Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: John Heebink (p), Mike Manley (i), Nick Filardi (colors)
Publisher: Image Comics
This is a great example of a comic book that sounds dull initially, but really surprises you with its ingenuity and exceptional content. I havenít read much by Rick Remender, but I might have to check out his other titles after this nifty little series. Doll and Creature is about a man-made vigilante named Gristle who is out to rid the world of Hydes, people addicted to a drug called Grey Matter that turns them into blood-thirsty monsters. Weíve heard of plots like this, havenít we? And, unfortunately, Issue #1 confirmed a lot of the preconceived notions I had formed going into this series. There seemed to be a lot of zombie killing and general mayhem without the benefit of any back-story to inform the reader of what the heck is going on. To be honest, after finishing the first issue, I didnít know if I would be coming back for Issue #2. Itís not that the comic was bad, but simply that I wasnít interested in the directions this series would likely go, namely lots of creature-fighting action and a Beauty and the Beast love story developing between Doll and Gristle (the title IS Doll and Creature!).
However, upon reading Issue #2, I knew that I was dead wrong and that I was holding a quality comic book with a ton of potential leading into its final two issues. The elements of this issue that I found interesting were many. Mainly, there is the religious persecution that exists due to an act passed by most of the world which makes religious conviction illegal. Remender portrays this lack of religion in the world as a cause for the future problems that erupt. Sure, religion has started wars and created genuine hatred among various groups for thousands of years. But, a lack of belief and faith is worse, because this also breeds a lack of hope, and lack of hope is what brings about general evil and individual addiction, the two main problems with the world in Doll and Creature. This future world that Remender, John Heebink, and Mike Manley have created is a scary reminder of how one wrong decision by a populace can destroy almost everything that humanity holds dear. In addition, there are many clever elements to the story that really deserve applause. The two main characters, Doll and Gristle, can be truly described as Universal monsters with a 1950s look. Gristle looks and dresses like a greaser and Doll has curves that would make Marilyn Monroe jealous. Symbolism? Possibly, this could be Remenderís reference to the apparent wholesomeness of 50s culture that has been abandoned by our culture. Or, it could simply be a nice juxtaposition of images for Heebink and Manley to play with throughout the series. Either way, the look and feel of the two main characters really adds to the atmosphere of this world. Heck, thereís even an Igor in the mix here (Modo) whose motives are not entirely clear, leading to even more intrigue in an already intriguing story.
In reference to the artwork, this represents an excellent collaboration between Heebink and Manley, giving life to this strange world full of monsters through the action sequences and the doom-and-gloom images that pervade everything. Also, it doesnít hurt that this new printing has been colored by Nick Filardi, who adds even more vividness and welcome contrast to the story. I could be mistaken, but many of the drawings and character expressions resembled images I have seen in the old EC horror comics such as Tales from the Crypt. Again, could Team Doll and Creature be so deft with their material that they would draw another 1950s comparison by styling their comic book after those classic EC tales? I donít know, but it seems to me that these stylistic choices canít be some kind of coincidence or accident. This is quality work that should be more prevalent in the comic book medium. In execution, Doll and Creature reminds me of another great modern horror comic, The Goon. Both titles give the reader more than they bargained for, with a light touch of humor and social commentary to keep things fresh. Doll and Creature is a title every comic book fan should pick up and enjoy.
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