Is this the longest gap between reviews in Optical Sloth history? I reviewed Untamed Highway #2 (yes, he started the numbering over without changing the title, but if the big publishers can do it, so can he) back in May of 2005. So outside of being yet another reminder that I have to find a spare several months to go back and put dates on all the old reviews, I’m obviously not going to remember a thing from that series, so keep that in mind. Here, I’m going to crawl all the way up my own behind and paste my favorite quote from one of my old reviews for this series: The art to me looks like what would happen if Hunt Emerson and Peter Bagge somehow had a baby who eventually grew up and renounced all ties to his fathers. Gosh, I was insightful 18 years ago! All downhill from there, sadly. So what’s happening in this issue? There’s no recap of any kind, which is a shame, but maybe he made the decision not to mention anything that happened previously to start things in a new direction. Or maybe this occurs directly after the last issue which, again, has long since left my brain. Anyway, we have a brain in a jar (with a googly eye that needs reattached) with an assistant named Mortimer. They’re both waiting for their doctor friend to return so that this brain can get put into a human body. Well, the doctor returns with bad news: there’s a cadaver shortage. Things get a little tense after that, but it’s a little tough to carry through on threats when you’re a brain in a jar. There’s also a short story afterwards about the guy in a gorilla mask that I referenced in a previous review, who is apparently a hitman. Again again, memory bad, my apologies. He does have his previous three issues for sale on his Etsy page, so you can catch up if this all sounds intriguing. Taken in a vacuum, this is still a solid issue, with lots of unanswered questions about who these people are and what’s they’re up to in general. I’m curious to see where he takes things next, but if I have to wait another 18 years to find out I’m going to be even more hazy in that review… $5
Untamed Highway #2
Ah, so HERE’S where whole traveling aspect of the series kicks in. Syd is on the hunt in this issue for that nasty lizard freak, but the people who sent him on the hunt don’t entirely trust him, so he’s being secretly followed by two other people. Oh, and he has a clamp on his leg so he can’t do much besides drive around. So, naturally, he runs into a naked fat guy who offers to help him out. Giving more of this away is silly, as it’s all about the journey. I will say that there’s a particularly satisfying fight scene involving a talking gorilla, a giant head and a shotgun, but that’s it. All kinds of detail in the art (even the backgrounds), a pretty compelling story so far, and a frantic quality to the whole thing, even on the pages where not much is actually happening. A pretty damned good comic, in other words, and it’s hefty enough so that the $3.95 price seems more than fair…
Untamed Highway #1
You know what I think would be a great idea for a comic? A chronicaling of all the various roadside attractions in the US. Well, these two thought the same thing and decided to make a comic about it, although they both seem to be extremely nervous about the comic being “successful”. Hey, if it’s done well I don’t see the problem, and the first issue was done pretty well. Granted, there wasn’t much in the way of roadside attractions in this one, as it was mostly trying to set things up for the rest of the series. You know, establish characters, motivation, those types of things. This is about a man named Syd who essentially gets snookered into looking for… well, that’s a mystery for most of the comic, so I don’t want to give it up here. In this comic he has bad dreams, sees the man in an ape mask who’s trying to kill him, runs into a woman who stood him up a few times, and tries to talk to Irving. Madcap insanity is all over the place too, just in case you were thinking that this was ALL about setting up characters. The art to me looks like what would happen if Hunt Emerson and Peter Bagge somehow had a baby who eventually grew up and renounced all ties to his fathers and the writing was funny at times and smart at others. Sometimes even both! Seriously, this is a great first effort, so good in fact that I’m convinced there must be mini comics floating around from these guys and these are probably names that some people will recognize. It’s $3.95 and a hefty comic, check out the website and see what you think.