Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 27: A Town Called Hell

By Stan Sakai
208 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

There are a handful of comics that have gone on for years and years and are reliably excellent. The problem is that, after a while, it’s easy to take them for granted that they’ll always be around and always be fantastic. Having gone on hiatus early last year so Stan Sakai could work on 47 Ronin, I do occasionally worry that being forgotten could be the fate of Usagi Yojimbo. But with a new collection now on the shelves, now is as good a time as any to find out what you’ve been missing all this time. Because trust me, Sakai’s long-running samurai epic is still a pleasure to read from start to finish.

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Gamma One-Shot

Story by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas
Art by Ulises Farinas
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents #18-20, the Gamma One-Shot is a strange beast. It serves as both a complete story in its own right, as well as what feels like a pilot for future comics down the line. It feels like a mixture of Pokemon and Godzilla, but while Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas wear their influences on their sleeves, it goes into places and directions that the originals would never touch. But best of all? There’s no doubt in my mind that the Gamma works better as a collected comic than it did as a serial.

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Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1

Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art by Sebastian Fiumara
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1 is the latest comic starring Mike Mignola’s character who straddles the pulp crime and horror genres. In an ever-expanding universe of titles spun-off from Hellboy, it’s easy for some of the comics to fade into the background more than others. But reading Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1, I appreciate that Mignola, John Arcudi, and Sebastian Fiumara do their best to keep this comic memorable thanks to some particularly strong images that they’ve conjured up.

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Abe Sapien #1-3

Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Sebastian Fiumara
32 pages each, color
Published by Dark Horse

Back in the day, Mike Mignola’s signature creation Hellboy begat a spin-off series, B.P.R.D., which started as a series of mini-series but eventually became an ongoing title. With over 100 B.P.R.D. comics now published and the book still going strong, it’s a healthy title with no signs of faltering. And now, added to the mix is a a spin-off from B.P.R.D., an ongoing Abe Sapien comic. (Yes, Sapien was created in Hellboy, but that’s not where his story has been for quite some time.) But in reading the first three issues of the series, I must admit that one question is jumping out at me more than others, and it’s not one that I think the creators would want. Namely… why?

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Mind MGMT #1

By Matt Kindt
24 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

I’ve been a fan of Matt Kindt’s comics ever since his big debut with the graphic novel Pistolwhip, so the lure of a new ongoing series written and drawn by Kindt was an instant must-read for me. With just one issue, it’s often hard to get a good grasp on just how a comic series is going to be; that said, Mind MGMT #1 made such an instant impression to me as a reader that I feel safe to say that I know I’ll be reading it for quite some time to come.

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Dark Horse Presents #12

Written by John Layman, John Arcudi, Carla Speed McNeil, Steve Niles, Evan Dorkin, Tim Seeley, Francesco Francavilla, Dean Motter, Mike Baron, Harlan Ellison, and Mike Russell
Art by Sam Kieth, Jonathan Case, Carla Speed McNeil, Christopher Mitten, Evan Dorkin, Victor Drujiniu, Francesco Francavilla, Dean Motter, Steve Rude, Richard Corben, and Mike Russell
80 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Dark Horse Presents is a title that I perpetually feel should be a blockbuster seller in today’s comics industry. It offers up so much of what readers say they want; an anthology of different types of stories, with a mixture of old and new creators bringing their A-game to the page. With this latest issue, I think it’s as good a sign as any on how well the series has settled into its format, and finding just the right material for everyone to enjoy something.

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Brody’s Ghost Vol. 3

By Mark Crilley
96 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

It’s been a little over a year since the first two volumes of Brody’s Ghost, Mark Crilley’s new series for Dark Horse. It would be easy to have forgotten about the series by then, or at the very least feel slightly lost with this new installment. But if anything, I think the reverse is true here. Crilley picks up where he’d left off with the previous volume, but does so in a way that keeps readers instantly informed, and if anything picks up steam at a rapid pace. I’d go so far as to say that readers who jumped in with this new installment would do just fine.

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Alabaster: Wolves #1

Written by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Art by Steve Lieber
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Alabaster: Wolves is a comic I’ve looked forward to ever since its announcement. It’s written by Caitlin R. Kiernan, who had a long run on The Dreaming and made the title her own, but who’s had a much bigger career as a writer of prose. It’s drawn by Steve Lieber, whose work on Whiteout made him a star in my eyes and who has produced numerous strong comics since then, too. And the idea of rebooting a character from Kiernan’s books and short stories, and taking her down a different road for a series of comics? Well, it sounded like a blast to me. And with this first issue, I feel like Alabaster: Wolves is already on a good path.

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Ragemoor #1

Written by Jan Strnad
Art by Richard Corben
32 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

When I think of a creepy old mansion with family members who refuse to leave, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher immediately leaps to mind. It certainly feels like the initial spark behind Jan Strnad and Richard Corben’s Ragemoor, a new mini-series from Dark Horse Comics. But where The Fall of the House of Usher quickly chronicled the end of the House of Usher (both in terms of the family line as well as the physical structure), Ragemoor is a construction that quickly proves itself to have quite a bit of life left in it.

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Usagi Yojimbo #143

By Stan Sakai
24 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

In the world of monthly comics, there are a handful of creators who really should reign supreme. At the top of the list? Stan Sakai and his long-running title Usagi Yojimbo. Usagi Yojimbo chronicles the adventures of Usagi, a ronin (masterless samurai) who wanders Japan during the early 17th century. In the latest Usagi Yojimbo, we’ve got everything you can want in an issue; action, intrigue, bad guys, and soy sauce recipes. No, really.

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