And Then I Read: DARK HORSE PRESENTS 7

Images © Dark Horse Comics and the respective copyright holders.

DHP continues to entertain me. Not every story is a winner in my view, but the percentage of stories I like is always well over 50%, which I think is pretty good for an anthology. How are they doing it? A combination of previewing new properties and using already popular ones in new stories. Here’s a rundown of this issue.

HELLBOY VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY. I love Hellboy, and this story is all by Mignola, something of a rarity lately. Mike is still exploring Hellboy’s time in Mexico, and this is great stuff. Love it.

SKELETON KEY: LOST PROPERTY by Andi Watson. I found this episode delightfully inventive and playful, as the three characters, two girls and an animal, are trapped in a museum devoted to lost things. Like socks and passports and Dodos, for instance. Love it.

BLOOD CHAPTER 6 by Neal Adams. While the art is masterful, the story does nothing for me. In fact, I find the level of gore and violence offputting.

MARKED MAN PART 7 by Howard Chaykin. Again, like the art, but he story of a hitman with no scruples and those after him with none either does little for me. Some snappy dialogue, but little else I really like.

SKULTAR CHAPTER 1 by M.J. Butler and Mark Wheatley. This is a fun new parody of sword and sorcery tales like those of Conan and other Robert E. Howard properties. The characters play it straight, as they should, but the developments of the plot are so absurd they become funny. The art is well done, if a bit loose for my taste. Or maybe it’s the mix of open linework over painted color that seems a bit odd. Like it, though.

USAGI YOJIMBO: BUNTORI by Stan Sakai. It’s been a long time since I visited the world of Stan’s rabbit Ronin, and it’s just a charming and entertaining as ever. Despite being quite violent, Sakai’s cartoony style makes it much more fun for me than the hyperrealism of Neal Adams, above. Love it.

CONCRETE PARK CHAPTER 1 by Tony Puryear. An urban jungle sort of story with echoes of Los Bros Hernandez in the execution. I can’t say I found the story very interesting.

THE SPEAKER by Brandon Graham. Another charmer in simple art style with lots of interesting visual symbolism and a story that kept surprising me. Liked it.

ADVENTURES OF DOG MENDONÇA AND PIZZA BOY CHAPTER 4 by Felipe Melo and Juan Cavia. The final chapter in this preview. Each has had a story within the story that I liked better than the main one. Only just okay in my book.

FINDER THIRD WORLD PART 7 by Carla Speed McNeil. Another final chapter. I’ve enjoyed this look into McNeil’s world overall, though this concluding chapter seems a bit odd. Interesting idea, but kind of a strange ending. Liked it.

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