I hate anthologies. Actually, hate's a strong word. I more realistically dislike them because they have a tendency to be a mixed bag. One could easily be riding high on a mix of excellent story telling and artistic execution one moment, only to be let down a moment later by another creative team's lack of one or both of these elements. This brings me to issue 18 of Dark Horse's anthology series "Dark Horse Presents." It’s $7.99 cover price is justified by the sheer volume of content, but is it a quality product?
This particular issue feels like a lot of albums sold on store shelves these days, a few standout tracks surrounded by mediocre filler content. Before I go on, I should state that I found the artwork vastly superior to the plotting of most of the stories, with the exception of a few tales such as "Alabaster" and…. uh…. that’s about the only story I enjoyed.
Perhaps I'm a comic snob, but most of the stories in this edition are mediocre at best and at worst they're completely incoherent. I'm pretty sure that the second story was written after drug use on a Scarface level.
Just awful. Most of it was so bad that I read it in sections with breaks to waterboard myself.
The artwork is where this issue redeems itself. I'm delighted that the artists showed up to work. I enjoyed the ethereal quality that Victor Santos employs in illustrating the memories of Dara Naraghi and Ron Chan's more Saturday morning cartoon take on Mike Richardson'ss script. As a matter of fact just about every artist in here is worth keeping an eye on, they simply require writers who are more capable of using their talents. I commend you all on polishing the turds that most of these snippets were.
Like I said before, I usually dislike anthologies, but I really did come at this issue with an open mind and ready to be proven wrong. But an overall absence of anything but by-the-numbers and sometimes incoherent writing drag the proceedings down.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to shower after wading through this book.
4 out of 10 and I’m being kind.