Sometimes a title/premise is so perfect, you want to read the book, even if you don’t know what it is, who’s behind it or how it’s gonna go… Your Major Spoilers review of Shirtless Bear-Fighter #3 awaits!
Writer: Jody Leheup and Sebastion Girner
Artist: Nil Vendrell
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Shirtless Bear-Fighter: “The mighty Shirtless is in the clutches of Fuzzy Wipes(TM) CEO Jaxson Logger, and it’s up to rogue FBI agent Suzie Silva to bust him out! Don’t miss bear-brawls, golden toilets, and…BETRAYAL!”
SOMETHING ENTIRELY UNIQUE
We open with a flashback to Suzie Silva’s childhood, trying to save her pet cat from the top of a tree (after she disobeyed her parents to take the kitty out in the first place.) Cut to the present, as Shirtless Bear-Fighter, rendered powerless by wearing a shirt, is forced to watch his old nemesis Jaxson Logger use a gold toilet, while Shirtless brother (who is a bear, as is all of his family) prepares to murder Shirtless. It’s… weird as hell, in all the right ways. We get a little bit of the ol’ fighty-fighty, a daring rescue and the reveal of more of Shirtless’ tragic back story, including the origin of the rift between him and brother bear. As the story ends, a terrible betrayal occurs, leaving Shirtless alone in his beloved forest, now being clear-cut by Jaxson to be processed into toilet paper. Then, his father (who is also a bear) arrives, intoning that they need to have a talk…
THE CUTTING EDGE OF SATIRE
The joy of this book is the way that it completely turns into the skid, taking even the silliest bits of this story (such as our hero escaping using the upstream leaping technique he learned from salmon) and playing them excruciatingly straight at all times. Nothing is ever treated as anything less than serious, which actually makes things funnier, while delivering a rollicking adventure story at the same time. The art is clear, expressive and damn-near perfect, with special excellence shown in rendering Shirtless’ mighty snarls and facial expressions. I want to read more of this book immediately, and am actually sad to have discovered that it’s actually a limited series and not an ongoing. Still, the quality and entertainment factor in these pages make me certain that we’ll be seeing more from these creators in the future…
THE BOTTOM LINE: MORE OF THIS, PLEASE!
Shirtless Bear-Fighter #3 is a joyful example of comics at their best, featuring excellent art, a little melodrama, a golden toilet and a hero tied up with toilet paper because a shirt saps his might, earning a ridiculous-but-somehow-perfect 5 out of 5 stars overall. I kinda love this comic, and I urge you to go find the first two issues and read this one as well, it’s lovely stuff from cover to cover…