Dark Horse Day 2/27/13

It’s another round of Dark Horse offerings. No fluff, no hype, just a pile of pirates, superheroes, vampires, ghouls, and a bounty hunter or two. So let’s get to the reviews from the RC Crew, cuz it’s Dark Horse Day.

Crminal Macbre/30 Days of Night #3
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten

CM-30DoN 3

Holy Balls this thing is intense. Not only that, but this book just oozes a violent desperation that you won’t find in many other books. I mean, we still have one issue to go and the action jumped up to 11 in this one. The vampire from 30 Days of Night, Eben Olemaun, is on a tear. His vampires are many and organized and on a mission. All so he can get the remains of his wife.

There is a lot going on here, and most of it is violent. This is one of the bloodiest and violent books I’ve read in a long time. I’m not complaining at all. This is a story of vampires on a mission. I’m glad that this story isn’t sanitized at all. It makes the story that much more intense and believable. When Eben interrogates Agent Hendrix, he ain’t kidding around. When your first move to intimidate is to rip off an arm, you know this guy means business. Let’s just say, it’s three strikes and your dead. The fight between the Ghouls and the vampires is just epic, and again violently bloody. Top it off with the confrontation at the end between Eben and Cal MacDonald is not only violent but surprising. I did not see that coming.

One of the things that sets this crossover apart from other stories is that sense of desperation I mentioned earlier. There is a definite sense that the good guys not only might not win, but the window of winning seems so small as to be unbelievable. In other stories, in spite of what the main characters are going through, there is still that sense that they are going to come out on top. I don’t get that feeling with this tale. The bad guy might not win or get what they want, but our guy Cal doesn’t look so good at this point.

I gotta give some major props to Cal’s ghoul friend Mo’lock. He is a flat out bad ass. He lays into a pack of vampires with a scythe and lays waste to all of them. I mean, he doesn’t just kill them, he butchers them. Dude is scary. I’m not sure what the powers and abilities the ghouls have in this world, but they are formidable.

Major props go out to author Steve Niles for putting together a violent, intense story in a world I’m completely unfamiliar with and still making me want to know what’s going to happen next. Also, big ups to Christopher Mitten for attacking the violence with unadulterated aggressiveness. Another nod goes to colorist Michelle Madson for the color palettes chosen. The color helps move the scenes as well as the art or the script.

This is a really good horror comic. Hell, this is a really good comic. Yes it’s violent. Yes it’s bloody. But it should be and it’s really good because it is so violent and bloody. Well done.

This one goes to 9 on the Rockin’ Comics amp of comic book love.

-Zack

Star Wars Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #5
Writer: John Ostrander
Penciller: Davidé Fabbri

SWHard Targets 5

I saw this title come up on the preview list and figured I really should get caught up on this book. I’d read the first couple issues when they came out, but had fallen behind as the issues kept coming out. I enjoyed the first couple issues and found Jahan Cross to be a cool character. Someone described this series as a James Bond story set in the Star Wars universe, and that is such an apt comparison.

In the previous issue, Cross and Candra had just rescued Bron from the undersea sanctuary of Lord Borgin where he had been held prisoner. Sounds good, right? Except for the fact that they find themselves at the business end of a blaster held by the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett. When Borgin’s men come crashing in, Cross and Fett fight them off, but not before Jahan plants one on Candra. Even in the face of death there’s time for a little action.

The fight with Borgin’s men, along with some interplay between Cross and Fett, takes up a good 2/3 of the book. That may seem excessive, but the action is well done, and in my book MORE Boba Fett is ALWAYS a good thing. It seems that Fett’s bounty is the boy, so that puts he and Cross a bit at odds. They end up fighting a bit and it seems that Candra and Bron are going to escape in a shuttle. Fett fires a rocket from his pack, and takes out the shuttle, presumably killing everyone on board. Fett’s confused because his rocket only packed an ion charge that should have just shut the engines down, NOT blown up the whole ship. Cross points out the obvious – Fett has been set up by someone who would profit from Bron’s death.

We end the story with Cross paying a visit to Borgin. And Borgin’s pissed that Cross’ interference has caused the death of Bron. But Cross lays out that all this has happened according to HIS plan. He runs it all by Borgin and has him suitably impressed before he dashes all of his hopes by letting him know that he is NOT the new Count of Serreno, nor is he any longer the head of House Borgin. All this before Borgin is shot down by the person who believes set him up. Yup. Boba Fett wraps up the story in a nice neat little package. And Bron isn’t dead. He’s safe and sound on Alderaan. All according to Cross’ plan.

I really dug this book. The story was a nice conclusion to everything that had been building over the last four issues. There was a ton of action, and the art supported the story really well. Jahan Cross is such and interesting character who, while he works for the Galactic Empire, has his own agenda and sense of justice that isn’t necessarily in line with the rest of the Empire.

If you like Star Wars, James Bond, or even just interesting characters, you should definitely pick this one up.

-Zack

Amala’s Blade #0
Writer: Steve Horton
Artist: Micael Dialynas

amalas blade 0

Amala’s Blade #0 is straight from thee pages of Dark Horse Presents and a great example of why DHP is such an awesome comic. This is straight up fun. Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas are crafting a wickedly fun mash up of piratey-steam-punky-fantasy-sci-fi-y goodness. I get a real Pirates of Dark Water feel from this book. And that’s a good thing. I always liked that cartoon. Amala’s Blade gives off that vibe while putting a gritty, yet still fun modern edge.

There is a lot to like in this book: Pirates; swords; energy swords; ghosts; a cool looking bad ass pirate ship that looks like it’s got a mouth; steam punky tech; a big mean pirate with a glowy mechanical ey; a feisty female lead; and a clock work monkey. I know. The monkey alone damn near sold me on this book. But seriously, there’s just a ton of cool crammed in here. I mean Amala takes on an entire ship full of pirates and ends up as their captain. C’mon. That rocks. Out loud even.

This book looks cool and has some really cool action, but it also has some pretty interesting story bits that are just scattered about the pages waiting for more issues to put them together. Like, who are all these ghosts that keep hanging around Amala? Why is she a hired blade for the Vizier? What exactly is her supposed destiny she is running away from? What’s the deal with the Modifiers and their weird tech tweaks? And what kind of name is Captain Cha’Kooh? (I mean really? Cha’Kooh? Sounds like some chocolate cereal the kids get around the holidays. But I digress. And besides, I kinda like the name, I don’t know why I’m griefin’ it so much. Or why so much of this paragraph is in between parenthesis.)

This is a fun one. I like the art from Micael Dialynas. Like I said, I get a throw back to Dark Water vibe with a modern flair. Solid story, solid art. And in my book, that’s things a win. I’m really looking forward to Amala’s Blade #1 to find out where Amala is headed next.

I give it 4/5 skull and crossbones.

-Zack

The Answer #2
Story by Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton
Art by Mike Norton

the answer 2

This is just a damn fun series, and we’re only two issues in. Quick recap of issue 1: we have a lovely young librarian who is super smart, she solves a series of online puzzles that prove she’s super duper smart, The Answer shows up and says she’s in danger, armed guys bust into the library, she and The Answer run. Issue 2 picks up with our heroes still on the run, now being chased by hospital orderlies who are most likely working for the bad guys. After some witty back and forth, and some very solid ass whoopings handed out by The Answer, some folks in a limo show up and tell our librarian friend to get in. They convince her to get in, recruit her to their organization, yada yada yada she’s probably in danger. However, who is the real danger here? The people in the limo or The Answer? It’s a fairly classic ploy: the guy in the costume has to be crazy right? Luckily, they don’t spend a ton of time on this since we all know the answer (ha!) to that question.

The fun here comes on two fronts: one is the dialogue, which made me legitimately laugh out loud more than once. In the first issue, I found The Answer to be slightly Batman-ish, not saying much, but when he did it was mostly business. This issue he’s much more Peter Parker, cracking one-liners in between cracking skulls. There’s also some very good back and forth that happens in the limo as the Brain Trust (that’s their name, seriously) is recruiting Devin the librarian. There’s a really solid pace here too, as the action and dialogue interact nicely without there being too much of one or the other.

I continue to like Norton’s art a lot. It reminds a bit of watching an old episode of The Tick, which I freaking LOVED, so that’s a plus in my book. It’s a bit cartoonish, but not too much, and frankly I think that works well for a hero that runs around with an exclamation point on his face.

The irony of the book is that it’s called The Answer, and we have none yet. The drama is building though as Devin is most likely in very grave danger, as is The Answer, with both of our heroes now in the clutches of the Brain Trust and their possibly cult leader/motivational speaker head-bad-guy-in-charge.

Like I said, this is a hell of a lot of fun, so I highly recommend picking it up.

4.5 Katherine Webb in a bikinis out of 5.

-Tim


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