Myspace Dark Horse Presents vol.4 TPB – Various

3 out of 5

This is a solid collection of stories, though still representative of the somewhat (in my mind) shallow feeling of a lot of DHP, as I wouldn’t say anything in the collection is particularly memorable.  However, I did appreciate that only the book-ended tales – a Buffy and Star Wars story – required any outside knowledge; previous MDHP collections had smatterings of “read the series first and THEN this” style strips that made drifting into the collections difficult, but I didn’t experience that here outside of those first and last stories, and because of how they’re sequenced, it’s easy to flip past and find something else to read.  So it passes the first and foremost requirement of an anthology in that I wasn’t pushed away from reading it.

From an editing perspective – more holistically as opposed to the presentation nitty gritty, which was fine – the thing sort of falls flat on its ass.  There’s an intro by “boxing aficionado” Duane Dixon that tries (and fails) to relate boxing to comics, and boy, is it written clunkily.  There’s a thematically similar so-and-so-vs.-so-and-so backmatter that pairs characters from the different stories against one another that’s also clunkily written, and suggests a “girls are powerful!” theme that is good to recognize in that Dark Horse has been promoting diversity since before it was popular, but is also incredibly shallow, in that just featuring girls as leads is apparently diverse enough – a lot of these stories wouldn’t pass Bechdel tests, and are written by men besides.  It’s interesting viewing it through the prism of nowadays’ hashtag awareness, of course, but it also wraps back around to that ‘not particularly memorable’ aspect I harp on.