DARK HORSE PRESENTS is a series of short, ongoing, stories collected in a single edition. Focusing on superheroes, sci-fiction, cop procedural, and many other topics, there is something for everyone in this comic. Not all of it is perfect, though. Sadly, with so much going on, not every comic has the space it needs to tell the full story.

READ: To find more great Dark Horse comics check out our list of the top 5 comics of 2015!

However, the strengths of this approach also lead to the biggest issues with the series as a whole. There are some stories in this collection that are fantastic. KYRRA: ALIEN JUNGLE GIRL is a science fiction story about a girl trying to find out who she is and where she came from. The story really starts to build momentum, but then it suddenly stops because of space restraints. The same thing happens in other stories as well. BROOKLYN BLOOD is the story of a cop looking for a serial killer while also battling P.T.S.D. from his time in Afghanistan. The premise is great, and the way that P.T.S.D. is presented makes it an interesting study of how it affects people. But it too ends abruptly just as the story begins to take off.

Dark horse presents 18 Brooklyn Blood

It’s definitely a high point of DARK HORSE PRESENTS to have multiple strong story ideas in one place. This review hasn’t even touched on the fantastic story of the LAST ACT. This tale follows a superhero who gives people false hope by saving them even though he knows the world is ending, and there’s nothing he can do about it. The narrative becomes an extremely poignant display of how important living for something is. This story is the best in the issue because it comes to a complete conclusion. While it is a two-part story overall, the second part is presented in a way that it feels like an entirely self-contained tale.

READ: For more new Dark Horse comics, read our review of SURVIVING MEGALAPOLIS!

Not every story can match up to the high quality of the ones mentioned above. The story of SANDY + MANDY is very abstract and hard to follow. By the time it ends, it is hard to tell what is really happening. FINDER: CHASE THE LADY also seems a bit disjointed and seemingly ends out of nowhere. The abrupt shift between FINDER and SUNDOWN CROSSROADS is so sudden it takes a moment to realize an entirely separate story has started.

Dark horse presents 18 Sundown Showdown

That being said, the story of SUNDOWN CROSSROADS is a fantastically spooky tale about the danger of putting yourself out on the internet. The story is haunting as a girl does her podcast while watching a mysterious man looking at her from the road below her apartment.

The diversity of the collection also affects how the art is viewed as well. Each story has its unique style. This means everyone who reads this will find an art style that suits their taste more than others. With the variety, though, there will be others that some find less than stellar. For example, in this reviewer’s opinion, the art in KYRRA and the LAST STAND are the two best-drawn stories in the collection. KYRRA has a bright, colorful style that fits the sci-fi world perfectly. The LAST STAND is a very line heavy, more realistic style. This too works with the world and helps give a dark feel to a story about the world’s end. The rest of the art is by no means bad. It is all quite good for the style it is. But with so many styles, there are naturally going to be some that are more appealing than others. Structurally and concerning tone, the art is very strong throughout.

Dark horse presents 18 Mandy and Sandy

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #18 is a collection of excellent stories, but a few suffer from, not only pacing but also structural issues that make them disjointed and, at times, hard to follow. The collection’s strength, however, is also one of its biggest weaknesses. Stories that start to hook you in are done much too soon. While stories that are less than impressive are not too long, and there is always something fresh and new just a few pages away. This comic has something for everyone and a variety worth reading alone. With a total of 56 pages, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

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