Review: Dark Horse Presents #23

In my last review I pointed out that eventually there’s a letup in the stories due to where the chapters hit with the book. A couple of stories actually wrap in this issue which was nice, while others begin. I was actually really impressed with the mixture of genres and a few of the beginning stories.

Bloodhound makes its Dark Horse debut and I tell ya, some company is going to regret letting this one go. I collected the original series back in the day, but I was still foggy on it. Once I started reading it though, I remembered exactly why I liked it… Travis Clevenger is a great anti-hero. He’s currently in prison because he asked to be due to some events that previous happened. It’s not super important to this story so I’m going to skip over it and encourage you to pick it up from DH when it’s released. Clev is released on a case that involves three people dying from a gas embolism in the brain. Clev suspects something and so they head out to talk to the medical examiner that closed the case on the dead person all three people hated in life.  That’s when things get interesting. Great writing and the perfect introduction to the world and character.

I’m going to skip ahead to Villain House since it’s one of my favorites. It’s actually towards the end of the issue which works since it’s so goofy. Wheeler introduces three new villains including: Buzzard, Fat Joe, Rapunzel and a reintroduction to Demonoid. Buzzard is planning a heist and has asked all three to be a part of it due to their chemistry. None of them get along and soon the Buzzard reveals that he has other ideas for the three. It’s hilarious and clever as usual and really just a great change of pace for the superhero genre. Wheeler’s character designs remain humorous and yet very creative.

Jumping back to Eden, its set in the future where the world has gone to shit. One man has been charged with saving all of Africa from imploding upon itself and running out of its own resources. To motivate and inspire him he’s brought a woman to be his companion. At dinner she doesn’t speak, but at night she comes to his bedroom for sex. It continues like that and it becomes clear that the woman has been forced into this situation in the hope of saving her village. Eventually she says something to him that actually inspires him and a cure of sorts is worked out. It was an interesting standalone story and while I can’t see it being interesting to return to, it definitely served its purpose of being entertaining and thought provoking.

DHP #23 Cover copy 1King’s Road: The Long Way Home was a story that Dark Horse teased earlier in the week and I absolutely loved the art that they showed. It really was one of the best looking stories in the issue and Phil Winslade’s style is just remarkable. The story follows two men and a dog that are tacking a Fellcat. They see it climb in a bedroom window and rush to the front door. A woman answers the door and it’s clear that they all know each other, they address her as highness as they enter the house. One of the men takes his crossbow to shoot the Fellcat and is attacked. His arrow bounces off of its skin and the cat drools into his eyes blinding him. The second man pulls out a wand and as the cat jumps toward the woman he kills it. The world being created was very interesting and I wonder if it’s going to be fairy tale based or just a different world that lives parallel to ours that happens to use magic. Great stuff in this first chapter though.

There’s like three more stories I’d like to talk about, but I will end with Nexus: Into the Past. The story actually begins with a murder and Sherlock Holmes casing the villain who manages to get away. We then follow the villain that was killed into another era that kind of resembled the 80’s. The man’s name is John Clayborn and he’s known as an artist in this time. He kills someone on live TV, but everyone thinks that it’s another one of his crazy sculptures. In the future, Nexus is hearing people’s cases on what crimes to solve and a father brings him a book that is 600 years old that has a photo of his missing daughter being killed… in the past. It’s a cool concept that I’m looking forward to following in the coming issues.

At this point I think everyone reading Dark Horse Presents knows that it’s a great series that DH puts a lot of time and effort into. I’ve yet to read an issue and thought, “Oh that was terrible.” I can’t be alone when I say that I find the sheer amount of talent that Dark Horse continues to find and poor into this anthology is staggering. For eight bucks you’re getting a ton to read so don’t let the price scare, it’s worth it.

Score: 5/5

Writers: Dan Jolley, Jim Alexander, Geoffrey Thome, Fred Van Lente, Peter Hogan, Denis Medri, Simon Roy and Jason Wordie, Pete Doree, Shannon Wheeler, Mike Baron. Artists: Leonard Kirk, John Higgins, Todd Harris, Freddie Williams II, Phil Winslade, Paolo Francescutto, Simon Roy, Sean Phillips, Shannon Wheeler, Steve Rude. Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $7.99 Release Date: 4/24/13