Dark Horse Comics

Lady Killer 2 Issue #4

Lady Killer 2 Issue #4
Story & Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen

Boy oh boy has it been a long time. And no, it wasn’t me just being really behind (as usual). Issue number three arrive in shops back in November. This is getting to be at Archie Horror-level of excruciating waits. It’s not really shocking, though, considering that Jones has signed with DC as an exclusive creator this past summer. The lady has been busy turning out plenty of art for the publishing giant.

But nevertheless, the return of everyone’s favourite 1960’s killer-for-hire is a very, very welcome one.

Last issue, Josie was given a “gift” by her partner, the increasingly-shady Irving. The gift was the corpse of Josie’s husband’s idiot boss, whom Eugene was struggling with. Josie threatens Irving’s life, but eventually lets him off with a stern “piss off.”

At work, Eugene is questioned on the disappearance his boss, Mr George Robidoux, after other employees told the investigators that Eugene didn’t get on with George. And it doesn’t help that with George out of the way, Eugene’s path to George’s job is clear.

Despite Josie wanting to part ways with Irving, he certainly makes difficult for her. When Josie is caught trying to kill off a “dancer,” Irving appears and shoots the other woman. But the gunshot gives the pair away. Before Josie can leave, Irving asks her why she doesn’t leave her suburban delusion and to stop pretending who she really is.

It clearly shakes Josie up a bit to be reminded that she’s a killer, and things quickly go south for her yet again. When she returns home again, she gets her ear chewed off by Eugene. But before the couple can get into it, they hear the dog barking. Poor Duke is severely injured and their windows are shattered.

Mother Shuller sends the girls off with Eugene as he heads to the vet, leaving both ladies to pick up the pieces of their past mistakes with Irving.

I say each issue that Jones kills it with her art, but it needs constant reiteration: this woman is a boss. She has a great eye for angles and details (both of which are greatly enhanced thanks to Madsen’s colours). The story, though, is really taking off. It’s a much smaller story than the previous 5-issue story arc, which makes me think this series 2 is really a great improvement.

Issue 5 won’t be out until end of May, according to Dark Horse’s website. It’s another excruciating wait, but let’s just call it a great building of suspense.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Dark Horse to partner up in the not-too-distant future


The MST3K revival is just around the corner, kids. Netflix has now announced a premier date of April 14th.

And it’s great. It’s exciting. But the cherry on top is the announcement that MST3K will now be in a partnership with Dark Horse Comics. This is going to include a new comic series. Considering the show is based on riffing films, it will be interesting to see what the team at Dark Horse come up with. Considering that Dark Horse and MST3K are full of great ideas, things are bound to be good.

The publishing company will also be releasing products for the show. Hopefully there will be Crow backpacks or Tom Servo inspired hats. But seriously, hopefully the license will include classic characters like Mike (who, like his fellow Rifftrax members, won’t be joining the revamped show on Netflix).

Lady Killer 2 Issue #3

Lady Killer 2 Issue #3
Dark Horse Comics

Story and art by Joëlle Jones
Colours by Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Crank!

You know, for being such a tough, strong, quick-witted lady, Josie can be a bit dim at times. Frustratingly so.

The whole thing about “following your gut”? Well, it’s a good thing she just flat-out ignored her gut feeling. For a series about a housewife/hitwoman, this issue was a particularly dark one for Lady Killer.

Josie is rather happy with her decision to turn down “the union” and stick with her long-time friend, Irving. While their clientele isn’t exactly high-end, they are making a name for themselves as a pair. But of course, things are about to go very wrong.

When Josie has “Uncle Irving” over for supper one night, Mother Schuller begins to freak out. The woman chucks Christmas ornaments as the man and threatens him with a meat cleaver. Not exactly the poster child for hospitality.

Understandably, Josie is pretty confused by the volatile response from her mother-in-law. So Josie sends Irving out with her husband while while she and Mother Schuller work things out. Her husband (increasingly tired-looking throughout the Florida issues) tells Irving about how he can’t manage his new job and boss anymore as he is beginning to shoulder more work than he can possible handle.

Mother Schuller promises to tell Josie the story behind her actions, as long as she just makes Irving leave. So Josie obediently sends Irving away and prepares to hear what is truly an appalling truth behind her partner’s previous life.

Mother Schuller was a civil service officer for the Nazi party in Germany during the war. She wasn’t high ranking, but was often assigned to investigate someone. One special case was a doctor who was believed to be running a fraudulent escape network, getting people out of Germany and into America.

But of course, Irving’s true intentions are much more sinister, as Schuller finds out. Irving had been tricking people into giving them their money for “safe passage” – but was giving them inoculations of cyanide instead.

Immediately, Josie tries to rid herself of Irving. She arranges a meeting with Mr Hawley from the union. She thinks it would be great to have someone larger looking over Irving, but Hawley immediately rejects her offer as they aren’t exactly members of the Irving Reinhardt fan club either. So he rescinds his previous offer.

Irving has Josie in a bad spot, which only gets more problematic when she returns home and finds her husband’s boss in their ice chest.

Issue #3 was dramatic, and way dark. I do love where Jones is taking the story by building up the suspense little by little. Over the seven issues of Lady Killer, you grow quite fond of Josie and all of her flaws. It will be plenty interesting seeing how she tries to get herself out of this mess.

Why yes this comic did come out on the 16th. But life gets busy and some weeks a girl just doesn’t give a damn.

The biggest names in indie comic publishing arrive at MCM London Comic Con 

VP of Marketing of Dark Horse Matt Parkinson was joined by his counterpart at IDW, Dirk Wood. The pair had plenty of annuncements to make as well as taking the time to answer con attendees questions.

The big announcement for fans was that the two indie publishers will be collaborating on the future cross-over project Star Trek and Aliens. But Aliens news doesn’t stop there as Dark Horse celebrates the films 30th anniversary with new collections of the long-running series are being released.

Dark Horse and IDW are both known for their licenses that they have. IDW has begun their work on what Wood dubbed the “Hasbroverse,” a series of comics that tie into many of Hasbro’s big titles, including Transformers and GI Joe. The book, called Revolution, is already in comic book shops.

Another great announcement from Wood (which made much of the audience quite happy) was saying that IDW is working on creating their own television shows, which already includes an Elijah Wood-fronted version of Dirk Gently. But also in the pipeline is an adaption of the Eisner award-winning series Locke & Key. After two failed attempts to get the show adapted, Wood said the company decided to keep all the rights in the company and do it right. Joe Hill has apparently already written some scripts.

Parkinson had plenty of news pertaining to the popular series Hell Boy, including a short series that will be a spin-off.

Also in attendance at the panel was the Deputy Executive Director of the Comic Book Defense Fund, Alex Cox. Cox spoke about the work the CBDF was doing in their 30th year, as well as their future projects in the UK, Raising a Reader.

Great to see people fighting the good fight for freedom of speech back in the US of A.

It’s always great to have these guys back. They’re friendly and clearly would take all the time they could to answer questions. Plus they had plenty of free goods. More comics at the comic con, please!

Lady Killer 2 Issue #2


Story and Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Crank!
Cover by : Joëlle Jones and Michelle Madsen 

I don’t know why I didn’t re-read the first five issues of Lady Killer before the sequel miniseries came out, but as soon as I opened issue #2, I regretted not doing so.

As soon as you reach page one, you are re-introduced to Irving Reinhardt, an ally of Josie’s found in issues #4 and #5 from 2015’s run. Good ol’ Irving has been looking for Josie, and has a new proposition for her. Since he’s old and “retired” – he wants Josie to do all the, er, laborous work while he helps her out with the cleaning up (which for a 60’s housewife, is ironically the one thing she’s really horrible at as seen with last issues tub troubles). Despite her hesitation, she eventually agrees.

After accumulating a business partner, Josie returns to her average life and goes to a Christmas party at the beach for her husband Gene’s work. All at the party is Gene’s super sleazy boss, whose dressed like a rather sun-caught Santa, and his wife from last issue. In a rather sweet move, Josie wears a rather unfashionable suit to the party. She’s self-conscious that all the other ladies are donning their new bikinis.

But of course the party wouldn’t be any fun if something potentially dangerous happened to Josie, and Irving shows up and throws himself into her family life. He knows the twins by name and introduces himself to Gene as Josie’s Uncle Irving. And Josie’s partner has officially muddled in her personal life in a big way. But at the party, Josie finds a note telling her to go to the Surfside Playhouse.

Awaiting her is an unnamed man playing bingo. He knows all about Josie and her work – and what happened at the World’s Fair. He also has a proposition for Josie, which I guess that’s what happens when small businesses start to become successful. He tells her that he can provide her with the type clients that will be more of a challenge than the current work she’s been doing on her own.

He does warn her that there are “dues to pay”, but without telling her what those dues are, Josie agrees.

Josie’s rule #7 is to trust her instincts. It’s plenty obvious that going into business with Irving isn’t going to make Josie’s life and easier. And that’s not even taking into account the mysterious bingo-man’s ominous warning. Safe to say that Josie Schuller has once again got herself into a bit of a bad spot. Shame she didn’t following her own rules, though it is a bit more fun for us.

On a final note, it goes without saying that Jones’s cover art is also on-spot, but I do with there were some variants to pick up. Issue one did, but it wasn’t a particularly interesting one. This is a series that pretty much sells itself on style, and how I wish it would exploit that more.

Wicked Wednesday: Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In


Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In is a one-shot comic from Dark Horse is that both creepy and exciting.

The Beasts of Burden series has won both the Eisner and Harvey Awards. What the Cat Dragged In is the first installment since 2014. The series is about a group of cats and dogs that protect their home of Burden Hill from the paranormal. Writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson return with Sarah Dyer co-writing.

The newest story opens with Scout and Orphan as they investigate Dymphna, whose coven was taken out by Orphan and the wise dogs destroyed them. Dymphna surprises them and explains that she has been trying to get access to the house where her familiars used to live, but has been unsuccessful.

The three cats seek the assistance of Hoke, a raccoon who will be able to open the door for them. Hoke is a fantastic, light comedic relief in a darker story of magic and witchcraft. Plus he’s a raccoon. Hoke eventually gives in to their requests and helps them enter the home where Dymphna’s familiar and her partner lived.

Inside they find the house in a poor state; it’s covered in mold and rot. But they proceed down into the depths of the home where Dymphna faces two cats who were a part of her coven. They are alive only in the fact that the Harrow she summoned are making them suffer. They kill themselves only to be brought back every time.

Dymphna has to face the choices she’s made and pay the consequences. While her friends are spared, she makes a deal with the harrow that finally breaks the hold it has over the other members of her coven. While she survives, they finally move on. Her quest for vengeance eventually leads her to loss.

What the Cat Dragged In is my first experience with this series, but it seems to be a pretty great entry point. The premise certainly sounds a bit silly, but it’s treated with a dark and mature flair that makes this story rather good. The best stories are layered with lessons and pain, and What the Cat Dragged In manages that in only a few pages.

I love Thompson’s artwork as her painting style seems to capture the emotions of these animals and gives them genuine personalities. This one-shot really perked my interest in this world that Dorkin and Thompson have created. I’m hoping to be able to pick up some collected editions in the near future.

Pointless side-note: I love seeing the vintage Dark Horse logo on these comics this year for their 30th anniversary. I need to pick up some of the variant issues, especially Joelle Jones’s cover for the first issue of Tomb Raider. Not that I’m into Tomb Raider. But still. It’s gorgeous. Also speaking of Jones, the next series of Lady Killer has officially been announced for August! Wahooo!!

Archie vs Predator issue #4 review


Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet

This Cover: Faith Erin Hicks variant cover 

The bad idea was relying on boys to do things for us. Boys never do anything right.” – Veronica Lodge

Issue #3 left Betty, Veronica and Archie in grave danger – face-to-face with the Predator. Dilton’s Archie-bot invention malfunctioned leaving Archie in peril – not like things were going well to begin with. Nearly all of their friends are dead and the end of Riverdale seems to be looming overhead. Things really did not look bright for the heroes.

The predator leaves the three kids alone, but not without the hunter seemingly called Veronica by Betty’s name. But clearly Predator is catching on to things, and he might even have a crush on Riverdale’s most popular blonde. With Archie pretty much left incapacitated, the two ladies need to join together to win. There is, of course, still that looming jaguar dagger curse left to finish off. But of course, the two struggle to work together. Betty doesn’t believe they have a hope without Archie, and Veronica is ready to take her destiny into her own hands.

“If I’m going to die, you can bet it’s going to be in couture.”

The girls can’t bare to live without their Archie so they hook him up to one of Veronica’s father’s machines. Of course Veronica being a supreme woman of science, she turns the dial up to 11 – much beyond the suggested level of 4. “Veronica Lodge ain’t got time to read.” What does this machine do? Who needs explanations? No one, and it’s best if you laugh instead of asking questions.

But before they head into the panic room that was installed by Veronica’s father, the two girls attempt to take on the predator themselves. This is where things go south pretty damn fast. But would it really be a Predator book if there wasn’t intense and gross violence?

Also, there is a scene that I HAVE to mention where the predator is wearing Betty’s lucky scrunchie. Um. This is probably the best part in the entire series. If not, it at least sums up this whole cross-over in one panel: utterly insane.

But will the kids make it out alive? Well, things definitely don’t go to plan. The ending is so weird. So wonderful. So off-the-wall. So zany. There really couldn’t be any other way to end it (and there will be no spoilers here – the ending is so worth reading yourself).

This particular variant cover was one that I was really looking forward to since the day I first saw a preview of it on Dark Horse’s website. Faith Erin Hicks (The Last of Us) did an amazing job. The great covers and variants were half of the fun buying this series. Dancing Predator has me pissing myself every time I look at this cover. Poor Archie.

There are a lot of mashups out there right now. Probably too many, and a majority of them are really awful and/or completely unnecessary, but AvP is a bit cheekier and smarter than many of its counterparts. Alex de Campi’s writing is SO on point with this issue. There were several moments that were pretty damn hilarious (if brutal over-the-top violence is your thing), and as usual, she made plenty of remarks about the relationship of the two teenage girls.

Archie vs Predator was a great short series. Was it really one of the best things to come out this year? Well, probably not. But it was worth a read. The writing was really great throughout. The covers and art were above and beyond. If b-movie or slasher horror if a delight to you or you enjoy watching worlds collide, this is definitely a series to check out. And who really would pass up a chance to see two icons on the page together? If you would, then well – you’re no friend of mine.

Missed out on buying the series? Can’t be bothered to look for back issues? Still want in on the fun?  The Archie vs Predator deluxe hardcover will be on sale at comic book stores on November 4th.

Archie vs Predator issue #3 review


Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet

Cover: Gisele with Maria Victoria Robado

“More victims! More mutilations! MORE MILKSHAKES!”

Riverdale is doomed. Or it certainly seems like it will be in issue three of Dark Horse’s Archie vs Predator series.

Archie and his pals are still on the run from the elusive predator, and not too many of them left. Their plan to destroy the creature didn’t go as planned, leaving all of Riverdale’s best muscle scattered in the once-quaint streets. Issue #3 opens with Jughead rejoining the team, still dressed as the Veronica decoy. He has to deliver the bad news, which brings out some of the most Archie-esque banter of the series.

The group splits, not wanting to be around the certainly-doomed Veronica behind, leaving only the core group of characters left. Certainly they will all survive, right? Unfortunately, unlike last issue where it seemed uncertain who could survive, readers know no one will. What was shocking before felt a bit repetitive this time around. Being bored watching classic, beloved characters die probably wasn’t the goal.

The trip to the AV room goes pretty much as expected, minus one trick left up Dilton’s sleeve. But with the Predator fast approaching, someone needs to stand up as the ultimate hero of the series. Last review, Betty was the queen of taking control while Archie acted like a massive dolt. But de Campi brought the best out in him this issue, as he was finally becoming the hero he is often seen as in the original comics. This is called AvP for a reason.

The art is delightful as ever. The cover by Maria Victoria Robado and Gisele is so good. The delightful juxtaposition of an iconic Archie look with the horrific predator just about sums up the entire feel of the comic. Balancing the line between an all-out bloodfest and keeping the fun appeal of the characters has to be tough, but the creators have found a balance that has really led to a fun almost b-movie camp type of entertainment.

So far this series has been a lot of fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously because it really can’t – its so silly and sometimes brutally gruesome. It isn’t better than Afterlife with Archie, but it could never be. Thankfully it never tries to be. But there is plenty of action sure to come with next month’s issue. The fate of our heroes is not certain, but one thing is: the conclusion is sure to be one hell of a ride.

Archie vs Predator #4 is out July 15.

Archie vs Predator issue #2 review


Archie vs Predator #2 of 4

Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet
Cover: Dan Parent with Jason Millet

The first issue of Archie vs Predator played like a regular Archie comic in many ways: the usual cast of characters, the silly plot device (a bag of chips) and the usual predator. Okay, so a looming alien hunter is probably a slightly unusual visitor to Riverdale. But while the first issue held suspense for blissfully unaware teens, this issue let’s all Hell break loose.

The kids think they are returning back to Riverdale and normalcy, but the predator is on their trail. All this mayhem and bad luck is mostly Betty’s fault, as she stole the jaguar knife and cursed half the ladies in her high school. She and Veronica seek out a familiar name for some magical assistance. Actually, this series should be Betty vs Predator because this girl is kicking ass and leading the entire plot. This seems very typical of de Campi’s work (which is always twisted and fun).

Everything about this issue is both brutal and balmy. This series continues on being the best of each, even during the major battle scene at the end. Just beware: do not to read while eating because things can get pretty grim here. But the deaths are pretty fun and entertaining. These awful killings are great juxtapositions compared to the pleasant lives they though they were returning to in Riverdale.

Despite this heightened level of gore and violence, this will probably still appeal more to Archie fans than Predator ones. The motive for the juvenile specimen, when it is revealed, is bound to be more silly than sinister. But for those who love both – Archie vs Predator is a massive success. This issue really amped up the action that is bound to be a nice set-up for the last two issues.

As a side note, there are so many great variant covers for this series, it’s so difficult to choose every time I’m in the shop – though I have tended to go with the Archie-looking ones because they’re utterly hilarious.

Archie vs Predator #3 is out June 17th.

Lady Killer issue #5 review


Lady Killer issue #5 of 5

Story: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Laura Allred

It is the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962 and despite all the excitement in the city, hit-ladies Josie and Ruby have bigger, deadlier things on their minds. Last issue the two bonded with each other over a common cause: wanting out of their contracts with their lives. This is only obtainable if they take out their former colleague Peck and boss Mr Steinholm.

In their ultra-classy World’s Fair worker disguises (which are like a cross between Jackie Kennedy and Pam Air flight attendants), the two head out into the fair to take control of their fates. As suspected, it appears as though Mother Schuller knows more than she lets on when she recognises Josie’s mysterious accomplice Irving Reinhardt.

The final fight is pretty intense, and things really go awry when things don’t quite go as planned. Twice Josie is pulled away from a major kill to be directed elsewhere. Each time she puts utter trust into her cohorts despite her intuition causing her to pause. Josie leaves not entirely sure of the outcome of the battle, but when she’s caught covered in blood by Mother Schuller, she leaves to join her family. This scene is a symbol for what the entire series stood for. While Josie is good at what she does and generally enjoys it, there are people that count on her that she is willing to sacrifice and leave everything for. In mid-century America, that choice is a luxury not many women would have been allowed to make, but making that decision gives her all the more power.

As the last issue closes, it is clear that something more is waiting for Josie, but that’s for another time. Issue #5 was an incredible closing to the series. The art was as moving as always, Jones out did herself again. The dialogue was kept to a minimum to show off the intense fighting, and it worked all the better for it. The same probably has continued throughout the series, though, that it was almost too big of a story for such a short run. There were many characters that were worth exploring further that never really got developed, but thankfully there was always enough of Josie’s character to really keep things alive.

In Rich’s closing letter, he states that he will no longer be a part of the future of the series as he leaves to be a senior editor of Vertigo. But this does confirm there is in fact more in store for Josie. After the huge success of this book it is entirely unsurprising there is more coming from the utterly magnificent Jones. If the future is to carry on in the same spirit of this extremely enjoyable five issue run, there is so much to look forward to.