Myspace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 4, (that’s a mouthful) is a book collected from a bunch of short stories by some of today’s top creators. The list includes Mike Mignola, Michael Avon Oeming, Guy Davis and Joss and Zack Whedon.
Now when it comes to short stories; I find they can be really hit and miss in these anthologies, and my fear was not unfounded. The stories are all over the map; from well known titles and characters (like Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), to creator owned series (like The Goon and internet sensations that I had almost no knowledge of).
The book starts out with everyone’s favorite Vampire slayer Buffy Summers in a three page story written by Joss Whedon. For me, the story feels flat and gets the book off to a slow start, but thankfully the next two stories kick it into high gear! The first is Michael Avon Oeming’s and Taki Soma’s: Rapture. Taking place in a desolated Seattle after a terrible war, a twenty-four year old girl with mystic abilityies and a big spear is looking for her lost boyfriend. This is followed up by one of the few surprises in the book; Beto’s Dreamstar, by Gilbert Hernandez. It’s a twisted little tale about a day in the life of a female super hero.
The book really slows down through the middle with only one real highlight in Tickets by Mike Lawrence; a sweet little tale about life and death with a cute old couple and a giant fish. There should be a special mention here for the art.
After that it’s slim pickings until the last three stories.
First off is The Goon and Ann Romano in Gone Fishin‘. (Not drawn by Eric Powell but by Kristian Donaldson.) In this tale, Franky and The Goon decide to go for a drink at a different bar other than Norton’s, where Franky falls for news reporter Ann Romano while scrapping with old nemesis; Fishy Pete. A fun must-read for any Goon fan. This is followed by my favorite story from the book. Mike Mignola’s And What Shall I Find There which is a hidden gem for any Hellboy fan. This story finds a young Trevor Bruttenholm on an adventure in an old cryptic church looking for a photo. Though Mignola only writes the tale, the art is handled nicely by Patric Reynolds. The book ends with the biggest franchise of them all… Star Wars: Dark Times- Blue Harvest part 1. Now, being a former reader of Dark Times, I can say this story does a nice job of catching up readers to what’s happened and is a great set up to what’s going to happen in the monthly series. But unfortunately there’s no Vader to be found, instead focusing on Jedi-in-hiding; Dass Jennir.
So who is this book good for? I would say anyone who likes to read. There’s enough in this for everyone to enjoy, but there’s also a lot of filler. Overall it is a nice sampler if you don’t really know what you’re looking for or if you’re just looking for a Christmas present for someone.