It’s time for another installment of the comics industry’s premier anthology series, Dark Horse Presents. When I read the solicits and saw what this issue would have, I was pretty dang excited. To show you what I mean, here’s the official description of DHP #25, from Dark Horse:
After training with Buffy, Billy the vampire slayer heads back to his hometown to deal with the zompire epidemic! Delve into a time-travel story from Eisner Award–winning writer Matt Fraction! Mike Richardson adapts Andrew Vachss’ vision of violence in the big city in Undergound! Read an installment of The Chapel Chronicles by fifteen-year-old Emma T Capps!
Plus, new installments of Trekker, Blackout, Nexus, Crime Does Not Pay, Brain Boy, King’s Road, and Bloodhound!
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 story, “Love vs. Life,” is written by Jane Espenson, who also worked on the original TV series as a writer and producer, and drawn by Karl Moline. Matt Fraction‘s “The Time Ben Fell in Love” has art by Christian Ward. “Underground” is written by Andrew Vachs and Mike Richardson, with art by Dominic Reardon. “Brain Boy,” by Fred Van Lente and Freddie Williams II concludes this month. Ron Randall handles both writing and art for “Trekker: The Train to Avalon Bay.” Peter Hogan and Phil Winslade‘s “King’s Road: The Long Way Home,” Phil Stanford and Patric Reynold‘s “Crime Does Not Pay: City of Roses,” and Mike Baron and Steve Rude‘s “Nexus: Into the Past” all continue. Young Emma T Capps both writes and draws a one-page story in “The Chapel Chronicles.” Dan Jolley and Leonard Kirk‘s “Bloodhound: Plain Sight” concludes, while “Blackout,” written by Frank Barbiere and drawn by Micah Kaneshiro, continues.
For me, the headlining Buffy story, “Love vs. Life,” was a bit of a disappointment, although my situation is fairly unique, as I just started watching the TV series a few months ago and only recently finished season three. Thus, I had no idea what was going on. It is disappointing, however, that, over a hundred episodes after where I currently am in the series, we’re still rehashing the same themes. Moline’s art is exceptionally fluid, making the characters feel as if they’re alive and moving, even when standing still.
As you might expect, Matt Fraction’s “The Time Ben Fell in Love” is one of the best stories of the issue, presenting a new take on the traditional time travel pretzel. As is the case with many one-and-done anthology stories, we’re forced to learn on the fly. Christian Ward’s pencils are good, but it’s his psychedelic colors that really shine. They’re applied in simple, yet unconventional, gradients, with lots of futuristic blues, moody purples, and acidic yellows.
“Underground” is another of those learn-as-we-go stories (post-apocalyptic in this case), but, because it’s serialized, we’ll have to wait a month to see what the heck is going on. Dominic Reardon’s almost-overbearing inks combine nicely with Jeremy Colwell‘s suitably dull colors to make the story live up to its title.
Go to the next page for the lowdown on “Brain Boy,” ‘King’s Road,” and our final score for the whole issue!
Zac is still struggling to nail down the format for anthology reviews. This will definitely not be it.