Digga D’s Dark Horse Saddle Up! SHOOTing First, Star Wars, and Conans!

Digga D   January 22, 2014   Comments Off on Digga D’s Dark Horse Saddle Up! SHOOTing First, Star Wars, and Conans!

DarkHorseSaddleup

Howdy, Partners! Digga D has rounded up another group of Dark Horse Comics reviews for y’all! And due to an error last week, I (Vincent) am throwing in a couple of reviews from stuff we missed last week. You’re double luck this week! Now let’s get to the comic reviews:

SHOOT First

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Written by: Justin Aclin
Art: Nicolás Daniel Selma

Review by: Vincent

Well this is it, the end of S.H.O.O.T. First for now at least. I must note that I’ve really enjoyed the covers on this series. This one isn’t as fun as a robot fighting a dragon, but I love the tag line, “Pray the Atheists Win.” In this final issue the “angels” attack the SHOOT First headquarters. There’s action and a nice twist about the guns that use. Didn’t see that coming at all. In fact, there’s lots of cool twists including one with the robot!

I’ve complained ever since issue one of SHOOT First that there are only four issues. I’m going to do it again. I really wish there was more here to expand some of these ideas. The thing with the guns would have been great to go over several issues. Maybe one of the team starts suspecting something until they finally figure it out. That’s just one small plot point there’s a wealth of stuff that could be explored more. Come on, Darkhorse, give Aclin and Selma more pages to expand this stuff!

This series ends on a note where there can be more, so let’s see it.

Anyway, Aclin and Selma tell a really cool story with SHOOT First. Pick this one up in trade or get the single issues at your nearest comics shop. It’s a great mixture of action and ideas, which is always welcome.

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2

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Written by: Tim Siedell
Art: Gabriel Guzman

Review by: Vincent

The last issue of Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows didn’t really get too much into Darth Vader other than to set up a disillusioned clone that wants to join him and that Darth Vader is a legendary figure of death in the Star Wars universe. Guess what? That’s essentially what happens in this issue too. It isn’t until the final couple of pages where the clone meets up with Vader and the story finally seems to get going. The comic is okay so far, but the title should be more like, Clone with a Boner for Darth Vader.

Captain Midnight #7

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Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art: Eduardo Francisco

Review by: Digga D

Captain Midnight writer Joshua Williamson has created for himself one heck of a road to hoe. Not only does he have to write a man out of time story, but he has to tie it to something bigger. Captain Midnight could easily teeter off into just another run of the mill superhero story at any minute. It could peter out as a story about nostalgia. In this issue of Captain Midnight, Williamson sets him against a Bane-like super-hulk that is not only menacing, but somehow believable. Captain Midnight gets thrown around in the hall of the fallen heroes of WW2. Being from a generation of grit and moxy, Cap doesn’t go down with the punch. He stands and fights as his partner that he came in with is dragged away to a meeting with Mr. Obama. Here we finally get what we’ve been waiting for… a bit of the governmental secrecy and lack of transparency that POTUS ran against in his first trip to the dance.

I give Williamson a lot of credit for using Obama in this comic. Far from his heyday as Spidey’s best friend in the Marvel-verse, Obama, even for his most ardent fan, is seen in a new kind of light. Williamson rides this objective edge that makes Obama both sinister and hopeful. I don’t get how he did it, but it’s not flattering, but it’s certainly not “tea-party-esque.” Each month I am continually blown away by how much I like this book. Sure, it’s treading familiar ground, but it’s still fresh in the delivery. The feel of Captain Midnight is so legit, that it’s fun to read, but never feels like it’s pandering of less than the amazing sum of good writing and well orchestrated art. If you’re new to Cappy, don’t start here. Start a couple issues back. You’ll catch on, but this issue has a lot of great things built from several stories back that it provides a catharsis in the mayhem.

Conan the Barbarian #24

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Written by: Brian Wood
Art: Riccardo Burchielli

Review by: Digga D

BY CROM, A CONAN BOOK THAT I LIKED?! Sweet cat-o’-nine-tails, what’s happening? Is this Dark Horse’s best week ever?! This issue was a pretty laid back issue, but it seems like Wood took it seriously! Basically Conan is attacked by some hyena looking creatures and has to fight his way through. There was a bit of the magical, but for the most part, it was what someone reading Conan wants. Conan is wounded and fights through like a barbarian. It was a fun read. It didn’t bog itself down with irrelevant characters. It showed a barbarian in a blood rage… isn’t that what we all want?

I really wish more of the Conan books would be written like this. Sure, there’s a hint of a love that’s passed, but anytime is riding on a horse with a random girl, it’s just not exciting. They need to stop writing love stories into Conan… not because I hate romance stories (which I don’t), but Conan is a womanizing douche. Let’s face it, watching Conan with ladies is like watching that guy who cheats on every woman he’s ever been with and breaks apart families for tail. It sucks. Conan is a barbarian… and this was one the first comics in months that gave me that feeling. If you are looking to read a Conan book, try this one. Far better than the other Conan books, FOR SURE.

Elf Quest: the Final Quest

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Script: Wendy and Richard Pini
Art: Wendy Pini

Review by: Digga D

The Gall-damned wolves’ name is Filcher!!! Let me rewind…

Elfquest has been around as long as I can remember comics. I remember flipping though it thinking “There’s gotta be a reason why people buy this…” and never buying an issue… maybe I needed yet another copy of Ghost Rider #25 with the pop up middle and the die-cut cover. I would see this and think; “maybe the story is really good” much in the same way women probably looked at me and thought “I bet he’s got a great personality. Well… much in the same way that girls never dated me, I never courted Elfquest. So I finally got a chance to see what I thought.

Being a man of fantasy, I’ve got this weird thing with elves. I expect them to be woody, but also still be able to hold their own. This comic was like reading the freaking Smurfs… The Smurfs with slutty Smurfs. Smurfs that ride animals named after a Urban Dictionary sex act. The Gall-damned wolves’ name is Filcher, and that’s about as good as this book gets. Maybe I’m missing nuance. Maybe I’m missing the critical depth that the Pinis were trying to get across, but this Hannah Barbara wet dream left me raw. If you like dark fantasy, this book may be for you, but I wouldn’t recommend this to my nephews or nieces. If you want good youth friendly fantasy, check out Mouse Guard or BoneElfquest should be left locked away in a dungeon, filching from the fantasy bottom.

Mass Effect: Foundation #7

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Script: Mac Walters
Art: Garry Brown

Review by: Digga D

Wait, what the heck happened? When did this book get good? Is it a fluke? I looked back and it’s still the same writer. I mean, Garry Brown is doing the art, is that all it took? Was the art so bad before that it made the words look like they were written in poop? Well, for whatever reason, this was a great read. Essentially, there a biotic on the loose and causing damage. I still don’t know what that means, but it didn’t hamper my experience. I’ve played enough video games to think “Ok, this must be like a Siren in Borderlands.” The action seemed planned and this didn’t feel like an episode of Saved By The Bell in Space.

Actually that sounds awesome…

Especially if there was an air leak. TAKE THAT SLATER!!

I’m going to give it to Garry Brown, I love that dude’s work. It’s always spot on. His character work gives everyone a personality. His panels are well crafted (NOT EVERYONE IS JUMPING IN EVERY PANEL?! OMG!). For a guy that never played Mass Effect, this was the first comic of the series that made me want to get it. My buddy Sam keeps harping at me to get it and maybe I’ll just have to do it. When I do, maybe I’ll get what was happening before. If you are fan and want to check one out, I think this comic will maintain the integrity of the game that you like.

The Massive #19

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Written by: Brian Wood
Art by Garry Brown

Review by: Digga D

The Massive is a frickin’ amazing book. I finally got the first trade of The Massive from Vincent (because he rules), and reading this book from the start I realized I had no idea that there are some very crazy things were going on. Like the crazy environmental future that this book is dwelling in? Had no idea. It hasn’t been drilled to death. This book has so much heart and is so believable, that it being in the near future never gets weighed down by talking robots… or jetpacks. This issue opens up more of the world and puts Callum on the hunt for a character that was introduced way back in the 2nd trade (which… is also a freaking great book).

The Massive is definitely one of the best books being written for Dark Horse. It’s so thick and well crafted that jumping in midstream I was never without a paddle. I’ve been able to enjoy the book since coming on 4 issues ago, and then going back and reading the first two trades just enhances my enjoyment. The art and story are perfect. The Massive is a title that deserves to be talked about more. This is and Mind MGMT are taking comic books in a fresh new direction and I love it. If you want to start here, don’t If you don’t want to buy a trade, fine… they offer #1 for a buck. However, I think The Massive might need a couple books to get it’s net around you. Any way that you can get your hands on this book, do it. It’s fantastic.

Mind MGMT #18

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All the things: Matt Kindt

Review by: Digga D

Like The Massive, with Christmas money in hand I bought the first 2 trades of Mind MGMT and I was not disappointed. Each issue unraveled a story so thick that the only phrase to use is Head Hump. Kindt’s art and storytelling is so delicately precise that it’s impossible to stop reading. This issue was no different. Mind MGMT #19 revolves around someone that can emote with animals. Ok, big deal, Aquaman can do that. What makes Kindt’s characters in this story so amazing is that they are kind of believable. While reading it, I’m always thinking “yeah… I can tell what my dog or cat are feeling,… I’ve got that connection”… but it happens with EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER. I want to be them. I want to be able to slightly suggest things to people’s brains and completely screw up their perception.

That’s the glory of this book. It’s a conspiracy theory book that could be completely plausible. It centers around a writer, but I don’t think her book will be written. But then again, who knows? After reading the first two volumes of Mind MGMT and then buying the single issues to get caught up, I can say, without a doubt, that Matt Kindt is a genius and this book has got my brain working overtime. I can say that jumping in will leave you confused. If you are interested, go buy the first trade. It takes more than a couple issues to get into the swing of it, but when it does, it’s a great ride.

Star Wars Legacy #11

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Script: Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art: Gabriel Hardman

Review by: Digga D

This series is a “on-the-run” story in the Star Wars-verse. Taking place 139 years after the end of A New Hope, this comic centers around the granddaughter of Han and Leia (SPOILERS THERE! HAH!) as she runs from… something. I know there’s people after her, but I’m not sure who. In the synopsis it says they are looking for a renegade Sith, but obviously someone wants her. She’s got her partners and then some hunky beard-o shows up and it’s MAKE OUT CITY (don’t worry, it’s right up there on the cover).

This was a fun Star Wars comic. I’m beginning to get the characters and some of the plot stuff around them is pretty cool. I like when Star Wars stories focus on the micro and don’t need to put familiar creatures on top of other familiar creatures with missiles on them. Hardly any lightsabers were drawn and the story and art really carry the story. I enjoyed it. If you want to get into Star Wars Legacy, I don’t think this is a great starting point, but then again, it wouldn’t be awful either. I think this issue showcased some well done storytelling. I wonder if the stories are going to get better now that Dark Horse knows the Star Wars franchise is going to Marvel? GO OUT WITH A BANG DARK HORSE!! DON’T TAKE ANY GUFF FROM THE SWINE! If Dark Horse can end their run with the writing on top, that would make me smile.


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!