After last month’s solid debut, Dark Horse Presents returns this week for its sophomore issue, featuring new stories by the likes of Jordie Bellaire and Declan Shalvey, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, and Chris Roberson and Paul Lee. Is it good?
Dark Horse Presents #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
This issue begins with the second chapter of “Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery,” written by Peter Hogan with art and lettering by Steve Parkhouse. Chapter one wasn’t particularly memorable, and this chapter probably won’t be kicking around in my brain long after I finish writing this review, but at least this installment has a stronger emotional core. Plus, Parkhouse has a keen eye for fashion.
The second chapter of “Dream Gang” by Brendan McCarthy is this issue’s biggest disappointment, especially because its initial installment was probably the best part of DHP #1. Whereas that first installment explored the inner workings of the mind of an average Joe, this chapter abandons the earthly world and takes place entirely in the dream world. Perhaps that’s why this chapter doesn’t seem to make any freaking sense. The art is still fantastic, as is the lettering by Nate Piekos of Blambot, but this story should get a better grip on reality if it’s going to become more than a visual showcase.
The anthology takes a slight turn for the better with chapter two of “Wrestling with Demons,” written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, penciled and inked by Andy Kuhn, colored by John Rauch, and lettered by John J. Hill. This installment is mostly just set-up for the big fight, but I’m pretty excited to watch an MMA fighter battle demons to save his daughter, win five million dollars, and avoid selling his soul.
Next up is a done-in-one called “Banjo” written by colorist Jordie Bellaire and illustrated by Declan Shalvey. While the ending is somewhat predictable, the writing is poetic and the art and coloring are effective and attractive.
Then there’s “Action Philosophers Presents: Action Philosophy!” Written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Fred Dunlavey, with letters by Ed Brisson, it’s easily the highlight of the issue. Instead of focusing on one particular philosopher, this installment explores the practice of philosophy itself, while shedding light on several different logical fallacies argument styles to look out for when discussing philosophy. As usual for Action Philosophers, it’s useful information presented in a fun way.
Closing out the anthology this month is “Aliens: Field Report,” written by Chris Roberson and illustrated by Paul Lee. I’ve actually never seen the “Aliens” film, but I was able to follow this story well enough nonetheless. Still, it’s not a particularly remarkable story, save for Lee’s talents for depicting realistic-looking faces.
Is it good?
While Dark Horse Presents #2 doesn’t have as strong a hit-to-miss-ratio as the first issue, there’s still enough good material here to justify a purchase. The “Action Philosophers” feature alone may be worth the price of admission.