3 out of 5
The first collection of Myspace Dark Horse Presents – an online revival of the DHP title – was limited by a reliance on existing properties, as well as the seeming lack of a clear editorial vision that’s always made DHP a wildly uneven read.
This second collection still has that latter problem – meaning I suppose it’s safe to assume, decades on, that that’s an inherent part of the title’s style – but it would seem with a following established, more risks were taken with original (or standalone) content, and the set benefits from that.
Some series’ appearances still happen, of course, and they’re still largely pointless: Not featuring enough actual content (or any context) to intrigue new readers, nor really adding anything, narratively, to their parent titles. There’s also the usual scattering of interesting misfires, like Arcudi’s bafflingly jerky A Going Concern, or Joe Casey’s dry boxing tale, Sailor Steve Costigan, but plenty of the rest of the entries use their page space to try something fun and new, or, as in Steve Niles’ Cal Macdonald, have a property that works well with an isolated tale.
I still don’t feel particularly grabbed by anything here, but by opening up the flood gates to new blood and ideas, the second MDHP trade becomes much more readable than its preceding volume.