"Monster World #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by American Gothic Press
Written by Philip Kim and Steve Niles
Illustrated by Piotr Kowalski
Colored by Dennis Calero
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 20th, 2016
When we last left our hero, he had just tangoed with some monsters. After narrowly escaping, he's looking for answers. Everything is not as it seems on this missing persons case, so private detective Barrymore tracks down his client to find out what she didn't tell him when she asked him to find her husband. We get the lowdown on what's really going on at World Studios before Barrymore ends up in even bigger trouble.
Monster World continues to play with the tropes of the noir genre, checking off each box that makes those classic pulp novels so enjoyable. Barrymore is a gruff private eye and he never backs down. Any sane man would have packed it in after being confronted with the creatures he faced in the last issue. Instead, it only strengthened his resolve.
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Barrymore's client, Mrs. Forrester, spills the beans on some of the antics that were going on at her husband's studio. She clearly knows more than she lets on and she starts playing the detective with her feminine wiles, checking off another box on that noir list. Writers Philip Kim and Steve Niles weave the horror element into these tropes, especially with Mrs. Forrester. There's a moment just before she exits the issue that will fill you with questions, making you wonder at what else is in store for Barrymore.
The premise behind Monster World is that the monsters we saw in those classic movies are actually real, summoned forth by a strange effects master. These creatures are hunting Barrymore as he's searching for the truth. You end up seeing classics like the werewolf and a zombie. This time around, we get the legendary Dracula, complete with cape and bowtie. Artist Piotr Kowalski did a great job with these designs, pulling from the old-school films while also making them his own.
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These well-known monsters come with some equally well-known myths associated with them. The thing about Barrymore is that he doesn't seem to care about those. He's not throwing around wooden stakes or shooting silver bullets. He's got a gun and he knows how to use it. This comes into play towards the end of this issue, in what is easily my favorite page. It's an unusual and comical fight scene that leaves Barrymore and his reporter buddy shocked and open mouthed by what they just witnessed.
This all leads up to a perfect final panel that will leave you begging for more. It's the kind of reveal that completely changes everything that has transpired up until that point, all with the flair and complete cool that comes with the noir genre.
Monster World expertly blends elements of the private eye novels of yesteryear with those of supernatural horror. It's a solid read with some dynamite artwork. If you ever wanted to see Humphrey Bogart fight a zombie, this book is for you.