Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Starkings, Churchland, Roshell & Comicraft
This issue continues the trend of isolating a character and telling a fairly self contained story. This issue focuses on the nosey cab driver, Miki. This spotlight story is unique in this string of stories in that Miki has already been featured in a couple of story arcs. However, this comic expands her character and drops one or two huge plot threads for future stories. It’s a very good issue but doesn’t quite reach the insanely high bar this series has set. Like The Walking Dead, I judge the series on whether or not a new reader would pick this up and be completely hooked on the series. This one comes very close to that level.
Coming in to the story we knew that Miki had been exposed to the fungi virus and wasn’t contaminated and we also know she seemed overly interested in any of the Elephantmen that she can across. This issue picks up with her fantasies of the Elephantmen as she paints portraits of her being held naked by her friend, Hip. Her mother finds the paintings and they argue. It’s clear that most of the world despises the Elephantmen and that when a human takes a liking to one, they generally get shunned.
Miki shows a level of maturity in this sequence that we previously hadn’t seen. Usually she acted more like an overly aggressive teenager that excelled at chasing guys that were taboo. Here, she has a touch of elegance and seems more like a tragic figure, like Juliet from Romeo and Juliet.
Miki then reveals her wild and childish side as she finds herself a man and puts herself in a compromising position that forces her to make a choice. This part of the story helps to show that her friendship with Hip is more than just her being fascinated by the Elephantmen. She relies on Hip and trusts him. This part of the comic also leaves a couple of plots open out there and invites some interesting questions about the characters.
Why was it that Miki wasn’t affected by the virus? Does she have ties to the Elephantmen that she’s not aware of? When Miki learns the Elephantmen can’t reproduce is she more attracted to them or less? Can her immunity to the virus be duplicated and who could benefit it from it if it could be?
The artwork gives a detailed account of the drama unfolding between the covers. The coloring leans more towards the muted tones and sets a somber mood which is probably appropriate for the story. It’s a stark contrast to the generally dark and rainy scenes we’ve come to expect from this series. The art certainly puts Miki in a light that portrays her more as a conflicted adult rather than a charged up teenager. The issue contains some sketches in it to help introduce the artist a little more to the readers. There is no doubt the art here is a home run.
Miki becomes a more layered and complex character in this issue but the real grabber is the potential story seeds that are planted here. When you consider the issue is light on action and Elephantmen I would have said coming in that it would have been an off issue and I would have been dead wrong. I think fans of the series will be extremely happy with the fleshing out of this character and I think new readers will get a small introduction into two of the key characters in the series. Regardless of whether or not you are a new reader or an established fan I think this story stands on its own as another compelling story in a fantastic series.
4 out of 5 geek goggles