Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories: Tenth Anniversary Anthology – Whedon & Co (Dark Horse)

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I have a terrible confession to make, my second in as many weeks. While I’m a bit of a Firefly and Angel fanatic and will swear blind that creatively Joss Whedon can do no wrong, I’ve never seen Dr Horrible. And for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. On the surface, it looks exactly like my particular brand of pulp inspired adventure, featuring complicated science obsessed villains and square jawed super-heroic types whose job it is to bring them to justice played by Mal ‘Castle’ Reynolds, otherwise known as Nathan Fillion, and the mighty NPH that’s been brought to life by the imaginative, clever wit of Joss Whedon and also happens to be a musical. That should have been enough for me to fork over whatever cash it would costs me straight away and without thinking. But for some reason that I’ve clearly forgotten, I didn’t and after reading Dr Horrible and Other Horrible Stories I really, really, really wish I had.

Comprised of a series of compressed origin stories and a couple of one shots that detail the first “professional” encounter betweer hero and villain (although which is which, is somewhat debatable) and a strange story that flips their tried, tested and true relationship dynamic on its head, Dr Horrible and Other Stories practically oozes Joss-isms and every panel and page could have sprung directly from the World of Whedon – even though Joss is only responsible for writing one of the aformentioned one shots. Artistically, it’s delightful as it perfectly captures the likeness of NPH and Mal… I mean Nathan Fillion and I’m assuming that it does the same for the other characters, but as I’m not familiar with the source material, I’m just going to go with my gut response and  presume that it does given how decisively Neil and Mal…I mean Nathan, have been transferred into the four colour universe . And maybe, if I was familiar with Dr Horrible I’d have got more out of the last one-shot in the collection as a number of plot points seem to be dependent on the reader knowing the whole story, but that said, Dr Horrible and Other Stories is still a pulp-rific way to spend a couple of hours, regardless of how well you know the Doctor, the Captain and their world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some catching up to do…  Tim Cundle

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