And Then I Read: DARK HORSE PRESENTS 11

Images © Dark Horse Comics and the appropriate copyright holders.

This issue begins with a new 1940s-style hero called The Black Beetle in a story completely produced by Francesco Francavilla. I liked it, though the reading experience was marred by a style error in the lettering throughout that’s one of my pet peeves: using the upper-case serif “I” everywhere, including in the middle of words, instead of only for the personal pronoun I and contractions like I’ll and I’m. This is such a common mistake these days, I can only wonder how talented folks with great art skills like Francavilla can’t see how awful that looks.

Chapter 3 of “Amala’s Blade by Horton & Dialynas is more great steam-punk pirate goodness, with added ghostly fun.

Chapter 9 of Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder” looks great, reminding me some of Moebius, but the story has slipped off the tracks for me, I don’t know what’s going on.

Chapter 2 of “Criminal Macabre” by Niles and Mitten has a good film noir vibe, though not a lot happens this time. The art feels a bit too stylized for the subject to me, it’s hard to tell who’s dead and who isn’t, for instance.

Evan Dorkin is back with more “Milk and Cheese,” and while I disliked the last one, I found this chapter pretty funny and entertaining. Maybe because it’s mostly lots of four-panel gag strips, five to a page. There’s humor in the individual gags, and some of them repeat and build on that to good effect.

“The Occulist” begins a new series by Mike Richardson, Tim Seely and Victor Drujiniu. It has an X-Files feel, with a pair of investigators and some creepy stuff going on. Not bad,

Chapter 1 of “The Creep” by John Arcudi and Jonathan Case looks great, and is well-written, with a detective receiving a letter from an old flame about her son’s suicide, and the emotional turmoil it caused. This is again film noir-ish, but very well done, and I’m looking forward to more.

“Pig” is another illustrated short story by Andrew Vachss, a depressing tale of urban violence and teen angst. Not appealing to me.

Chapter 8 of Neal Adams’ “Blood” looks great but gory. I’m afraid I gave up on the story some time ago, but enjoyed looking at the art.

“The White Suits is apparently an excerpt from a longer story by Frank Barbiere and Luke Radl featuring Russian criminal gangs and drugs, with a young woman apparently caught in the middle. Pretty good.

And overall, this issue is recommended.

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