First off congrats to Dark Horse for winning “Best Anthology” two years in a row from the Eisner Awards. Though I’m sure the entire nominee list deserved to win, there can be only one and so congrats Highlander. Now as for this issue… it was weird. I didn’t feel as if I read that many stories, but after looking at the table of contents it was the usual amount of stories. There were of course some favorites and sadly some series that secretly made their exit in the last issue, but there were several new stories that filled their void.
I’m starting with “Juice Squeezers”, because how the hell can I ignore David Lapham writing and drawing again! My god that was a nice treat to discover and upon reading. I thought I remembered hearing something about it, but didn’t piece anything together until reading it. The story is about high school kids that are members of the “Basket Weaving Club.” That is not what it seems though. It was a fantastic story and Lapham is so masterful with his dialog. If you don’t feel like you’re back in high school while reading this then you were probably one of the characters at the beginning. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter and Lapham’s art was fantastic looking. The coloring by Bill Farmer was the perfect fit for Lapham’s pencils and really helped bring everything to life. This story is worth the purchase alone.
Steve Niles paired with Menton3 for another vampire story; you may recall their mini Transfusion from IDW. “Nosferatu Wars” was kind of a difficult story to piece together. I believe that we are given part of the ending with the beginning, but I’m not sure. Menton3’s art is wonderful as always and Niles plus vampires is a no brainer. It was interesting, but it might be too big of a story for this style of comic.
“Underground” picked up in this issue. I didn’t even mention in the last review because it was several pages of exposition that left me with no sense of the world or characters. The understanding is better in this issue, but not perfect. I’m curious to see where it goes and hopefully it’ll turn out better in the end.
One of my absolute favorites of the issue was “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps”, which is basically a story about a stupid rich guy and his Butler. The Butler “Spimps” is clearly not a dummy, but he allows himself to be dressed in just a bow tie and black underwear. Meanwhile, Steggy Wilmot is an idiot. He wakes up and rides a pig first thing in the morning and has terrible dreams of not being as rich as he is. He makes a list of the things he could buy and most of them are Spimps family members. Steggy decides to make a newspaper so that people can send him fan letters. One arrives and it is hilarious. I had a very good laugh at it. I hope that there will be more tales in the future or just a collection of stories.
“Alabaster” returned and it was very good. You really have to read it because it’s too short to talk about without completely ruining it, but I was glad to see it continuing. I’m really looking forward to the end of the story and I hope that it’s soon!
I’m not sure if “Blackout” is continuing in the next issue, but I hope it is. Actually I hope it just moves on to a mini-series or something because I really need bigger chunks of the story to read. This chapter is action packed and has some crazy results for the end of this scene.
Both “Nexus” and “Trekker” continued their stories and while I don’t really have anything new to say about them, both are worth reading still. I like the throwback feel both stories have and again I’m looking forward to the ending of each tale. Especially Trekker since it’s getting a series after its run.
Also worth mentioning quickly is “Brainbot Jr.” it’s a short story, but I like the art style and the simplicity of the story. It’s the last story in the issue so don’t miss it.
Well there you have it. It’s another solid month for the Eisner winning anthology and while there are still a few series that I’m just completely skipping, for the most part this issue is really good. There are several new stories starting so if you want to jump on the book then now’s the best time to do so. If anything you should get is just for David Lapham… I’m not joking.
Writers: Ron Randall, Steve Niles, Andrews Vachss, Mike Richardson, David Lapham, Mike Baron, Patrick Alexander, Phil Stanford, Jane Espenson, Cailtlin R. Kieman, Frank Barbiere, Dara Naraghi. Artists: Ron Randall, Menton3, Dominic Reardon, David Lapham, Steve Rude, Patrick Alexander, Patric Reynolds, Karl Moline, Steve Lieber, Micah Kaneshiro, Tom Williams. Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $7.99 Release Date: 7/24/13