Saturday, August 18, 2018

Retro Dark Horse: Dark Horse Presents (2011) #1

The first title published by Dark Horse Comics was the anthology Dark Horse Presents in July 1986.  The title ran for 162 issues and ended in September 2000.  Approximately 25 years after the first issue was published, Dark Horse revived the title in April 2011.  This second volume uses an 80 page format and the first issue contains 8 comic stories.  Appropriately, Paul Chadwick's Concrete is the first story and other notable contributions are made by Howard Chaykin, Neal Adams, and Richard Corben.  The final story by Randy Stradley, The Third Time Pays For All, is a prelude for Star Wars: Crimson Empire III.

Dark Horse Presents #1 a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2011)
Dark Horse Presents #1 b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2011)
The eight page Star Wars story sets up the status quo for the third Crimson Empire mini-series.  Emperor Palpatine has been dead for ten years and Kir Kanos, a former Royal Guard, is operating as a bounty hunter.  While pursuing and catching his prey, Lem Krarr, and transporting him to collect the reward, Kir Kanos thinks back on the two times he has crossed paths with Mirith Sinn.  He knows he will meet her again in his pursuit of revenge against Luke Skywalker for his role in killing Palpatine.  When Kanos arrives at his destination to collect the bounty, he learns that Krarr killed fourteen younglings.  Kanos summarily executes Krarr, settling for six thousand credits instead of the ten thousand credits if Krarr was brought in alive.  Meanwhile on Coruscant, Mirith Sinn is thinking about Kir Kanos when Leia approaches her.  Leia explains Mirith should not fixate on one man since she will soon be her head of security.  As Leia leaves, Mirith vows to kill Kir Kanos if she ever sees him again.

Neither of the two standard covers contains Star Wars artwork, although both contain a blurb Star Wars: Crimson Empire.  The first cover features Concrete by Paul Chadwick and the second cover is by Frank Miller, previewing Xerxes, the prequel to his acclaimed 300.  (Interestingly, Xerxes did not begin publication until April 2018.)  A third variant cover was also issued, featuring artwork by Paul Pope.  This cover was originally released in a 1:20 ratio with the other two covers.

Dark Horse Presents #1 c - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (April 2011)

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