The Thing: The Northman Nightmare 1 (September 2011)

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As an online exclusive, Dark Horse is publishing these Northman Nightmare “issues” (for free). It’s a prequel to the new Thing movie, which is a prequel to the old Thing movie (the 1982 one, not the original). Dark Horse previously published sequels to the 1982 film. It’d be more interesting if they’d done a sequel to the movie prequel, but whatever.

Since Vikings are all the rage now (or semi-rage, thanks to Thor), this unlikely prequel takes place in the twelfth century or something and features Vikings versus the Thing.

Patric Reynolds does a fine job. He draws Vikings, he draws snow-covered landscapes, he draws icky creatures and their skeletons. It’s not exactly heavy lifting, but Reynolds’s approach isn’t a sci-fi comic starring Vikings, it’s Vikings having a sci-fi adventure.

Steve Niles writes an okay script. His dialogue could be better.

Still, it’s a boring stunt.

CREDITS

Writer, Steve Niles; artist, Patric Reynolds; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Scott Allie and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Voodoo 1 (November 2011)

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I’m sure I’ll regret making this statement… but I likeVoodoo.

I generally use Ron Marz as a punchline whenever I can, but he writes some decent dialogue this issue. He understands how to have people go back and forth, how to bring out the exposition naturally, how to imply things.

It doesn’t hurt he’s got a nice cutaway with a federal agent beating up some dumb kids and then a good reveal at the end.

The book also has a major cheesecake factor, which Sami Basri’s art plays into. But—while the cheesecake keeps up—Marz does treat it as realistically as one would imagine a DC comic would get in the seedy strip club scene.

Actually, it seems like Marz has done a lot of research into the goings on at….

See, punchline, even when I’m being complementary.

It’s a complete Species rip-off but it’s finely executed.

CREDITS

Keeping Secrets; writer, Ron Marz; artist, Sami Basri; colorist, Jessica Kholinne; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Darren Shan and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 16 (December 1993)

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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.

CREDITS

Predator, The Hunted City, Part One; writer, Charles Moore; penciller, D. Alexander Gregory; inker, Rob Hayes; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Bill Pearson. Aliens, Cargo , Part Two; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, John Nadeau; inker, Terry Pallot; colorist, James Sinclair; letterer, Clem Robins. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part Four; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Alex Nino; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Robins. Editors, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

I, Vampire 1 (November 2011)

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Does Andrea Sorrentino know Jae Lee personally? Or will they meet sometime at a con and Sorrentino will have to explain he made a career of imitating Lee?

I, Vampire is not what I was expecting. Oh, there’s some really weak dialogue–but nowhere near as bad as I was expecting from Joshua Hale Fialkov–but it’s not a Twilight comic. It’s vampires out to take over the world, zombie-style. I can’t imagine how it fits into the DC universe. You’d think the JLA would notice a whole city of blood-drained corpses.

But DC being stupid about their new universe continuity, four weeks in, is nothing new.

Instead, I, Vampire pretty much works. It’s unpleasant, but because it’s about the end of the world, not because of Fialkov’s dialogue.

And Sorrentino packages a nice visual experience. It’s post-apocalyptic while still being pre-full apocalypse.

It’s nearly engaging.

CREDITS

Tainted Love; writer, Joshua Hale Fialkov; artist, Andrea Sorrentino; colorist, Marcelo Maiolo; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 15 (November 1993)

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Well, when Naifeh’s art falls off, The Thing gets a lot less interesting. Martin falls into the same tropes the pervious series did (even though Martin ignores them)—repeating the plot points in the Thing movie, only in a new setting. But Naifeh’s the disappointment here. It doesn’t even look like his work.

Barr and Rader finish up The Mark. Barr seems to let Rader just take over and create this homage to a film noir, only in color. It reminds a lot of M. The installment ends on a soft cliffhanger, preparing for a limited series, and it’s unnecessarily confusing.

Dan Jolley, John Nadeau and Terry Pallot contribute an Aliens story. It’s perfectly fine (compared to The Thing). Jolley concentrates on his first person narration; he does a good job with it, combining a natural tone with his exposition. Nadeu and Pallot are competent, what I expect from Aliens.

CREDITS

The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part Three; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Alex Nino; colorist, Ray Murtaugh. The Mark, Part Two: What Goes Around; writer, Mike W. Barr; artist, Brad Rader; colorist, John A. Wilcox. Aliens, Cargo , Part One; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, John Nadeau; inker, Terry Pallot; colorist, James Sinclair. Letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Bob Schreck, Dan Thorsland, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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