Tarzan Boy

Dark Horse Presents #10

Lots of stuff in this issue, including the conclusion of Alan Gordon and Thomas Yeates’ “The Once and Future Tarzan,” much-welcome “Milk and Cheese” and “The Murder Family” episodes by Evan Dorkin, a new chapter of Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder: Third World,” a text story by Andrew Vachss with art by Geof Darrow, and much, much more.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There were a few stories I wasn’t real happy with — I thought the Tarzan tale, which ran very promisingly for the first two chapters, mostly fell apart in a maze of too many characters at the end (though I still think this would be grand as an ongoing comic), Colin Lorimer’s “UXB” was just too weird for me to take seriously, and I’ve never managed to enjoy any “Criminal Macabre” story. But aside from that, everything else rocked the house. M.J. Butler and Mark Wheatley’s “Skulltar” continues to be very funny, “Finder” and “The Massive” are always wonderful, Vachss’ “Dead Reliable” is a nice little study on growing old, feeling desperate, and embracing amorality, and new Dorkin “Milk and Cheese” and “Murder Family” stories are always worth celebrating.

Wonder Woman #7

Well, this one was just deeply problematic.

Wonder Woman, Hermes, and Lennox enlist the aid of gun-toting prettyboy Eros to help find the kidnapped Zola. Eros takes them to see the monstrous weapons-crafter Hephaestus to ask for weapons and passage to Hell to confront Hades. Diana learns that Hephaestus’ minions are all male children of the Amazons — and her decision to free her half-brothers leads to more surprises and revelations.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Most of the story is fine. The art is gorgeous. But what others have said about the revelations about the Amazons — that they periodically take to the seas to commandeer ships, rape and murder the crews, bear their children, and either kill the baby boys or sell them into slavery — is entirely correct — it turns the Amazons into despicable monsters and calls into question Wonder Woman’s intellect, as she was apparently unaware of this part of her homeland’s past. It pushes past my suspension of disbelief and just turns the Amazons into something they were never meant to be. It’s too bad, because most of this issue is fine — but this just ends up wrecking my ability to enjoy the story.

Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1

Here’s the first issue of a new Vertigo series written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds and illustrated by Denys Cowan. It focuses on Dominique Laveau, an apparent descendant of legendary voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, who finds herself on the run from almost everyone in New Orleans, including gangsters, voodoo practitioners, magic gunmen, monsters, and even the loa themselves. Why is everyone after her, and what secret powers does she possess?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Sorry, but it bored me. Too much pointless running around, no significant character background for Dominique, too many supporting characters getting introduced and killed in the same panel, and just much too much passivity from the heroine. Why should I care about Dominique when all she can do is run away from everything? Why should I care about the setting when we get absolutely no background or explanations about what’s going on? I’ll probably give this another chance to impress me in the second issue — but it’s got a steep hill to climb.

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