Elephantmen #30 Review
- Published on Tuesday, 08 March 2011 09:00
- Written by Andrenn
Elephantmen is a title that has been recommended to me ever since I first started getting into comics. I started with Spawn and as I looked for other comics one title I saw get a lot of praise often was Elephantmen. It has always been a title on the back of my mind. One of those comics you see getting a review or preview and consider checking out but for some reason never do. Well, that changes today as I enter the world of Elephantmen with the end of the Questionable Things arc. Is this a heavy read full of greatness or is this beast left best in the wild? Let's find out!
Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Axel Medellin
Story Rating: 8 Elephantmen out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Elephantmen out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Elephantmen out of 10
Opening Comments: This is not actually my first time reading Elephantmen. For one, I have heard a lot about this title so I am familiar enough with the characters. Plus, I picked up a few recent back issues to learn what was going on. Still, I was surprised that this issue really does seem new reader friendly. While it is not exposition heavy, it is still written with brief mentions and recap moments that are helpful for those who have not read Elephantmen or have not read all of the series.
Now, much to my surprise, Elephantmen #30 earns that red M on the cover. When Starkings said this was going to be a Mature comic I figured that we would get some “bad” language and maybe sexy poses. But, no. This issue earns the title of being a Mature comic not to give kids. So if nipples bug you, a fair warning, you will not like this comic.
Story Comments: There are three stories in this issue. Hip Flask and his friend Miki meeting up, Panya recollecting her adventures of impersonating the celebrity Sahara and then a man named Apostrophe talking about the dangers of Sleeper Cell Elephantmen.
Now, the story about Panya is just a wrap up of last issue's development. It does not tie into the other two stories much and it simply finished that previous plot line. Panya's story was a great wrap up of the plot from Elephantmen #29. The little journey Panya has from being Sahara for the evening was great and her conclusion about Saraha's fiance, Obadiah Horn, was a really clever turn.
At first glance, the other two stories really do not fit. At least, that is how it may seem. What does Hip meeting up with Miki have to do with the Sleeper Cells? It loosely ties at first since Hip was turned into one for a moment several issues back. But other than that, the two differ greatly in tone and it is jarring. That is how it seems at first, but by the end the two plots merge in a weird, but brilliant, way.
To talk about either story in too much depth would spoil it which I will not be doing here. However, I must say that this was a clever use of the two plots. As Hip and Miki get closer together it leads in perfectly and matches up with Mr. Apostrophe and what he says about the Sleeper Cells. I did not see it coming. However, I was quite impressed once I realized exactly how it all meshed so well together.
Now, as I said, there is a good reason for the M on this cover. There are nipples and if that bugs you then you should avoid this comic. Thankfully, Starkings never crosses the line of going over the top. Yes, we see naked women but we never get the over the top sexy scenes. There is an implied sex scene but we never see anything. So while there is a good reason that this is a comic for Mature audiences, at the same time, it does not veer into immature territory. It is classy. Well, as classy as Hippo People sex can get.
I enjoyed the hell out of Elephantmen #30. Starkings gave us a great dose of interesting characters and a very big problem for those characters to face at another point. He shows that the world of Elephantmen is neither happy or perfect. Even though happiness can be achieved for these creatures, there is always a darker event on the horizon for them. By the time I finished reading the issue I was left with conflicting feelings. Both happy and sad and it takes a great read to do that.
Hip Flask and Miki are great characters. The way the two get along makes for a wonderful read. The point the two characters reach by the end of the issue feels like an honest build up of their relationship. I have not read every issue but I do know that this has been a long time coming for readers.
The end of the issue leaves you with a feeling of hope and dread. You know something good has happened but something bad cannot be too far behind. It left me happy with what I got and excited to see just what happens next for these characters. To put it in general terms, Starkings left me satisfied with this issue but wanting more which is what all comics should try to do.
A problem I had with the story is that the Vanity plot from last issue only gets a brief mention here. I know we could not afford much more space but I was hoping for a little more follow up from last issue then just a brief panel.
There is one page that focuses on the character Casban Joe. I know about his character and, honestly, this page feels out of place. It focuses more on some exposition about him as a character. While there is nothing wrong with the page itself, it is written well and helped me as a new reader get to know the character more, it just sticks out like a sore thumb. While they do transition to him from Panya, which works for the most part, this one page feels unimportant and thrown in there.
Overall, this was both a great conclusion to the arc while still feeling like a single done in one issue. Other than wrapping up Panya's plot this felt like a done in one issue. Most arcs do not do that. Each issue is just another chapter, not a single story on its own. This feels like all one story, self contained, though continuations from other stories and I really like that. I wish more comics could do that.
Art Comments: Medellin's artwork had me sold by page #1. It is gorgeous artwork and even the non-painted pages look great. I am not sure if Medellin is the series' regular artist or not but if he is then Elephantmen may be one of the best looking comics on the stands. There is amazing artwork on every page and it is just as big a sell as the great storyline.
Overall: Elephantmen #30 was a great conclusion to the "Questionable Things" arc, but, even better, this issue was a read on its own. As a near stand alone story, Elephantmen #30 was excellent. While this issue wrapped things up for now it left a lot of exciting things to continue on. I am glad to finally be getting into this series. I give Elephantmen a high recommendation to anyone that is interested. This issue is new reader friendly enough that I think you could dive in and have just as great of a time as I did.