I’m a sucker for anthology comics, in part because your odds of a satisfying story go up with the number of stories per book. It also allows various art styles and a way to get different stories in one shorter sitting. We review the latest volume of Dark Horse Comics award winning anthology series–is it good?
Writer: Ron Randall, Carla Speed McNeil, Ryan Browne, Jim Alexander, Shannon Wheeler, Paul Levitz
Artist: Ron Randall, Carla Speed McNeil, Ryan Browne, Shannon Wheeler, Will Pickering, Fin Campbell, Tim Hamilton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Mercy St. Clair returns to DHP this month with Ron Randalls Trekker: The Volstock Payoff! Paul Levitz and Tim Hamiltons Brooklyn Blood concludes! Plus, Ryan Browne contributes the hilarious one-shot Theres a Gorilla on the Cover!Carla Speed McNeils Finder, Jim Alexander and Will Pickerings Savant, and Shannon Wheelers Too Much Coffee Man round out this issue.
Why does this book matter?
This volume contains four ongoing series, a one-shot story by the excellent Ryan Browne, and the start of a new Trekker run. Six stories in all means plenty of reading!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Ryan Browne’s story is my favorite of the bunch and it’s called “There’s a Gorilla on the Cover!” This story is eight pages long and is told via one comic book cover per page. If you’re a long time comic book reader you’re going to love this as it’s partly an homage to classic comics and the over the top nature of serial storytelling. Starting with a basic idea of a gorilla who has escaped and a hero who must stop him, the story gets progressively more convoluted and ridiculous. Characters die, their ghosts rise up, marriages take place, as do funerals, and the gorilla even has kids that become main characters (which reminds me of Savage Dragon in a lot of ways). The story ends in the most perfect way with the series being rebooted in 90’s fashion (complete with extreme visuals!). Browne’s art suits the story with humanoid animals running about and the comedic angle works beautifully. The colors by Sean Dave help accentuate the eras these issues seem to be mimicking. Simply put, this entire anthology is worth it to read these eight pages.
A fun story to open the issue.
My second favorite story of the bunch opens the issue and is created by Shannon Wheeler. This is a Too Much Coffee Man story and it’s about as nonsensical and over the top as it should be. Too Much Coffee Man calls an exterminator and things go south rather quickly. He gets his comeuppance though, which of course ends in a depressing sort of way. Wheeler draws the character perfectly. He’s beady eyed, a bit lumpy and intense.
The remaining stories are good, though you may have a tricky time enjoying them without reading previous volumes. Trekker: The Volstock Payoff is a chapter 1, and ends up being a good crime infused sort of story with good art by Ron Randall and captions that help put you inside the protagonist. Brooklyn Blood is the 16th chapter and also the end, which left me a bit confused as to where this character has been. The art is solid and eye catching from Tim Hamilton. Savant has an art style by Will Pickering reminiscent of Jonathan Luna’s work. The final story, Finder: Chase the Lady, has a lot of wickedly good ideas, though again, it’s the 16th chapter.
You need this in your life.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Obviously if you haven’t been reading this series Dark Horse doesn’t make it super easy to enjoy the longer running tales. If you’re up for a challenge you can always drop in, but even with some recap it’s hard to gather the journey the heroes have been on and thus it’s less impactful.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent installment of Dark Horse Presents with the start of a new story, a second chapter that’s basically self contained and hilarious, and a story told via covers that every comic fan should read. Dark Horse Presents is the type of read those who love innovative, eclectic stories need.