Elephanmen #52 (Image)

Elephantmen-52

Rating: 5/5 – It gets even BETTER after 50… Jump on for this arc!
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I’ve loved Elephantmen for a long time, since I picked up my first issues around #8 or so.   It’s currently in my “Top 10″ of monthly comics.  It’s the story of a future (2260 AD) where human/animal hybrids have been integrated into a society not so different from our own.  Richard Starkings weaves current social commentary into this sci-fi story set in a future Los Angeles, but always as a sub-text wrapped in an entertaining story featuring characters I care about and want to learn more about.

Starkings also excels at finding artists to complement his stories.  His current collaborator is Axel Medellin who has been working on the book for the last couple of years (with fill-in artists every now and again) and he’s been growing as an artist the entire time.  Medellin does beautiful, he does weird, he does surreal, he creates a space for the characters to interact within that transports the reader into 2260.

A new arc started last issue (#51) and it’s a wonderful jumping on point for the series.  We’re introduced to a new murder mystery, a new character (Det. Jack Farrell) and some extra special twists that I won’t go into so as to not spoil them.  This issue continues the murder investigation and also gives additional insights into the origins of the Elephantmen and MAPPO, the organization that created them as soldiers for the transgenics wars.  Not completely new information for long time readers, but a great refresher that’s presented in a way that blends perfectly into the story and helps get new readers up to speed on the background of our main character Hip Flask (a hippo/human hybrid who works for the Information  Agency).

I’d urge any fan of science fiction and sharp, nuanced writing to give this series a try.  You can still get the 1st issue for free if you want to try that before opening your wallet, give it a shot, I think you’ll be glad you did.

As an added bonus, each issue has a short backup series told in 2-page installments: Charley Loves Robots (aka C<3R).   Charley Moore is 13 and lives in a world with a robot to meet every need.  He’s sent for a summer visit with his grandfather and that’s where the story gets interesting.  I’m constantly amazed at how much JG Roshell & Gabriel Bautista pack into those 2 pages.  In #52 we’re introduced to the coolest robot yet, the survivalbot!  Charley’s friend Arnold lets slip a crucial piece of information that made me think “Ah, the plot thickens!” as a  lightbulb appeared over my head.  I can’t wait until the story arc wraps up so we can get a collected edition, it’s eminently “collection worthy” and worth double dipping so I can read it again in a single sitting.

Get it for the main story, get it for the back up, get Elephantmen, one of the best comics on the rack that far too few people are reading.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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