I’ve come to really enjoy Dark Horse Presents, it reminds me of Father’s old Heavy Metal magazines that I wasn’t allowed to read but totally did. DHP is full of a variety of stories that range from modern classics such as Hellboy, Usagi Yojimbo and Cal MacDonald, to the strange and different like: Skeleton Key and The Speaker. These short stories or cut up stories not only change how you read the book, but how the creative team puts the story together. Plus, before you can get tired of the story you’re onto the next one. The seventh issue opens with Dark Horse’s top dog, Hellboy.This is the highly anticipated return of Mike Mignola to the art duties of Hellboy and sees the character during his lost years in which he spent a lot of time drinking in Mexico. On this particular outing he encounters an undead bat that continues to change form the more Hellboy beats the shit out of it. The highlights of this story include the witness accounts that basically explain what it is that Hellboy is up against since he’s too drunk to remember.
The next diddy is Skeleton Key by Andi Watson. This story is very cute and yes an adult male probably shouldn’t use that as his first descriptor for anything. Regardless this story is just cute as hell and full of smirky moments that don’t quite make you laugh, but keep a smile on your face the entire time. Watson has a simplistic art style that play well to the all-ages and indie crowd. I really enjoyed this story and went back and read previous issues of DHP that I’d neglected in order to get more of the story.
There were a few other stories in the book that honestly I skipped. Hey, that’s the joy of this format, if you don’t like something there’s no real loss in skipping it. I went ahead to Usagi Yojimbo’s tale about the spirits of two samurai. He watches as they reenact their deaths in front of him seeking closure.
I hate this art. The last tale to speak of is The Speaker which is about the voice of a man who escaped and went out to explore the world on its own, until the man it belonged to died. This story is so rich with metaphors and double entendres that I found it to be one of the best comics that I’ve read all year. This story is heavy with emotions and if you can’t relate to some aspect of it then you’ve completely missed everything that it’s about. There are some good stories in this volume, but this tale is great and would score a five out of five all on its own. I really hope that Brandon Graham has more stories of this nature in store for future issues.
That’s all the run down I’ll be giving, but I also enjoyed Dog Mendonca and Pizza Boy and the latest chapter of Finder as well. This was a very good issue and I’m glad that Dark Horse has continued to put new talent and established talent in the series. I may not personally dig each story, but the quality and care of each story tells me that it’s not just filler. I missed Sour Apples and hope to see its return or for it to get its own series, but hey that’s way off subject. If you want a good mixture of stories that will keepyou entertained and give you the most story for your money then this is the series. Pick it up in print or in digital format this week.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $7.99