Graphic Novel Review 132/365: Dark Horse Number Ones 2017

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!  Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

I was killing the little to no words thing this week, and yesterday, I got such a positive reaction to the Dark Horse Age of Reptiles comic, that I decided to end this week with a Dark Horse book that I’ve been meaning to get to before the end of the calendar year.

Title: Dark Horse Number Ones 2017 (Eight Issues)

Author(s): Various

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics (2017)

Age Rating: 17+

I’m not quite sure where I got this book, but it’s been on my shelf calling my name!  This book is a collection of eight number one issues from Dark Horse Comics, 2017.  I love these little collection/sample type of books; they offer little windows that you can in turn decide to open further, or shut all together.  I will give you a brief run-down of each title below, with creative team in parenthesis.  The issues are completely different in theme, tone, and setting, so there should be something here to entice you.  A few of these books do contain harsh language, so be warned; most of these will be for personal enjoyment, but snippets could be used in the classroom.  Because these reviews are coming after only one issue, there may be questions from me and you…that’s OK.  If we really have questions burning holes in our pockets, we can go out and get more issues.

I have put a “+” next to my top three, if you are looking for a place to start and you trust my recommendations.

#1 The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1 (Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba)

A group of seven kids born with powers have been collected and raised by a man in order to train them to save the world.  We do not know from what or whom.  The issue mostly takes place with the kids around ten-years-old, but we shift twenty years into the future for the last segment.  Looks to be full of intrigue.  Art style is fun and slightly chaotic.

#2 Lady Killer #1 (Joelle Jones and Jamie Rich)  +

Attractive woman assassin hired to kill other women.  We open on a kill, follow her to her house, where she gets a call to complete another hit.  Seems to be set in the 50’s or 60’s.  Art is interesting and bold with solid lines and each page has a bit of black splatter around the panels and edges of the page.  Slick and cool.

#3 Black Hammer #1 (Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston)

This is a strange one.  Seems to be about a group of ex-superheroes that have been living on a farm for ten years, out of sight, waiting for rescue…whatever that means.  Ensemble cast of characters is interesting.  Panel layout fairly straight forward with classic comic book sketchy-style art.  Ending shows us a woman determined to find out what happened to the team, including her father, who has not made an appearance (as far as I know) in the issue.

#4 Dept. H #1 (Matt Kindt)  +

Woman, working for USEAR (Underwater Science Exploration and Research) travels six miles below sea level to an underground base to investigate the murder of her father.  There are seven other crew members at the base.  We are to believe that one, including her brother, is the killer.  Watercolors with monochromatic light-blue to indicate flashbacks, this issue contains my favorite art of the eight, even though it’s not perfect.  The story is intriguing.  I will be seeking out issue two.

#5 Briggs Land #1 Brian Wood and Mack Chater)

Strange story about a family that has seemingly founded a new country on American soil.  The dad, runs the operation from prison, but we quickly discover that the mom is cutting ties with him and moving the family in a new direction.  Three sons and federal agents round out this fast-paced story of power and corruption.  This one will need another issue or two for me to decide if I’m all in.

#6 Bounty #1 (Kurtis Wiebe and Mindy Lee)

With practically no use of black space, this highly-digitized art-intense sci-fi story follows a group of bounty hunters.  The world given to us is a bit complex, and I’m guessing two or three more issues are needed to flesh out a lot of what has been given to us.  The over the top characters make this feel like a video game.

#7 Harrow County #1 (Cullen Bunn and Tyler Cook)  +

Creepy, possession, farm life, early 1900’s, bloody animals.  This issue is perfect for those of you that love a classic witch tale set in rural America.  The art is dark, and the intrigue is high.  I don’t know what’s going on here, but the issue ends with the skin of a boy, draped over twigs…moaning.  Yep.  This book is going to be creepy, and I’m in for issue two.

#8 Hellboy In Hell #1 (Mike Mignola)

If you are not familiar with Hellboy from the comic or the films, you should be.  He’s a really cool character.  Half-demon, Hellboy fights evil and the occult to the best of his ability, even though most times, he doesn’t want to.  This series thrusts Hellboy into…Hell, and the craziness only continues as a ghost-type figure helps Hellboy escape a hammer-wielding terror, only to fly him high into the air to end the issue.  Classic Mignola art, a must-read for Hellboy fans.

Happy reading!


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