"Monster Motors: The Curse of Minivan Helsing #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Brian Lynch
Illustrated by Nick Roche
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 15th, 2015
When we last left genius mechanic Vic Frankenstein, lightning has just struck his junk yard in Translvania, Kentucky, reanimating a number of dead vehicles and assorted electronics. Surrounded by these Zoombies (not a typo), Vic must battle for his life and stop the Night of the Driving Dead from destroying the town. Fortunately, he has some help in the form of Minivan Helsing, a monster motor hunter, and his strange crew.
The idea of a group of undead machines coming to eat you is pretty great on its own, especially when they're used creatively. The discarded helicopter that can be seen on the cover really stands out. It's not clear at first that this is a helicopter, probably because it's from a different angle. It's upside down. It can't fly because it's broken. That's why it's in the junk yard to begin with. Instead, it uses its blades as long, spider-like legs. Artist Nick Roche did a tremendous job with this creature. It's a bit reminiscent of the aliens in War of the Worlds too. This monster looms over the other due to its size and height, giving it a real menacing quality.
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What's really amazing about this comic is how quickly the creative team adapted volumes of monster lore to machines. I lost count of the amount of references packed into this book. Some are more obvious than others. There are even little nods to filmmakers with Lake Fulci and Gorge Romero. As this is an all-ages title, tidbits like this will go over well with adults without confusing kids.
The enjoyment of Monster Motors is amplified by the sharp and often hilarious dialogue from Brian Lynch. Chaos could be raining down around them, but Vic and iGOR are quick with the quips, like they're in their own personal action movie. There's one particular scene where iGOR is chasing an undead Segway, trying to mash it with a hammer but he keeps missing, all the while trying to yell “It's hammer time!” Throughout all of this madness, Vic is in his own head, narrating this great epic adventure. It's really incredible just how clueless he can be for such a smart guy, but that's part of the charm of the character. You can't not love him.
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I also want to give a shoutout to letterer Tom B. Long for a terrific job on this book. All of the monster motors have a different style of speech balloon, but what really stands out is Minivan Helsing after he's bitten by a Zoombie. The virus is spreading through his system and he's struggling to hold if off. Long adds these subtle adjustments to his speech bubbles, tilting a letter here or there. It's such a small touch but it helps reinforce the bad shape the character is in.
In previous reviews for Monster Motors comics I've said that this comic should be a Saturday morning TV show and a line of Hot Wheels toys. I still want those things, but for now, I'd settle for an ongoing series. There is so much to love about this book. It's the kind of comic that you can read with a smile on your face. It's one that you'll want to share because of how fun it is. Each of the characters is unique and provides a suitable homage to the classic monsters that inspired them. Seriously, read this comic.