Friday, December 17, 2010

Elephantmen: Wounded Animals (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Awesome!

The Elephantmen monthly comic book series is the best in the industry today! Richard Starkings's creation stands in a class of it's own....and is definitely the best creator-owned comic, period. As much publicity as Kick-Ass (the Marc Millar owned title) has received in the last couple of years, it did not have the characters or plot to be an ongoing series like the Elephantmen. My previous review of Wounded Animals was a vague overview, this review is more in-depth.

This first volume of the Elephantmen series introduces us to the main characters and the overall theme and plot of the series....Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, Obadiah Horn, Sahara, Miki, & Savannah. Starkings' great strength as a writer is his ability to take seemingly unconnected events and short stories and weave them together into long, winding masterpieces.

Ebony meets Savannah; a young girl, and in the course of their conversation Ebony flashes back to his days with MAPPO....when he was a trained and ruthless killer of men. He then runs into Serengheti (one of the main "villains" of the series) while investigating an illegal trading ring. Ebony Hide shows why the Elephantmen are not to be trifled with, but is injured during the altercation.

Hip then faces off against Elijah (a crocodile-human hybrid) for what is seemingly an African Artifact. The issue is "co-written" by GOD (who gets credit on a variant cover), as all the dialogue are quotes from the Bible (specifically, the book of Job). Hip wins the fight, but is bloodied and injured in the process....and is found by Miki, the very friendly and flirty cab driver. This issue (#2) is my favorite Elephantmen issue to-date!

Elijah's guest appearance on a radio talk show gets primal, and we meet Tusk....the seemingly insane boar-human hybrid, and a mysterious human who used to work for MAPPO and has a personal vendetta against all the Elephantmen.

Obadiah Horn and Sahara share their love with the world when the announce their engagement in a TV interview, and we learn about Sahara's past and the connection between her, Hip Flask, & the "artifact".

The first volume ends with Hip's fantasy tale of "Captain Stoneheart & the Truth Fairy", told to Savannah....who becomes the keeper of the secret within the "artifact".

Without a doubt, if you are willing to read the first volume, you will fall in love with the Elephantmen! Although far-out & futuristic, the Elephantmen deals with themes that most people can recognize and appreciate....racism, dealing with one's past, fitting into the society around you, misunderstood love, & finding peace and purpose in life.

The fantastic art that compliments the fantastic writing of Starkings is done by Moritat & Ladronn. The art has a Bladerunner feel to it, and is detailed well beyond what is done normally in comics.

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