Dark Horse Presents 50 (April 1991)

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Heartbreakers is a little better this issue. Bennett and Guinan still don’t have a good sense of what makes a story interesting. This one implies it had potential to be interesting on the second to last page.

Hughes and Story do a few pages, riffing on the idea of pin-up pages. The writing’s far from perfect, but it’s Hughes doing regular comics. It’s technically outstanding, though some of the jokes require a lot of close attention.

Csutoras and Gaudiano continue Harlequin. Some of this installment features Gaudiano’s best art so far. The story continues to be somewhat indescribable and very odd. I love how they get humanity of it when it should be difficult.

Brubaker–in his first work?–has a little childhood reminiscence (art by Christian and Ranjo). It’s short and nice. I miss the cynical, jaded Brubaker.

Hedden and McWeeney do a one page thing. It’s fine.

CREDITS

Heartbreakers, Three Women; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Hip-Deep in the Consciousness Stream; story by Adam Hughes and Karl Story; pencils by Hughes; inks by Story; lettering by Jim Massara. The Black & White Blues; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Harlequin, Act III; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Burning Man; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Mike Christian and Jeff Ranjo; lettering by Jack Pollock. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special (April 1991)

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This special is far from an accurate representation of Dark Horse Presents. Everything looks very professional.

The Aerialist and Heartbreakers installments are both long needed establishments of the series’ ground situation.

I even liked the Heartbreakers one (Bennett’s writing is far stronger from the clones’ perspective, versus their creator).

There’s also lots of disposable stuff–Concrete, The American and Black Cross are all weak, though Warner’s art is better on Cross than I’ve ever seen it. Chadwick and Verheiden use their stories to blather about American culture.

Of the two Miller’s–Give Me Liberty and Sin City–I almost prefer Sin City. Liberty‘s a little overbearing, though the Gibbons art is nice.

Prosser and Janson do a great adaptation of an Andrew Vachss. The Roachmill, Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator entries are all fantastic.

I’m a little peeved Bob the Alien is on the cover but not in the issue.

CREDITS

Give Me Liberty, Martha Washington’s War Diary: April 16, 2012; story by Frank Miller; art by Dave Gibbons. Concrete, Objects of Value; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Aliens; story by John Arcudi; art by Simon Bisley. The American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Dougie Braithwaite; inks by Robert Campanella; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Roachmill; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Placebo; script by Jerry Prosser, based on a story by Andrew Vachss; art by Klaus Janson; lettering by Michael Heisler. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner; lettering by Jim Massara. The Aerialist, Part Three; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kurt Hathaway. Heartbreakers, The Prologue; story by Anina Bennet; art by Paul Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Aliens vs. Predator; story by Randy Stradley; art by Phill Norwood; lettering by Brosseau. Sin City, Episode One; story and art by Frank Miller. Edited by Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 49 (March 1991)

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Geier’s art on the Homicide installment is pretty weak, but Arcudi actually comes up with an interesting case. It is, of course, unfortunate then Arcudi relies on the art for the final panel. I had to read the page three times, staring at it, before I noticed the big reveal. It’s also too bad about Arcudi’s lame dialogue.

Edginton writes a regular Downtown here. The holiday special was a lot better. It turns out the protagonist is a zombie private detective and he has all sorts of wacky adventures. The Pugh art is excellent at times, only good at others… but it can’t overcome the script. Too bad, I was looking forward to this one.

Harlequin, on the other hand, reveals itself to be completely excellent here. Csutoras makes excellent use of asides as he sets up this offbeat road trip. Gaudiano paces it well. It’s a very pleasant surprise.

CREDITS

Homicide, Restless Sleep; story by John Arcudi; art by Earl Geier. Downtown; story by Ian Edginton; inks by Steve Pugh. Harlequin, Act II; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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