Friday, September 23, 2011

Dark Horse Presents #4

Written by Evan Dorkin, Chuck Brown, Felipe Melo, Robert Love, David Walker, Peter Hogan, Steve Niles, Howard Chaykin, Ricardo Delgado, Carla Speed McNeil, and Dara Naraghi
Art by Jill Thompson, Sanford Greene, Juan Cavia, Robert Love, Steve Parkhouse, Christopher Mitten, Howard Chaykin, Ricardo Delgado, Carla Speed McNeil, and Victor Santos

Now this is a lot more of what I was expecting from the beginning with Dark Horse Presents.  This issue launches a few new stories, and misses some of the others that have been annoying me, creating a much more balanced book, which made me much happier.

Of course, there are three stories in here that make the whole thing worth buying: a Beasts of Burden story, another chapter of Finder, and The Protest, a memoir.  The Beasts are as great as always, as two of the wise dogs (of course, one is Orphan the cat) go hunting for a Goblin that has been eating chickens in the town.  Beasts of Burden is beautiful, and this story is both amusing, and a little darker than some of the previous ones.  The Finder story was a little unclear (I miss McNeil's annotations, which would have come in handy here), but reinforces that I should really be getting the Finder Library collections.

The Protest is terrific.  It is about Dara Naraghi's life in Tehran, shortly after the Revolution.  He and his friend are supposed to attend a protest march with their school, but the bully who usually tortures them helps them out.  It's a subtle and interesting work, and would work alongside Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's comic memoir which deals with the same material.  I love the way Victor Santos drew this - it reminds me a lot of Rafael Albuquerque.

The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy didn't look too interesting, until we established that the private eye main character has been around for a really long time, and is a werewolf.  The art is nice, and I'm curious to see where this story goes.

Resident Alien, by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse shows a lot of promise.  It's about an extraterrestrial who is trying to live in secret on Earth, but who has now been tapped by the police in the middle of nowhere area he lives to help with a murder case.  I'm looking forward to the rest of this one.

Ricardo Delgado's Age of Reptiles is pretty, but silent, so I found it didn't do a whole lot for me.  I think I just don't care about dinosaurs, really.

I'm continuing to really enjoy Love and Walker's Number 13, and was surprised to find myself getting more interested in Howard Chaykin's Marked Man.  The new Criminal Macabre story did nothing for me, despite having art by Christopher Mitten, and I continue to not really get Rotten Apples.

I missed Concrete this month, but was very happy to see that Neal Adams's Blood was not to be seen.  I feel like this anthology is on the right track.

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