The blight continues to spread across Solothus in By The Horns: Dark Earth #8 as the Augernaut repairs near completion and Yun Ma’s plan for the continent begins to take shape. Across the ocean in Awahakan, Shanora Zeland her companions stir up trouble while searching for a way to catch up to Elodie.
I’ve found I don’t read as many comics as I used to these days, and yet despite my waning interest (or lack of time, which ultimately leads me to prioritize other things), I am always excited to read the next offering from Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Steve Canon, the writer, artist/letterer and colourist of By The Horns: Dark Earth.
Whereas the last issue was effectively an illustrated journal, By The Horns: Dark Earth #8 reads as an anthology with how Naso spends a few pages on each of the story threads that have been running throughout the issue. Given that the comic focuses on four different sets of characters in four specific chunks of the book, you would think that there wouldn’t be a lot of story progression. You could be forgiven for thinking that – if you were unfamiliar with the creative team. Naso and Muhr are experts of their craft and can wrench your heart, make you care about a villain and expose hypocrisy in fewer pages than your average comic.
By The Horns: Dark Earth #7 was a message of support, and By The Horns: Dark Earth #8 is a comic about choice. It is a reminder that you might not be able to choose your circumstances, but you can almost always control how you react to them (I’m not taking credit for those words – that’s the ethos of Justin Scarred’s Quest for Positivity, and I felt it very apt to repeat here given the story we’re talking about). Naso explores within this book how your choices, and especially a dedication to vengeance, can lead you to places you don’t want to be.
Because the comic features four different threads, Muhr and Canon have the task of helping the reader easily differentiate between the locations. While there’s a location update on two of the story thread changes (though you don’t really need the name of the new location to discern that the setting has changed, such is the clarity of the art), the other is met by a very distinct single panel introduction.
By The Horns: Dark Earth #8 really advances the plot in the series, building from the emotional weight of the previous issue with several quick chunks of story. One of my favourite things about this series is the variety that the creative team offer from comic to comic, and they don’t disappoint here.
Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Steve Canon
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Alex also purchased a physical copy of all comics referenced within the review.