Dark Horse Presents 34 (November 1989)

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Race of Scorpions gets even more amazing this issue… Duranona tells the reader what happens to the story’s protagonists in a little text paragraph at the end of the story. The actual story was spent on some supporting cast members. It’s sort of amazing how poorly plotted this story gets. Dark Horse really just didn’t care what they printed. Lots of perspective failures here. Just a dreadful read.

Zone is getting more dramatic–this issue the reporter gets hurt near a fire and Zone saves him, so all the threads are coming together. Unfortunately, Kraiger’s art, which was no great shakes to begin with, is weakening. His faces are poor here and there’s a lot of them because of the talking about the fire. But it’s not terrible.

Stradley and Norwood’s Aliens story is just a conversation over Norwood’s awesome artwork. It’s probably shouldn’t be effective, but it works well.

CREDITS

Aliens; story by Randy Stradley; pencils by Phill Norwood; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Race of Scorpions, By Water and Stone; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 33 (September 1989)

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What can one say when the best story in the issue is the Mr. Monster… it just seems wrong.

Pollock’s Mike & Viv has a lame plot, a couple funny lines and decent art. A bickering couple gets stuck in the Cretaceous period. Dark Horse was picking from the bottom of the stack here.

Race of Scorpions is confusing, weakly written and Duranona isn’t pretending to use shadows. In other words, it’s the norm for the series. It has a incomprehensible cliffhanger this time too.

Zone‘s okay, with Kraiger tying together the previous story threads to imply something significant. However, he ends the issue with some kind of slapstick routine, ignoring all the social commentary he was doing in the rest of the pages.

Buniak, not Gilbert, does the majority of the Mr. Monster story. He’s funny and his artwork’s fantastic.

Kesel’s Nick ‘n’ Nora is weak, but the art’s competent.

C- 

CREDITS

Mike & Liv, Mike & Liv Go To Las Vegas; story, pencils and lettering by Jack Pollock; inks by Jorge Pacheco. Race of Scorpions, Eaten by the Earth; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Mr. Monster, The Movie; story by Michael T. Gilbert and Brian Buniak; art by Gilbert, Buniak and Donnie Marquez; lettering by Mike McCarthy and Ken Bruzenak. Nick ‘n’ Nora; story, art and lettering by Karl Kesel. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 32 (August 1989)

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Ugh, another “annual.” Sixty-four pages of Dark Horse Presents tends to be a little much.

The American is a little long here–it’s very passive and not at all dramatic. On the other hand, Peterson shows he used to be a lot more interesting of an artist.

The Wacky Squirrel strip from publisher Richardson is dumb.

Davis’s Delia & Celia is a complete bore, big shock. He manages to make a pterodactyl boring.

The longer than usual Bob the Alien just shows with more space Rice does an even better story. It’s funny and touching

The Concrete story is better than usual–Concrete’s jealous over girls–and Chadwick puts in three unanswered questions. Two are crime related, one personal. It works.

Bacchus is great. Campbell gets more into his eight pages than anyone ever has in one of these issues.

As usual, Zone is passable, Race of Scorpions is lame.

CREDITS

The American, My Dinner with the American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Brandon Peterson; inks by Randy Emberlin; lettering by David Jackson. Wacky Squirrel; story by Mike Richardson; art by Jim Bradrick; lettering by David Jackson. Delia & Celia, Down, Down and Down; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Steppin’ Out; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Concrete, Visible Breath; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bacchus, A God and His Dog; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Race of Scorpions, The Rusty Soldier; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 31 (July 1989)

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It’s a banner installment of Race of Scorpions. Two things I never thought would occur do this issue… first, Duranona uses shadows to give the reader some sense of depth. Well, only for half the story, but still. Second, he comes up with an interesting detail! In this miserable future, cookbooks are bibles. I’m stunned by these developments.

The Zone story is on the low side of okay. Kraiger spends too much time on the boring Zone character (before he douses some guy in toxic waste or something, which is funny). But the art’s good and the plotting is decent. Kraiger has some sense of what he’s doing here.

Rice’s Bob the Alien story is awesome, as usual. Here Bob encounters deception, but still manages to come out ahead. Lots of laughs, great progression of narrative.

The Duckman story is only a page long and I don’t really understand it.

CREDITS

Race of Scorpions, The Alley Where Sorrows End; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, is Swindled; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Duckman, Duckman’s in a Snit Today; story, art and lettering by Everett Peck. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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.

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