Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Dark Horse Round Up

It's that time of the week for some Dark Horse goodness. This week we have two number one issues with Eye of Newt and Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland along with some continuing miniseries. Hit the jump for some more!

The reviews are graded according to the following scale:

Must Read. -- Do not miss this hot piece of comic action!
Buy It. -- For memories sake.
Check It. -- This is a toss up. Up to you really.
Byrne It. (skim it on the rack). -- Look at it but don't leave with it.
Avoid It. -- Steer clear.

Eye of Newt #1
Written by Mike Hague
Art by Mike Hague
Colors by Mike Hague
Words by Nate Piekos

CeeJay: Eye of Newt didn’t catch me like I wanted it to. And that’s a shame because I admire everything about it; the art, the world-building, the entire asthetic. I just don’t think I’m the intended audience.

The story follows Newt, a young wizard’s apprentice who, after a period of training, prepares for his final test. That’s pretty much it. Mike Hague’s world is rich and complex right off the bat but not unfamiliar to those who might enjoy the works of JRR Tolkien. Readers are kind of thrown into everything head first but it’s not a difficult story to jump into.

The writing is serviceable. The world is set up pretty nicely and the characters and their roles are clearly defined but the real star is Hague’s art. One part tapestry and one part classical fantasy, the interiors are imaginative and sort of remind me of chapter illustration in old fantasy novels. It’s not for me but it’s definitely worth a look.


Axe Cop: The American Choppers #2
Written by Malachi Nicolle

Art by Ethan Nicolle
Colors by Dirk Erik Schulz
Words by Ethan Nicolle

CeeJay: This is ridiculous. Not to imply that Axe Cop isn’t entertaining. It’s actually pretty hilarious when you get right down to it. However, I was first introduced to these characters via the animated series on FOX. But the end result is sort of like reading BOOM’s Cartoon Network tie-ins, it’s just not the same on the page.

Ethan Nicolle’s world, crafted in part by his 10-year-old son and co-writer Malachi, is funny and imaginative but it’s a bit of a stretch for 30 pages. The art is consistent and in line with the animated series there’s just not much there for the uninitiated. However, I did get a good chuckle out of the line, “Spoiler Alert: You’re all going to die.”


Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #2
Written by Jeremy Barlow
Art by Juan Frigeri
Colors by Wes Dzioba
Words by Michael Heisler

Nevin: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is without a doubt the best thing to come out of the crapshoot that was the prequel trilogy. It expanded the universe with meaningful stories and characters, made Anakin’s descent to the dark side more believable, and brought back the double-bladed lightsaber wielding bad ass Darth Maul. Son of Dathomir is based on unaired episodes of The Clone Wars, and it picks up where season 5 left us with Maul.

Issue #1 showed Maul escaping from Count Dooku and Darth Sidous, and issue #2 shows a chess match unfolding between Sidious and Mother Talzin. General Grievous and Dooku are sent after Maul and his syndicate army on the planet Ord Mantell. Both sides have many pieces in play, and the fight between them will be won by more than just blasters and lightsabers.

The art of Frigeri is detailed with heavy black lines and strong backgrounds in each panel. Each battle is full of energy, and the colors of Dzioba mirror the dark tone of the comic. Basically, it’s just nice to look at, and I love that Darth Maul sneer face. This comic has everything you could want in a Star Wars story, Mandalorians, Siths, space battles, lightsabers. It’s pure fun like the animated series, and I cannot wait for more.


Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #2
Story by Fred Van Lente
Art by Freddie Williams II
Colors by Jeremy Colwell
Words by Nate Piekos

Nevin: I have to give Lente some major props. The man knows how to start out each issue with a bang. First issue had an intense assault on the White House, and this issue has a psychic battle of projections between two airplanes. It’s a fantastic way to start an issue. The rest of the issue deals with Matt Price, aka Brain Boy, and agent Faraday getting closer to Arkady’s compound.

I missed out on the first Brain Boy miniseries, so I’m a little lost on what is going on story wise with the agency and some of the characters. The interaction between them brings out clear characterizations, but if this is supposed to be a jumping on point some kind explanations in the comic would be nice. While I may be a little lost, I can still appreciate the sarcasm of Price that keeps the story feeling light-hearted. His description of the astral plane is hilarious.

William II knows his way around an action scene, and his art for them is wonderful. Thick, rough lines with heavy shading seem to be his style. From the ghostly projections flitting around doing battle to the suit that Price uses, it’s all complimented well by Colwell’s light coloring. The battle in the sky is a major standout in the coloring department with the different shades of blues and purple between combatants.

Brain Boy is a fun superpowered spy comic, with wit, and great action. Even if the story behind most of what’s going on is beyond me, the comic has more than enough going for it to recommend a read.


Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland #1
Story by Kim Newman and Maura McHugh
Art by Tyler Cook
Colors by Dave Stewart
Words by Clem Robins

Nevin: Based on one of Mike Mignola’s properties in the Hellboy universe, Witchfinder follows the investigations of Sir Edward Grey as he uncovers mysteries usually dealing with the occult. Grey is sent to Hallam to investigate the murder of a crown servant, a task he finds beneath him. Upon his arrival at Hallam, he slowly comes to realize that supernatural powers are at work here, and he must uncover the mystery of Unland.

Even if you didn’t know the character deals with supernatural properties, the art would be a dead giveaway. The art of Cook and colors of Stewart give a dreary, gothic touch to each panel. Every page feels like something ghastly could happen at any moment. It fits the supernatural investigation angle of the story well. The art especially comes alive when Grey meets horrific eels that surely live in people’s nightmares.

Witchfinder is a slow burn, Lovecraftian tale. The pacing and art are perfect for a first issue, and the creeping mystery leaves you wanting more. If you’re down with Victorian era horror, than you need to give this comic a try.


The Witcher #4
Story by Paul Tobin
Art by Joe Quiero
Colors by Carlos Badilla
Words by Nick Piekos

Nevin: As bells from the titular House of Glass ring, Geralt and Vara come rushing back to figure out what is wrong only to find Jakob having an awkward meal with his dead wife. After an awkward daddy-hit-mommy-at-the-dinner-table kind of silence, Geralt regales the guests with a tale of love, in a witcher kind of way. Made obvious from the tense meal, emotions are running high for our heroes as being bottled up in this haunting mansion continues to grate on their nerves.

No one understands what is happening in this mansion or what power it has over them. To make matters worse, the naked grave hag keeps on popping up and heckling Geralt and friends, boobs sagging out (much to their and our dismay) as she cackles from a distance. Querio’s art is still as fitting as ever for the world of The Witcher, and his grave hag is still a gruesome sight in major need of clothes. This chapter treats us to more of the dry manners and humor that Geralt is known for and some of his famous sexy time while still not telling us what the hell is going on in this house.

In all truthfulness, not much happens in this chapter except showing the agitation the house is causing on our characters. We are still not any closer to solving the mystery of this house though the issue ends with definite promise for reveals in the next installment. As said of previous issues, if you’re a fan of The Witcher, you’ll still enjoy everything here.


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Álvaro said...

I like these posts. I don't get the subtle differences between veredicts though.

Nevin P. Jones said...

Thanks Álvaro! If it helps, think of it as a 1-5 scale with the best being 5 (Must Read) and worst being 1 (Avoid it). The full rundown is like this:
Must Read. -- Do not miss this hot piece of comic action!
Buy It. -- For memories sake.
Check It. -- This is a toss up. Up to you really.
Byrne It. (skim it on the rack). -- Look at it but don't leave with it.
Avoid It. -- Steer clear.

Álvaro said...


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