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MySpace Dark Horse Presents Volume 4 Paperback – December 15, 2009
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Bookended by newsworthy tales from two of Dark Horse’s major properties (the Angel/Spike smooch from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Star Wars story-line opener), this collection of webcomics again showcases a wide array of genre, sensibility, and style. While few readers will take to every story, there are at least a few morsels for every taste here, from Gilbert Hernandez’s Rubenesque new superheroine Dreamstar to a long-playing Wondermark glibfest from David Malki. This series, along with Kazu Kibuishi’s Flight anthologies, remains one of the better samplers of contemporary comics talent. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman
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With a nod to two of their most pop-culture friendly series, the anthology begins with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story and ends with a Star Wars one. The Buffy tale is written by creator Joss Whedon with art by Buffy comics cover artist Jo Chen. It's a brief but funny look at the Slayer and some of the side characters from her past, with a little something-something for the fan girls. The Star Wars story is set in the Dark Times series, approximately four months after Revenge of the Sith. Written by Mick Harrison, with art by Douglas Wheatley, it also is one for the fans, though even casual knowledge of the Star Wars universe allows readers to see the strength in Harrison's quiet writing and Wheatley's realistic art.
Other Dark Horse comic series make their appearance as well. A brief Rapture story, written by Taki Soma and Michael Avon Oeming (who also handles the illustrations), will whet the appetite for more of that apocalyptic/tough-girl series. Sinfest: Street Poetry (written and illustrated by Tatsuya Ishida), The Marquis and the Coachman (from the series The Marquis: Inferno by Guy Davis), And What Shall I Find There? (a Hellboy/B.P.R.D. story from Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart with art by Douglas Wheatley), and The Goon and Ann Romano: Gone Dishin' (by Ann Romano with art from Kristian Donaldson) all also offer something extra to fans, while still being eye-catching introductions for new readers.
Topping things off are stories from Matt Kindt (The Secret Files of the Giant Man in Paris), Gilbert Hernandez (Dreamstar), Alec Longstreth (R.J. Jr.: The Dragon's Librarian), Carolyn Main (A Day at the Zoo), and more, which are complete in and of themselves. These round the collection out nicely, keeping it out of the realm of "sales catalog" and making it seem more like what it really is: a collection of terrific, fun comic stories.
-- Snow Wildsmith
Eric Powell's "The Goon" is one of the best comics series out there and included here is a short, whacky story of Goon and Franky going to a bar and beating up some fishy folk.
Other strips included: Mike Mignola's BPRD is included with a young Professor Bruttonholm spending the night in a ghostly church; Chris Onstad's "Achewood" has cutesy teddy bear type characters speaking gangsta to each other as they try to raise rent money from a garage sale; Kate Beaton contributes a two page strip on Darwin and his alternative theory of evolution (check out "Hark a Vagrant!" for comics hilarity); and Alec Longstreth writes about a bookish dragon and his librarian buddy who gets kidnapped by bandits.
Gilbert Hernandez, Guy Davis' "Marquis", Matt Kindt, Joss Whedon's "Buffy", and a Star Wars strip are all included in the book as well.
There's a load of variety in styles of writing and artwork and enough included to make "MySpace Dark Horse Presents, Volume 4" an enjoyable read through some of the best comics being offered at the moment.