More of the weird and wonderful from dark horse comics… Well, I don’t know about dark horse, so much as black sheep in Wild Rover’s case. But that’s enough about farm yard animals, when we have more plot-important one’s to focus on. The man of the hour is a self loathing, alcoholic with obvious mental disorders that seem to run in the family; Shane and his mother have them at least… and it’s not only their troubled lifestyles and psychiatric needs that plague them, the dark thing that lives inside their bellies, growing and turning their guts evil does too. Shane is on a drunken mission to combat this evil head on from the bottom of the bottle. But as he descends into his own personal madness and paranoia he discovers his own mother in the depths of it all, in the belly of the beast, and in the one place he would least expect to find her… the strip club! Could she be his way out of this insanity? Or will she just guide him further into the shadows of his family curse? This is yet to be seen, but nonetheless Shane’s journey will be a dark, bourbon drenched spectacle well worth stumbling upon.

The story and art, both by Michael Avon Oeming work together disturbingly well. Reading this gave me a real; unflinching sense of the surreal and outright strange and sinister, like any great cult comic should. Simply tapping into my subconscious, my own insecurities, and social incapacities.

I love the bit where he looks at an innocent civilian, and as he passes him in the street  he expresses his thoughts of hatred towards the complete stranger, making a point of how he wants to punch his face in! Further confirmation of his self hatred and mental sickness. Oeming possesses a stroke of twisted ingenuity in the way he writes, and I look up to him a lot for this quality as it is rare to find, especially in the more mainstream comics of the modern world. What is more complex and fascinating than the human mind, afterall and Oeming even touches on how it is nurtured in the process, giving the reader an excellent insight into the human psyche and it’s deterioration. Flashbacks of an alcoholic mother, a young Rover sits watching innocently, as her actions mould the young boy’s tormented future.

The odd splash of colour makes the artwork stand out all the more effectively, in the dark works of the grey washed world in which it’s based. Blue, green’s and purple’s, set the mood beautifully in the apparent calm of the night, giving an expertly coloured contrast to the very unsettled going-on‘s. The abstract art form in which Oeming uses to define his story gives the comic a true grit, and adds to the already sin-fueled sick-fest that is Wild Rover! The overall layout all feels very natural and easy on the eye, and there is nothing synthetic about it either. The creators, and all those involved, have got a very clear knowledge of all the aspects which make a comic worth reading.

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Aaron Walker’s input as letterer has not gone unnoticed either, he has given the story a very professional look and finish., with nice bold letters in the correct text, and extremely clear presentation throughout. The SFX are very well timed and placed to make the story and illustrations alike, stand out and really come to life. The fact that the SFX are so well written helps and also they are not over done, only being used where necessary to further add to there effectiveness.

So, then we come to the next story, yes that’s right this comic contains not just one, but two stories. I have to say “the sacrifice” is just as fun to read as Wild Rover, only this one is much shorter and very to the point so I‘ll try not to give too much away. Written by Micheal Avon Oeming, again the writing is enthralling from start to finish, I can’t stress enough how good his writing really is, so it’s probably best if you just pick up a copy and read for yourself.

This time the illustrations are by Victor Santos, and the sacrifice is beautifully illustrated, giving the ye olde world a kind of water-colour finish. Very different from that of Wild Rover, we now enter into a bright, colourful world, with an ancient forest, the detail is awe inspiring, and proves to be very true to it’s fantasy genre. I especially like the way he has illustrated the tree of Brokk and Sindri, the dwarf lords! This humungous tree is perforated with hundred’s, possibly thousands of ancient swords.

The layout is excellent, this time using the more common approach of box panels to a very high standard, the story is fast paced and soaked in both beauty and blood. The SFX make the whole thing all the more enjoyable too! . I would love to read more of both of these fantastical comics. Thankyou Dark Horse Comics and aplaceinspace for this edition!

By Dylan”montu”Butcher.