October 4, 2011

Dark Horse Reviews: Dark Horse Presents #4

Dark Horse Presents #4
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Various
Artist: Various (cover by Fiona Staples)

If you are not familiar with Dark Horse Presents, it is a compilation of all different stories from diverse creative teams. This book begins with Eisner award winning Beasts of  Burden. The short story, “Food Run,” by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. The story revolves around a goblin trying to eat some chickens, but the cat and dog of the yard won’t allow it. A chase scene and other hi-jinx ensue, and the goblin ends up losing a foot. Hilarious stuff throughout.

Next was an interesting continuation of a strip called “Rotten Apple” by Sanford Greene and Chuck Brown. This was a continuation from the previous book (I assume), so I was kind of lost. A few adventurers roaming around getting into trouble, but fighting their way out. Not bad, and I definitely thought the artwork was dope.

The third story, “The Adventures of Dog Mendonca & Pizza Boy,” was about a trio of characters that couldn’t be any more diverse. A pizza delivery guy, a demon, and a fat private investigator type guy that we know very little about. The fat guy decides to tell the readers about his own origin rather than the team’s first meeting. He abruptly leaves before the story is finished, which leaves the other two pondering why he’s running out so quickly. Story by Felipe Melo with artwork by Juan Cavia.

Number 13is a tale brought to us by Robert Love and David Walker. It’s another continued strip from last time, so all I can say is that a kid with a 13 tattooed on his forehead appears to have been killed by his creator. We then go back in time to see what helped lead to these events. Oh, and we also see a kid with three eyes. Creepy.

We are now brought to “Resident Alien chapter 1,” by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. This interlude is very promising in my opinion. We watch as two police officers approach a cabin by a  lake with the intention of finding the owner, a doctor that they need help from immediately. The house is empty, but a figure is on the lake fishing. After calling to the doctor, we see him turn around in the boat, and he’s an alien.

The next story is by Steve Niles with artwork by Christopher Mitten; the Criminal Macabre tale Die, Die, my Darling” part 1. We follow Cal and a zombie around for a creepy tale that is also very humorous. After a brief fight between the two, they hear a knock at the door. A fat man walks in and then tells them his sister is in need of their help. He then shows them where his sister is…and you can’t even begin to see where this is going until you actually do. Just crazy!

Next one up is part four of Marked Man by Howard Chaykin. In this story, a woman is berating her husband about his alleged cheating while out on the road traveling. The next day, the man is shown having an argument with his father, then returns home and finds his wife shot in the head by an intruder. Not too bad of a story, but I’m not a huge Chaykin (artwork) fan.

The following story is by Ricardo Delgado called “Age of Reptiles: The Body.” If you’re not familiar with this title or writer, you need to go back and pick up the series by the same name (Age of Reptiles). It was a great mini-series that had no speaking, just dinosaurs doing their thing. This story is no different.

Next is “Finder: Third World” part 3. This story is very strange story about a girl who resembles a hooker, and a guy that thinks he’s Magnum P.I. or something. Not much substance to this one, but the artwork is fairly serviceable. Story and artwork by Carla Speed McNeil.

And finally, we have The Protest by Dara Naraghi and Victor Santos. This story is a lot better than the previous one in the sequence. First, we get a brief history lesson on the country of Iran and its political issues over a few decades, which directly leads us to a bully on a playground. The direction the story starts in makes you think something terrible is going to happen, but in the end, we see even a bully can be a friend. Nice story, and the artwork did the story justice!

Well, overall, I think this book is a winner, but a couple of the stories that were continuations were difficult to judge. There were a lot of different writing and artistic styles which was quite refreshing. Definitely give this book a try, because you’ll be surprised at the great quality. Rating 3.5/5

Billy Dunleavy



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