REVIEW: Axe Cop – Bad Guy Earth #1 (of 3)
Or – “High-Octane AWESOME!”
There’s something to be said for a concept that doesn’t pull it’s punches, doesn’t explain itself, doesn’t brook any crap and just exists in a perpetual state of awesome. Axe Cop just may be the perfect reflection of that theory…
AXE COP – BAD GUY EARTH #1
Writer: Malachai Nicolle (Age 6)
Penciller: Ethan Nicolle (Age 30)
Inker: Ethan Nicolle
Letterer: Ethan Nicolle
Colorist: Dirk Erik Schulz (Age 27)
Editor: Shawna Gore
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Previously, on Axe Cop – Bad Guy Earth: (Cue the ghost of Don La Fontaine): In a world gone mad, one man remembers what justice looks like: IT LOOKS LIKE AN AXE. Seriously, you have to love a character whose catchphrase is “I will chop your head off!” Initially a Facebook joke, later a website, the saga of Axe Cop is filled with adventure, intrigue and the kind of plot points that only a five year old could string together, which makes sense given that the writer was 5 when it all began. Either way, I’m not sure that I can do this one justice, but I’m here to try…
One Day, At A Restaurant…
The first thing you need to know about Axe Cop is that it is precisely what you would expect from a story told by a bright six-year-old, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve had this conversation with my kid… Axe Cop and his partner, Dinosaur Soldier (who is a dinosaur who is a soldier) are having breakfast when their adventure begins, and things refuse to stop from there. Ethan Nicolle has a very interesting art style, with elements of Michael Avon Oeming, Mark Schulz and Frank Miller all circling around a solid stylized style, and the books coloring is retro-styled, with fields of pixels rather than the computerized colors that I’m used to seeing. I also enjoy the fact that Axe Cop’s ride reminds me both of the classic Bluesmobile and Roscoe P. Coltrane’s rides from old school (before Broken Lizard) Dukes of Hazzard. Axe Cop goes from the diner to finding an evil planet to getting pulled over by “regular cops” in the space of a few pages, but there’s no problem keeping up with the story, and the amount of detail packed into the issue makes it feel like SEVERAL comics worth of fun.
EVERYBODY RUN! THEY HAVE A DINOSAUR!!!
I immediately thought of Rodrigo when Axe Cop’s pet T-Rex, Wexler arrived, and began shooting up enemies with his built-in gatling cannons, and laughed out loud as the jealous “regular cops” cried out, “REAL cops don’t have dinosaurs!!!” The body count in this issue is worthy of Joe Bob Briggs himself, but it’s never vicious or explotative, but instead a fun kind of cartoon carnage. Stephen’s recent discussions about The Boy loving the silly fighty-fighty of Tom & Jerry come to mind, as I gave this particular comic to my kid once I was done with it, and she has added it to her burgeoning collection of Herbie Popnecker, Beanworld and The Tick, even requesting a board for the bag (a sign of greatest respect in our comic collections.) By mid-issue, a new set of villains has arisen, a bad guy turns good, the army is stolen, while Axe Cop undertakes a time travel mission that came to him in a dream. Also, in related news, “all the chickens brains popped out.” Want to know why? BUY THE BOOK!
The Verdict: Head Choppin’ Awesome!
Axe Cop is the kind of comic that reminds you how much fun comics used to be, with a stream of consciousness approach worthy of James Joyce and a strict internal logic that never contradicts itself, even as we go from talking hammers to flying police cars to giants menacing the capitol building. Amazingly, there’s re-readability here as well, and subsequent trips through the book reveal jokes in the art and twists of plot that might have escaped the first time around. Seldom has a comic book managed to be so perfectly consistent and flat-out entertaining for a full twenty-odd pages, and at $3.50, this issue compares well to the output of the Big Two. Heck, fifty cents more is a small price to pay given that this issue seemingly contains more plot than the every issue of the first volume of New Avengers… Bottom line for me, if you don’t like this book, you are an enemy of joy and should probably find a job pulling kitties’ tails or poking at orphans all day long. Axe Cop – Bad Guy Earth #1 is a genuine treasure, a gem of all-out storytelling brilliance, and earns a straight-up hardcase 5 out of 5 stars overall. I came in with no expectations, and a few reservations, and found that the fun factor overwhelmed everything else… This is the kind of book I want my kid to write.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: This book is, bar none, my favorite surprise of recent months. What’s yours?