Writer: Richard Starkings
Publisher: Image Comics
Although numerically a follow-up to issue #4, this issue of Elephantmen is more of a sequel of the #0 issue. This means that even though the first page shot (of Obadiah Horn) takes up from where issue #4 left off, a better part of the story is told in flashback, of a time just after the last page of issue #0, after the Elephantmen were liberated from the Mappo complex.
As seen on the cover, there is a big fight between Obadiah and Hip. However, along with its physicality, this fight is also a clash of the ideologies of the two men..., ahem..., elephantmen. With the atmosphere still charged from battle, it doesnít take much for the adrenal charged duo to go up against each other. Unless it is some other Giraffe-man, the charge comes in form of an understandably scared Granger (from Hip Flask: Elephantmen, July 2003).
Elsewhere (at the same flashback time), a "must" Ebony takes out his frustration on one of the men responsible for their being the way they are: their physical trainer, the one who called them "monkey." Although not clear at this juncture, this fight has some rather interesting ramifications and revelations. Along with giving an glimpse to the inherent good within these Elephantmen, it (and the subsequent events) also sheds light on the evil inside those who call themselves human.
With this issue, not only has writer Richard Starkings brought resolutions to quite a few plotlines, especially the one regarding the Elephantmenís origins, he has also made possible a better understanding of why these creatures (esp. Hip, Ebony and Obadiah) behave the way they do. Already an interesting read, this story just became a whole lot deeper.
The art acts in symbiosis with the writing in the way that while good to look at, the story and dialogues bring the graphics to life. In turn, without Moritatís excellent visuals accompanying it, I think the story would be quite a bit serious, especially for the type of literary form it aims to be and is.
Conclusion: Having read this issue, I am beginning to wonder how a possible Elephantmen novel would come across as, or an animated series, or even a live action movie.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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