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‘Dark Horse Presents #6:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Now’s the time to buy Dark Horse Presents again with Issue #6 (nee #199). As it proclaims on the cover page, it's the 2014 Best Anthology for the Eisner Award, Harvey Award, and Stumptown Comic Arts Award. That’s some heavy baggage to carry on any flight. It’s like being told you’re going to get a comfortable, hassle-free flight to anywhere ever these days. I’ll believe it when it happens. Consider me a believer; I couldn’t put this issue down.

Dark Horse Presents has just been one of those comics that’s been there ever since I started collecting, way back in the way back time of my youth – the mid '80s. (This late at night, it feels like a long time ago.) Even when DHP was cancelled for several years, it still felt like it was there. And, it’s true, an anthology like this isn’t always going to be relevant, but some of the best have come from it: Sin City; Hellboy; Concrete; and many others. It’s a place for some of the greats to pitch a new idea to the public and hope for a homerun or just to have a little fun, and from the looks of this issue and the recent accolades, it feels like DHP has come to the family reunion with an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy for their flight to awesome island.

You have Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Scott Kolins (DC, Marvel, all over the place! And, provides this issue’s awesome cover) premiering their new comic, Past Aways, about a group of time travelers travelling to the way distant past of 2015. It sounds like they are from a few million years in the future in which we are the prehistoric time, roads are strange paths, and cars are unrecognizable. It promises to be awesome and leads into a regular series, which now I’ll have to add to my current pull. Thanks for that, Matt Kindt, 'cause I’m not collecting enough!

Other than Semiautomagic being a great name, Alex de Campi (Smoke, Kat and Mouse – Eisner nominated, BTW), Jerry Ordway (This man has drawn so much Superman he probably has inadvertently New Nightmared Supes into reality.), and Marissa Louise (on colors) have thrown as much creepy awesome into their eight-page story as they can. This is how to tell a short story. I’m not even going to tell you what it’s about.

Wrestling with Demons: Part 6 is the final installment in Justin Gray (Jonah Hex, Power Girl) and Jimmy Palmiotti’s (Look him up. He’s awesome.) man versus Satan story, probably a manifestation of man’s inner demons. The art is by Andy Khun (TMNT, Mars Attacks) who gives the story an appropriately wild look, and although I didn’t read Parts 1-5, Part 6 was satisfying.

Tiger Lung is a mystical standalone by Simon Roy (Prophet) that creates a pretty cool world with imagery that sends your creative mind running. Some solid work.

The Mighty: Part 3 (of 3) is another final chapter, and I’m dying to read the rest. Originally created by Peter Tomasai (Batman and Robin . . . nee Two Face . . . nee about every other Batman character until a welcome return from Robin!), Keith Champage (Ghostbusters), and Leonard Kirk (Supergirl, Star Trek, Batman) have shown me in this one issue one of the creepiest superheroes I’ve come across recently. Just the look on his face is enough to send a chill up your spine, and although it’s eight pages, they take their time in letting this guy get under your skin. Really nicely done. John Kalisz on colors and Nate Piekos of Blambot on lettering.

Finally, Hot Shot is a one-off crime story, the only black-and-white in this issue, about a drug overdose that may not be what it appears. Another strong bit of short storytelling from Brian Level (The Brothers James) and Ed Brisson (High Crimes).

This issue is better than well rounded. This issue is perfectly spherical in its awesomeness, and the next issue (#200!) promises to be just as good, if not better. If you want to see some of the most creative minds in the comic industry chase, or want a flavor of, several things, do yourself a favor and start getting DHP.

The cover price is $4.99, but it’s 51 pages!

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