It's been a while since the Dark Archer has made an appearance in Starling City (since Christmas to be exact) But with only two episodes left this season, including last night's "Darkness on the Edge of Town," it makes complete sense that he'd pop back up just in time for his rematch with the hooded vigilante.

Malcolm Merlyn, as we learned in last week's episode, is plotting to level a 24 city block radius within Starling City by way of a mysterious earthquake machine manufactured by Unidac Industries, which is exactly where "Darkness on the Edge of Town" begins. Two scientists walk into a research lab only to discover that the Dark Archer has killed several of their co-workers (6 scientists and 2 security guards to be exact).

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The Undertaking

by Ryan Rigley

With only a few episodes left this season, last night's episode of "Arrow" finally answers one burning question: "What happened to Walter Steele"? After being kidnapped in episode nine, Walter has been mysteriously M.I.A. throughout the entirety of this season. However, with a laptop that Oliver steals from a crooked accountant, Felicity is finally able to get a lead on Oliver's missing stepfather.

"The Undertaking" actually addresses a number of key questions raised in last week's episode. At Club Verdant, Laurel sits alone at the bar miserably sipping from a cup of horrible coffee as she mourns the end of her latest relationship. As Laurel reveals to Oliver that she and Tommy are now broken up, Oliver suggests that Laurel go talk to Tommy, something that he and Laurel never had the chance to do. Then Felicity shows up.

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Home Invasion

by Ryan Rigley

After a two week long hiatus, "Arrow" returned last night with a vengeance as Diggle finally came face to face with the man who killed his brother: Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot. Opening on an intense training session between Oliver and Dig in the Arrowcave, "Home Invasion" expands the world of Starling City by introducing us to the A.R.G.U.S. agency, the agency that employs Dig's friend Lyla Michaels.

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Unfinished Business

by Ryan Rigley

As if psychotic killers running rampant around Starling City weren't enough, last night's "Arrow" (entitled "Unfinished Business") saw the return of the Count and the deadly drug known as Vertigo. Beginning with what might as well have been an anti-narcotics PSA, a woman dances across the floor of Club Verdant high out of her mind on Vertigo. She continues dancing all the way into oncoming traffic, then proceeds to get hit by a car.

Detective Lance shows up at Verdant, not too long after the incident, and questions both Tommy and Oliver about the woman. Tommy insists that he's never met the woman and Oliver orders Felicity to run a check on all Verdant employees to see which of them may have a drug history. Lance continues his investigation at the Starling City Asylum, where the Count is currently being held.

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Welcome to the Tombs

by Kat Rosenfield

And so begins the longest, dullest, dryest seven months of the year, at least when it comes to seeing zombie body parts go splat on AMC's "The Walking Dead". Boo! The season came to a bloody, bullet-riddled, breathtaking end last night, as we bid goodbye to the Deep South survivors of the walker apocalypse until Season 4 returns next October... and psssst, this is a finale, so certain of said survivors may be getting a more permanent send-off, too. So place your bets, grab your tissues, and get ready to find out who was welcomed to the tombs — in more ways than one — in the final moments of season 3.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

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Arrow Salvation

by Ryan Rigley

As if there weren't enough psychotic justice-seekers roaming the streets of Starling City, last night's episode of "Arrow" introduced us to another crazed vigilante inspired by Oliver Queen's hooded heroics. "Salvation" begins with a news report about John Nickel, one of the wealthiest real estate developers in the city and also one of the dirtiest. Hooding up, Oliver heads over to Nickel's penthouse only to find that he's been kidnapped by a madman who calls himself the Savior.

SPOILERS (and kissing) AHEAD!

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This Sorrowful Life

by Kat Rosenfield

With only a week left in the season, the latest episode of "The Walking Dead" was only a warm-up. The real carnage should come on next week's season finale, which, in the manner to which fans have become accustomed, is rumored to be an out-and-out bloodbath. "This Sorrowful Life", on the other hand, involved only a couple of sad goodbyes — and one cause for (quiet, non-zombie-attracting) celebration. Ready? Here's what went down.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

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Cover Artist

Splash Page welcomes Ed Tadem to our cover artist family (our custom-designed theme up top). Currently working on the forthcoming "Avengers" animated series, Tadem's work can also be seen in the "Jackie Karma" issues of Image's "'76," and in "Pop Gun, Volume 1." Ed Tadem can be found online at EdTadem.com.
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