Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Ben Stenbeck
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

At the end of the first issue of Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels, editor Scott Allie mentions that Sir Edward Grey himself first showed up 13 years ago in Hellboy: Wake the Devil. That’s a long time to be planning a character turning from a cameo to a star. I feel like I need to give credit where it’s deserved, though. I might not remember Grey’s appearance in Hellboy: Wake the Devil, but this was a good enough first issue that I’ll certainly remember it down the line.

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Umbrella Academy: Dallas #3

Written by Gerard Way
Art by Gabriel Bà
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

I will be the first to admit that if you’d asked me what comic would be the spiritual successor to Grant Morrison’s acclaimed Doom Patrol run, my answer probably wouldn’t have been, "A comic written by Gerard Way, who’s better known as the lead singer for My Chemical Romance." As soon as the first issue of The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite was released, though, I learned just how wrong I was. And with each new issue of the follow-up mini-series, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, Way is proving over and over that he’s not a one-hit wonder. If anything, he just keeps getting better. Now how great is that?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #21

Written by Jane Espenson
Penciled by Georges Jeanty
Inked by Andy Owens
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

I actually feel bad for most people who have worked on other licensed comic books in the past, or plan on doing so in the future, because they’re almost certainly going to be compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight. It certainly doesn’t hurt matters that tv show creator and front-runner Joss Whedon has written some of the issues and is "executive producing" the rest, but it’s been more than just that—the comic is showing such a nice freedom to do anything and everything that it’s hard for a fan of the show to not get sucked into its pages.

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Robots & Donuts

By Eric Joyner
184 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Art books are my weakness. Seriously, I could buy nothing but art books and be one very happy person. I used to say that I had one entire bookshelf of nothing but art books, but I have to be honest that it’s actually expanded beyond that shelf. And that was even after, regretfully, giving away some of the books that I just didn’t have room for. I think my partner is at times a little bemused by the number of graphic novels and trade paperbacks that line my bookshelves, but recently I was informed that I really shouldn’t ever give away any art books if I’m looking to pare down the collection. All of this is a long, round-about way of saying that a good art book is worth its weight in gold for me, and while I’d never heard of Eric Joyner before Dark Horse published his book Robots & Donuts, this is a book that isn’t being given away any time soon.

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Mister X: Condemned #1

By Dean Motter
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Mister X is one of those comics that I’ve heard so much about, but never actually read. Its reputation is certainly pretty stellar; written and created by Dean Motter, and some of the art provided by the Hernandez Brothers, Paul Rivoche, and Seth. With Dark Horse re-issuing Mister X in a deluxe hardback archive, it certainly makes sense that it would also be the right time to debut a brand-new mini-series to help stir up interest for new readers, as well as a lure for older readers. But now that I’ve read Mister X: Condemned #1, I’m not so sure that’s going to work.

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Usagi Yojimbo #114-115

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

One comic that I think the industry takes for granted is Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. Running since 1984, Sakai’s shogunate era samurai drama is so consistently well-written and drawn that I think people just automatically expect and assume that it will be great as always. Reading the latest two issues, for instance, is a strong reminder of just how Sakai’s series is able to remain so creatively strong.

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MySpace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 1

By Various Creators
176 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

When I first heard that Dark Horse was bringing back their old flagship title Dark Horse Presents as an online anthology, I was a little surprised. The original Dark Horse Presents was an ongoing anthology, the very first title published by Dark Horse and which ran over 150 issues before finally hitting cancellation. Over the years, comics like Sin City, Concrete, and Next Men all made their debuts in Dark Horse Presents, and at its height it was a prime example of what a good ongoing anthology comic should look like. But in this day and age, would an online revival be able to have the same punch?

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Barb Wire Omnibus

Written by John Arcudi, Chris Warner, Anina Bennett, and Paul Guinan
Penciled by Dan Lawlis, Chris Warner, Mike Manley, Lee Moder, Andrew Robinson, and Robert Walker
Inked by Ian Akin, Ande Parks, Tim Bradstreet, Jim Royal, and Gary Martin
320 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

I have to admit that I am really enjoying Dark Horse’s omnibus collections of their old Dark Horse Heroes line. It’s a strange trip down memory lane, bringing back characters that have mostly laid dormant for a decade. Even better, though, you can take a historical look at these stories, trying to puzzle through what did and didn’t work. In the case of the Barb Wire Omnibus, I can’t help but think that a better title for the collection would be The Rise and Fall of Barb Wire. It’s hard to not read this book and just be puzzled by some of the decisions made over the thirteen issues collected here.

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Gantz Vol. 1-2

By Hiroya Oku
224 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

Gantz is the perfect example of a title where I knew nothing about the book going into it, save that it was extremely popular and had spawned an animated version that was fairly huge. After reading the first volume, I thought I had an idea of what Gantz was all about and what future volumes would show. And then I sat down and read the second volume—and suddenly I wasn’t so sure about anything that has to do with Gantz.

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Blade of the Immortal Vol. 19: Badger Hole

By Hiroaki Samura
168 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

About ten years ago, I picked up the first collected volume of Blade of the Immortal; Dark Horse started publishing Hiroaki Samura’s fantastical samurai story in the late ’90s, and I’d heard enough good things about the series to give it a try. I was hooked, and for years I read each new volume as it showed up. Then, about four years ago, I got the idea that I’d re-read the entire series when the next volume was released. I kept buying the new volumes even as I put them aside, unread, while telling myself that sooner or later I’d tackle such a feat. Suddenly I realized that I’d stockpiled no less than eight volumes of Blade of the Immortal (how did four years pass by so quickly?), and if there was ever a time to finally catch up, this was it. And oh, how things had changed since I’d last read the book.

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