Review by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong

Dark Horse Presents #9  Written by Paul Pope, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Mike Mignola, M. J. Butler, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Steve Horton, Andrew Vachss and Tony Puryear.  Art by Paul Pope, Neal Adams, Michael Dialynas, Kristian Donaldson, Joe Querio, Mark Wheatley, Thomas Yeates, Steve Lieber, Geof Darrow and Tony Puryear.  Covers by Mike Mignola and Thomas Yeates.  Published by Dark Horse Comics.

The last issue of Dark Horse Presents started off with a bang with the Mignola property of Hellboy, so why not go two for two and do the same with issue #9.  Instead of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), it’s a Lobster Johnson tale leading off.  The issue also boasts the continuation of the The Massive, a steampunk sea shanty in Amala’s Blade and Alabaster: Wolves, about an albino demon killer.  DHP is quickly becoming a showcase for very interesting stories at Dark Horse, or possibly just a home for stories that otherwise would not have a book.

Writer Mike Mignola and artist Joe Querio‘s 1930s opening vignette, “Tony Masso’s Finest Hour,” is a cautionary tale that will have you saying “be careful what you wish for.”  Lobster Johnson is hot on the heels of a mob boss but things can’t help but go all supernatural.  Of course, that supernatural force comes at a great price to this mob boss.  Next up is a sneak peek at another character from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson‘s ecological disaster story, The Massive.  Titled “The Bay of Bengal,” it tells the story of Mag, a young boy from a small fishing village, and the struggles to fish in polluted waters.  It all takes an interesting turn, hinting at a possible supernatural or spiritual element.

The two big standouts in #9 are Amala’s Blade: Skull & Crossbows and Alabaster: Wolves.  Amala is a pirate/thief of sorts who finds herself between a rock and a hard place, which is more like a wet place as she will be walking the plank.  Amala’s Blade is written & lettered by Steve Horton with art & colors by Michael DialynasThe last story of the issue, Alabaster: Wolves, by writer Caitlín R. Kiernan, artist & letterer Steve Lieber and über-talented colorist Rachelle Rosenberg is set in a post-disaster apocalypse of demonic nature.  The main character is a young albino girl who is on a quest to rid the world of demons.  Guided by a mysterious force, she comes face to face with a monster in a small town but the encounter doesn’t end in a fight but rather something a tad more interesting.

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