Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dark Horse Presents #15

Written by Michael Avon Oeming, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Carla Speed McNeil, David Chelsea, Erika Alexander, Tony Puryear, John Layman, Bo Hampton, Robert Tinnell, Arvid Nelson, Nate Cosby, Mike Baron, and Kim W. Anderson
Art by Michael Avon Oeming, Phil Noto, Carla Speed McNeil, David Chelsea, Tony Puryear, Sam Kieth, Bo Hampton, Juan Ferreya, Evan Shaner, Steve Rude, and Kim W. Anderson

At this point, I'm pretty sure I would buy Dark Horse Presents every month just for Carla Speed McNeil's Finder.  Were the rest of the book full of stories by Howard Chaykin, Neal Adams (writing his own work), Jeph Loeb, Rob Liefeld, Mark Bagley, and Chuck Austen, I would probably still buy it, and only read McNeil's story.  That's how good Finder is.

In this newest chapter, Jaeger, stuck in the middle of the conflict over an Ascian burial ground, takes on his role as Sin-Eater, in an act that is equally horrifying and noble.  McNeil has often referred to her brilliant science fiction comic as 'aboriginal sci-fi', and that is clearly what is happening here.  It's very good, very powerful stuff.

This issue of DHP also brings back the series Rex Mundi, in a surprise story featuring Brother Moricant.  I'm not sure what all new readers would get from this comic, but it is nice to see Arvid Nelson and Juan Ferreya working together again, and I've always loved the masks that the brothers of the Inquisition wear.

John Layman and Sam Kieth's Aliens story snaps into focus this month, as we finally get a more solid understanding of the female main character.  Layman is not writing a traditional Aliens story at all here, and it's a bit of a shame that it's taken so long for that to become clear.  Were this a mini-series, that could be read in larger chunks, it would have probably worked better.

Michael Avon Oeming's Wild Rover, which gets the cover this month, also becomes clearer and more interesting, as a dark horror story.  Bo Hampton and Robert Tinnell's Riven jumps up a number of years this issue, and continues to build the groundwork for a successful horror tale.

I'm continuing to get a lot of enjoyment out of Tony Puryear's Concrete Park, which jumps all over the place, but is always an engaging read.

Kim W. Anderson gives us another story of twisted love, which works like an old school EC horror story, updated for the Internet age.  David Chelsea gives us an improvisational story with 'The Girl With the Keyhole Eyes', and the newest chapter of Ghost continues to be decent.

I'm glad that there's so much to enjoy in this series beyond the Finder chapter, which makes this a must-buy.

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