Writer: Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque, Cris Peter (colors)
Publisher: Boom! Studios
At the end of my review for Savage Brothers #1, I asked “Is Dale really trying to play hero, or is he just horny?” (Wow, I’ve never quoted myself before!) Well, like I thought, I was analyzing this series way too seriously, as Dale proves to be both the hero and the horn-dog in Savage Brothers #2. Once again, the redneck laughs come just as fast as the action, which may be even more breakneck in pace than the last issue. Readers of the first issue know that they are going to be greeted in Issue #2 by a knock-down, drag-out fight between the Savage Brothers and the hordes of zombies lead by The Head. Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes don’t disappoint us, as the opening scene is filled with gunplay, explosions, and lots of spurting zombie blood (Tom Savini would be proud!). All in all, I liked this issue better than the last for two simple reasons: one, my expectations going into this issue were met and exceeded, and two, the comic was paced in a more exciting fashion, making my heart race with the appropriately quick pacing. Granted, there are still some core problems that Savage Brothers will have a tough time overcoming in the future, but right now I have to say that I’m enjoying the wild and crazy ride that Cosby and Stokes have cobbled together.
The character of Candy creates a sexy presence in this second issue, one that nicely counteracts the honkytonk and undead elements. Instead of simply Bo and Luke, the book has added Daisy into the mix (the Catherine Bach version, not the Barbie doll Jessica Simpson!). The give and take between Candy and Dale is the highlight of this issue, because the sexual tension (if you could call it that) between the two draws your attention more than the zombie ass-kicking (gotta throw in a Yee Haw!). One of the best, and wickedly subtle, of their moments occurs as they are trying to escape from The Head’s zombie hordes. Dale asks Candy’s opinion on what to do next given their situation. Candy replies, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess if given my druthers I’d very much like to survive!” Dale comes back with “Oh yeah? Guess what I’d like to do?” In the next panel, all we see is Dale’s exuberant smile (complete with toothpick) and Candy’s unbelieving face, but we all know what Dale’s thinking without a single word. In fact, the only words in the panel are Candy’s: “You’ve got to be kidding.” Just like in Moonlighting, the banter is the best part of the story, including moments that embolden (Dale retrieving Candy’s expensive shoe that she lost in battle) and deteriorate (“Being a gentleman goes against my nature.” “Yeah, I kinda gathered that when you felt me up in the alleyway. And then again in the laundry chute. And then again in the truck.”) their relationship. One thing you do know is that the continuous punches and jabs between these two gender stereotypes will consistently entertain readers, just like Heath and Mara in Fear Agent. The only difference between this last example is that Dale is much more likeable, and Candy is much sexier. What do you expect from the only stripper available during the zombie holocaust? No wonder The Head chained her up on a pedestal for all the zombies to see!
Once again we have a no-frills presentation by Rafael Albuquerque, which is strange for a comic that has some unique story elements that could have benefitted from some illustrated flair. Is this the fault of the writers or the artist? I don’t know, and I won’t guess. All I know is that the panel construction and execution are pretty standard throughout, and if it wasn’t for the humor and action in the actual story, this comic wouldn’t cut the mustard with many readers. That being said, the action is depicted with quick pace in mind, and the character expressions are usually right on the money, so Albuquerque did accomplish the writers’ goals in this issue. I just wish there could have been either a more cartoonish or kinetic style to play up either the comedy or the action.
Once again, I say that this issue of Savage Brothers is a fun, action-packed, and sexy way to entertain yourself for four bucks. If disciples of Dale and Otis have their say, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a strip club!
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