Eric’s Image Comics Review: GIANT-SIZED ELEPHANTMEN #1
Published: November 2, 2011 - 11:26am
Combining Man and Elephantmen #1, Elephantmen #31 and #32 into one story package, Giant-Sized Elephantmen is a great place for new readers to check out what is arguably the best comic about anthropomorphic animals out in the market. It's a well-told story with many elements and a good value to boot.
Sometimes at a new restaurant, a still undecided patron might order a sampler. It's a meal that gives one a sense of the variety that the eatery has to offer, but also provides a cohesive blend of the varying tastes. Such is the nature of Giant-Sized Elephantmen #1. It's a “greatest hits” for the series that revels in all of the elements that make it work. Richard Starking deftly mixes social commentary, noir mystery, science fiction, steamy sex fantasy, and even sword & sorcery adventure writing in a package that is engaging with each turn of the page. Add in mind altering drugs and it would seem that it might be too much, but that's not the case.
There's a lot going on here, but the story always feels focused. Everything is skillfully handle in a way that relates it all to a few core themes. Collecting Man and Elephantmen #1, Elephantmen #31 and #32, this book acts a a great jumping on point for readers without the financial investment of a trade paperback. For the price of two single-issues, a reader can catch up on this excellent series by checking out some of its best representative pieces.
Axel Medellin's art works well for the sci-fi/noir genre mash with dark, gritty environments mixed in with a fluorescent sheen. The visual juxtaposition of the antiseptic against the dirty does a great job at reinforcing the deeper thematic elements in order for Starking to focus on plot rather than reiterate why this comic has substance. He also shows a stunning amount of versatility matching the multifaceted nature of the text. The designs during the “Conan-esque” story are simply amazing. Again, despite all that's going on, there's an amazing amount of synergy and balance. Anyone who is a fan of Greg Horn's covers depicting women who defy gravity with their breast will find something to like here. Maybe plastic surgery is standard in this future, but it does work for the more perfect/sterile side of the visual narrative.
All in all, Giant-Sized Elephantmen #1 is a great deal for anyone who hasn't had a chance to check the series out. It is one of the better titles out there and is possibly the best with anthropomorphic animals. There's entertainment, substance, and some eye candy. Not bad at all.
Story: Richard Starking
Art: Axel Medellin
Cover: (A) A.J. Scott Campbell & Nei Ruffino (B) Axel Medellin
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