Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dark Horse Comics - New Release Reviews For January 23, 2013

Editor's note. This column normally appears on the website, first, and then is reprinted on this blog. Unfortunately, Technorati's editorial focus has shifted and they're no longer interested in publishing these columns.

So, until a new home is found, they're going to be exclusive to The Previous Title Was Capriciously Censored. Which is still pretty cool. However, we do like the dual exposure so don't get too comfortable.


On Monday of this past week, Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in for a second time, as the 44th President of the United States of America. In part of his inauguration speech, he spent time talking about the civil rights of gay and lesbian American citizens. This was the first time any president has brought this up at an inauguration.

On the coat-tails of this historic event, last week the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced the nominees for the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. In there was a category for Outstanding Comic Book. Dark Horse Comics has one of the nominees for Buffy The Vampire Slayer for introducing the first gay slayer.

Congratulations to Dark Horse for being part of this historic time in gay rights.  In the interim, they've got five new comics this week. Titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best possible. We take the time to read these books so your time isn't wasted.

Answer - Issue 1

This new series suffers from the worst sin which is characters the reader won't care about.The protagonist is boring, and the violence is more weird than it is exciting. The plot hints at bigger things but gives the reader little motivation to stick with it.

The interior artwork makes this comic seem as though it should be published by Image. The cover is interesting.

Score: 5.5 out of 10

Dark Horse Presents - Issue 20

This is another issue of Dark Horse's long-running anthology series. Several stories fall into the good category. Resident Alien: Suicide Blonde has an interesting story and the characters are solid. Captain Midnight's modern stuff is dull while the WWII stuff a lot of fun. Alabaster : Boxcar Tales is a bit lighter than past stories while there still is horror underneath. Gamma is a weird, strange story with an interesting look.

In the middle ground you have Journeymen which has an alright look but confusing story and dialogue. Station To Station does a poor job of making the reader care about the characters as it is a very odd situation. Victories takes an interesting view on heroes and history and science, but still feels empty.

Two stories fall into the bad category. X is just a lot of pointless violence involving very bland characters, who the reader won't care about. Finder continues to have an excellent look that is full of skill, yet it is sunk by an utterly impenetrable story.

Score: 8 out of 10

The Massive - Issue 8

This issue was a bit different than all the prior stories. There are a number of sub-plots going on and it never really seemed to find the traction felt in prior issues. The stand-off between leaders was choppy, and a bit odd. It seems to be building to something bigger, but it takes very disjointed paths to get there.

Betrayal seems to be the theme of this issue. The starting recap takes on a poetic tone, and sets the standard by which all other recaps should be judged. The interior art is very good and the cover is fantastic.

Score: 8 out of 10

Mind MGMT - Issue 7

The creative team manages to skillfully handle four different story-lines running through this issue. The way they're handled is very impressive, though it's not entirely clear how this will be different from the original arc. It's not a complaint but more of a question because it seems very similar in theme.

Additionally, it's starting to seem like Meru has powers of her own. Maybe. Nothing is truly clear in a series about mind control. The interior artwork and design is outstanding. The cover is amazing.

Score: 9 out of 10

Spike - Issue 5

This appears to be the end of this (mini?) series, which is a shame as it was a fun change of pace for this fan-favorite. Even better was the new characters including the succubus who could be a great supporting character.

However, it ends with Spike being pulled back into the usual which is a bit disappointing. It was an alright ending, of sorts. The art is fine and the covers are a lot of fun.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Though there was no Buffy The Vampire Slayer this week, plenty of releases from Dark Horse are deserving of awards including Mind MGMT and The Massive. Stop back next week for more New Release Reviews.