A-1: A New Source for High Stimulus Weirdness
A-1 #2 (Titan Comics, August 2013 http://titan-comics.com/)
It’s nearly impossible to try and figure out what direction these tales are headed in. The unpredictable nature of A-1 is a big part of the charm and is responsible for its’ allure and quirky goodness.
The second issue of this science-fiction/fantasy themed anthology returns with the next chapter in the three serialized stories from the debut issue last month. The high quality art and colors throughout all stories really draw attention to this title and dazzle with a vivid wash of colors on high quality paper.
The overlapping of classic characters from literature continues in The Weirding Willows by editor Dave Elliott and illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda in a style that resembles painting on canvas. Just as Mogwai made an appearance late in the story last issue, a famous doctor’s monstrous creation intrudes upon the final panels this time. The setting is now confirmed as 19th century England amid attempts to subdue and control the latest cargo for Dr. Moreau’s animal surgical experiments, commissioned by a witchy woman with an interest in flying monkeys. Moreau’s daughter, Alice, is lured away from the action by a well-dressed rabbit who can’t afford to be late. Dr. Jekyll obtains the elixir he negotiated for when arranging for the animal delivery. There are other characters to be recognized in little cameos (including a small version of the Cheshire Cat, and is that mean woman a tired version of Mary Poppins?). It’s fun to see how many characters can be inserted into the story and to read how Eliott holds it all together. However, I have absolutely no idea where this is going.
It’s another single issue episode for Carpe Diem, the gaggle of superheroes named for days of the week and led by The Eighth Day, the dapper dressed big boss with a black eight-ball for a head. A gang of malicious clowns led by August Von Reichskanzler manage to steal the small derby hat favored by Eighth Day and kill super-spy agent Monday (he’ll be resurrected shortly). We learn the back-story of first school-boy encounters between the two leaders and a continuing grudge match between them. There’s a blue-haired bespectacled mouse in a Sgt. Pepper coat at the control center for Carpe Diem. Von Reichskanzler communicates via a greenish clown phone with a happy face, and travels via a weapon fortress inside a giant floating cat. Sir Tuesday (the hooligan) and Sir Thursday (the shaman) seize the day after smashing clown noses. (Glad to see that! I don’t like clowns either.) Don’t try to explain this series to others. Just enjoy the crazy world brought to you by writer W. H. Rauf and artist/creator Rhoald Marcellius.
The most serious story in A-1 #2 is the next episode of Odyssey, a different spin on the patriotic hero by writer Dave Elliott and artist Garrie Gastonny. The realistic art makes the story a bit more believable, although it’s still as strange as everything else in A-1. Having survived the American forces’ attempt to kill him and prepare his husk for possession by a supernatural ally, Wilson goes on to rally the troops in WWII as Blazing Glory. No one has determined if the experiment was successful or if Wilson shares his shell with angel or demon. He helps U.S. soldiers in Berlin 1945 break through Hitler’s stronghold and dispatch Nazis in bloody fashion that might give a clue to his new strength. And, he continues on as Blazing Glory (in patriotic battle uniform and helmet) right up to more recent times in 2003 when the White House contacts him. What’s the next mission?