Digga D’s Dark Horse Saddle Up: Star Wars, Women in Space Prison, and Terminators!

Digga D   January 6, 2014   Comments Off on Digga D’s Dark Horse Saddle Up: Star Wars, Women in Space Prison, and Terminators!

DarkHorseSaddleup

Welcome to another round of Digga D’s Dark Horse Saddle Up! Digga D has got all the comic reviews you’re going to need (from one company at least). If you’re a comic book company magnate and want to get your comic reviewed on this illustrious site, send us an email!

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Bad Blood #1

Script: Jonathan Maberry
Art: Tyler Crook

WHERE THE HELL DID THIS BOOK COME FROM!? Bad Blood starts… STARTS with a young adult dying of cancer. Well, he’s fighting cancer and it kind of looks like it’s winning. The first half or so of this comic is diving into the main character, Trick and his best friend Kyle. From the title Bad Blood, you can expect what I was expecting; Vampires, so this really isn’t a spoiler. I don’t really want to give too much more away, but know that this is a vampire story, but a very interesting one, so far.

I’m so sick of run of the mill vampire stories, but this is so far from the mill that it was great to read. I don’t know how Maberry did such a great job of giving two friends so much depth within the first couple pages, but I honestly did get a little misty eyed about halfway through. I don’t know if someone close to Maberry has/had cancer, but the writing feels very real. The art, is also fresh and beautiful as well. I love this book, (can’t you tell). Bad Blood is for anyone that knows, lost, or is celebrating defeating cancer and may want to read a book about Vampires. I hope this keeps being as fricking amazing as it goes on, but this was an amazing showcase of talent in a first issue. The characters and believable and art is top notch. This certainly isn’t an action start, but more of a indie from the heart feel. GO GET IT!!! NOW!!!

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Baltimore: Chapel of Bones #1

Story: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art: Ben Stenbeck

Baltimore is a tough as nails vampire hunter. Here we have a story of Big B going to meet up with some friends in a bar of ill-repute. While discussing how they know Baltimore, they meet an artist who wants to show them his work. His work is a bit abstract and apparently his muse is more than a pretty face.

What I love about Baltimore (and most of Mignola’s work) is that it is dripping with theme. He knows how to craft a time period. Here we have a populace that the less fortunate have a weird skin infection, the bar full of dregs and even the good guys aren’t shiny-go-lucky.

This book reminds me of one of H.P. Lovecraft’s shorts called Pickman’s Model where an artist has painted a ghoul so real that no one can believe how amazing it is. I won’t ruin that one, but it’s a good one, so go read it. While reading this issue, I felt the same joy about that short story. This would be a good issue to start on Baltimore with. You don’t need to know much, any history they fill in with generalities and you get a good sense of how well crafted this series can be.

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>Catalyst #7

Catalyst follows a myriad of heroes in a cheeky throwback to multi-story books of old. In part one, we have a bunch of heroes (?) fighting a dude that looks like a mix of David Bowie and Ben Franklin. Part two is a more serious style hero. Finally, part three is more Sci-fi futuristic female fighting off bad guys and such. As of yet, there really isn’t any link between the 3 story lines, but they are all written by Joe Casey.

Catalyst might be losing me. I don’t know what’s happening ever when I read some of the stories (especially the ones in the Agents of Change Art). It feels like I have ADD (which I might and it doesn’t help) when I read this comic. My brain tries to put the pieces together, but then something else totally random happens and I’m just staring at the page confused. The weird randomness might have been fun the first couple issues, but now it’s getting old and I want substance. I don’t know how many more the team has left in it, but it never seems like it’s going anywhere. Catalyst is a confused boat drifting rudderless, and I don’t know if Casey knows how to steer it right, if he’s planning to steer it at all. Maybe the goal is stream of conscienceless? I don’t know. The art was able to hold my attention, but without a story to keep me, I’m drifting in a different direction.

Vincent’s Viewpoint: I’m still liking Catalyst. I do feel like Agents of Change needs some big reveal or something to happen, hopefully that will come soon. We got a good amount of action, but not a ton of answers yet so it is a bit trying. The Frank Wells thing is going a little slow and I enjoyed the Amazing Grace stuff. I’m hoping she gets to kick a ton of alien ass soon.

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Grindhouse: Prisoner Ship Antares #2

Script: Alex De Campi
Art Simon Fraser

As an adolescent boy I’d watched my fair share of women in prison movies. Just wading through extraneous dialogue to get to a shower scene or a knife fight or a Lesbian kiss… De Campi has obviously watched the same things, and though she was never an adolescent boy, she has cut the crap and left a great Grindhouse experience. GH:PSA is a women in prison movie in space. All the tropes are there… crazy warden, BA chicanos, violence, gore… all of them, and the best part is they are done right.

For a book that could be written of as “probably just T n’ A” is far from it. Yeah, the females do get down to their knickers and prison riot, but at no point does it feel overtly sexualized. I don’t know… was it mental jujitsu? How did De Campi do that? Even the lesbian kiss felt very natural and loving and not used for abject sexism. I love these books. I’m not going to lie. They are the fun of a crappy 70’s exploitation film, but somehow more grown up without being pretentious. If you’re interested, this was a two run arc, so get the first one and this one. They’re a quick and fun read.

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Juice Squeezers

Written and Drawn by David Lapham

David Lapham’s rap sheet is pretty long. He’s done things from Stray Bullets to a whole slew of Marvel books, so I didn’t really know what to expect with Juice Squeezers. Essentially this book is about young kids who are hunting down overgrown bugs. The bugs seem to be working together despite being different kinds of bugs. There’s a fertile homestead that a new family has just moved onto that was once the home of a bug slaughter. The bugs seem to going again and wishing to reclaim that land.

So like I said, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I don’t even know what to think. There are things I like about the book, and things I’m kind of leery on. The art is ok, but it’s not my favorite. The writing seemed to be lacking in something… maybe I’m just being picky but something really BUGGED me (OHHH SWISH!) I hope some of the things will be explained throughout this 4 part series, but as a first issue, I wasn’t thrilled.

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Killjoys #6

Script: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Art: Becky Cloonan

So, sometime after I read the last Killjoys (and was utterly confused), I was in my local comic shop. A couple of teeny bopper girls were buying said Killjoy comic and in way that was not at all awkward I asked “what’s the deal with the comic? I read it… and I don’t get it… what’s happening? Am I supposed to know anything, what the hell am I missing?” The girl said that I have to listen to My Chemical Romance to get it, in more teeny bopper words to my grizzled thirty-something ears. F-that. I can’t stand My Chemical Romance. I’ve tried. Maybe I’m too old for the melodrama… I don’t know. I’ve liked Gerard Way’s other book (Umbrella Academy), but if I need to listen to his whiney lyrics to get what’s happening, I’m out. If you’re a fan of the band, I’m sorry for the rant… this is a love letter to you, not me. I’m sure if Tom Waits made a graphic novel to go to a new record, I’m sure I’d be pooping my over-sized pants.

So how does this issue stack up? I don’t know! Because once again, I’m confused by everything going on. Someone is in a big mech’s eye with her blood piloting it. There’s one chick who turns into many chicks with swords. There’s Draculoids and scarecrows. Then things just start happening without rhyme or reason. Sweet baby rays, I hope this ADD style is not the direction comic book writing is going. We’re in a wonderful time of great storytelling… and then Killjoys and Catalyst make my brain frown. Now it’s time to watch some Mattlock and yell about the kids.

Seriously, if you like My Chemical Romance, this was not to offend you. I worked with youth, I’m bitter. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sure Mr. Gerard Way is very in touch with his feelings. I just don’t want to hear about them or read scattered fragments of writing.

Vincent’s Viewpoint: The funny thing is I have a hard time knowing what the fuck is happening in Killjoys. I also loathe My Chemical Romance. Seriously, teenage girls still listen to them? There’ so mid-2000s. Anyway, despite these two facts I like this comic. I think it’s because I find the setting so interesting. It’s complex and weird, but it just seems cool to me. Too cool to make sense most of the time? Yup. But cool nonetheless.

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The Occultist

Script: Tim Seely
Art: Mike Norton

There are spells of binding… There are spells of charm… There are spells that are spiraling out of control. That’s what’s happening in The Occultist. You remember the 90’s comic book writing. “Don’t worry about how we are going to land this F’er… just throw a bunch of cool looking bad guys and before too long there will be action figures and we won’t have to worry about a compelling story.” That’s what’s happening here.

I haven’t been a fan of this series, but each month I think “Is this going to be the issue where I get it?” Nope… Not this week either. What kills me is that the story was conceptualized by 2 people… I’m sure someone far smarter than me would be able to explain if I’m missing something. Just not my thing.

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The Star Wars #0

Various artists

Because nobody ever had been able to follow The Star Wars, Dark Horse releases The Star Wars Zero because this series is hard to follow. This is collection of images to create the “making of this series” while it’s still out and clarify that this bearded guy is called ______ and this bearded guy is called_____.”

Vincent’s Viewpoint: The most enjoyable thing about The Star Wars has been the art and feel of the world and the least enjoyable is the confusing ass story. This is a great release because it helps with the story as well as providing more great art. I’m really looking forward to the trade that includes this thing, so I can stare at the pretty pictures and pretend I know what’s going on.

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Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #2

Script: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Pete Woods

Vincent’s Viewpoint: My confusion at why they are continuing the Terminator Salvation timeline continues. Is it orders from whomever owns the Terminator franchise rights now? Or it was just the last movie that was released? Regardless, we get this instead of a Sarah Connor Chronicles comic. (Come on Darkhorse, give us what we want!)

Anyway, this story continues a type of Terminator story I’ve read before and I’ll read again. Robots planning to destroy humans, humans planning to destroy robots. And this time we promise it’s the real end forever. It does go into why a human would collaborate with an enemy who wants all humans dead and that’s interesting. If you like to read Terminator related stuff read it. If you don’t, don’t. If you wished for a sequel to Terminator Salvation and were too lazy to read the books covering this ground (or want a different take on it) here you go.

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Victories #8

Story and Art: Michael Avon Oeming

Victories is pretty damn subversive. Somehow in this ultra politically patriotic time, this is comic that puts the U.S. Government as the enemy… and not in some Tea Party Ayn Rand-ian wonderland, but in a natural comic book setting. There is just so much balls in The Victories. A government powered off of syphoned supers? Fantastic. I just love the concept. So far, this comic is always surprising to me. I open it up and I just smile… the whole way through. I love the art, I love the style, I love the setting, I love the characters. It’s a crazy ride. Remember Dee Dee Mao? What a crazy story line. In this issue, we finally get the payoff. The Victories are done. It’s such a good payoff. I don’t know what I can really say, but it felt like they were giving all the characters a little bit of time to build the release. It was great writing.

This would not be an issue to start on as it reveals the identity of a masked guy in earlier issues. I’d start at #1. It’s a buck and if you like the way Oeming does it, you’ll like the whole run. It’s always clever. The characters are fun and it’s always a surprise.

Vincent’s Viewpoint: Everyone should be reading The Victories. There should be no excuses. If you don’t know how to read, have someone read it to you.


About Digga D

Dark Horse comics has always meant cutting edge adult comics to me. From when I was in fifth grade, rifling through the “mature readers” sections of comic stores and finding Geof Darrow and Frank Miller’s “Hard Boiled” comics I realized that this is what comic books could be. Bringing home issues of Grendel and Aliens and jumping right into a story that I may not get, I knew I loved the concepts and to this day, I think Dark Horse is still pushing the boundaries in the comic book field. With one of my favorite contemporary comics like The Goon, Dark Horse still gives me pause in local comic shops and at least take a look at what they’re doing, just like I did many years ago. I am super excited to read and review this publisher’s comics for Robots Pajamas!