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Dark Horse Presents #18 Review


By Diego Chi
November 14, 2012 - 14:34

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Dark Horse Presents has been a consistently strong anthology series since its relaunch in 2011. With all the diverse talent in each issue, it would be hard to have one that lacks greatness. Issue 18 is no exception. 

Joshua Williamson brings Captain Midnight back from World War II. In present day, a US aircraft carrier patrolling the Bermuda Triangle finds our hero charging out of a storm in damaged WWII plane and a haphazard rescue ensues. Victor Ibáñez's art gracefully tackles the fast paced action. To my disappointment, little of Captain Midnight's character is revealed in this chapter. Still, I am interested to see what angle Williamson will take on classic hero. 

Finder: Third World by Carla McNeil is a strange trip into science fiction and fantasy. The story centers around the adventures of Jaeger, a nomad who divides his time between the city and the depopulated world outside. He returns to the city, and McNeil presents us with a visually captivating cyber world. The colors by Jenn Manley Lee and Bill Mudron are vibrant, making it feel like walking through a room of confetti. Despite the awesome visuals, I found the dialogue surprisingly hard to follow, hopefully the plot becomes easier to digest in the next chapter. 

Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas introduce us to Gamma. The story centers around a man who everyone calls "The Coward." He may have defended the world once with his pocket monsters but now he is the laughing stock of the town. Drawn in Farinas' distinct "cartoony yet detailed" style, the art brings out the humor of the character. Dark comedy meets Pokémon? I can't wait to see what Farinas and Freitas have in store.

Edgar Allen Poe's Shadow is wonderfully adapted by Richard Corben. This is my favorite story in this issue. Detailed backgrounds and ominous visuals build the suspense slowly until the horrific climax. Brilliantly creepy.

Memories of the Caspian is a quaint autobiographical story by Dara Naraghi. Victor Santos uses muted colors and plain pencils, fitting the slice-of-life story well. The style made a pleasant break from the usual comic book fare. 

Crime Does Not Pay Presents: City of Roses is a gritty crime-noir story. This chapter showcases the corrupt officials of the town and a brothel madame who once dreamed of being more. Even though this is the third installment of the story, Phil Stanford writes a great standalone issue that does not require familiarity with the previous chapters to be enjoyed. Patrick Reynolds uses gritty pencils and shadows to bring the seedy city to life. Strong delivery and strong art, I highly recommend this series.

Peter Hogan's Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde is about an alien named Harry who crashed on Earth and has since been trying to live out his life peacefully. Steve Parkhouse uses a dream sequence to remind us how wonderful he is at surreal elements as well as the realistic world. I had expected a bit faster pace for the opening chapter, all the characters seem to be waiting to do something. Still, Hogan has a track record for developing intrigue, so I look forward to the next chapter.

Creative duo Caitlin R. Kiernan and Steve Lieber return with their next mini-series, Alabaster: Boxcar Tales. It's a mix of horror and fantasy, ghosts and anthropomorphic animals. Steve Lieber's pencils are dark and moody, and I love his talking animals (check out the star-nosed mole!). The plot is thick from the start as a red-wing bird tells the tale of a girl and her ghost companion traveling through the South by bus. The suspense and intrigue build pleasantly throughout the chapter. If this arc is anything like the the previous mini-series, Alabaster: Wolves, it will be worth keeping an eye on. 

UXB, by Colin Lorimer, is supremely bizarre. Strange looking technology suits provide a few humans with great power, and this chapter showcases a boy who finds a piece of this technology. Lorimer's world is superbly detailed, from the architecture down to the devices in the character's hands. The plot is hard to follow, especially if you have not read any of the previous chapters, but the fantastic artwork makes it worthwhile to delve into the world of UXB.

Wrapping up the anthology is The Secret Order of the Teddy Bears by Mike Richardson. Much like a bed-time story, it is about a boy who can't get to sleep because of the "monster" in his room. The boy's father does not believe him, but luckily his teddy bear will be there to protect him. The cartoony art by Ron Chan feels much like a  children's book. Although it seemed aimed at a younger audience, I thought the story felt charming.

Dark Horse Presents brings so many different creators freedom to explore boundaries with their storytelling. That freedom always results in strong comic books. Yet another strong anthology.

Rating: 8 /10


Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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