Dark Horse Presents 28 (March 1989)

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The Concrete story goes on forever. It has some of Chadwick’s better art in a while, but also some Liefeldian body mechanics. It’s metaphysical nonsense about the environment. These Concrete stories are best as time capsules–things haven’t gotten any better in the last twenty years.

Zone debuts this issue; Kraiger’s illustrating is fine. The story’s harmless and uninteresting. It seems like it’s going to follow in Concrete‘s footsteps in terms of passivity.

Hedden and McWeeney do a wordless Roachmill. Great art, mildly amusing story. The art’s what’s important here.

Gilbert and Beatty do a Mr. Monster story all about EC Comics and censorship. It’s incredibly well-intentioned but boring and poorly illustrated. The inks on these Mr. Monster stories are hideous.

Then there’s the Homicide. Arcudi… it’s… I don’t know where to start so it’s probably not worth talking about.

Oh, and lame Black Cross pages litter the issue.

CREDITS

Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Concrete, Stay Tuned for Pearl Harbor; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Zone, Of a Feather; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Roachmill, The Terror of Canal St.; story, art and lettering by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Mr. Monster, Inklings; story and art by Michael T. Gilbert and Terry Beatty; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Homicide; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 27 (February 1989)

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Duranona wraps up The Race of Scorpions here and threatens a second series. The story’s mostly nonsensical, partially due to the lack of perspective but mostly because of the writing. The conclusion relies on the reader being able to identify a character from the first chapter when he’s drawn in miniature. At least it’s over for now.

Homicide has gone off the deep end into sci-fi here. Arcudi doesn’t seem to realize how ludicrous and absurd his stories are getting, which makes them painful. I think Mahnke’s big influence here, in terms of figures, is Jaime Hernandez. I keep seeing Speedy in one of the protagonists.

Thankfully, this issue features a wonderful comedic story from Hedden and McWeeney. They’ve got these lush inks and it looks a little like Mike Ploog. It’s a fantastic story, mixing horror and sci-fi and romance. Their entry puts the others to shame.

CREDITS

Race of Scorpions; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by David Jackson. For Better or For Worse; story, art and lettering by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Homicide, A Gift of Life; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 26 (January 1989)

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Arcudi has sort of taken reality and chucked it out the window of Homicide. I mean, I assume he’s basing the story about the assassin who eats his victims’ eyes on a real case… but it’s not believable the same detectives who had the cannibal case are going to have this one. And he’s done nothing to give them any personality, it’s all caricature.

The Race of Scorpions, allegedly in its penultimate chapter here, is a little better than usual. The exposition does a better job establishing where the characters are situated in relation to each other and there’s no much action. Duranona’s still not using any shading, so the whole thing lacks any depth. It looks like pre-Renaissance line drawing. But, hey, better than usual and it’s almost done.

In The Twilight of Langdarro, Davis totally ignores showing the passage of time, making it confusing… but who cares?

CREDITS

The Twilight of Langdarro; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Race of Scorpions; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Tim Harkins. Homicide, Second Sight; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 25 (December 1988)

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Duranona has something like two action scenes this part of Race of Scorpions. Two completely incomprehensible action scenes. Did the editor see something different or did they really get this material in and think it’d look good? At least this installment doesn’t rip off Star Wars.

Speaking of incomprehensible, Davis is back with a new story–The Twilight of Langdarro. I guess he’s not so much incomprehensible just really, really boring. He loves writing exposition. He probably writes four hundred words a story of exposition. And he still hasn’t gotten any better at getting his people down. His faces and figures are still a mess.

The Homicide story–featuring some of Mahnke’s first work–wins best story of the issue by default. It’s barely a story–the lead characters go and get into a bar fight to protect an informant. Mahnke’s not particularly good.

The series’s back in its rut.

CREDITS

Race of Scorpions; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Tim Harkins. The Twilight of Langdarro; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Homicide, Give and Take; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

The Immortal Iron Fist 7 (August 2007)

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Fraction and Brubaker take a break here to focus on one of the previous Iron Fists.

They present the story like a fable and get really cute with it. I don’t think the cuteness necessarily has to do with the Iron Fist in question being female, but because she’s got a goofy, sweet but stupid boyfriend. He’s funny.

Actually, there’s a lot of humor in it. Even narrative humor, with a joke in a text box. Probably because dealing with the tale of pirates isn’t going to be fun unless you get in some jokes.

It works as an issue–I wish they’d done one for every Iron Fist, instead of just this one (shocking how good Marvel books never seem to last).

The art’s a bit problematic. Foreman doesn’t flow naturally into Fernandez who doesn’t flow naturally into Evans. It’s not bad, it just always seems a little off.

CREDITS

The Story of the Iron Fist Wu Ao-Shi, The Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay; writers, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction; pencillers, Travel Foreman, Leandro Fernandez and Khari Evans; inkers, Derek Fridolfs, Francisco Paronzini, Leo Fernandez and Victor Olazaba; colorist, Dan Brown; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 24 (November 1988)

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And here debuts the licensed property… Aliens. Luckily, it’s a really decent eight pages. Nelson and Verheiden almost make it feel like it’s just a comic book, not a movie tie-in. What’s really interesting is the aliens. Nelson’s able to draw so much fluidity into his own creatures, when he’s got to draw the movie alien, it feels awkward. The shape is defined by being able to be a costume worn by a person, a hampering Nelson doesn’t have with his own creations.

Duranona’s Race of Scorpions continues to be unimpressive. Some more Star Wars homage and a lot of details. The art, once again, makes it impossible to easily discern the content. And a lot of the writing is just silly.

Arcudi and Miehm’s Homicide is a good police procedural. Arcudi is weak on the cop chatter, but the mystery is good. Nice inks.

Geary’s Police Beat‘s fine.

CREDITS

Aliens; story and art by Mark A. Nelson; script by Mark Verheiden. Race of Scorpions; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Tim Harkins. Homicide, A Whiff of Madness; story by John Arcudi; art and lettering by Grant Miehm. Police Beat; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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