*The final issue before the relaunch.
Dark Horse Presents comes to its conclusion, at least in its current format, with issue 36. The last issue before being relaunched features heavy-hitters such as Mike Mignola, Stan Sakai and Jaime Hernandez. The cover by Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart has Sir Edward Grey eyeing an idol, while a giant ape lurks behind him.
Issue 36 opens with Witchfinder: Beware The Ape by Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck, a new tale starring Sir Edward Grey running through the streets of London after a giant ape. It’s a fun, fast-paced chase story with horrifying horse art by Stenbeck.
S.H.O.O.T. First: Bett and Byron concludes in chapter three by Justin Aclin and Nicolás Daniel Selma. Things have cooled down for the supernatural hunting team and they’ve decided to pack it up. There’s some great panel design, but the characters felt awkward against the basic backgrounds.
Stan Sakai wraps up Usagi Yojimbo: The Artist with chapter two. Usagi Yojimbo ends his travels alongside The Artist, while traveling to Edo. The colors are rich, standing out against most modern comics and the final painting pops off the page. Still for fans of anthropomorphic ninja animals.
Luciano Saracino and Juan Manuel Tumburús’ Sunstroke is next. An odd narrative about a farmer working in the hot sun, told through the eyes of farm animals, Sunstroke’s art style is non-traditional with its cartoonish watercolors. Warns of improper sun exposure. Bad thing, that sun.
Merlon The Magician by Jaime Hernandez follows with a funny story about a magician’s assistant who gets sent to another dimension. Being humorous on the surface allows it to add social commentary about victim guilt underneath. The art is classic Jaime Hernandez, clean and simple linework with the addition of retro 80s color.
Patrick Alexander’s Bunbun and Sadhead: Forest Friends is after. The plot is simple, as Bunbun can’t find his friend Sadhead, and features a twisted childish art style with a rated R vocabulary. The dialogue is depraved and hilarious.
Clark Collins and The Atypical Athlete by Kel McDonald follows, with a light-hearted tale about teenage werewolves. Great use of pudding to determine werewolf characteristics in this fun, all-ages story.
Christopher Sebela and Brian Churilla complete Cruel Biology in chapter four. In keeping with it’s dark tone throughout, Cruel Biology ends on the perfect note. Curtis’ description of war is chilling and Churilla’s pacing is spot on.
Davey Jones and The Mystery of The Monocle Men finishes with chapter three. By Dennis Culver and Sloane Leong, the final chapter sees Davey Jones’ last stand against The Monocle Men. This all-ages story has some great facial expressions by Culver and vibrant colors by Leong.
Martin Conaghan and Jimmy Broxton’s Dogstar is after. Unfortunately not a biography of Keanu Reeves’ band of the same name, Dogstar is instead an alien abduction story, with an interesting black and white art-style loaded with benday dots. The last page is striking with a great twist.
Closing out with Job Interview, Patrick Alexander creates another odd, outlandish tale about a man at a job interview for a bean taster. Misunderstandings ensue and the simplistic art goes well with the crude dialogue.
Dark Horse Presents #36 brings the end of the series in this extended format, opting for a shorter 48 page book starting in August. WIth stories ranging from Victorian-era monster hunting to all-ages to the truly absurd, this issue ends on a high note!