Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz bring to you their high-concept horror book wherein Billy the Kid is traveling the globe with a band of circus freaks, encountering murderous monstrosities along the way. With an emphasis on the weird, is this a book meant for you? Major Spoilers has the review!

BILLY THE KID’S OLD TIMEY-ODDITIES: THE ORM OF LOCH NESS #2
Writers: Eric Powell, Kyle Hotz

Art: Kyle Hotz
Colors: Daniel Brown
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

Previously in BILLY THE KID’S OLD TIMEY-ODDITIES: THE ORM OF LOCH NESS Billy and the troupe of freaks venture on a quest to destroy the Orm of Lock Ness, a creature that thirsts for blood and is wreaking havoc on the countryside. Unfortunately for the gang, the locals consider the oddities to be spawn of the devil, leaving our protagonists in an unlucky situation…

WEIRD WITH A CAPITAL “W”

There’s a clever story at play here and some interesting characters. The book opens with a tale of a child-murdering circus freak that lets the reader know that chilling moments are on the way. The “orm” is revealed later in this issue to be one of literature’s most famous bloodthirsty beasts, and his interactions with Billy the Kid and his group are done very well. The plot moves right along at a good clip, and the story is never boring…it’s a nice, creepy little tale with some chuckles along the way.

“Billy the Kid” is no doubt a series that is still trying to find its audience…hence its multiple limited series…and this is in no small part due to the high concept of the book. Even before getting to the oddball adventures, the premise of the book is one that some may find befuddling…why is Old West outlaw Billy the Kid hanging out with circus freaks? Why are they fighting monsters? What’s an “orm?” All are good questions that are only answered dubiously. However, if one can set aside these questions, there’s a lot to like about Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities. Fans of Powell’s “The Goon” will feel right at home here, although the humor of that book is sometimes missed. There is at least one laugh-out-loud moment this book with Billy’s assumption of the villain’s religion due to his multiple brides. If you’re not familiar with Powell’s work, this title may take some getting used to.

HOTZ IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS

Here is where reviewer bias sinks in…I’m a sucker for anything Hotz-related. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and books like these or the original “The Hood” series by Marvel are titles where Hotz can really cut loose. There are lots of inks and murky shadows which go a long way in creating just the right atmosphere for this book. Horror and Hotz go hand in hand, and this book benefits greatly from his presence.

BOTTOM LINE: AN ODD FLAVOR, BUT WORTH A TASTE

The greatest strength of BILLY THE KID’S OLD-TIMEY ODDITIES is also its greatest weakness. It is extremely bizarre and wonderful, but it is so exotic that it is easy for new readers to alienate the title. Don’t fall into this trap if you love horror or are in the mood for something strange in your reading list. There’s a nifty little story in this book that feels like a classic grind-house film is playing out on the pages. Hotz creates a terrific ambiance and Powell spins a yarn like few other writers. Gooble, gobble, one of us!

Rating: ★★★½☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!

Reader Rating

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The Author

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo has lived life to the fullest since birth and is living proof that people can see their dreams become reality. He has hunted ghosts, been a prison guard, graduated from professional wrestling school, written a novel for young adults, and taught middle school Social Studies. Writing for Major Spoilers is yet another fantastic adventure.

A comic book fan for life, Thomas is a huge fan of Marvel comics and has also jumped into DC’s New 52. In addition to comics, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of WWE trivia and Disney’s animated films. Someday he hopes to write his own comic series.

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3 Comments

  1. Oldcomicfan
    November 20, 2012 at 6:15 am — Reply

    I don’t read comics of this kind and to tell you why, I’d like to quote part of some advice to writers posted by George R. R. Martin on his website. “But don’t write in my universe, or Tolkien’s, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else’s world is the lazy way out. If you don’t exercise those “literary muscles,” you’ll never develop them.” This whole idea of taking a historical figure, like Billy the Kid, and putting him in situations the original never faced, is just sloppy and lazy writing. Why Billy the Kid? Why not Tom Sawyer? It could have been anybody, if the writer had been energetic enough to write an original character instead of trading on the fame of a long-dead homicidal maniac, or using said maniac as shorthand for a main character he was too lazy to come up with himself. I don’t mind historical characters putting an appearance in a story – when the main character is original and unique, like having Tesla or Einstein showing up in Atomic Robo. But I will be giving this one a pass.

    • November 20, 2012 at 9:41 am — Reply

      That’s an awfully long way to go to say “I haven’t read it.”

    • November 20, 2012 at 9:54 am — Reply

      That’s a fair opinion! This is definitely not a book for you…especially considering who the villain is revealed to be…

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