REVIEW: Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth #2

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Todd is ugly. So ugly that he wears a bag over his head. But he’s not the only ugly character, this book is filled with them. It’s also filled with lots of sick humor. Does this book succeed in being an entertaining read or is it ugly all around? Major Spoilers has your review.

Todd_2_coverTodd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth #2
Writer: Ken Kristensen
Artist: M.K. Perker
Letterer: M. K. Perker
Colorist: Cemal Soyleyen
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Todd the Ugliest Kid on Earth: The Maniac Killer has been murdering children across town. Todd meets said killer but is spared because of his hideous appearance. When the killer’s next victim is found, evidence at the scene points to Todd, leading to his arrest and incarceration. Todd’s parents barely notice…

TRULY UGLY CHARACTERS

Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth is a dark book. It’s presented in a light-hearted fashion but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, these are truly dark subjects. Child murder, parental neglect and emotional abuse abound in this title, yet I find it incredibly appealing. But I enjoy twisted humor and here it is incredibly twisted.

There is so much going on in this issue that it’s hard to sum up in a few words. Todd is in prison for a murder he didn’t commit while those around him, including his parents, continue to do horrible things. So many stories are being told involving different characters that the issue barely allows any of them to breathe. The main focus is of course on Todd, but we get a glimpse of Todd’s father meeting a celebrity, his mother sleeping with a man she met at a bar, the cops finding another body and a needless scene of the Maniac Killer playing piano while waiting for Dominos. This is a four-issue mini-series so space is limited but Ken Kristensen is packing in so much that I fear it might get bloated. Was it necessary to devote a page to the Maniac Killer playing a piano adorned with children’s decapitated heads? And what is the significance of introducing celebrity Belinda Fairchild? Hopefully it will all come together but for now seems needless other than to inject more sick humor.

And that’s what will make it or break it for you. Apart from Todd and newly introduced Caesar everyone in this book are horrible people. Even Caesar is first shown dropping the soap in the shower for Todd to pick up. In fact, apart from his appearance, Todd is the least ugly person in this book. The humor is dark, most of it at Todd’s expense, and while I liked it, some seemed too much. A new prisoner’s initiation is to shank Todd, the man in the cell next to Todd’s is in for child rape and…well you get the idea. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it does, so much so that the reader becomes desensitized. The shock value wears off taking away the impact the humor should have. I enjoyed much of the issue (Oprah’s endorsement of Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” had me rolling) but by the end, I needed a breather. This is a good book if you’re the audience for it, but I hope they rein some of it in.

UGLY NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD

For such ugly subject matter, this book looks damn good. Perker’s style is very unique and his character’s looks match the twisted nature of the title. There’s ugliness to the art but it works incredibly well. Details are present throughout the issue and colors are bright where appropriate and muted when needed. There are also funny visual gags as well such as Todd’s Rita Hayworth poster and the fact that Caesar wears his hat in the shower. Perker put a lot of work into this and it shows. No matter your feelings on the story, it’s hard to deny that this is some fantastic work.

BOTTOM LINE: SENSITIVE PEOPLE NEED NOT APPLY

Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth is not a book for everyone. It’s dark, twisted, full of unlikable characters but also original and strangely appealing. The humor is definitely an acquired taste but if you’re into it, you’ll get a unique story with a lovable main character. This issue has too much going on and while the series is running the risk of becoming needlessly excessive, it’s still worth a read. Though not as good as the first, Todd: The Ugliest Kid on Earth #2 earns 3 out of 5 stars. I want to see where Kristensen and Perker will take us next. And that worries me.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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