Howdy folks! It’s time for another Dark Horse Comics Round Up! Digga D again provides all the comic insight you never knew you needed! Enjoy!
Plot: Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek
Script: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw
This comic book is everything I like about a good Superhero story. If anyone has ever said a Spandex style comic book can’t be well written put this in their gobs! Buzzkill is about a super-man that gets his powers when he drinks or does other drugs. This obviously doesn’t start at the beginning, but late in the game, where obviously he has drunk enough and has done enough crappy things to people that he is known and reviled. The main character is now in recovery. He’s going to AA and such basically giving up being super-man to be sober and with a girl. HOLY @$U#! Last issue he had to fight off a collection of his old villains that know he’s in recovery and then afterwards he met his sponsor, think hipster Dr. Strange. This issue begins with our main character, Francis, meeting with essentially the JLA of this ‘verse. After that meeting he is urged by his sponsor to meet up with his ex, which gets to the final reveal, which is amazing.
I can not say enough good things about this book. The dialogue shines, it has great pacing and the humor is fantastic. I have laughed out loud SEVERAL times while reading this book. The art is spot on as well. This book has so much depth, it’s not even funny, I mean it is extremely funny, but you get the idea. But as it is funny, the character isn’t doing well… and each panel shows up dropping further passed what rock-bottom could be. This comic has easily been one that I look forward to every month. I’ve now read all three issues and I can’t wait to see where this goes. It’s such a fun ride and next to Invincible, it is easily one of the most fun Superhero comics to read. I can’t suggest this book enough. I hope this gets a trade after it’s run, because this is a book, I will savor.
Story By Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Script: David Lapham
Art: Mike Huddleston
To recap The Strain is about a vampire virus that takes over in New York and leaves the citizens to their own devices. Unlike most infection stories, this doesn’t focus only on one group of survivors. This issue, for instance travels from group to group. We have a drunk writing a letter, a scientist looking for a cure, politicians debating about reform and what to do next, and even reports at a space station. There were ideas here that are pretty interesting as the infection may come from worms and it is even discussed that this may be an Islamic “Revelations” story. With my ignorance of the Quran and Islam, I don’t know if Muslims have an end of the world story like the Rapture, but this book has sparked my interest in finding that out.
Other than being a little confused about who some of these characters are, I really like this book. What I like about it, is that it shows the life outside of a couple key characters and goes into the politics around the city. It reminds me of Y the Last Man in that way, another freaking amazing book. I think reading this comic in a trade would be the most beneficial. The writing is clever and does a great job of creating a hopeless atmosphere. I love the religious aspect of the discussion of end times as well. Even though it is brought up in the context of the Quran, it is never xenophobic. I wouldn’t recommend this as the jump on point. Wait for the trade. Hopefully it will also include awesome story line happening in Dark Horse Presents.
Script: Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art: Gabriel Hardman
This is one of those amazing ideas that Image comics and a lot of other publishers have done to get people to read their comics. Dark Horse is a little slow to the game, but still, I’m glad they chose this comic in particular to do a dollar comic of. This takes place some years in the SW future. This starts with an Imperial Knight (Yalta Val) as his ship gets bumped and he has to deal with a Sith. On a different part of a galaxy a spunky female goes scraping and finds a light saber. This, we all know is Han Solo’s Daughter, Ania.
I liked this book, and had I bought it when it came out, I would definitely have checked out at least a couple more issues. It was a good kick off to the story, and regardless of where it goes, the writing and art are solid in this issue. It’s nice that Ania isn’t totally a goody two-shoes and takes on after her scruffy nerf-herding father. Is it racist that I want every panel with Ania’s Mon-Callamarian friend to yell “IT’S A TRAP!!” I’m sure it is. There you have it folks… I’m an intergalactic racist. Well, go on, test your political correctiveness in a galaxy far, far away for only a buck! It’s a great starting point if you are a Star Wars fan looking for a jumping on point.
Script: Fred Van Lente
Pencils: R.B. Silva
Protagonist Matt Price is the worlds most powerful telepath… WAIT, WAIT, NO KEEP READING! This isn’t just a bunch of panels of people looking weirdly at each other and then a Scanners-style blow up. This issue has Price (Brain Boy) up to his elbows in mind-controlled humans that apparently want him dead. There’s some political treachery afoot and a victim and Brain boy are going to try and stop what’s happening from about to happen. There’s a reveal of what is controlling the minds of these puppet politicians and it may keep me from ordering verde salsa ever again. However, just like you’d expect things, even at home, may not be what they seem.
I like this book. It’s been a while since a good psychic battle book has come my way. There’s some clever and well thought out writing going on and the art is stunning. Some of the panels are really well crafted and make the writing pop out. I really like the colors as well. Next month will be a #0 book, so more of Brain Boys history will be revealed. I wouldn’t say this is a good one to start with, so maybe wait for the #0 and go from there.
Script: Brian Wood
Art Riccardo Burchielli
Conan and his lady of the moment are on romantic cruise to get some booty. They do it. Their hands are all over each other. They do it some more. Ooooo and then a serpent does rise. No, not Conan’s… umm… muscle, like a real serpent. However, that ain’t no big deal for Conan! Voip, Zap! Pew! Aint no thang for Conan! They find some treasure and probably want to do it again, and then stuff happens.
Yeah, still not feeling this Conan thing. I’m sure it’s not easy to write a story about a barbarian month after month, but things happen with absolutely no resolution, fear, or anything else interesting. A whole issue to a build up to the fight with the serpent would have been great. Heck, ending it with the serpent rent-asunder would have sufficed, but the whole serpent battle felt tacked on. Maybe that’s my problem with Conan, is with all the books that come out monthly, there is absolutely no continuity and the character can’t grow. It’s just another issue of him doing it with someone that won’t be there again soon and then fighting a bunch of stuff with no sense of adventure or risk. But, if hack and slash adventures are your thing, this would be a good starting book.
Vincent’s Viewpoint: This is kind of why I’m kind of a Conan hipster and stick mostly to the original books by Robert E. Howard.
Various Artists and writers
Dark Horse Presents is one of those showcase comics that give you a couple nibbles of some of their main courses and appetizers. There’s various tales for just about anyone. There’s a Centurion tale of Rome, a pulpy noir detective story, a cartoony fantasy tale, crime stories, you name it! There are some old stand-bys like the Nexus and Mr. Monster and even a short story from The Strain (REVIEWED THIS MONTH!). These comics are a great way to sample other ideas in the comic book world. Maybe you never thought you would like a crime noir story in comic book format, well there are a couple of those here for you to choose from. Sure the ebb and flow of this book is all in what your interests are.
So just like you should expect, there are some really tasty morsels here and some things not cooked all the way. Instead of focusing on the negatives, I want to just pump one story in particular, The Strain mini-series here is amazingly wonderful. Essentially it’s about a Luchador that is making his way, fighting off vampires to get to girl that he’s trying to protect. There are some wrestling announcers that could be telling his story as it’s happening, or maybe it’s all in his head, either way, it floored me. This was some great writing that had superior pacing in done by Strain writer David Lapham. If you are a fan of The Strain, THIS IS A MUST READ!! It would be a damn shame if this doesn’t get included into the next trade paperback, because Lapham really shines here. Many of the other stories don’t quite hit this caliber, but this story was worth the entire book for me. Maybe for $8, it would be for you too.
Script: Victor Gischler
Art: Juan Ferreyra
This issue starts in a graveyard with our main characters fighting off zombies and some General Custer looking necromancer. The combat is actually kind of interesting as main characters die and get mortally wounded. Not saying which ones, but I was actually kind of shocked. Barnabas leads the rest of the group to a hotel where they need to remove the eye of a witch and transplant it to another witch. There’s a bit of drama and a reveal at the end that one of the characters may not be who they say they are.
I was really excited to read this issue from last months thrill-ride, but was kind of let down at the end. All of the crazy fun was missing and it seems to have started taking itself more seriously. Maybe it’s going to grow from being a silly Tn’A style book to something bigger, but for now it just seems like such a sea-change that I’m a bit baffled. It’s kind of like when you watched that trailer for that Tina Fey movie and you thought, “Hey, this looks like a romp” and then it wasn’t that… That’s kind of how I feel about it. I guess I’m going to have to see where they take it, but it lost a bit of the fun. Who knows, this could be rebuilding a house of cards to where it can be smashed again with some ridiculous craziness. This WOULD NOT be an issue to start up on.
Story: John Ostrander and Jan Duursema
Script: John Ostrander
Pencils: Jan Duursema
SW:DotJ:FW takes place waaaaay long ago in probably further galaxies than I want to type “away” for. Here we have the very beginning of the Jedi (or Je’dii) order. These Je’dii are far away different than the peace-hippy types we all know. These S.O.B’s are warlords one even rides in on a winged Rancor monster. There’s a bit of intergalactic political posturing (that I’m not sure who is what) and more combat. I’m not sure if Sith exist yet or if maybe we’ll be seeing the rise of the Sith to come.
This wasn’t a terrible comic, but I was still kind of confused. I’m not sure how much I should know of the politics involved here, but it didn’t feel like it was really necessary. This was a pretty violent comic, and for me just getting in here at the ground level, I wasn’t sure who to care for. I guess it’s obvious that I’m not supposed to be on the side of the shark looking guys with red lightsabers that are getting their heads severed by the second. I mentioned the winged Rancor beast, that bit felt like a reach to me. Seriously, just someone riding a Rancor beast probably would’ve been bad-a$$ enough, but the with the wings, that was a bit too much for me. I’m sure Vincent will call me a sissy or a clod, but like most other SW comics, as a one time REALLY big fan of the franchise, I feel generally lost here. Maybe it’s just me, but this comic also felt a bit machismo for a SW comic. I get it, history is violent, but I wish I would’ve known more of these characters before I’m supposed to be marveled by their combat techniques.
Vincent’s Viewpoint: I’d call Digga a sissy and a clod for reasons other than this. Honestly, I haven’t read this issue, but there are certainly things in any Star Wars Expanded Universe story that can seem very un-Star Wars like to a fan. My suspension of Star Wars disbelief is actually pretty fragile. I think seeing a flying rancor would make me chuck the comic across the room, but I have to read it myself to determine that.
Story: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art: Tyler Crook.
This issue is once again, primarily focused on Fenix as she’s going through some kind of mental breakdown. She begins having horrific dreams about a powerful pyrokinetic that we all kinda know. A specter appears to her and she follows it to a weapons cache in hippy-ville. The rest of the remaining BPRD fight off some kind of dog thing and do some investigating. Liz shows up and is a bit of a bad-a$$ for a bit and hippies cry (always a welcome end).
This issue wasn’t too bad. It’s kind of neat seeing this aggressive self-assured side of Liz. The art was well done the story maybe needed a little help on the pacing and focus. BPRD has always had some cool stuff going on, but I do miss recognizable oddities. It’s hinted at one of the characters having some kind of metal connection to a barbarian, which would be kind of cool, but I want more freaks. Maybe that’s just me. I’m interested to see where this Fenix storyline goes. It could be interesting. While this may not be a great issue to start up on, if you’ve been following the series, it will be a good one for you.