And Then I Read: DARK HORSE PRESENTS 27 & 28

DHP27

DHP28

Images © Dark Horse Comics and the respective copyright holders.

I’m still well behind on this title, trying to catch up. I’ll just be commenting on things I read and liked.

“Squish, a Juice Squeezers Tale” by David Lapham is certainly one of those. A group of kids taking on giant insects is an interesting premise. Make it a school club activity, even better! No explanations are offered in this section of what I imagine will be a larger work, but the visuals and storytelling work great, the characters are well-rounded and interesting, not to mention they act like real kids, and it’s an exciting ride. And when one of the bugs starts to sort of talk, well…what IS really going on here? Good stuff.

Peter Bagge does a humorous historical tale in “Alexander Hamilton in Mr. Unpopularity.” I’ve never read much by Bagge, but this is pretty funny, and unexpected from him.

“Mr. Monster: Dark Stearn” from Michael T. Gilbert splits his long-running monster-fighter in two, with a light mild-mannered half and a dark, violent one. The dark half is great at fighting monsters (brain-bats in this case), but not very concerned with collateral damage to anything including people. The light side has a relaxing vacation for a while until he realizes he has to try to curb his other half. With sexy sidekick Kelly, Stearn has his work cut out for him in this frenetic strip that’s full of old-time comics fun.

I’m really impressed with Ron Randall’s “Trekker” in this current serial, “The Train to Avalon Bay.” Ron’s art is better than ever, and the story and characters are well-crafted and exciting. Ron’s main character, Mercy is tough as nails dealing with assassins, desert terrain, huge wild animals, and the most dangerous of all, human treachery. She struggles on, fighting the odds, never giving up. Well done.

“Alabaster: Boxcar Tales” by Caitlin R. Kiernan and Steve Lieber has been a mixed bag for me. The storytelling jumps around as if it’s trying to shake me off, but the art is great, and I keep getting drawn back in by the fine dialogue writing, even when I’m not sure what’s going on plotwise.

“The Silver Angel” from “The Strain” by David Lapham is less appealing to me than his Juicers, but intriguing. We have an apocalyptic dying urban world overlaid by the memories of an old man who used to be a champion wrestler, and at times thinks he still is.

“Edgar Allan Poe’s The Assignation” is another odd adaptation by Richard Corben. He’s mining barely known poems I think, I’ve never heard of this one, and clearly the adaptation is a very loose and free-wheeling one, but Corben is always interesting.

That’s about it. There’s also a new chapter of Neal Adams’ “Blood,” but I gave up trying to read that early on. Nice art.

Generally recommended.

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