"Not Drunk Enough: Volume 1" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written and illustrated by Tessa Stone
2017, 160 Pages
Trade paperback released on July 5th, 2017
Everyone has had a crappy job at one point in their lives. It's like a rite of passage. Logan is currently in his crappy job as a repairman, but after this latest assignment, he'll probably be looking for a new line of work. He got called to a strange corporate lab in the middle of the night only to find it full of monsters and a handful of survivors. Now he's trapped in this building, fighting for his life against nightmarish creatures. He probably doesn't even have benefits.
Not Drunk Enough wastes no time getting to the action. Logan is fighting with a bizarre former-human on page one before the story flips back to tell us how he got there. It sets a creepy precedent that only gets crazier as the book goes on. From the neck down, this creature appears human. Then you see the head, which is covered in this weird metallic contraption, like a big metal box exploded over his face. His eyes glare out from two dark holes in the center and blood covers his neck and hands. Needless to say, this is someone you do not want to run into in a dark hallway.
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The rest of the book is filled with insane monsters, big and small. Although this is a horror / comedy, these creations are very much on the horror side of that mash-up. Every single one of them is cringe worthy and terrifying from the shadow creature strangling an innocent receptionist to the horde of eye stalks keeping watch over everything in the building.
Writer / artist Tessa Stone keeps a frenetic pace throughout Not Drunk Enough. The tension never lets up, even with the scenes where the characters are catching their breath. Her artwork has an energy to it that almost feels like it's moving. Much of this comes through in the art direction and panel layout. The pages are often shown in a non-traditional layout with panels in a variety of sizes and shapes. This is a subconscious way of keeping the excitement up.
This also comes through in the lettering. When a scream rings out, you can almost feel the pain the person is going through based on the jagged letters spiraling out of their mouth. The word balloons slide out of characters and slink around the page, especially with screams. They fill in the background, surrounding characters, giving the feeling that this is something they cannot possibly escape.
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Body horror plays a big part in Not Drunk Enough. These creatures were once human, some of which are in the midst of transitioning into monsters. Clement Varker, the CEO of this corporation is one such individual. He appears completely normal...except for the mouth on his forehead. The jaw covers his head like a strange zipper with a long tongue sticking out the center, coming down over his nose. One of the creepiest things in this book is when that second mouth opens. It's so unnatural that it sends shivers down your spine.
Not Drunk Enough reads like a video game. Logan encounters increasingly difficult obstacles in his quest to escape this building. Along the way, he comes across supporting characters and a plethora of enemies. I'm not trying to oversimplify the book. This works incredibly well and never stops being entertaining. It's a comic you will not want to put down. As the story unfolds, you'll find yourself pulled deeper and deeper, ushered along by Stone's energetic and expressive artwork.