It’s been a quiet time for news involving Dark Horse, so I’m at somewhat of a loss as to what to put here. I could always rehash my grudges involving the current state of their manga line, particularly after the puff piece masquerading as an interview publisher Mike Richardson did for Previews. However, it’s hard to be angry at them right now when Amazon has informed me that the latest volume of “Blade of the Immortal” will be arriving at my place this Thursday. Also, the company tends to make most (really, all) of its major manga announcements at Sakura Con which will be happening later this month. We’ve been promised new titles from Clamp and Kazuo Koike, but I’m hoping we’ll get a few surprises there too.
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth vol. 6: Return of the Master: If you remember the creepy guy looking on from a hillside in the last few pages of the team’s Russian adventure in vol. 3, then this is where you’ll find out an explanation as to what his deal is. Apparently it involves assembling a worldwide cult bent on the world’s destruction. Or, at least hastening the destruction of the world considering its current state. Would-be “B.P.R.D.” nemesis The Black Flame is also said to make an appearance here as well. Let’s see if he actually manages to pose a threat to the cast this time instead of either a) being used as a dupe by the frogs or b) being Mr. Exposition before someone (other than Liz this time) blows his ass away.
Battlepug vol. 2: This Savage Bone HC: Heh. “Savage Bone.” Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh...
The Black Beetle vol. 1: No Way Out HC: While I don’t have an innate love of pulp, I can certainly appreciate the art from Francesco Francavilla after his sterling work on “Batman: The Black Mirror.” There’s also the overwhelmingly positive reviews I’ve read about this series to consider, and I think that’ll be enough to get me to pick this up in hardcover.
Empowered Special #4: Animal Style: This time our flimsy-suited heroine finds herself in the middle of a mass carjacking at the 21st annual Alternate Timeline Superhero Auto Show. The culprits? Animal-styled crimebots with names like Brass Monkey and Maul Bunny. I think I can safely say that this comic’s existence will be justified by that right there. Also, since this is the fourth such “Empowered” special, they now have enough to fill a trade paperback collection. So Dark Horse, how about it?
Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic: The saga of Zayne Carrick, the unlikeliest of Jedi... well in his case I guess it would be “Force sensitive” heroes gets the omnibus treatment. Writer John Jackson Miller won’t win any awards for his dialogue and the plotting can trend toward the conventional more often than not, but he’s great with the characters. Carrick is the archetypal “loveable loser” whose screw-ups are genuinely endearing while his partner Griff is a miscreant whose desire for a quick buck manages to lead him into situations where he’s actually doing the right thing. As I’ve said before, it’s also impressive that Miller was able to wring such quality from a title that was based on a (quite excellent) videogame, and this is something I’d certainly recommend to fans of it who still haven’t gotten around to checking it out. That said, though there’s no “vol. 1” attached to the title here, I would think that they’d get around to doing the whole series in this format eventually. If only because this collects the first three volumes and ends on something of an “unresolved” note.
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1: Gerard Way’s latest comic project has been some time in coming. Granted, he still has his band My Chemical Romance on the front burner, and this series serves as a follow-up to their last album. On paper it sounds fairly conventional: The Killjoys were a group fighting against the evil Better Living Industries and all of them died except for one -- Girl. Now it’s up to her to lead what’s left of their followers to take out BLI once and for all. Pretty standard stuff. Then again, you could’ve said the same thing about “The Umbrella Academy” and that has turned out very well so far. In fact, I’m disappointed that we’re getting this rather than a third volume of that series now. Also, why is Way working with a co-writer, Shawn Simon, here when he did “The Umbrella Academy” solo? I don’t think this is reason enough to be concerned, though, particularly when Becky Cloonan will be providing the art. As her past work has shown, she should be as good a fit for Way’s style as Gabriel Ba was.