Lee: And now for something completely different… I picked the books and Thomm is commenting first. So he has no idea why I picked them, or for that matter, why he would care. Oh well! On with the shhhhoooooowwwww!
Thomm: That’s not really different. I never know what’s going on inside your head, even when you write something.
Kelly Sue DeConnick (W), Phil Noto (A), and Jenny Frison (Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $2.99, Miniseries
Former journalist Vaughn Barnes has been reduced to moonlighting as cameraman for the shoddy paranormal-investigation cable TV show Phantom Finders. But when a curious device summons the specter of a beautiful, translucent woman, Vaughn is plunged into a mystery of criminal intrigue that spans two worlds! Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto launch their exciting new take on one of Dark Horse’s most popular characters ever!
Thomm: I have read one installment of this in Dark Horse Presents. It looks good, but it’s too early for me to tell if it’s worth a long run. I’m gathering this is an existing character from an earlier era, but I don’t know those stories, either.
Lee: I can't help but think that Ghost would have been a long lost character if it weren't for Adam Hughes. I am sure Noto's art looks wonderful but I am not sure the character has any appeal.
Four more below the break.
MARKED MAN HC
Howard Chaykin (W/A/Cover) and Jesus Aburto (C)
FC, 72 pages, $14.99, HC, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”
To the casual observer, Mark LaFarge has it going on. He’s got a beautiful wife, cute kids, a McMansion in the South Bay . . . the guy is the living embodiment of the American dream. But nothing is ever as it seems. LaFarge is a career criminal who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life . . . and that life of crime, completely separate from the life he presents to the world, is about to catch up with him. And there will be blood . . . a great deal of blood. Collects Marked Man stories from Dark Horse Presents #1-#8.
Thomm: Now this was a very good story from Chaykin. I’ll not be getting this because I already have it in the DHP issues where it first appeared, but if you haven’t read it, it’s Chaykin as he was at a higher point in his game. Maybe a new era of quality work from him? Let’s hope.
Lee: This is the Chaykin that everyone knows and loves. If you've worried that he's lost his touch then worry no more because this really was a return to form. It's well worth the money.
NEXUS OMNIBUS VOLUME 1 TP
Mike Baron (W), Steve Rude (A/Cover), Eric Shanower (I), and Les Dorscheid (C)
FC, 416 pages, $24.99, TP, 6" x 9"
Nexus is the greatest avenger in history, but his power and purpose come from an alien race with their own agenda. Is Nexus hero or pawn? Deliverer or destroyer? God or devil? Contains Nexus Volume 1 #1-3, Nexus volume 2 #1-11.
Thomm: You know, I’ve read some Nexus stories over the years and never got into the character, even though I like Mike Baron’s work on other things, like Green Arrow. I think I’m seeing Lee’s theme, though. Everything so far has been in DHP in its new incarnation.
Lee: I read all these issues many, many years ago and I know that I liked them. Rudes' art is fantastic and Baron's story is quite good. But, because of the cult following this has, I can't help but wonder if I didn't miss alot of the subtext the first time around. 400 pgs for $25 is really hard to beat so I'll probably pick this up.
Jan Strnad (W) and Richard Corben (A/Cover)
FC, 112 pages, $17.99, HC, 7" x 10"
Ragemoor! A living castle, nurtured on pagan blood, harborer to deadly monsters! A fortress possessed of its own will and ability to change itself, with the power to add and destroy rooms and to grow without the help of any human hand. Its servants aren’t human, its origins are Lovecraftian, and its keeper must fend off the castle walls from the terrible race of worm men! Collects the four-issue miniseries.
Thomm: Well, so much for the DHP theme. Can’t say as I’ve ever read a story where a castle was a protagonist. But for the word terrible as a descriptive, I’d think I’m supposed to root for the worm men in this story. Strnad is very good, and Corben’s art is always great, so this is a good bet.
Lee: It's a little pricey at $18 for 112 pgs but it's gonna look pretty. And Strand is a really good writer too so I am sure this will be fun.
THE SHAOLIN COWBOY ADVENTURE MAGAZINE TP
Andrew Vachss (W), Mike Black (W), Geof Darrow (A), Gary Gianni (A), and Scott Gustafson (Cover)
b&w, 96 pages, $15.99, TP, 9 10/16" x 6 3/4"
Best selling author Andrew Vachss teams with award-wining artist Geof Darrow to revive the spirit and format of the pulp novels of the 30s and 40s. The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine is the first new hero-pulp to be printed in decades and combines hard-hitting prose with illustrated mayhem. The Shaolin Cowboy: The Way of ‘No Way!’ is a kung fu gripping tale of high adventure and relentless bloodshed. The Shaolin Cowboy and his trusty mule battle overwhelming odds and inclement weather against enemies thirsting for revenge and retribution in the battle royal to end all battle royals.
• Best selling crime-fiction author Andrew Vachss!
• Geof Darrow co-creator of Doc Frankenstein, Hard Boiled, and The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot
• Decorated police officer turned author Mike Black! Prince Valiant artist Gary Gianni!
• And an amazing cover by award winning Scott Gustafson!
Thomm: I’ve really enjoyed the prose work (minimal pictures) from Vachss that have appeared in a couple issues of DHP and I always like Darrow’s art, but this is a curious concept. If anyone can make something so dated as the pulp magazines of 70 years ago work, it’s Vachss. I see we’re back on the DHP theme, too.
Lee: I love Darrow and I really enjoyed his Shaolin Cowboy series (which needs a fancy hc!) but I am not sure about Vachss. Don't get me wrong he's a fantastic noir writer but his stories are... to be kind.. grim. They are seriously hard core noir which will either work perfectly or fail miserably. If you like your noir black, dirty, and very violent there's a good chance you will like this.
Thomm: Scarily enough, I may have been on a wavelength with Lee in perceiving his picks this month. I really need a vacation.
Lee: I'm glad you can figure it out because I think I forgot my logic in the time between picking and responding.