Monday, September 3, 2012

Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Birds Bees Blood & Beer Trade Paperback Review

Wormwood Gentleman Corpse: Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer
Softcover Trade Paperback
152 pages
$19.99 (2006)
ISBN 9781600100475

Contributors: Ben Templesmith and Robbie Robbins

Reprints: Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse #0-4

Synopsis: Hard-drinking occult detective Wormwood has one up on the other guys - he's a walking cadaver animated by a demonic worm in his empty eye-socket.  He's seen it all and is known by all sorts of nasty demons and things that go bump in the night.  Wormwood is a right friendly chap if you get to know him, but seems to attract the wrong sort of crowd.  Attended by his clockwork man, Mr. Pendulum, Wormwood is more interested in knocking back a few than solving the grisly crimes of the heinous creatures who wander into our dimension from the nether regions.

Fond of spending time at a particularly notorious strip club, Wormwood and Mr. Pendulum discover the beer is spiked with demon seed which transforms the beer-swilling, degenerate customers into demon incubators.  If that weren't bad enough they stumble upon a demonic plot to spawn more demonic creatures from unlucky humans using laced erectile dysfunction medication (i.e. boner pills).

Phoebe Phoenix is a stripper with a penchant for using firearms and special tattoos which animate into powerful weapons.  She signs on to be Wormwood's extra bodyguard (as if a mechanical drinking buddy weren't enough) and doesn't quite know what she's getting into.  Rounding out the group is a ghostly detective who asks for help to solve the case.  Can Wormwood and crew figure out who is behind the quickly multiplying baby demons?

Pros: Dark humor, concept is pretty original and pulled off fairly well by Templesmith, art is passable (nice colors), scripting is good (amusing tongue-in-cheek jokes), bit of nudity (strip club after all), funny ending (although a bit anticlimactic), lots of extras including pinups & sketches

Cons: Slightly offensive with the demon spunk and zombie strippers, art and story are a bit simple (minimalist for sure, i.e. not much for backgrounds except pretty colors), quick read

Mike Tells It Straight: I like horror comics and Templesmith was the original artist on 30 Days of Night which was written by Steve Niles, now a household name in the horror genre.  His art is well known for being abstract with a heavy use of mood colors.  Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is a fun, quick read.  I liked the characters and Templesmith proves himself good at scripting dialogue.

Now that's a disturbing image
His writing is very simple and straightforward - this book is meant as an establishing arc to introduce his main characters and entertain the reader.  A little suspense and mystery, but mostly a bunch of weirdos going on an adventure.  Wormwood is a nonchalant anti-hero with a chipper attitude and major league connections in the supernatural underworld.  Templesmith wins for originality and I was thoroughly entertained.  Looking forward to another round.  

TO BUY and Recommendations: