"Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by ComixTribe
Story by Tyler James and John Lees
Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Alex Cormack
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 19th, 2015
What if the Joker came to Gotham without Batman? That's a question that's sure to catch the attention of many people and for good reason; it's friggin' crazy. That's the logline for Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare from ComixTribe. The idea of such chaos running rampant in a city completely unchecked is both horrifying and intriguing. How high would the body count get? Would anyone be able to put a stop to this madness?
The title character is used sparingly in this debut issue, but his presence is certainly felt. His methods are cruel and absolutely brutal. Whether he's stabbing an innocent waitress with a fork or hacking someone to bits, he's an unstoppable force of mayhem. He has such a powerful persona that although you only actually see him in full on one page (which is brilliantly rendered by artist Alex Cormack, with some eye-catching colors from Jules Rivera), he permeates throughout the entire book. It's like Oxymoron casts this huge shadow over the entire city of Swanstown and everyone is cowering beneath it.
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Oh, I also want to toss in that there's a pretty sweet homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre towards the end of the book. It's not a spoiler as the image has been used in some of the promotional artwork from the publisher, but it is a completely different experience seeing that panel in context. I was scared more from that ¾ of a page than the entire TCM movie.
The character of Oxymoron has a simple yet iconic style. He's clad entirely in white with a face mask reminiscent of Lucha Libre wrestlers obscuring his entire head. The only color comes from his blood-red tie and the black markings around the eyes of his mask. This goes with his bizarre obsession: contradiction. Here you have a diabolical villain clad in white, the color traditionally worn by the hero in stories of old.
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Swanstown's only hope may lie with Detective Officer Mary Clark, a cop just returning to the force after watching her partner get shot down in the line of duty. You feel for Mary right away and that only grows throughout the issue as you see how she's trying to put her life back together again after such a traumatic experience. She's going through a lot and her colleagues aren't providing much help. She's basically a pariah now, stuck with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed rookie partner, as no one else will come near her. Of course, her first day back is far from easy as she deals with a pretty strange call that's just the beginning of Oxymoron's intricate plan.
This plan is just as creepy as it is brilliant. It's something that I'm not spoiling because it's not abundantly clear at first how the pieces come together. Everything clicks at once in this “A-ha!” moment with an awesome full-page with a total of twelve panels on it. This is a great sequence and I don't see much like it in today's comics. I really have to hand it to writer John Lees on this and of course, Cormack's artwork. The tension is so high during this scene as everything falls into place. What a great way to start a new series.
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So, what would happen if the Joker came to Gotham without Batman? Things would get awfully bloody. Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare is filled with a sense of foreboding from page one. Granted, that page also includes a man with a gaping bullet wound in his forehead. It's hard to believe that things only get worse for this city from there. Oxymoron's reign of terror is brutal and absolutely insane. This is what chaotic evil looks like if left unchecked...and it's just getting started.