Dark Horse Presents #29 Review

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There are a few trends to point out in this month’s Dark Horse Presents. Of the ten stories in this issue, six of them have creators pulling double duty as both writer and artist, so, in theory, we’re getting a lot of exceptionally pure artistic visions, coming straight from the brain to the page, and from there to your eyeballs. There are also three stories coming to a conclusion —or at least reaching a stopping point— this month, and three more are standalone tales. So this issue offers not only artistic purity, but an inordinate amount of closure as well.

Enough trend analysis; let’s get to the official description from Dark Horse:

Read the epic and action-packed thirteen-page final chapter of Neal Adams’s Blood! Meet Mindy and her cartoon sidekick in a world of gang warfare and haircuts in Andrew MacLean’s Snip Snip!

Plus, new installments of The Strain: The Fall, Mr. Monster, Alabaster, Trekker, Nexus, Nosferatu Wars, and a Poe story from Richard Corben!

DHP29“The Strain: The Fall” is set in Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan‘s Strain universe, and is written and drawn by David Lapham. “Alabastar: Boxcar Tales” is written Caitlin R. Kiernan and drawn by Steve Lieber. Chapter 5 of “Nexus: Into the Past” is written by Mike Baron and drawn by Steve Rude. “Trekker: The Train to Avalon Bay” is written and drawn by Ron RandallSteve Niles writes “Nosferatu Wars,” while menton3 handles art duties. “Mr. Monster: Dark Stearn” is written by Michael T. Gilbert and Janet Gilbert, with Michael also on art. “Brainbot Jr.” is written by Dara Naraghi, with art by Tom Williams.

As usual, we only have room to look at three stories:

David Lapham’s storytelling in model his Strain story, “The Silver Angel,” takes some getting used to, as he jumps back and forth between present and past. At first it’s hard to decipher what’s going on, but once you work it out it will be one of the most touching and heartrending stories you’ve seen in a while. Lapham uses many small panels, with constantly changing angles, which break the story down into snapshots. It heightens the sense of melancholy for the past scenes and gives every panel more punch. (Often literally.)

I haven’t always understood “Nexus: Into the Past,” and that may still be true this month, but Mike Baron successfully keeps several balls in the air, giving a ten page story several different plot lines that come together at the end. Steve Rude’s pencils are beautiful, and he’s able to make maximum use of space, but it’s his inks that are really amazing. I don’t remember the last time I saw pages with this much depth. The faces, in particular, come across great.

Steve Niles’ “Nosferatu Wars” concludes here, but it’s suggested that there’s much more story to tell and everything we’ve read so far is just a prelude to the actual wars of the title. There’s a twist that comes entirely out of left field, but the spareness of the story means it doesn’t get over complicated. Menton3’s gorgeous art also sells the twist, just because it’s so striking. Seriously, every time I actually try to think about what happened in this story, my brain just locks up. Check it out.

Over the past few issues, DHP has become a bit bogged down by several long-running stories that make the book less accessible, but there are several gems this month, and the huge influx of new properties next month has me really excited. DHP continues to deserve all the praise.



Zac Boone nearly got a papercut on his cornea today. His twitter.

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