Dark Horse Presents 84 (April 1984)

Let me try to think of something nice to say about Buoy 77‘s finale. Lopez is back to the weak art, so no compliment there. Boyd’s conclusion is all about how the white man ruins native peoples (I’m shocked they didn’t put in a prose notice of it), so not there either. All in all, it’s a waste of time. I’m surprised Boyd went for a lame, common point. Barron and Barry have a humor strip–Judah–about a chili cook-off. Maybe it’s funny if you care about chili. I guess Barry’s art is fine for a way too long humor strip. Swan and…

Dark Horse Presents 83 (March 1994)

Lloyd’s got a very well-illustrated story here. It’s a thriller–con artist out to murder his rich wife–told after the fact (guess what, the husband gets busted through a very Hitchcockian twist). The art’s more important than the story. Lloyd gets the tone perfect. If it were a longer piece, with more characterization, it might be more significant. As is, it’s just a fantastic little exercise. Speaking of good art, Lopez finally improves on this installment of Buoy 77. It’s the same style, but he really gets more fluidity in his action here. It doesn’t hurt Boyd’s writing is stronger too. The writing…

Dark Horse Presents 82 (February 1994)

Well, Hermes’s slump continues. Campbell’s problem might be the villains—the Eye of Fate (or something… the skeleton head guy) is a lot more interesting than anyone else in the story than the Eyeball Kid. So we want the Eyeball Kid to win (even though Eye of Fate doesn’t) and Eye of Fate to win… but he’s a villain. He’s just a really amusing one. Though there’s an actual fight between Hermes and the Eyeball Kid this installment, it’s still not one of the stronger ones. Geary’s got a couple stories in here. Neither are good. Apparently he learned how to make his…

Dark Horse Presents 81 (January 1994)

I’m not sure what happens this installment of Hermes. It almost seems like a bridging installment. Hermes, who hasn’t really had a lot to do since the first installment, is preparing his attack and the supervillains are splintering. It’s a fine installment, but it’s the first one where Campbell didn’t “wow” me. The opening story, Buoy 77, from Boyd and Lopez, is good. Lopez’s art is a little unfinished, but the concept–a bunch of rural Brazilians trying to find a missing oil company buoy for the reward–is excellent. Boyd handles the Brazilians and their culture better than the oil company (I had…

Dark Horse Presents 80 (December 1993)

Are there Art Adams fans out there? He’s not bad, but his faces are awful. I’ve never seen someone vary his perspective of a face so much—it’s like he does these three dimensional faces, except the nose. The nose is 2D. I guess he drew the monsters well. Monkeyman & O’Brien is not terrible. It’s just mediocre. Then it turns out I read the last Hermes installment wrong—I didn’t notice Campbell had a visual framing for flashbacks—so we do get to see the supervillains in their costumes. It also turns out they’re responsible for the fight between Hermes and the Eyeball Kid.…

Dark Horse Presents 79 (November 1993)

Ever have a friend who could draw really well? Moeller’s art on Shadow Empires is like a friend who can draw well. He takes time with it, he works at it… but it’s still totally not ready for the big leagues. It’s somehow even rougher than some of the worse art Presents has published. The writing’s pretty lame too (it’s like Dune again). Campbell and company turn in another fine episode of Hermes here. While the Eyeball Kid is in hiding, Campbell concentrates on the supporting cast. It’s awesome how little the fight has to do with what Campbell does with the…

Dark Horse Presents 78 (October 1993)

Yolen and Vess have an absolutely fantastic fairy tale story here. It’s not technically a fairy tale (it’s layered, a nursemaid tells the story to a child, who it directly concerns) but it’s just wonderful. Vess’s art here is superior–he’s able to convey action, antiquity and fear. There’s one moment where it confuses, then it all becomes quite clear. Yolen comes up with a great narrative though. Her writing is the real boon. Paleolove continues. Davis is on the second of a third part story and there’s no reason for a third part if this one is any indication. Not because it’s…

Dark Horse Presents 77 (August 1993)

Oh, I finally get it. Paleolove means love in the Paleolithic era. To pay Davis a complement (my first?), he’s never tried so deliberately to tug on the heartstrings until now so I never really gave the title a thought. What amazes me is the artwork. He hasn’t gotten any better with figures since his first Paleolove story, sixty or so issues ago in Presents. At least he’s not getting worse. Campbell and company don’t explain everything this installment of Hermes and Eyeball. I fact, I don’t think they explain anything other than the Eyeball Kid and the false oracle are in…

Dark Horse Presents 52 (July 1991)

The Bacchus story is a really upsetting story of Simpson, Bacchus’s sidekick, and his journey through hell. I’m not up on my Dante, but it seems like it follows Inferno a little bit. It’s a good story, but it’s a real downer and very different from the other Bacchus entries so far. The Heartbreakers story features some really dumb plot developments. But Bennett may have gotten the narrative to a good starting point. Finally. Then there’s Sin City—two installments in and I’m really sick of it. Half the story looks like Miller’s drew Batman then replaced him with Marv (trench coat as…

Dark Horse Presents 46 (November 1990)

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…