Apocalyptic Trade Post: Wormwood Gentleman Corpse Vol. 3 & The Authority: Kev

Wormwood Gentleman Corpse Volume 3: Calamari Rising (IDW)
Written & drawn by Ben Templesmith
Collects Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse: Calamari Rising #1-4

Geez, I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I reviewed the second volume of Ben Templesmith’s Wormwood Gentleman Corpse. Don’t let that seem like a reflection of how much I like this world Templesmith has created, because this is one of the most fun, bonkers original comic universes around. The basic concept revolves around Wormwood, an interdimensional worm that inhabits corpses who currently hangs out on earth with a robot he built named Pendulum and a former stripper with living tattoos who goes by Phoebe at a strip club located on top of a dimensional portal run by Medusa. Make sense? It might seem more complicated than it is.

Basically, Wormwood is an interdimensional Hellblazer, a mystical dude with a huge past that’s always coming back to bite him–and reality–in the ass. This time around, it’s The Brotherhood of the Calamari, a Lovecraftian race with a mad on for Wormy that leads them to take over Earth and almost succeed. While Pendulum, Phoebe, Medusa and the girls do their best, Wormwood jumps dimensions and winds up teaming up with a reality-hopping Elvis set on killing every other reality’s Elvis to become a god.

The four issues are packed with sci-fi action and quips plus Templesmith’s rad art. He has such an amazing talent for enhancing his pencils with computer effects that really pop and shine off the page thanks to the glossy paper the collection is printed on. It can look a little dark at times, but I think that might be a trick to actually pull you in closer to the page, like a comedian whispering on stage. If you’re into Hellboy or Hellblazer or pretty much anything, I recommend giving these books a look.

The Authority: Kev (WildStorm/DC)
Written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Glenn Fabry
Collects The Authority: Kev & The Authority: Kev #1-4

I’ve gone on record as being a big WildStorm fan, have read and reviewed most of the Authority trades (the first five books here and the two Revelations books here) and am a huge fan of Garth Ennis’ Preacher (you’ll have to search around for those posts as they’re spread out), one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever created. So, with all that, it should come as no surprise that I wanted to check out The Authority: Kev a book set in the WildStorm U featuring a non-powered SAS officer with terrible luck dealing with the Authority, specifically Midnighter and Apollo. He’s kind of like a more competent, but equally as unlucky Soap from Ennis’ Punisher.

The actual product is pretty much exactly what you would expect from that basic set-up if you’re familiar with the creators and concept. The first one-shot in the collection follows Kev as he’s sent to the Carrier to kill the Authority for the British government which he actually succeeds at thanks to a magic gun. But, it was all a set-up by an invading alien force. The Carrier helps Kev fix things, but this adventure puts him on the Authority’s radar and he winds up working with Midnighter and Apollo after the rest of the Authority wind up on the wrong end of some alien tech. They fight zombies and aliens and some other things, plus we get more of Kev’s history. The collection also Glenn Fabry interior art which looks very much like his covers, but just in pencil instead of painted. I’m a fan of his too, so seeing him to interiors is fun.

KEEP OR DUMP? I’ll be keeping both of these volumes. I think I’ve got the other two Wormwood volumes in boxes somewhere (I hope I do at least) and I’ve kept nearly every WildStorm book I’ve ever gotten. Some day, I’ll get them all together and evaluate which ones I want to keep for later reading. Also, I’d like to read the next volumes of both books, so between that and wanting to keep the trades, that’s a pretty good endorsement.

 

Trade Post: Creature Tech and Wormwood: It Only Hurts When I Pee

I don’t want you guys thinking I’m slacking off and not reading trades just because I’m not posting them. In fact, I’ve got a huge pile of trades next to my desk here just waiting for reviews, but I’ve been slacking off when it comes to posting about them. That’s a little better right? Anyway, as I mentioned in my post about the new SyFy (ick) show Warehouse 13, I recently read Doug TenNapel’s Creature Tech from Top Shelf and it reminded me a lot of that show. I’ve also recently read Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse Volume 2: It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben Templesmith for IDW. They’re both in the sci-fi and fantasy genre so I figured they’d go well together.

CREATURE TECH (Top Shelf)
Written and drawn by Doug TenNapel
My bossman Justin Aclin recommended this book to me and I didn’t really know anything about it. It wasn’t until after I looked TenNapel up on Wiki that I discovered he was the brain behind the Earthwork Jim games, which I loved even though the first one is still crazy hard.

The story’s about Michael Ong, a scientist who gets relegated to the Research Technical Institute (dubbed Creature Tech by the locals) by the US government. His former pastor, current man of religion dad lives in town as well, but they’ve got their problems. The black and white graphic novel (which, as far as I’m concerned, means an original work created specifically for the larger page count provided for by a trade, not just any collection of sequential art, that’s pretentious) focuses on Michael dealing with the Shroud of Turin, a reincarnated ghost scientist, a giant bug lab assistant, falling in love with a girl and an alien, multi armed chest plate. It’s kind of like the current Blue Beetle with some of the quirkiness of Gail Simone’s All New Atom thrown in (loved her run on that book).

I really dug TenNapel’s art style (you can really see the Earthworm Jim style in there) and the story was quirky without getting too extreme in that column. Ong is a fun, reluctant hero who has some obvious personal problems that he seems to be dealing with (he definitely has an arc, which is nice). Oh, plus, there’s giant space eels and other cool looking aliens. I highly recommend checking this book out and I wonder if TenNapel’s got plans for any future installments? Maybe I should read that Wikipedia page I linked too above…

But instead, on to the next review!

WORMWOOD GENTLEMAN CORPSE VOLUME 2: IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I PEE (IDW)
Written and drawn by Ben Templesmith
Like most other people I first heard about Ben Templesmith because he drew/painted the original 30 Days of Night along with some of the other follow-up minis. I’m not a big fan of that book, but it’s definitely one of those slap-yourself-in-the-forehead, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments. A few years back Templesmith started up his own creation called Wormwood Gentleman Corpse, which is a little worm dude who inhabits corpses. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize he was the worm and not the corpse until halfway through the first series. I can be a bit dense sometimes. He’s got a few sidekicks in the form of a robot man (Pendulum) and a stripper girl with tattoos that come to life (I can’t find her name after looking for one whole minute). I was a big fan of the take no prisoners craziness of the original mini-series, but lost track of the story in the following minis and issues. Luckily, I was able to pick up the second and third volumes and started reading through them.

This volume finds Wormwood cursed and needing the blessing of the leprechaun queen. In this mythology leprechauns are crude, gibberish-speaking little people with a penchant for violence and humping robots. In the process of trying to get the blessing to get rid of the sickness/curse, Wormwood runs into some squid-like invaders who he had a run-in with in a previous adventure. There’s also a story about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who are being kept satiated in a hotel with a steady supply of prostitutes, food and drugs.

What I like about Templesmith’s writing is that he doesn’t shy away from things, while still not going too over the top in a bad way. There’s plenty of over-the-topness, like when Wormwood shows his companions his “suit chamber” which is, of course, a room full of preserved corpses, including Jesus’ (he decides on a little girl’s). There’s also a running gag about the genitalia Wormwood built for Pendulum. Good clean fun, you know? It’s kind of like Hellboy, but if Hellboy was an ass who had been around a lot longer, hopped dimensions and made a lot more enemies than a demon from hell.

Oh, also, Templesmith’s art is sick. Thanks to the supplemental material in the back (bonus points for the bonus material, as always), we can see the steps he takes in creating his art. It seems to be a combination of penciling, painting and then digital painting. It’s a super cool and unique style that a few others have tried to copy, but can’t quite get. Whether you like Templesmith or not, you can’t argue that he’s one of the more original artists out there. And, while we’re talking about his style, I really liked how the 30 Days of Night movie captures his style, while still keeping the realism of actual people. I can’t wait to read the other trade and track down the first one.