"Cruel Biology," by Christopher Sebela and Brian Churilla, in DHP #33

“Cruel Biology,” by Christopher Sebela and Brian Churilla, in DHP #33

Another awesome issue of the celebrated, and critically acclaimed, Dark Horse Presents is out. In Issue 33, we kick off with the first chapter to “Cruel Biology,” written by Christopher Sebela, drawn by Brian Churilla, with colors by Dave Stewart. It’s an 8-page beauty of an opener set during WW II on a isolated little South Pacific island. The three main characters have been deemed by Uncle Sam to be “undesirable but useful.” The narrator, Private O’Brien, would just as soon tip back a few cold ones. PFC Zimmerman attempts to maintain order. Captain Curtis is a medic who has been left broken from his tour in Italy. All three guys don’t expect much from their current tour in the middle of nowhere until, one day, a strange item hitched to a balloon comes in for a landing.

Churilla’s artwork is fun to view with all its precision and cool detachment. It’s spot on Dark Horse Comics horror cool. And Dave Stewart just nails it with the right balance of spooky blues and greens and warm reds and oranges. It’s all working so well in the spirit of horror as defined by Dark Horse. I hesitate to call the art, even the writing, a house style but Dark Horse has certainly earned a right to it in the very best sense of the term. It’s the same as saying that the very best of “The Twilight Zone” has a certain vision. I define the Dark Horse vision as a deadpan, gritty world-view where your characters are only a couple of steps ahead or behind sinister forces. The hero is usually, if not always, an anti-hero. A happy ending is too easy and not to be expected in the least. That’s the Dark Horse way and this opening story is right up there with it.

“Dark Horse Presents #33” is available as of February 19. It is, as always, an 80-page trade, priced at only $7.99. For more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.

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