Correction: It was pointed out to me by the wonderful Shannon Wheeler that “Villain House” is a free-standing story, even though it’s third in a series. While I understood the story with no problem, I had missed part one and didn’t know if this issue’s installment was building on it.
This month’s issue of DHP is heavy on serialized installments. Of the ten stories it contains, only two, Jim Alexander and John Higgins‘ “Eden” and Pete Doree and Sean Phillips‘ “Gabe and the Sandpiper,” are one-and-dones. Four of the eight remaining multi-part stories are just starting in this issue, but even some of those are just new story arcs in part of a larger saga. Most notable is Dan Jolley‘s “Bloodhound: Plain Sight,” which is a new story, drawn by Leonard Kirk, featuring characters from the original Bloodhound series, which was also written by Jolley and drawn by Kirk and was published by DC from 2004 to 2005. Here’s the official description of Dark Horse Presents #23:
Another issue of 2012’s best anthology—another collection of amazing comics, natch! Premiering this issue: Dan Jolley and Leonard Kirk’s supervillain tracker Clev is back out of prison to help the FBI hunt an invisible killer, Fred Van Lente and Freddie Williams II delve into a world of psychic espionage in Brain Boy, and Peter Hogan and Phil Winslade pull you into another magical dimension with King’s Road.
Also in this issue, we’ve got chapter four of “Journeymen,” by Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris; “Arcade Boy” chapter three, by Denis Medri and Paolo Francescutto; “Tiger Lung” chapter 3, by Simon Roy and Jason Wordie; chapter three of “Villain House,” by Shannon Wheeler; and “Nexus: Into the Past” chapter one, by Mike Baron and Steve Rude.
Top story for this month goes to “Brain Boy,” and the fact that I love a good psy-ops story has only a little to do with it. Van Lente does some great world-building in the space of just a few pages, and tosses in some great jokes to boot. I’ve enjoyed the work of Freddie Williams II ever since his days on Robin. Here, he has some great layouts that combine beautifully with the psychic effects, although the main character comes out a bit odd when the viewing angle is weird.
Jolley and Kirk’s “Bloodhound: Plain Sight” runs a close second, but it takes a couple pages to grasp what’s going on. Not having read the original Bloodhound series, I’m very intrigued by the tidbits Jolley gives about the universe. Kirk’s art is incredibly clean, although the shoulder pads Bell seems to be wearing in one panel make me think the whole story is set in the 80s.
As for some of the rest, “Eden” has a nice twist, “King’s Road” promises to be strange, and “Gabe and the Sandpiper” riffs on Indiand Jones. Some stories, like “Journeymen” and “Nexus,” will probably work best when they’re completed, and I’m able to read the whole sequence in one sitting.
As always, Dark Horse Presents is a great showcase for a wide variety of work. That said, this particular issue is a bit over-burdened with chapter ones, threes, and fours. Hopefully they’ll mix in more one-shots and two parters in the future.
Every single day, Zac Boone thinks about how useful telekinesis would be. Follow him on twitter.