Parody has spawned some successful properties, for example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lorna is a Trailer Trash Tomb Raider Parody, and it wholeheartedly owns up to this fact, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. But, does this One Shot of Lorna become a National Treasure? Or is it a Temple of Doom?
Note: This book arrives March 23, 2011, so SPOILERS AHEAD!
Lorna, Relic Wrangler One Shot
Writer: Micah S. Harris
Artists: Loston Wallace, Michael Youngblood, and Olli Hihnala
Colors: Steve Downer
Letters: Nate Pride
Covers: Darwyn Cooke, Dean Yeagle
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99 USD
Previously, in Lorna, Relic Wrangler: Well since this is the first widely published work of Lorna, other than a convention ashcan not much more to know other than she wears Daisy Duke shorts, and has semi-comical adventures while hunting down artifacts.
THREE TALES TOO MANY?
The first of three stories in this One Shot deals with Lorna being trained by a leader of the Inner Council, a Fraternal Order like the Shriners, that wear Fez’s(“Fez’s are cool”, so says the 11th Doctor), with what appears to be the “Madman” symbol on them. Lorna’s training consists of running through this clearly Rural Southern environment, in order to prepare her for fetching the Capstone on top of the Washington Monument, which contains powerful mystical properties. With the return of Lorna’s longtime rival, Posh, who is now a British Relic Wrangler herself, Lorna’s troubles seem to be hiking up, along with shorts.
The smell of cheesecake comes wafting in after only the first two panels. It’s something that I have evolved past, through out the first story it felt like there was a inside joke told, and I wasn’t apart of the inner circle. Lorna’s watchers, the Inner Council, are perverted men, who spy on their Wrangler, and get kicks out of her bending over, and showing the strap of her thong. The characterization for them, and Lorna, is juvenile at best, and completely disconcerting at worst. The tone of the comic was sexist, with Lorna fawning over “Riverdale” George Clooney, her trainer Mr. Vernon, like a ditzy pig-tailed school girl, and I for one, don’t truck with that.
The first story, “One Nation…UNDER CHAOS!” is a insipid tale that owes it’s genesis to the equally insipid movie, “National Treasure”, with the premise that the layout of Washington, D.C. was designed for occult purposes. It feels like a short story that got too big for it’s britches, and in result the story staggers, but that’s the least of it’s problems. There is no real motivation for why Lorna is going to get the Mystical monumental Cap Stone. Instead of motivation, or characterization that’s not reminiscent of a horny 14 year olds mind, we get four pages of what turns out to be unnecessary back story, of why Lorna and Posh are the archest of rivals, and how Posh pulled a “Tonya Harding” on Lorna when they were in school, by having her kneecapped. Those pages could have been used for actually showing chaos, instead of redundant back story page, after page.
As for the other two stories presented within the One Shot, we get “Buffet Bar of the Bizarre”, and “Doo-Buddy”. Both tales delve into a young Lorna’s past, where she encounters groping customers as a waitress, dead men who will allow you to sell your soul for a chance at fortune, and playing the dating game with freaks of nature. Both tales are noticeably different tonally to the first tale, almost to a degree that it could be another writer, but it’s not, the sexist overtone rears its ugly head once more, without hesitation. The only tale that was remotely engrossing was the “Doo-Buddy” tale, who’s title is one of the least appealing titles for a story I have heard of. It tackles the supernatural head on, but with way the characters are written, I found myself shaking my head out of disbelief, rather than having my eyes glued to the page out of shear entertainment.
SIGHTS TO BE UNSEEN
The artwork within the One Shot is provided by three different artists, and each one is more drastic than the other. The art on the “One Nation…UNDER CHAOS” story is that of Loston Wallace. Who, coming from working in the fields of Warner Bros. animation, on such properties as Batman: The Animated Series, has a style that is very Bruce Timm. Having a style that is not only a echo of more recognizable artist, but a mirage of it can really backfire, reminding you of how the original artist could have done it better. It’s the same analogy for why in a bad movie, don’t mention titles such as “Citizen Kane”.
While illustrating the action scenes, the angular proportions of Lorna, and the other characters was awkward, and to the degree that you could use Lorna’s knee to cut a wedge of cheese. When a being of immense evil, beyond space and time(and it’s not Great Cthulhu, Praise be to his name) appears, it snares our heroine Lorna with it’s dripping tentacles. It’s supposed to be a Tentacle Porn joke, and the monster is almost laughable, and not in the good way, it seems as if the artist gave up in trying to design the monster, or maybe this falls back upon the writer.
The artwork of the “Buffet Bar of the Bizarre”, and “Doo-Buddy” tales that back up the main tale, are in their own separate worlds. The “Buffet Bar…” tale, has artwork by Olli Hihnala, and though this is the shortest of the three it’s probably the best illustrated, the artwork by Mr. Hihnala reminds me of Rick Veitch, if viewed through a watercolor perspective. The artwork for the “Doo-Buddy” tale was produced by Michael Youngblood, and it’s probably the weakest of the three. The women have very masculine features, their eyes also bug out of their head at least once on every page, the characters feel too ridged in their environment, and look like animated corpses with caked on makeup.
The colors for the first two tales is fine, as for the third tale, the colors are too muddied, muting the artwork in the process, and calling back to the corpses with caked on makeup. Normally the lettering in comics doesn’t bother me, I have seen everything from hand lettered mini-comics, to the Comicraft Fonts you can purchase. But the lettering within this comic was the most distracting I have ever seen, bold words of emphasis went amok in this comic, and moved way past comical, to become simply annoying. Those with whom their eyesight might not be the best, may need to break out a magnifying glass to decipher what the bolded words are, they are too fat and packed too tight, it’s almost as if it’s a little black bar.
TOTAL STATE OF DECAY
Lorna was supposed to look like she crawled out of a trailer park somewhere in the Rural South, an area I know a lot about, that is her gimmick, I get that. But the joke it’s trying to make me laugh at, simply isn’t funny. The characterization wasn’t really there, and when any semblance of it was, I found it to be offensive. There was nothing to contrast the humor with, if the “Inner Council”, the guys with the “Madman” Fez’s, where more sinister, than juvenile, maybe I would have found some of the intended comedic moments actually funny.
On slightly positive note, the two covers to this comic are pretty good, one by Darwyn Cooke, and the other by Dean Yeagle. Both covers have nothing to do with the stories inside, that is something that I don’t care for. I believe a cover should be a coming attraction for what’s inside, build hype of what will happen, the Cooke, “Tentacle Porn Sewer Escape” cover would have been a better place to start, as would the Yeagle, “Escape from the Cave of Incan Zombies” cover. I at one point wanted those stories, but that is gone, like chance at Lorna having any dignity.
Final Verdict, Lorna: Relic Wrangler One Shot receives 1 Star, out of 5.