Time to check in with Dark Horse’s Eisner winning anthology again; for me there have been a lot of hits and misses with the series as of late, but that’s to be expected given the formula. It’s always a series worth checking out though even if it’s only for a handful of stories that you find enjoyable. This issue starts off with David Lapham’s “Squish” a Juice Squeezers tale. I raved about Lapham’s return to writing and drawing in my last review and you can expect more of the same. His stories always excite and “wow” me with their creativity. In this chapter the kids go head on against the bugs that have taken over Samnee’s orange grove, but soon they’re attacked by bugs that are usually passive. The story is fun, the characters interactions are charming and interesting and the art is to die for. Lapham’s style is masterful and Loughridge’s colors complement the style and story.
Niles and Menton3’s Nosferatu Wars continues. It’s a simple story, but it works. It’s a great setting for vampires and Niles brings his usual flair of storytelling to this tale. If there’s anyone you want writing a vampire story its Niles. Menton3 is Menton3, his style is great and you either love it or love it.
The next story is written and drawn by Peter Bagge, get pumped! His story is called Found Fathers Funnies Presents: Alexander Hamilton in Mr. Unpopularity; which is a great title. It’s basically a comedic retelling of events of Alexander Hamilton’s life after the revolutionary war. It reveals that he was basically a douche bag and that he gave every reason to dislike him. I loved it and found it be quite funny. Bagge’s character expressions are what really stole the show. If you liked Reset you’ll love this short.
A new edition to the issue is Mr. Monster. This is another funny tale which followed “Mr. Unpopularity” perfectly. Basically Mr. Monster is a vigilante that does a lot of collateral damage in the name of justice, but decides to remove his dark side forever after getting a lot of complaints about his destruction… which has mixed results. I enjoyed the pacing of the story and the art work had a pulpy look to it, but it had great comedic time as well.
The issue wraps with Hunter Quaid. Quaid and Fenril are trapped in a bunker and though we can’t see what’s coming for them, Fenril makes it sound bad. Quaid tells him to keep it down because he’s trying to get drunk and then goes into a story from his past. It’s entertaining and while I didn’t get a sense for the overall series narrative, I still enjoyed the tale. It’s over the top and managed to capture the perfect balance between action and comedy. The art was solid and does a great job with the physical humor and carrying the narrative.
There’s a handful of other stories that I’ve either ran out of things to say about them or I skipped myself. Not every issue of this anthology is going to be filled with “must reads”, but as I said in the beginning it’s always worth checking out. There are always surprises to discover like Mr. Unpopularity or Mr. Monster which probably wouldn’t have a home otherwise. Overall you should buy it and decide if you like the stories I skipped for yourself and enjoy the ones I did at the same time.
Writers: David Lapham, Steve Niles, Peter Bagge, Michael T. Gilbert and Janet Gilbert, Ron Randall, Phil Stanford, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jane Espenson, Andrew Vachss and Mike Richardson, Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal.
Artist: David Lapham, menton3, Pter Bagge, Ken Bruzenak, Ron Randall, Patric Reynolds, Steve Lieber, Karl Moline, Dominic Reardon, Melissa Curtin.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 8/21/13