Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dark Horse Presents #3

Written by Dave Gibbons, Robert Love, David Walker, Carla Speed McNeil, Paul Chadwick, Howard Chaykin, Jim Steranko, Patrick Alexander, Richard Corben, Chuck Brown, David Chelsea, Neal Adams, and Michael T. Gilbert
Art by Dave Gibbons, Robert Love, Carla Speed McNeil, Paul Chadwick, Howard Chaykin, Jim Steranko, Patrick Alexander, Richard Corben, Sanford Greene, David Chelsea, Neal Adams, and Michael T. Gilbert

There are a lot of comics in this book.  This issue of DHP, while keeping it's $7.99 price point, increased its page count to 104 pages, which is appreciated, as that is a nice chunk of comics to digest.  I do wish I liked all of them though...

Dave Gibbons 'Treatment' is not bad.  Really, it's a lot like Archaia's French reprint comic Cyclops, starring a group of SWAT-like police officers who are broadcast live on a mix between a football game and a reality show.  It may be an interesting idea, but it's going to need more developing than we get in this first installment (I assume there will be more).

As always, the two stand outs in this book are Paul Chadwick's Concrete, and Carla Speed McNeil's Finder.  In Concrete, Chadwick addresses the issue of unjustified police tasering.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but the best Concrete comics are the ones that have the stone giant explore a social issue that doesn't often get much play, especially in comics.  Chadwick's environmental stance had a huge influence on me when I was younger, and it's nice to see that he's still using his work as an engine for some kind of social change.  I think this may meander a little too close to being preachy, but I admire Concrete's usual stance that there can be a better way of doing things than what is current practice.

Finder is incredible.  Having read Voice, the most recent graphic novel, I now get a lot more of the context of this DHP strip, and I'm loving it.  In this chapter, Jaeger helps an old lady who has missed her train stop by taking her through a short-cut which crosses the incredible city that McNeil has built.  The story ends on a pretty creepy note that I thought was very effective.

I'm enjoying Love and Walker's Number 13.  There is more happening in this chapter that is getting me interested in this post-apocalyptic story, and I'm curious to read what's going to happen next.  Also, I've been enjoying Richard Corben's pieces, although I found this month's to be a little disjointed.

Beyond that, the book becomes kind of mediocre.  I know this may be sacrilegious to many comics fans, but I didn't feel Steranko's Red Tide excerpt much at all.  For all his bombast about his own ingenuity, he's written a fairly standard and cliche-ridden private detective prose story, which is only marginally assisted by his art.  I don't think I'll be looking for the full book when it comes out.

Howard Chaykin's Marked Man is growing on me a little, but I still don't like his art.  Likewise, Neal Adams's Blood continues to be incomprehensible and way over-written, but pretty.  I find Brown and Greene's Rotten Apple, which debuted last issue, to be pretty incomprehensible too.  Snow Angel, which I found refreshing earlier, doesn't even appear to have a point this month.  It's pretty rambling.  And, after having been burned last time, I didn't even bother to read Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster.

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