Dark Horse Presents (2011 Series) #2
Writers: Paul Chadwick, Robert Love, DavidWalker, Neal Adams, Carla Speed McNeil, Howard Chaykin, Michael T. Gilbert, Patrick Alexander, Chuck Brown, Richard Corben, David Chelsea
Art: Paul Chadwick, Robert Love, Neal Adams, Carla Speed McNeil, Howard Chaykin, Michael T. Gilbert, Patrick Alexander, Sanford Greene, Richard Corben, David Chelsea
Colors: Michelle Davies, Diego Simone, Moose Baumann, Jenn Manley Lee, Bill Mudron, Jesus Aburto, Tyson Hesse
Letterers: Thomas Mauer, Ken Bruzenak, Steve Dutro, Clem Robins
Cover: Neal Adams
Editor: Mike Richardson
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It’s the second installment for the resurrected Dark Horse Presents, and like the first issue (and, for that matter, most anthologies), it’s a mixed bag. Some of the stories are really very good, but others just die on the vine.
Paul Chadwick’s Concrete starts off the issue, and it’s one of the better tales. In Hawaii, Concrete and his team are hiking across a volcano, only to make a surprising discovery. Although the first issue’s story was very self-contained, this story seems to have elements that would lead to a longer storyline. All in all, I think that’s a good thing – anthologies seem to work best when there are serialized tales to bring the readers back, and while most of the stories in this comic fit that bill, this is the one that’s probably the most entertaining.
Robert Love and David Walker’s Number 13, which begins this issue, makes a strong case for itself as well. We begin with the story of a boy wandering a post-apocalyptic landscape, and it’s pretty standard for that genre at first, until we discover a secret the boy is carrying with him. It’s a nice beginning that raises a number of questions.
As last issue, it’s the most venerable comic creators that are turning in the least interesting work in this book. Neal Adams’ Blood continues with an origin story that attempts to tie the character into world history, but does it in a rather pedestrian way, and the characters in Howard Chaykin’s Marked Man are, frankly, despicable people. And not in a good way, not in a way that’s fun to read about – they’re just terrible human beings that I don’t want to spend my time on.
Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder comes back and helps out again, with a funny second installment that continues to explore the world of a former criminal that has turned into the world’s greatest courier. We also have Michael T. Gilbert classing up the joint with another fantastic Mr. Monster story. Here he’s parodying the Marvel giant monster comics of the 1950s, and both his parody and his style are spot-on. Patrick Alexander also gives us a wordless – but oddly charming – tale of The Wraith.
Rotten Apple is the second serial to begin in this issue. Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene present a different take not only on zombies, but on a lot of monster tropes. I really appreciate stories of this nature, and the execution here is strong.
We close things off with Richard Corben’s The Treasure – still weird – and David Chelsea’s Snow Angel, which goes from charming to actually interesting this issue. There seems to be more to this story than a simple child’s fantasy, and that makes for a stronger story.
All in all, this book has more good than bad, which is why I’ll keep getting it. But there are still some stories that just leave me entirely out in the cold.