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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Halloween month: We Kill Monsters

To kick off our now annual Halloween month we bring you a guest post, from the land down under: 

Michelle is an Australian-based writer and all-around geekified girl. she loves comics, sci-fi, and talking or writing about either of those two things. She'll pay good money without question for any comics written by Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver, Ed Brubaker, or any books written by Connie Willis. One day her name will be on the front of a comic book, right underneath the words "Written By". One day....
You can find Michelle at one of these domains:
Wordpress: Runaway Writings
Twitter: @mishla
Writer: Christopher Leone
Artist: Brian Churilla
Inker: Hilary Barta, Brian Churilla, Richard Ellis
Colourist: Ronda Pattison
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Publisher: Red 5 Comics

What’s it about?
Jake and Drew are mechanically inclined brothers who stumble across a genetically enhanced secret. When Jake is attacked by a monster that appears out of nowhere and injures his arm, he soon finds himself with more trouble than he can handle. His arm heals itself almost instantly but by the next day his arm has transformed into that of the creature he was attacked by – complete with super strength.

The drawbacks, however, soon outweigh the benefits.
As the flesh of his arm slowly beings to deteriorate and Jake becomes weaker, the brothers realise that only the fluids from the monsters that have taken over sleepy Kern County will keep Jake alive. Thus begins the journey as with the help of Drew’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa the brothers race to find a cure, and find a way to keep Jake alive and the county safe in the meantime.

What’s good about it?
This is a very humorous comic that never takes itself too seriously. The dialogue is sharp and punchy, and the by-play between the brothers in particular has a certain dry wit about it. The writers and artists very clearly had fun with this.

The brothers start out as the protagonists, but by about halfway through it is the character of Vanessa that truly shines. Not only does she out-run and out-gun the boys, but she keeps a decent amount of clothes on while she’s doing it, a feature that mainstream comics seem to lack these days. No boobs falling out of spandex for this young lady, only a Buffy-esque habit of saving the brothers’ sorry arses.

I love the cuteness of this comic, the refreshing unpretentiousness, and the fact that I will never, ever look at my breakfast cereal in the same way again.

What’s bad about it?
Some aspects of this comic are a little cliché. While I appreciate that this is intended to be part of its’ charm, certain aspects – such as the too-perfect boyfriend who turns out to be evil (sorry for the spoiler!) – I could see coming a mile away. I prefer my comics to keep me guessing a little more.

What’s the art like?
When I first saw this artwork, it reminded me of the comics I used to read as a kid. Brian Churilla’s artwork harks back to Superman in its heyday, and it fits in well with the tongue-in-cheek style of the writing. The full-page splash at the beginning of chapter four is particularly detailed, with wonderfully strong expression.

Ronda Pattison’s colours are vivid, and the monster fluid in particular leaps off the page. The colours are for the most part muted, but that only serves to highlight the more dramatic colours which are used to draw attention to the more important panels. Her experience with DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image are certainly brought to the fore – she knows when to pull back, and she knows when to emphasise.

Other Information
ISBN: 978-0-9809302-7-6
Price: $14.95 USD

No news yet of the future release of TPB #2, but keep an eye out on http://www.red5comics.com – it’s bound to happen!

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