Digga’s Dark Horse Saddle Up: Comic Reviews 12/11/13

Digga D   December 11, 2013   Comments Off on Digga’s Dark Horse Saddle Up: Comic Reviews 12/11/13

Welcome back, folks! Digga D is back to massage your brain muscles with a whole load of truth. Digga digs into Abe Sapian, tears apart some Clown Fatale, smashes Halo, and blast us with an advance review of Blood Hound!

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Abe Sapien #8

Story by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Michael Avon Oeming

Abe Sapien 8 starts out in 1983 with gold old Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who longtime fans of the series know from early Hellboy comics. Abe has come back from investigating a Mayan underworld and is reporting back to the good professor. The story then becomes Abe’s accounts of what happens. While down in a cave Abe finds a man who has been left along for far too long. Through deciphering between his yells, Sapien figures out the area may be haunted by vampires. Well, one albino vampire to be exact. There are more reveals until the end of this self-contained issue.

As stated before, I love me some Abe Sapien, however, this issue felt like a throw-away until the next story arc is ready. The art isn’t bad, but there have been other issues of Abe Sapien that have had better. Oeming’s art is still reminiscent of Mignola’s, but there seemed something missing between the art and the script. Maybe it was my excitement of advancing the already amazing story of Abe Sapien being a stranger in a strange land, but the issue was just another run of the mill Mignola story. If you want to start Abe Sapien, sure this COULD be one to start on, but I would just recommend getting the first issue for a buck and continuing on.

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Brain Boy #0

Script: Fred Van Lente
Art: Freddie Williams III

Issue zeroes don’t really make sense to me. Issue zeroes SO CLOSE to the beginning of a series make even less sense. That being said, Brain Boy’s issue zero might be a way to do it right. When looking at the run of Brain Boy so far, had this been an issue one, it would’ve been easy to dismiss the series, but as we know the twists and turns of the run so far, this issue zero gets more into the development of the character without giving away the full origin story. Brain Boy is contracted out for security because of his brain powers of all things psionic. This particular security gets a bit muddled and things go pear shaped real quick. There are some pretty cool reveals at the end of this issue that makes me hope they will come to that at the story in it’s current run.

It never fails; Brain Boy is consistently one of more enjoyable books I get to read. If you ever wanted to read a Professor X story if he could walk around and get into adventures, this one is for you. Brain Boy never gets too heavy handed and is actually very entertaining to read. Van Lente does a fantastic job of injecting humor at just the right moments but also keeps the action pacing right where it should be. The art feels a bit different than Silva’s, who pencils the proper run of the book. I don’t think it detracts, as it took me until now to realize it wasn’t the original artist. If you haven’t checked out Brain Boy yet, go ahead and give this one a whirl. It’s a good one-shot that does a fine job of giving you a taste of the writing and fun of the book.

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Clown Fatale #2

Script: Victor Gischler
Pencils’ Maurizio Rosenzweig

Why? Why was this comic made? In a time when amazing writing is advancing the Art of Storytelling and graphic design in the comic book industry, behold: Clown Fatale, a miserable waste of resources. Does it even pay to explain the story? No, no one is going to buy this crap for the story. There are SOOOOO many times that this comic folds in on it’s own “story” that it’s ridiculous. In one panel a character is waxing morose about having to kill someone because “it’s forever” only to have no qualms killing their boss at the carnival without any cares. Ugghhh. This book is so bad.

Clown Fatale is a F#*$ing joke. It’s so bad that I can say it takes comic books back 3 steps. For all of the amazing writing that Dark Horse puts forward, why… why put this out? The art is just tits and crotch (all clothed). Please don’t buy this comic. Please, if you want to look at it, great, but please don’t buy it. Kids, there are far better comics to wank to. There is nothing here that is worth anything of value. It’s the black hole of comics.

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Conan and the People of the Black Circle #3

Script: Fred Van Lente
Ariel Olivetti

This Conan story is far more magical than most that have been coming out. It starts with Conan’s companion of the moment changing from her normal attire and into something more inconspicuous… and then Conan slapping her on the ass. Weird baddies show up and take out the other baddies and Conan’s girl disappears. Conan beats people up and storms a castle.

I feel like this isn’t anything new. I guess I never realized that the guy that writes this is the same guy that writes Brain Boy. It’s a stark contrast between the two, that’s for sure. Olivetti’s art is amazing as always. I guess if you were looking to start up on a Conan book, I would say this is the comic to check out. Maybe not this exact issue, but start at beginning if you are into Conan. If you’re like me, and not a Conan guy, this series will not make you one.

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Eerie #4

Various Artists and writers

Ever wish that the fun of Tales from the Crypt never stopped and there were contemporary story lines with the same feel as the old EC comics? Well folks, Eerie is a dream come true, or a nightmare come true if you will. Eerie offers several different stories or adverts all with a sci-fi/horror feel. The first story deals with a man and his guilt after running over an innocent girl and running away. The second story is about a man with a terminal genetic disorder and his quest to stave the hand of death. The final story is a sci-fi adventure of the end of times so to speak. There are two “Ickstarter” ads that lampoon Kickstarter in a gallows humor sort of way.

Eerie is just fun. Quick little stories that are fun to read and even cringe at. The art in the first story line is quite true to the old fifties sort of style. I like that story the best. The second story was great, but the third was just kind of meh. All in all, Eerie would be a great issue to pick up if you like Tales from the Crypt. At just $3.99 you get a good solid read and some great art to boot.

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Halo: Escalation

Script: Chris Schlerf
Pencils: Sergio Ariño

I’ve never played Halo, and that could be a big reason that I had no idea what was going on. This book was action-action-action, poor scripting, and more action. Maybe this game is aiming at a younger demographic, but I couldn’t wait for the brain burn to be over. Here’s the best I can give you as a report of the story: Bro, I got this sword thing from a dead guy, I’mma use it in this alien’s stomach. Jus’ kiddin’, it’s training. Hey girl, you’re not doing good stuff, I sure am. Hey Bro, let’s run. There’s a bad-guy. SUXORZ N00B!

This book was balls. I hate to put it this bluntly, but the art was awful. This is the art that the 90’s left behind. It’s like looking at a GI-Joe cartoon. Maybe if this is aimed at young-ins, that’ll do, but I’m a grown ass man and it was an eyesore. The script was awful as well. I just felt like I needed to play the game to know what’s going on. I wouldn’t recommend this book at all. Maybe if you’ve played Halo it will do something for you, but it certainly didn’t make me want to play the game, much less read another page.

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The Shaolin Cowboy #3

Art and story by Geoff Darrow

Starting right where the last issue left off, Shaolin Cowboy is surrounded by zombies and he has chainsaws attached to both ends of staff. There’s very little written dialogue and the only difference from last issue is that, as foreshadowed last issue, he’s out of gas. So Shaolin Cowboy has to come up with a different mode of bloodying up his undead foes.

As to be expected, the Darrow’s art is unparalleled in his detailing. Unfortunately, a good half of the book was the same thing as last issue. It’s hard to get the same wow twice (maybe 3 times) in a row. There’s a glimmer of a bigger story that might be happening, but I can help but feel that Darrow is just doing these giant images to sell his favorites as prints later on. If you haven’t picked up last issue, skip it and start here. You won’t be missing much and may increase your enjoyment of this issue.

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Star Wars #12

Script: Brian Wood
Art: Carlos D’anda

Holy crap! A Star Wars comic that is mostly plot based with little action! This Star Wars comic happens slightly after episode IV and primarily focuses on Leia and Mon Mothma. Essentially this comic does for fans of Star Wars what they want: more of the same. The characters and dialogue feel right in line with the movies. There’s the sexual tension between Han and Leia. There’s a moment between Luke and Artoo (sexual tension?). We also get Vader doing what he does best; acting like a dick boss to all those under him.

This wasn’t a bad issue. I did like the story building that was going on, but I’m not entirely sold on the concept. It’s hard to root for or feel any kind of tension because we know the ultimate outcome. For hardcore fans, this has to feel like going through the motions to see little events that may have been hinted at come to light. What does it matter? This book wasn’t meant for me. This book was meant for people that are heavily invested in the Star Wars universe. If you’re one of those people, yeah, you’ll love it. If you enjoy the film and want to see more of the same, you’ll like this too. This might not be the best issue to start on, but I wasn’t too confused with anything going on.

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X

Story: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Eric Nguyen

X is a vigilante with very little scruples against killing. He’s got a code that gives him a moral compass, but that’s about it. We’ve got a rag-tag group of cops that are out to look for the X killer and last issue they stumbled across his girlfriend. Here they have to figure out a way to transport her when the sergeant finds out. Apparently the sergeant isn’t all he appears and puts the cops in a precarious place.

X is what you could imagine Batman being if he killed people. It’s a good vigilante book and may feel a little hokey at times, but for the most part a great time. The blood is kind of surprising for some reason, but it doesn’t feel out of place. I like Nguyen’s art style a lot. I think I may have mentioned it before, but his style gives me the feel of the movie Seven for some reason. This wouldn’t be a great issue to start on. Last issue felt more of a natural start for me, where this one wouldn’t give you enough backstory on the cops to give you any investment.

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Graphic Novel Review!! Black Beetle: No Way Out

By Francesco Francavilla

Black Beetle is a crime noir superhero book that combines Batman and the Spirit. In no way is that a disservice to the book. Black Beetle wears that on its sleeve without shame and uses it to its advantage. The story takes place in the US during 1941 “as jazz music and news of Hitler’s victories dominate the airwaves.” That description perfectly gives you a feel of what’s to come: Nazi’s and jazz clubs. There is a mysterious foil to Black Beetle named “Labryinto” who looks the part. Sure, there are occult seeking Nazis, and some dude in a hood that is conjuring the dark arts to make Black Beetle’s end come quick, but primarily this a story about a detective trying to figure out who his masked enemy really is.

In full disclosure; I was only going to give you a sneak peak, as in, I was going to read the first issue and talk about that, but this book hit all the marks and drew me in. I really got a kick out it. The art feels VERY much like old Eisner Spirit comics with some stylized Mignola style thrown in there. I loved the art in this so much. There was so much character and authenticity, that at no point did it feel gimmicky. The story, well, it’s a pulp tale through and through. If you’re one of those people that is looking for something crazy and way out, this probably isn’t for you. If you like the Spirit and Batman, this is a PERFECT amalgamation set to a 40’s backdrop. I hope more comics are coming out of the Black Beetle, because this really hit the spot.

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Advance Review! Bloodhound #3

Script: Dan Jolley
Pencils: Leonard Kirk

Possible Spoilers!

Bloodhound starts with Clavenger getting chewed out by the mustachioed general after the debacle that happened at the end of last issue. For now Clavenger and his partner, Saffron, are on suspension as Dr. Morgenstern’s proposition of being able to turn ordinary citizens into superheroes continues to gain popular opinion. We see a family man with his new pyrotechnic powers quickly learning to summon, not control, his powers. Rounding this issue of Bloodhound is Clavenger taking time for his family with a giant “HOLY CRAP” ending. Whoever knew such an ending could happen with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

I don’t get my brain. Every-time I see that Bloodhound is coming up I get resistant to it, but it ALWAYS continues to surprise me. Was it the turtleneck Clavenger was wearing in the first issue? Maybe… I do hate turtlenecks. This issue, just like ALL of the others has proven me wrong and end up being great books to read. The problem isn’t with the art either. Kirk’s work is always right on par. It’s not the story, because it’s a great dang story… I think it’s just the way Clavenger looks that makes me not want to like Bloodhound. However, if you are totally nuts and can get passed turtle neck sweaters and a Steven Seagal ponytail, this book will be for you. This issue is not a good one to start with. Go ahead and check out the first issue and then decide if you’ll sniff out the rest of Bloodhound.


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!