Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Dark Horse Comics. This is a pretty great week for Dark Horse. We're sure something should go home with you. 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.
Star Wars : Legacy - Issue 1
This new series takes place about 125 years after the original trilogy so there's no one you specifically know, though another character seems to be a descendent of some famous characters. Ania Solo isn't quite the protagonist but she seems to be someone who will move into the foreground. Whether she's worth following remains to be seen.
The story is extremely alien so it's not easy to get up to speed. There is a learning curve involved as things are similar to how they were, but changes are there. Jedi are still Jedi in this universe, for good or for bad. Our position is it's mostly bad. And politics continue to dominate the story. Also, not great. The cover is excellent as it feels very cinematic. Interior artwork isn't so excellent as there is detail but it's kind of flat.
Score: 5 out of 10
Mind MGMT - Issue 9
Music and the arts are extremely powerful as this issue shows. All the prior issues have hinted at this as the protagonist was a writer following a story and running on the edges were excerpts about a true crime novel. And then we learn about what music can do in the wrong hands. And it's beautiful and horrifying. But mostly beautiful, like the series itself.
This is a dense issue (and series.) Reveals are a constant source of enjoyment, as are the moments of self-discovery for many of the characters. Some have been major players and are still learning how their powers work. Even the back-up stories, which aren't clear how they tie in, show depth and wide ranges of human emotions.
The interior artwork is outstanding. It will confuse casual readers as there is a simplicity to the design. This should deter no one as it's rich and complicated. Layouts are something that would make Chris Ware fans happy. The covers are just as delicious. This issue's cover seems odd until after it's read and then it becomes meaningful.
Score: 9.5 out of 10
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth - Issue 105
Everyone should take a moment to welcome back Abe Sapien. Welcome him back to HELL!!!!! No, seriously, the world is in major trouble and it seems like he's ready to go back into his coma. They don't spend a lot of time with the B.P.R.D. and that's a good thing because all it seems they do is sleep and hang out at their base instead of defend against the Paranormal. Please come back, Hellboy.
Everything going on in Russia is where the best parts of the story are. Lots of back-story including information about Varvara, the little blonde girl in the jar. It seems to be hinting she's about to get involved in the war, and it couldn't come at a better time because things are getting crazy. The interior artwork is great in that characters are clear and the story is able to unfold properly. The cover is fantastic. Kind of a throw-back to 1950's era sci-fi.
Score: 9 out of 10
Conan - Issue 14
The first eleven issues of this series were spectacular in their simplicity. Conan meets Bêlit and they fall in love. Everything is wonderful. Then, stupid Brian Wood shakes everything up and now ... well, it's not quite clear. Perhaps, when this story-line is over, their love will be rekindled. Conan just had to lay siege to a city to win her back. Assuming he survives her orders.
The story moves quickly but there is an abstract quality to it that makes it a bit too dream-like for some tastes. The story has no anchor without the two, together. This situation makes the characters seem almost alien. Some of the font choices make the text hard to read. The interior art is good but not as good as the prior art team. The cover is amazing.
Score8 out of 10
Zounds! Between Mind MGMT and B.P.R.D., just give your money to Dark Horse this week. Even Conan, though a notch down from prior arcs, is still pretty hot. Steer clear of the Star Wars book, though. Just not that great. Stop back next week for more New Release Reviews.