Welcome back to another New Release Reviews for Dark Horse Comics. This is a pretty solid week, though, strangely none are must-haves and the Star Wars title was kind of middle of the road. As always … 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.
Willow - Issue 5 (of 5)
This issue feels like one
long argument between characters which got kind of boring after a while.
Sure, it was wrapped around a magic duel but the magic was less
important than Willow's growth. A clear distinction is made about Willow
and Dark Willow which seems obvious but was lost on Ms. Rosenberg.
Additionally, a fine resolution was given to deal with the drought of
magic in Willow's home dimension.
It's a nice decision
to not resolve things in one fell swoop. This will extended the story
dynamics and it will create new ones and Willow's value has skyrocketed.
The interior artwork is excellent in that it mixes mundane and magical
quite well, and still had a personality of its own. The covers are
great. Especially the David Mack one which is breathtaking.
Score: 8 out of 10
Star Wars Dark Times : Fire Carrier - Issue 2 (of 5)
This is about as pedestrian a Star Wars story as any other. Manufactured drama and charactes getting wound up over the strangest things. Weird guilt by Jedis further emphasizes the destructive presence of Jedis in Star Wars stories. They just aren't very entertaining. And the stuff with Vader training the assassin seems way to goofy to play right. The look is adequate. The cover is alright.
Score: 6 out of 10
Hellboy In Hell - Issue 4
History and memory are the key themes with this series. It might be a mini-series but it's not clear. The history lessons are very interesting as one character reveals himself, though the secret of what happened with Jack The Ripper still isn't answered. The other half if Hellboy's inability to recall if he truly killed Satan. I think most of us would like to be able to remember doing that.
The story doesn't resolve cleanly. Not everything seems finished as Hellboy just seems to hang around a deserted hell. At least the artwork is excellent. Same with the cover. Can't imagine Hellboy without Mike Mignola artwork.
Score: 8 out of 10
47 Ronin - 3 (of 5)
Given Stan Sakai's involvement, as well as the historical value of the story, this should be a home-run. Strangely it isn't. Sakai's artwork is as fantastic as it always is. Unfortunately, the pacing of this series is a slow build to a quick ending when it needed to be the other way around. The characters seems rich and noble (or rotten) but they're almost impossible to tell apart. Motives are odd for the good guys and bad. It's a classic tale but maybe one not meant for Western sensibilities.
Score: 7 out of 10
Colder - Issue 5 (of 5)
This issue concluded this fascinating mini-series in a somewhat disappointing way. The prior issues were a hug build-up to a very pedestrian ending. Other than waking up, and possibly admitting he was just like the villain, the hero of the story was extremely passive through much of the story. Supposedly, love made him crazy violent. Not that it mattered as the villain was seemingly unstoppable.
Probably the best thing about this series is the artwork. Taking nothing away from a lot of story-points which had some great moments, the artwork is amazing. The art team has obvious skill as detail is high and characters are expressive. Additionally, the creativity is evident with the unusual layouts. It's quite imaginative and makes the readers work a bit. The covers are outstanding in their disturbing qualities.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Hellboy, usually a high-point, was just a little too abstract to jump up and down about. Would like to see less issues of 47 Ronin, as well. Stop back next week for more reviews.