In anticipation of Thursday's review group, Lee takes a look at the penultimate issue of the very first tale featuring Billy and the circus freaks.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Billy the Kid's Old-Timey Oddities #3
Writer: Eric Powell
Penciller: Kyle Hotz
Cover Artist: Eric Powell
Genre: Humor, Horror, Action/Adventure
After being attacked by Dr. Frankenstein's monsters, Billy and his companions are taken prisoner and locked in the doctor's dungeon. Over dinner, Dr. Frankenstein explains how eagerly he is awaiting the dissection of and experimentation on such a unique set of subjects. But after exchanging a volley of insults with Billy, Dr. Frankenstein judges him to be of little worth, bemoaning the necessary "petty violences" of Billy's existence. Jeffrey, "the miniature boy," on the other hand, is a perfect surgical specimen for one of the good doctor's "experiments."
Don't miss the third issue of Billy The Kid's Old-Timey Oddities from Goon creator Eric Powell and horror artist extraordinaire, Kyle Hotz!
The story that keeps on shifting just keeps on shifting. The first issue was good old humor with an oddball cast and heavy on the exposition. The second issue was all about eerie atmospherics. The third is almost all out action. It's not your Marvel or DC drawn out action to fill in space because the book should have been three issues. No, Powell still has some character development to do with good old Billy and a new character or two to bring to the story.
It really is worth the price of admission. Last issue saw our heroes surrounded by creepy crawlies and at the onset of this chapter, they swarm and a brawl begins. Billy remembers more of that tale from his past from the first issue as he is knocked out. When he awakens, it is in a jail cell and we finally meet the good doctor Frankenstein.
Like Nemo or Hans Reinhardt, it is easy to see that the doctor has become a slave to his theories and questionable science. He thinks he is doing good (or at least has convinced himself that he is) but the look in his eye says otherwise. Hotz creates a lunatic with an air of aristocracy with ease. This is a mad man in a silk smoking jacket worthy of a Disney song. He wines and dines our friends only to pull the rug out from under them.
The strength of the character work done with Billy comes through as the madman clutches Jeffrey's small stature. His mind goes wheeling and he uses all that rustic con man charm we have seen to get under the mad scientist's skin. However, there has been enough done to show the empathy that Billy is going through. The fact that some kind of voodoo allows the doctor to tap into this pain makes him all the more terrifying.
Then with glee, there is a new character that might as well be blowing a trumpet as he brings his one man Calvary to town. This is a Powell comic, there has to be at least one genuine surprise and this is the second as there is a glimpse at what this mission was really about in the dungeons of the castle our new knight enters the picture.
Peppered with the humor and fantastic art that the reader has come to expect from the previous two issues, this is a page turner full of chills and excitement.
Review by: Lee Newman