Friday, June 22, 2012

Dark Horse Presents #13

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, John Arcudi, Carla Speed McNeil, Steve Niles, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Francesco Francavilla, Andrew Vachss, Mike Baron, and Dean Motter
Art by Phil Noto, Jonathan Case, Carla Speed McNeil, Christopher Mitten, Sam Kieth, Victor Drujiniu, Francesco Francavilla, Geof Darrow, Steve Rude, and Dean Motter

Sometimes I worry that this anthology is not always the best place for some of the comics that Dark Horse is presenting in it.  Lately, they've begun stories in DHP, and then spun them off into their own mini-series (such as Resident Alien) or on-goings (like The Massive).  In the latter's case, the stories were clearly serving an introductory role, and that was fine, but in the case of Resident Alien, the story was simply begun here, and then continued elsewhere, which makes it a tough story to follow for readers of this book, or for people who picked up the first issue, and would have had no clue what was going on (the DHP stories were printed again in a '0' issue).

I bring this up, because the 'concluding' chapter to Steve Niles and Christopher Mittens's Criminal Macabre story this month just stops; it doesn't really end.  At least the Occultist, which also concludes this month, more or less finished its story, while still setting things up to be returned to later down the road.

On the positive side, and worth the purchase of the book, is the new Finder story by Carla Speed McNeil.  She is continuing to examine the lives of Ascians in the region called Third World, as Jaeger and his new friend help an artist trying to sell her paintings.  At the contemporary museum, her work is too 'archaeological' and indigenous, but at the archaeology museum, her work is too contemporary, a trap which many indigenous and minority painters find themselves in.  There is a surprise return of an older character at the end of the story, which made me happy, but which would be utterly puzzling to a new reader.  I wish that McNeil was providing footnotes to these stories.

Also of interest this month is the continuation of Dean Motter's Mister X story, and John Arcudi and Jonathan Case's The Creep, which is excellent.  The Aliens story, by John Layman and Sam Kieth is a little better than its debut chapter, and Francesco Francavilla's Black Beetle is pretty, if also pretty standard.

The return of The Ghost, by Kelly Sue DeConnick didn't excite me too much, but it's an interesting story created by two very gifted comics creators; I'm going to see where it leads before I pass judgement. 

Andrew Vachss's prose story of child predators on the internet and the motley collection of freaks who hunt them down for profit was disturbing and weird, but not in a good way.  Nexus is boring.

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