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Dr. Horrible Trade Paperback Comic Review - -

Story 8.0
Art 7.5
Value 8.0
Total 7.8
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: 01/9/2010 (US)
Reviewer: Troy Mayes


Dr. Horrible
Trade Paperback

The Joss Whedon created Dr. Horrible took the internet by storm when it was released and now the team of Dark Horse and Zach Whedon are looking to do the same in the comic book world with the release of the Dr. Horrible collected trade. The early signs point towards a good chance of total geek domination.

Whedon's collected trade assembles a series of short stories, sometimes from different perspectives, that lead up to and tie into one event, the creation of Dr. Horrible as a super villain. It involves all of your favorite Dr Horrible characters like the Doctor himself, Captain Hammer, Penny and Moist. Even though itís Dr Horribleís name on the front cover he doesnít steal the spotlight in every story. This should sit well with fans who may want to know a little bit more about some of the other characters and with new readers who want to get a feel for the whole Dr. Horrible universe. 

For the most part Whedonís multi-perspective multi-story style works to create a logical book. Thereís usually a scene or event contained in each story that somehow links it to the larger picture. Some of these stories work better than others. The Evil League of Evil story, which probably fits in the least with the rest of the book (its events are never referred to afterwards but instead give you an idea of what the Doctor whatís to amount to) is a brilliantly self-contained little story. Thereís a lot of humor in the great dialogue and a nice little ironic ending that make it an enjoyable read. Dr. Horrible-less and the most detached from the main Ďstoryí it was probably my favorite piece in the whole collection. It made being a super villain look like a hell of a lot of fun and it involves hacky sack, which the university student in me wholeheartedly approves of.

I found Pennyís and Moistís stories, on the other hand, a little boring and even borderline depressing and they really didnít interest me as much as the other material on offer. Still they did contain the same witty and fun dialogue that is found throughout the trade and that is really the highlight here. The Dr. Horrible centric story at the end and the Captain Hammer story at the beginning were well done and they fitted together the best. I appreciate the fact that Captain Hammer is in fact a giant douche and basically a stereotypical jock. Itís nice to see a hero with some flaws as it makes rooting for the bad guy a lot easier. All in all the stories come together as an origin story for Dr. Horrible and itís interesting to see the motivations behind the character. Heís not so much a super villain as he is someone who recognizes a bully when he sees one.  

The trade, in keeping with its multi-story style, employs multiple different art styles. This allows each story to stand out on its own. The art style generally suits the story itís accompanying. The Evil League of Evil story uses the classic clean line super hero style of a Marvel or DC and this fits with the story, which is about the actions of a group of established super villains. Once again it was the Penny and Moist stories that contained the least impressive art. They just didnít do it for me, particularly the Moist story where the peopleís faces and heads seemed oddly shaped and proportioned.  Then in Pennyís I got the impression she was quite young, which didnít suit her character. Meanwhile Captain Hammerís art style made it seem like a cartoon created for kids to watch on Saturday mornings and that was the perfect style because thatís how the comic read as well.  

All in all Zach Whedonís Dr. Horrible trade paperback hits more than it misses. Its multitude of styles was always going to make it hard to please everyone all of the time. We all have our favorite styles and Whedonís Dr. Horrible should contain something for everyone. The only thing it lacks is a musical number, but that wouldnít work, would it?  


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