Trying to explain Evil Ernie to someone who did not grow up reading their uncle’s copies of the original ‘90s comic series when they weren’t supposed to is a daunting task. It is one that would make the poor soul who is charged with listening to you babble on about a talking smiley face pin and a psychotic wraith on a mission to execute a cataclysmic event called “The Megadeath” look at you with the same confused expression a Labrador conjures when they listen to an answering machine greeting. But I can assure you, trying to explain such an inane, heavy metal-laden plot to someone is quite entertaining (just ask my wife). Give it a try sometime.
Evil Ernie: GODEATER #1 doesn’t care if the reader is up to speed on the titular character’s backstory from twenty years ago, nor does it rest on the laurels of the previous reboot titles from Dynamite Studios from this decade. The comic tosses the reader right into the deep end and dares them to swim. There is no lifeline. There is no “previously on.” You’re given all the information you need right up front: crazy evil undead guy and his talking button are here to raise hell, and some sort of otherworldly force doesn’t want them to. That’s it.
Outside of the familiar Ernie business, there is an interesting prologue in this issue that touches on a rather taboo subject (one that I’m sure many metal head misfits can sadly relate to) that almost seemed out of place. But before I had a second to wonder where the hell things were going, the comic took off running, and that prologue worked its way back into the story wonderfully.
What’s great about the book is that writer Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Deathstroke) embraces the frantic action and juvenile attitude Evil Ernie has always been about. He understands that this comic was written for metal head misfits who happen to be comic nerds (which is a cross section of pop culture junkies that has much larger ranks than some people think). His handle on the character is tight and the smartass dialogue between Ernie and Smiley is sharp and at times made me chuckle although some jokes seemed to be aimed at the lowest common denominator. While nothing huge plot-wise really developed in this first issue, it was fun enough to make me want more.
The art, provided by the very talented Colton Worley (The Shadow Now, The Spider) is a nice change of pace for this character. Instead of the grungy ‘90s style the character is used to, Worley turns Ernie’s world into something ethereal. The soft lines of his characters and environments give this book an almost dreamlike quality. It’s a change that is certainly welcomed even when the action sometimes seems…what’s the word? Blurry. Regardless, his panel work is solid and the pacing Jordan has set up, Worley knocks down with ease.
Worely’s choice of colors is also interesting. The light brush stroke look to everything adds to the dreamy (nightmarish?) tone of the comic. Evil Ernie has alway evoked a certain rough and tumble attitude when it came to its artwork, but what Worely has done is a nice change of pace. In music nerd terms, it’s less Exodus and more My Bloody Valentine.
Jordan and Worley have delivered a fun summer read, one that I hope gets crazier as it goes. While not all the jokes worked for me and the art felt…what’s the word? Mushy. At times, Evil Ernie: Godeater #1 is a solid issue that knows exactly what it wants to be. Raise your devil horns, gang. Evil Ernie is back.
- Fun tone
- Leaves the reader in the dust in the best possible way
- Great, new angle with the artwork...
- The art sometimes feels...what’s the word? Fuzzy
- Not every joke lands