Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Elephantmen #36

Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Axel Medellin and Rob Steen

First, I want to mention how Richard Starkings makes sure that his readers get their money's worth with this comic.  For $4, there are 35 pages of comics in here, spread across the main story, and two back-ups:  one a Mappo story set in the past, and (finally), a new chapter of the very cute Charley Loves Robots series.

The main story starts a new four part arc called 'The Killing Season'.  In typical Elephantmen fashion, this story is set before the story that Shaky Kane drew a couple of issues back, and it concerns Hip's investigation into the killings of Elephantmen for their ivory, which led to his bizarre visit to the plastic surgeon in the aforementioned issue.

Starkings uses this issue to check in with almost all of the cast.  Miki wakes up in Hip's bed (alone), and goes to work on Tiny's first day back.  Mr. Apostrophe takes a dip in a familiar canal, and finds the bodies dumped by the assassin who keeps showing up in this series.  Later, Trench oversees the recovery of all these bodies.  While all this is happening, Sahara and Ebony Hide have a visit from a Buddhist Elephantman, who has a long (and wordy) talk with Sahara about his religion.

In all, this is a decent issue, although it requires a better memory than mine to put all of the scenes in the correct context.  While I admire the complexity of Starkings vision for this comic, I do find it hard to pick up on all the subtle references to former issues that he makes, and I don't have the encyclopedic knowledge at hand that this comic sometimes needs.  Still, I don't want to fault someone for vision.  I just can't imagine picking up a random issue for the first time and understanding it at all.

Medellin continues to grow as an artist, putting ever more detail into his backgrounds, while making his central figures look terrific.  I don't think he can get much better than this, but then each month, he proves me wrong.

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