I feel like I need to send Dan Jolley a thank you letter for making this issue of Dark Horse Comics tolerable. Well, for his Aliens story anyway. It’s got an unexpected conclusion. There’s not a lot of story—it’s a chase sequence and a resolution—but Jolley plays with expectations a little. Nadeau and Pallot do fine on art.
Naifeh and inker Alex Nino, however, are even worse this issue than last on their Thing story. Not the mention Martin’s conclusion is mildly inexplicable. It’s too bad Dark Horse didn’t keep their creators on the Thing comics consistent. Martin really doesn’t cut it, when it comes to plotting. I guess his dialogue is fine, but the art’s so ugly it’s hard to even look at the story.
As for Charles Moore, D. Alexander Gregory and Rob Hayes’s Predator with gangsters in the forties?
The art’s good. Moore’s writing isn’t.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Predator, Thing from Another World
Tagged Alex Nino, Charles Moore, D. Alexander Gregory, Dan Jolley, Edward Martin III, John Nadeau, Rob Hayes, Ted Naifeh, Terry Pallot
I realized, a few pages in to Mike W. Barr and Brad Rader’s Mark story, Rader’s a good artist. He’s at the beginning of his career, but he’s good. He does these Eisner-homage close-ups. Nice stuff. But The Mark looked bad at the start—because the character’s design is ludicrous.
It takes place in a pseudo-Nazi Germany or something. The writing’s generally okay, but the comics’s all about those close-ups.
Dorkin and Thompson finish their Predator story next and, wow, does Thompson get lazy. Dorkin’s script is dumb—his high humor is a dying guy making dumb jokes about being Ford-tough, but the art hammers in the nail.
Naifeh’s good on The Thing story, which really does seem to avoid any previous comic appearances. There’s some excellent writing… too bad it’s lines directly from the movie and not from Martin.
Besides Predator, it’s not bad.
Posted in Dark Horse, Mark, Predator, Thing from Another World
Tagged Ande Parks, Brad Rader, Derek Thompson, Edward Martin III, Evan Dorkin, Mike W. Barr, Moose Baumann, Ted Naifeh
So is Dark Horse Comics where Dark Horse stuck all their licensed properties once Presents’s sales dropped?
The creative teams are mildly interesting. Jim Woodring writing Aliens—nothing happens, it’s an all action story—with Kilian Plunkett on the art? It looks good anyway.
Ted Naifeh pencilling a Thing story? It’s more distinct because Edward Martin III’s script sort of ignores all the other Dark Horse Thing comics. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but Martin’s a little less creative than one would like.
Then it’s an Evan Dorkin Predator story. It’s kind of funny—a Predator crashes a paint ball competition. But the humor doesn’t carry over to the dialogue; it’s just a funny idea. The Derek Thompson art is trying something different for a Predator story, lots of emotive, elongated faces.
It’s interesting to see these attempts, but none of them are good. Especially not the Aliens.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Predator, Thing from Another World
Tagged Ande Parks, Derek Thompson, Edward Martin III, Evan Dorkin, Jim Woodring, Kilian Plunkett, Moose Baumann, Ted Naifeh
I wanted to like Ragnok—not because Arcudi’s writing, but because Sook’s on the art. But it’s dark and indistinct. Lots and lots of black—very Mignola-lite. If Arcudi maybe had an interesting script, it would work. Unfortunately, the script seems to be going for something eccentric; Sook’s art doesn’t fit it. Maybe it’ll get better….
The last Ghost installment is a waste of time. Luke’s writing has gotten steadily worse as the installments went on (this time, when he tries to talk about sexism, it’s painful). Worse, Baker and Kolle’s art suffers from the script. There’s this waste of a full page panel. Still, it has a funny conclusion.
And Aliens vs. Predator finishes awful. Thompson and O’Connell’s weak art certainly doesn’t help it, but the fault is the script. Edginton goes a different route than expected—he ignores the heavy continuity and just writes a dumb story.
Ragnok, Part One; story by John Arcudi; art by Ryan Sook; lettering by Mike Heisler. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Three; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part Two; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Randy Stradley and Chris Haberman.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Ghost, Predator, Ragnok
Tagged Bernard Kolle, Brian O'Connell, Derek Thompson, Eric Luke, H.M. Baker, Ian Edginton, John Arcudi, Ryan Sook
I was really expecting more from Edginton here. His Aliens vs. Predator starts out as a rip of Alien—bickering crew, uncharted planet—only adding in aliens once the people land (they don’t have spacesuits either). But then it turns out to be a poorly conceived “thirty years in the future” sequel to the first Aliens vs. Predator series. Doesn’t help Thompson and O’Connell’s art is weak. Though I guess the spaceship looks all right.
Shabrken continues with enthusiasm from artists Henry and Lieber (though the scale of the events gets out of control). It’s not terrible—Hartley’s writing is solidly mediocre—it’s just pointless.
Arcudi scripts the Glack strip for Blickenstaff. Considering it’s two lines of dialogue, not sure why it needed a separate writer.
Then Ghost continues. Baker and Kolle’s art is crisp, but Luke is trying to write her as a pulp hero. It doesn’t work out.
Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part One; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins; co-edited by Philip D. Amara. Shabrken, Dark Exorcism, Part Two; story by Mark Henry and Welles Hartley; pencils by Henry; inks by Gary Lieber; lettering by Amador Cisneros. Glack; story by John Arcudi; art by Stephen Blickenstaff. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Two; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Edited by Randy Stradley and Adam Gallardo.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Ghost, Glack, Predator, Shabrken
Tagged Bernard Kolle, Brian O'Connell, Derek Thompson, Eric Luke, Gary Lieber, H.M. Baker, Ian Edginton, John Arcudi, Mark Henry, Stephen Blickenstaff, Welles Hartley
So Nazis versus Predator and the best Marz can come up with is a story set in South America? Castellini’s art makes up for some of it—even though he can’t draw the Predator, the rest of it looks good. But Marz’s writing is pretty dumb.
Seagle and Gaudiano have another My Vagabond Days, this time about the space program. Sort of. Seagle seems to think doing a lyrical narrative about growing up in the Sixties is inherently interesting. Even with Gaudiano’s artwork, it’s not interesting. Seagle, it turns out, didn’t grow up in the Sixties as a teen… have I already mentioned that fact? Regardless, it’s still a waste of good art.
Randall and Verheiden finally finish The Ark here. It’s yet another double-sized installment and, wow, Verheiden’s writing is really awful here. Randall still manages to turn in some decent work (except on the aliens, they’re boring).
Predator, Demon’s Gold; story by Ron Marz; art by Claudio Castellini; lettering by Gary Kato. My Vagabond Days; story by Steven T. Seagle; art by Stefano Gaudiano; lettering by Charity Rodriguez. The Ark, Part Four; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Ron Randall; lettering by Kato. Edited by Randy Stradley and Terry Waldron.
It’s a strange issue.
First is Seagle and Rouleau’s take on Predator, which might be the most harmless Predator story ever. Three boys camping out in one’s backyard go into the nearby swamp and see a Predator. Rouleau’s art is charming, the writing’s decent… still, it’s a Predator story. It can only be so good.
Then Lewis has a long story about two adopted kids and their tragic misadventures. The root of the problem is their choice in gifts at their first Christmas after being adopted. Lewis’s cartooning does well, but his writing is the real success. He manages to cover three years in a short story, getting in everything important to the characters. It’s an excellent piece of work.
Pander and Zero Boy bring Jack Zero closer to the end. It’s good, with an emphasis on Jack’s friendship with his married love interest’s daughter. Just hope it finishes well.
Predator, Bump in the Night; story by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau; pencils by Rouleau; inks by Jim Royal; lettering by Sean Konot. Outside, Inside (A Constructive Tragedy); story and art by Jon Lewis; lettering by Dave Cooper. Jack Zero, Part Four; story by Arnold Pander and Zero Boy; art by Pander; lettered by John Costanza. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.
I’m not sure what Nixey’s Trout is about or if it’s going to be about the events of this installment (in some fantasy land, an elf brings a living nightmare back from his sleep… or something along those lines). Since the writing’s so tied to the confusing plot, it’s mostly about Nixey’s art. He combines a fantasy setting with some disturbing ideas (more than imagery) and creates something quite nice.
Dorkin’s Hectic Planet is about a girl’s mysterious new boyfriend. Some good art, totally fine writing… it’s like “Friends” for nineties hipsters.
Adams’s Monkeyman and O’Brien this time features a giant monster (who’s more detailed than anything else, art-wise) and absolutely no excitement, of course. His script’s plotting is exceptionally anticlimactic from the start.
Finally, Predator from Barr and Kolins. Kolins’s work is very rough here (weak perspective). It’s a pointless story, just Presents giving a licensed property pages.
Trout, Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, Part One; story and art by Troy Nixey. Hectic Planet, Part Two, Shot on Goal; story and art by Evan Dorkin. Monkeyman & O’Brien, Gorehemoth – The Garbage Heap That Walks Like A Man, Part Two; story and art by Art Adams; lettering by Lois Buhalis. Predator, No Beast So Fierce…; story by Mike W. Barr; pencils by Scott Kolins; inks by Dan Schaefer; lettering by Sean Konot. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.
The Predator story keeps getting worse (it turns out it’s just a prologue to some limited series, I love it when Dark Horse uses Presents to advertise their licensed properties). Given Raskin’s worsening artwork and Stradley’s bad writing–he uses a government report as the narrative exposition, he’s used similar devices in the past successfully… here he fails. It’s an awful story; very happy it’s the last installment.
Duffy and Sakamoto have another Nestrobber installment. It’s mean-spirited and lacking in charm. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but I’m completely perplexed with Duffy’s intent. It’s supposed to be manga, but I can’t figure out why anyone would want to read it.
Davis and Paleolove annoy a little. There’s some really pointless writing here. Art’s weak too.
Campbell’s got an amusing slash horrifying anecdote installment of Alec. Only a page, but enough to clear the palate after the rest.
Predator, Race War, Part Three; story by Andrew Vachss; adapted by Randy Stradley; pencils by Jordan Raskin; inks by Bob Wiacek; lettering by Clem Robins. Nestrobber, Survival Skills; story by Jo Duffy; art and lettering by Maya Sakamoto. Paleolove, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Alec, An Old Australian Yarn; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Alec, Dark Horse, Nestrobber, Paleolove, Predator
Tagged Bob Wiacek, Cary Grazzini, Eddie Campbell, Gary Davis, Jo Duffy, Maya Sakamoto, Randy Stradley, Sean Tierney
The Predator story continues and its problems become real clear. Stradley’s trying to take a “real” approach to certain elements–gang members, serial killers–and it just comes off as silly with the Predator running around. Raskin’s art suggests he’s unprepared for such a big assignment (and Wiacek seems to have been brought in to correct things via the inks). Then there’s the inexplicable cliffhanger. So far, very unimpressive.
Campbell’s got two Alec strips. One is really cute, the other is just a nice example of a one page narrative.
Davis is back with Paleolove. The story is longwinded and the art is still primarily concentrated on the scenery. Davis objectifies his female protagonists in the last panel, which sums up all of Davis’s work.
Duffy and Sakamoto have a story with a bunch of kids and their guardian angel, a hit man. It’s well intentioned, but not any good.
Predator, Race War, Part Two; story by Andrew Vachss; adapted by Randy Stradley; pencils by Jordan Raskin; inks by Bob Wiacek; lettering by Clem Robins. Alec, The Remarkable History of the Nullarbor Nymph and Ah Kids, Don’t Ya Just Love ‘Em; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Paleolove, Part One; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Nestrobber, Swimming Lessons; story by Jo Duffy; art and lettering by Maya Sakamoto. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Alec, Dark Horse, Nestrobber, Paleolove, Predator
Tagged Bob Wiacek, Eddie Campbell, Gary Davis, Jo Duffy, Jordan Raskin, Maya Sakamoto, Randy Stradley, Sean Tierney
The issue opens with an idiotic story about an annoying character called Zoo-Lou. Hedden and McWeeney usually do great work. The art here’s excellent, but the writing is an absolute nightmare. Dark Horse really loves poking fun at themselves… and usually it comes out awful, like Zoo-Lou.
An Accidental Death comes to its conclusion here. No one does this kind of angst and suffering like Brubaker. Everything he does these days is a waste compared to what he could be doing. Brilliant work from Shanower too.
Duffy and Sakamoto have an awful story called Nestrobber. It’s just atrocious.
The Predator story is weird–it’s based on an Andrew Vachss story. Not bad, just too soon to tell.
Campbell’s got a funny Alec, then Russell closes with an Oscar Wilde adaptation. It’s a brilliant piece of work, but it really needs color to make the fairy tale element work.
Zoo-Lou vs. Editor; story, art and lettering by Rich Heddon and Tom McWeeney. An Accidental Death, Part Three; story by Ed Brubaker; art and lettering by Eric Shanower. Nestrobber, Money for Nothing; story by Jo Duffy; art and lettering by Maya Sakamoto. Predator, Race War, Part One; story by Andrew Vachss; adapted by Randy Stradley; pencils by Jordan Raskin; inks by John Beatty; lettering by Clem Robins. Alec, A Pub Far Away; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. The Selfish Giant; story by Oscar Wilde; adaptation, art and lettering by P. Craig Russell. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Accidental Death, Dark Horse, Nestrobber, Predator, Zoo-Lou
Tagged Ed Brubaker, Eddie Campbell, Eric Shanower, Jo Duffy, John Beatty, Jordan Raskin, Maya Sakamoto, P. Craig Russell, Randy Stradley, Rich Hedden, Sean Tierney, Tom McWeeney
This special is far from an accurate representation of Dark Horse Presents. Everything looks very professional.
The Aerialist and Heartbreakers installments are both long needed establishments of the series’ ground situation.
I even liked the Heartbreakers one (Bennett’s writing is far stronger from the clones’ perspective, versus their creator).
There’s also lots of disposable stuff–Concrete, The American and Black Cross are all weak, though Warner’s art is better on Cross than I’ve ever seen it. Chadwick and Verheiden use their stories to blather about American culture.
Of the two Miller’s–Give Me Liberty and Sin City–I almost prefer Sin City. Liberty‘s a little overbearing, though the Gibbons art is nice.
Prosser and Janson do a great adaptation of an Andrew Vachss. The Roachmill, Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator entries are all fantastic.
I’m a little peeved Bob the Alien is on the cover but not in the issue.
Give Me Liberty, Martha Washington’s War Diary: April 16, 2012; story by Frank Miller; art by Dave Gibbons. Concrete, Objects of Value; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Aliens; story by John Arcudi; art by Simon Bisley. The American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Dougie Braithwaite; inks by Robert Campanella; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Roachmill; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Placebo; script by Jerry Prosser, based on a story by Andrew Vachss; art by Klaus Janson; lettering by Michael Heisler. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner; lettering by Jim Massara. The Aerialist, Part Three; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kurt Hathaway. Heartbreakers, The Prologue; story by Anina Bennet; art by Paul Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Aliens vs. Predator; story by Randy Stradley; art by Phill Norwood; lettering by Brosseau. Sin City, Episode One; story and art by Frank Miller. Edited by Stradley.
Posted in Aerialist, Aliens, American, Black Cross, Concrete, Dark Horse, Give Me Liberty, Heartbreakers, Predator, Roachmill, Sin City
Tagged Anina Bennett, Chris Warner, Dave Gibbons, Dougie Braithwaite, Frank Miller, Jerry Prosser, John Arcudi, Klaus Janson, Mark Verheiden, Matt Wagner, Paul Chadwick, Paul Guinan, Phill Norwood, Randy Stradley, Rich Hedden, Robert Campanella, Simon Bisley, Tom McWeeney
You know, the Aliens stories in Dark Horse Presents, for whatever reason, never bugged me. However, this Predator standalone… it’s really out of place. Maybe it’s because Arcudi’s writing is so lame (he does have a good twist, but Walton’s art makes it hard to appreciate as everyone looks the same). It’s not so much bad, just really lame.
Harris’s Crash Ryan is just getting better. He does a bunch of action (and gets two story slots in this issue) and then has a fantastic reveal. He mixes the awkward politics–it’s pro-worker, but anti-Soviet and anti-Nazi. Awesome conclusion has American big business getting in bed (albeit unknowingly) with Hitler….
The Bacchus story is the origin story. Dark Horse really owes Campbell–Bacchus has added a legitimacy to Dark Horse Presents. The retelling’s great, mixing periods and tones. It’s an essential history lesson (of an inessential subject).
Predator; story by John Arcudi; pencils and lettering by Rob Walton; inks by Armando Gil. Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Bacchus, Defining the Divine; story and art by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick. Edited by Randy Stradley.
The Aliens vs. Predator story is most impressive for Norwood’s illustration… but not of aliens or Predators. The story opens on some alien world and it’s just breathtaking. Once the actual story starts (Stradley’s two conversationalists talking about hunting experiences while Predators hunt aliens), it can’t compete with those visuals. Still, for what amounts to shameless self-promotion, these prologues are very successful.
Davis’s Delia & Celia features a number of young women “playing” the two leads. Davis can’t maintain faces for them to the point he must have been photo-referencing. Each panel, they get a new, distinct face. The writing is nearly interesting this time… but Davis fumbles it.
This installment of Heartbreakers kind of makes the clone thing clear–there’s two groups of clones, one tough, one not as tough. But it’s not clear if they’re clones of the same person (just with different haircuts). It’s inoffensively mediocre.
Aliens vs. Predator; story by Randy Stradley; pencils by Phill Norwood; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Heartbreakers, Ceiling Zero; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Delia & Celia, The Great Marsh; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.