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Advanced Review: X #0 (Dark Horse)

Back in 1994, Dark Horse published the original X series, written by Steven Grant and drawn by fan-fave Doug Mahnke, and it instantly became one of my favorite books! Now, almost a decade later, it has returned with an even more powerful team behind it, becoming one of my favorites yet again!

Serialized from it’s three stories found originally in Dark Horse Presents #19-#21, this new take on the over the top vigilante is a blitzkrieg of action and mayhem that will excite any comic fan! Written by acclaimed crime novelist and comic book master Duane Swierczynski (Bloodshot, PunisherGodzilla), X #0 is a dark and brutal book that looks at the underbelly of crime and the sheer horror that will befall anyone that crosses X!

The tale is one of revenge, though the reader never truly knows the full extent as to why, and it’s quite simple. If you do bad things and receive a photo of yourself in the mail with an X marked across it — X will kill you. The premise is easy, the brutality and execution of the slayings is what’s hard. But, not for the artistic talents of Eric Ngyun! His unique visual perspectives makes each panel feel like a well rehearsed dance routine. He draws the eye to every miniscule detail of the page and then slowly pulls back to reveal the visceral carnage before you. It is dark, exquisite and overtly beautiful. Not to pull any punches, this book is intense and not for young readers!  

Swierczynski’s tale puts the reader “behind the scenes” and follows three ruthless thugs through the book, the pigs if you will, and we see first hand how nasty they can be. We also get to see their inner thoughts as to how they will deal with their “big bad wolf” when he comes a’ blowin‘. The book never reveals the thoughts of X nor his actions prior to his attacks, thus making the moment he appears that much more explosive. It is dynamic, vicious and expertly written — everything a “street level” book should be!

Pick up another great 90’s character brought back into the fold by Duane Swierczynski! If you want something intense and amazing, this is the book for you! Though, I have to warn you, you may become a vegetarian after reading it!  

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Review: Dark Horse Presents #15

Dark Horse Comics has been putting out a very diverse set of stories in its Dark Horse Presents title since it launched over a year ago. Readers can get long ongoing stories like this month’s installment of Aliens: Inhuman Condition by John Layman and Sam Kieth, or short one page stories like Ride of the Sabertooth Vampire by Mike Russell. Its diversity is a positive thing in most cases, but sometimes the monthly chapters are a bit hard to get into.

Readers won’t be completely lost, but due to the fact that only eight pages of the longer stories are shown, and most of them are told in captions to move the story along faster than just images. It doesn’t make the stories impossible to read, but it does put more effort on the reader to figure out what’s going on. It’s a fun challenge to new readers, but could be something that would put them off.

But this collection as a whole was very entertaining. The stories that stood out the most were Ghost: Resurrection Mary by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto, Aliens: Inhuman Condition, and Buddy Cops by Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner.

Ghost: Resurrection Mary has a great back and forth between the main characters and an intriguing supernatural plot. The artwork by Noto really stands out, and the entire set of dialogue feels thought out and genuine.

Aliens: Inhuman Condition is a look at the life of some of the artificial humans created by Weyland Yutani Corporation and their unjust treatment. It features a female main character, like most of the Alien franchise, and gives fans a glimpse of what it would have been like if the movies explored more of the android section of the universe.

Buddy Cops was just flat out fun. It had a very cartoony style and was incredibly funny. It had some of the elements of Green Lantern and Nova, with a mixture of what it would be like if Robocop was a strict by-the-book 1970s robot. It could definitely merit its own series if Dark Horse gave it a chance.

Overall this issue of Dark Horse Presents wasn’t the best that’s been released, but it still has some great stories that are worth the cover price.

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The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for February 22, 2012

The DOC’s Top Of The Pile

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

(A weekly “quick pick” of the five titles that should reside at the top of your pull list. In no particular order!)

 

batman the dark knight #6I do the research, you reap the reward! Before you head out to your favorite shop today, be sure to add these five books to your list of goodies. Forget that apple a day nonsense, this “DOC’s” prescription to good health begins with these top five titles of the week!

1.  Torso (Graphic Novel):  Originally published in 2000 from Image, Bendis‘ look at the true story of Elliot Ness’ chase of America’s first serial killer, gets the hardcover treatment through Marvel’s Icon imprint! This is true crime writing at it’s finest!

2.  Invincible Ultimate Collection #7:  Kirkman’s second biggest hit, and cosmic fans number one book, hits the shelves today! If you are a fan of anything good in comics — this ones for you! Sketches, comments and covers to every trade and issue, make this one massive book of cosmic goodness!

3.  American Vampire #24:  Travis vs. Skinner Sweet — in a brawl to the death! Need I say more! Snyder just keeps the good times rolling with this introspective look into the vampire hunter Travis’ past.

4.  The Dark Knight #6:  We all know how nasty Bane can be, but the DCnU Bane is bigger, badder and … smarter? It’s going to be a long night for Batman as he battles his biggest threat yet! David Finch’s cover is worth the price of admission alone!

5.  Dark Horse Presents #9:  This issue has everything to please any type of comic fan! You get a Mike Mignola Lobster Johnson story, an adapted version of Edgar Allen Poe’s The City In The Sea by Richard Corben and the debut of novelist, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s, Alabaster: Wolves! Throw in, one of my favorites, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne by Rich Johnston, and you have 80 pages of pure comic nirvana! Read the full review.

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The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for February 1st, 2012

The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

(A weekly quick pick of the five books that should reside on the top of your pull list. In no particular order!)

 

I do the research, you reap the rewards! Before you head out to your favorite shop today, be sure to add these titles to your list of goodies. Forget that apple a day nonsense, this “DOC’s” prescription to good health begins with these top five books of the week!

 

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1.  Swamp Thing #6:  Scott Snyder continues to prove he is the new face of horror, and this book will embed itself in your nightmares for weeks to come! Just a tip, leave the lights on for this one! Check out my review for all the gory details here!

2.  The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #5: Luther is finally forced to make a decision on whether he will become the man the Librarian wants him to be or not. But things aren’t so black and white when they’re covered in red! Check out Kenneth’s review here! 

3.  Dark Horse Presents #8:  Mike Mignola headlines this one with a compelling story of Kate Corrigan and her revelation about Hellboy! Plus a creepy Beasts of Burden story by Jill Thompson and the continuation of Neal Adams’ Blood! 80 pages of great stuff!

4.  The Boys #63:  Garth Ennis’ over the top series may be gradually coming to it’s conclusion, but the story continues to heat up! Both teams take some big losses when the Seven and the Boys begin their cataclysmic collision course! The end begins here!

5.  Fatale #2: Ed Brubaker weaves a crime noir tale like no other! Now factor in devil worshippers and demons, and you have another amazing book from an amazing trio! Don’t believe me? Read my full review here!

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Dark Horse Announces ‘The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne’ By Rich Johnston

Press Release

 

RICH JOHNSTON CHARGED WITH MANY MURDERS!

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #8 HAS DETAILS!

 

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January 11, MILWAUKIE, OR—From the mind of the infamous editor of Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston, comes a three-part tale of gruesome gossip: The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne, set to premiere in Dark Horse Presents #8!

Have you ever wondered how amateur detectives keep stumbling over dead bodies? Miss Cranbourne doesn’t. Because she kills them. Then finds someone else to pin the blame on.

In “The Vicar Slash’d from Side to Side,” Miss Cranbourne is at odds with the local man of God, and so introduces him to his maker. But in a 1940s English village held together by gossip and sharp looks, how will Miss Cranbourne ensure people look in the direction she’d prefer? And what happens when a man from Scotland Yard arrives to take over the case? This is Dexter meets Miss Marple.

“Some people wonder how comic book deals are done. Dark Horse publishing The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne was a handshake deal made while standing in line at Ralph’s during San Diego Comic-Con. I recommend it to anyone,” states Rich Johnston.

The artist behind the story is Simon Rohrmüller, whose previous one-shot with Johnston, Watchmensch, received critical acclaim. 

“Working on The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne was loads of fun, as aside from the interesting concept, it reunited me with Rich on a project again. Having worked with Rich in the past, and knowing how easy he is to work with, there really was nothing to it; I just jumped straight into it, knowing I’d have a great time,” said Rohrmüller.

Dark Horse Presents #8 is on sale February 1, 2012!

About Dark Horse Comics

Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists.  In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, Will Eisner, and best-selling prose author Janet Evanovich, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as the Mask, Timecop, and the Occultist. Additionally, its highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan the BarbarianMass EffectSerenity, and Domo.Today, Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic-book publisher in the United States and is recognized as both an innovator in the cause of creator rights and the comics industry’s leading publisher of licensed material.

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