Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dark Horse Presents #11

Written by Francesco Francavilla, Steve Horton, Carla Speed McNeil, Steve Niles, Evan Dorkin, Tim Seeley, John Arcudi, Andrew Vachss, Neal Adams, and Frank J. Barbiere
Art by Francesco Francavilla, Michael Dialynas, Carla Speed McNeil, Christopher Mitten, Evan Dorkin, Victor Drujiniu, Jonathan Case, Geof Darrow, Neal Adams, and Luke Radl

Once again, Dark Horse Presents delivers a variety of comics for your reading pleasure.  As always, it's a pretty mixed bag, with the good being discussed first:
  • Francesco Francavilla is an artist I've enjoyed for quite some time, and it's nice to see him finally doing some creator-owned work.  The Black Beetle is a pretty standard pulp hero, with a Spirit/Shadow/Lobster Johnson type character trying to protect a beautiful archeologist (or curator, or something like that) from a group of personal helicopter-wearing Nazis who want to steal a priceless artifact.  It's predictable, but pretty.
  • I'm always happy to get a new chapter of Finder, Carla Speed McNeil's long-running series.  She's making good use of the colour possibilities of this anthology, as she has Jaegar walk through a number of strange environments.  It's a short piece, but it's very nice.
  • I don't remember John Arcudi's old series The Creep, but this reintroduction to the character works quite well, as the title character receives a letter from an old girlfriend telling him that her son committed suicide, and that she thinks there's something more to it.  This is how you begin a new story told in short chapters; I'm looking forward to reading more.  I like Jonathan Case's art here.
  • Andrew Vachss's prose piece 'Pig' goes down quite easily, if it feels like it's from another era.  It's a story about a young gang-banger and the friendship he develops with an overweight kid who is not part of his clique.  Geof Darrows's illustrations are less Darrow-ish than anything I've ever seen him do, but they work with this story.
  • I don't know what the deal is with 'The Way Out', a story 'From the Pages of the White Suits', which is set in Moscow in the late 80s.  It's about a young female courier who gets caught up in some madness involving gangsters and soldiers.  I don't know if this is the beginning of a new series, or is a stand-alone story, but it has my interest.  Luke Radl's art is very nice in Frank J. Barbiere's story.
Beyond that, I found I didn't have much use for the rest of the book.  Steve Niles and Christopher Mittens's Cal MacDonald story still hasn't caught my eye, and I am still having trouble getting into the Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas 'Amala's Blade' series.  Tim Seeley's new series The Occultist was too like the Cal MacDonald and a hundred other comics to impress me.

I hate Neal Adams's Blood comic, and feel much the same about anything Evan Dorkin does that doesn't involve Jill Thompson and the Beasts of Burden.  Next month:  Aliens!

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