Dark Horse Presents 46 (November 1990)

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You know, the Aliens stories in Dark Horse Presents, for whatever reason, never bugged me. However, this Predator standalone… it’s really out of place. Maybe it’s because Arcudi’s writing is so lame (he does have a good twist, but Walton’s art makes it hard to appreciate as everyone looks the same). It’s not so much bad, just really lame.

Harris’s Crash Ryan is just getting better. He does a bunch of action (and gets two story slots in this issue) and then has a fantastic reveal. He mixes the awkward politics–it’s pro-worker, but anti-Soviet and anti-Nazi. Awesome conclusion has American big business getting in bed (albeit unknowingly) with Hitler….

The Bacchus story is the origin story. Dark Horse really owes Campbell–Bacchus has added a legitimacy to Dark Horse Presents. The retelling’s great, mixing periods and tones. It’s an essential history lesson (of an inessential subject).

CREDITS

Predator; story by John Arcudi; pencils and lettering by Rob Walton; inks by Armando Gil. Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Bacchus, Defining the Divine; story and art by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 45 (November 1990)

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While the letters page informs me Wagner’s Aerialist isn’t homophobic, but then I wonder why I haven’t seen any comics in Dark Horse Presents where a guy forces a woman to have sex to degrade her. Because the story ends with the boyfriend of the protagonist forcing himself on him (after the protagonist was off having a clandestine meeting with a beautiful woman). A great sociological mind, Wagner is not.

Crash Davis is a lot of fun, even though the Soviets are now backing the American sky pirates. Harris’s approach seems to be a thirties serial, only with some modern sensibilities. Harris also includes the workers’ plight.

I can’t believe John Byrne never pushed DC to sue over Spivey and Mielcarek’s entry. It’s Superman crapping on Lana because he’s with Lois, done in Man of Steel‘s style. Hard to say what’s worse–Spivey’s amateurish, fanfic writing or Mielcarek’s awful art.

CREDITS

The Aerialist, Part Two; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kevin Cunningham. Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Pilgrim Souls; story by Jim Spivey; art by Vince Mielcarek; lettering by Steve Alexandrov. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 44 (September 1990)

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Harris’s Crash Ryan takes place in some kind of alternate 1930s, where America is under attack from some homegrown sky pirate organization called Doom. It’d competently done, but sort of too soon to tell how it’s going to work out. It’s not, you know, guys in tights, but it’s traditional mainstream fare.

Then it’s Geary’s nice little story about some guy’s family and their ailments. Geary has a nice way of doing little stories; this type of story is often attempted in Dark Horse Presents and they usually fail. Geary doesn’t.

The Bacchus entry is about an unknown Greek god. It’s the first time Campbell’s Bacchus art has really impressed me, maybe because this story’s set mostly during the day. It’s amazing how he sets out retelling of a myth and makes it dynamic reading experience.

Sheldon contributes a series of well-illustrated pages and text contrived to bond them.

CREDITS

Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Lower Broadway; story, art and letters by Rick Geary. Bacchus, The Unknown God; story and art by Eddie Campbell. First Love; story and art by Monty Sheldon. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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