"Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by ComixTribe
Story by Tyler James and John Lees
Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Alex Cormack
Colors by Jules Rivera
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 21st, 2015
The Oxymoron is running loose in Swanstown and no one is safe. The mayor is dead, forced to jump to his death while wearing an Oxymoron costume. He might be the first victim, but he is far from the last, as this contradiction-obsessed madman is just getting started. Detective Mary Clark is on the case, however she has her own personal demons to overcome if she hopes to catch this killer. With the odds stacked against her, it doesn't look good.
What is immediately apparent about Oxymoron is how terrifyingly smart the character is. Everything is planned out to the finest detail. He's not just one or two steps ahead of the police. He's in an entirely different zip code. This issue opens in the aftermath of his next attack, which may be a bit of a shock to some folks, as it bears a striking similarity to some recent shootings. The detectives piece together what happened and it's chilling in its setup. You know that scene towards the end of The Dark Knight where there are two boats filled with people and the Joker tells them to blow each other up? Take that concept, lock it in a crowded movie theater, remove any hope, and crank the tension up to eleven. That gives you a rough idea of what to expect, but I'm not doing the scene justice.
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That's not even the scariest thing about this comic. Seriously, every time I think that writers Tyler James and John Lees have topped themselves, they do it again. There are four incredibly disturbing scenes of terror in this issue where the Oxymoron is taken to another level of super villainy. This is the kind of stuff that the Joker looks to for inspiration. The very first page might be the scariest one of them all too. It's such a simple scene with a reporter waking up to find that she's not alone in her bed. Oxymoron has a task for her and he spells this all out while spooning her. It's so goddamn creepy, as it strikes at something that scares just about everyone. I don't care who you are. You can't tell me that you've never been at least a little scared thinking that someone was in your house in the middle of the night. Now imagine them literally crawling into bed with you and cuddling while they whispered instructions to you. I'm shivering just thinking about it.
I realized that I'm gushing over the title character (and for good reason) and I haven't really said anything about Mary, the detective tasked with putting a stop to Oxymoron's murderous spree. She has everything against her in addition to Oxymoron, but she still perseveres. It's tough watching as her already shaky life continues to fall apart around her. Somehow she finds the strength to continue, but that's before an absolutely crushing blow at the end of this issue that could change everything.
Alex Cormack is an artist superstar in Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare, as he is drawing his ass off. When the movie theater scene plays out in its entirety, Cormack delivers a 20-panel page that is dripping with blood and gore. It captures the chaos of the firefight beautifully. At its center is Oxymoron's true target, who is utterly destroyed in the crossfire. Fingers are blown off. Brains are flying every which way. It's amazing and truly a sight to behold. Later on, as Oxymoron reveals another one of his plans, there's a gorgeous profile shot of the title character surrounded by explosions. It's jaw dropping in its intensity as you realize the full extent of what he's done.
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All of that blood and guts pops off the page with Jules Rivera's colors. The aforementioned 20-panel layout has the smaller panels in a blue shade while the main character in the foreground is drenched in crimson as he's ripped to shreds. It's really a fantastic spread.
If you get a chance, check out both covers for this issue. There's a filmstrip-style one by Cormack that features Oxymoron in a variety of poses with a handgun. He's caressing the thing, kissing it, sticking it in his mouth. It's like he's at a wedding photo booth. The other cover is by Joe Mulvey, and shows the title character in a sort of bat symbol made of guns, bullets, and blood. Oxymoron stands in joy at its center, arms outstretched and a huge grin on his face.
Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare is an expertly written and beautifully drawn book that will scare you to your core. You can see a major influence from Se7en in the book, but taken to super villain proportions. Co-writer John Lees promises that the second half of the series is where “things get REALLY messed up!” I cannot imagine how he's going to top the events of this issue, but I am definitely looking forward to it.