Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dark Horse Presents #7

Written by Mike Mignola, Andi Watson, Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, MJ Butler, Stan Sakai, Tony Puryear, Brandon Graham, Felipe Melo, and Carla Speed McNeil
Art by Mike Mignola, Andi Watson, Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, Mark Wheatley, Stan Sakai, Tony Puryear, Brandon Graham, Juan Cavia, and Carla Speed McNeil

There are some new members to the the exclusive Dark Horse Presents library this month.

I don't know who Tony Puryear is, but the first chapter of his Concrete Park definitely has my attention.  It's set in a place called Scare City, a place beset by gangs, pimps, and protests, in what I assume is a not-too distant future.  These eight pages are spent introducing a few characters, and setting the scene, and I can't wait to read more.  This has a real DMZ meets Love and Rockets feel going for it.

There is also a Brandon Graham story, which is a huge treat.  He is moving into some more abstract territory than King City, with this tale about a man's voice who left him, returning over after the man's death.  He has to deal with the various Secrets, Ideas, and Doubts that are inhabiting the man's labyrinthine home.  Graham is working on some other level, with some of his usual puns being given centre stage, in a story that deserves to be read a few times over.

MJ Butler and Mark Wheatley give us the beginning of Skultar, a very self-aware barbarian fantasy parody that is decent, if not all that special.  There is also a Usagi Yojimbo story.  I can't ever really get into these.

Mike Mignola has a Hellboy story, recounting one of the more mysterious cases during HB's time in Mexico.  This is a very standard Hellboy story - there are monsters, bodies rising from the grave, and Hellboy falls down.  Mignola needs to shake this stuff up a little bit; it's getting a little old.

Among the established stories, the Finder chapter is the best, as Jaegar meets a person with abilities that both represent the pinnacle of his profession, and which nullify the need for someone like him.  McNeil's art is really evolving into something wonderful lately; it's much richer than before (and I like her early stuff a great deal).

Howard Chaykin's Marked Man is almost over, and that's a good thing.  I hope Neal Adams's Blood is going to be finished soon; it's unreadable.  The Andi Watson story is decent, in a Borges-for-children way, and The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy is pretty sub-par.

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