Hungry Ghosts #4
Story: Anthony Bourdain/Joel Rose
Artwork: “The Snow Woman” by Irene Kolt, “The Cow Head” by Francesco Francavilla
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Paul Pope
Well, it’s apparent they saved the best stories for last. These were by far the two best stories in the series.
“The Snow Woman” is a tale about a young man and his father. While out on a hunting trip they are stifled by an enormous snow storm and seek refuge in an abandoned hut left by another hunter. Without any form of heat in the hut, no stove, no fireplace, nowhere to build a fire, they huddle together and rely on their coats and bodies to keep themselves warm. In the night, the Snow Woman comes. She kills the father but spares the son, warning him to never speak of this night. Her reason for sparing the son…sex. She used him like a blow up doll and then threatened to end him too if he ever told anyone about their night together…and their tryst.
He goes about his life but, can’t keep his mouth shut. And although he has everything in life he could want, he soon learns that discretion is the better part of valor.
“The Cow Head” is a gruesome and gory tale of cannibalism and mob mentality. The teller of this story warns against its power and that those who listen to it, end up dead. The other dinner guests think nothing of this and laugh, waiting for the tale…and so it begins.
A village experiencing drought, famine a desperation turns to eating practically any living thing they can. First, they deplete all of the stores and goods, then their chickens, their ducks, then the livestock, even their horses and mules, their cats, their dogs, and at last, rodents and vermin.
Then, a stranger appears. It’s a man with a cow’s head. He wants to speak to the whole village. As they gather, they grow impatient, asking for food and receiving no satisfactory answer. They quickly mob together and kill the stranger, cutting him up like butchers and eating him like vulchers. Soon, they are all full, their bellies fat, their hunger satiated. But, they shortly fall ill, writhing in pain. And the villagers, and the dinner guests, all soon learn about the REAL hungry ghosts.
This was a good way to end the series. I did think these two stories were the best that they came out with. The artwork isn’t bad but, it’s not really my style, although it does fit the context of the comic series. These were the only two stories that I felt real suspense while reading them. I could recommend this particular issue to spirit and ghost story lovers. The progression of the series makes me wonder if it was on purpose or just a natural progression due to Bourdain’s depression. These tales do seem to be a little darker and seedier than the rest.
All in all, this was my favorite issue of the four. And it could be one that I will read again.
Island 731 #2
Writers: Jeremy Robinson/Kane Gilmour
Artist: Jeff Zornow
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
This is the second issue of six. (The first issue review can be read HERE.) I was really expecting more from this story. This whole story is very similar to the premise of the television show LOST. The first issue got my attention and I was hoping for some good story content but, it’s still moving a little slow, kind of like the show LOST.
The biggest thing that happens in this issue is that there’s a really awesome monster and our islanders are accosted by it. Other than that, not a lot happens. We see a few monsters actually. There’s the draco-snake, which is a flying snake, kinda like a mix between a dragon and a snake. We also have some sort of “thing” that is reminiscent of Big Foot having a child with a werewolf.
The crew has split up. Some are staying on the ship and some are staying on the island. They are still looking for Kam and have actually become kind of suspicious of him since they found out that his translation of the rubber band around the sea turtle was not honest and accurate. On the island, they find a goat with the same kind of labeled band as a collar. One of the other shipmates met his wife in Japan and can read it. It says “Goat 314”. So, Kam saying the turtle band said “broccoli” can’t be true.
They also find evidence of human experimentation and assume it’s by Japanese soldiers/scientists, whatever, and that it started in WWII. The mass grave they found shows evidence of humans having extra limbs and such. That, coupled with the weird flying snakes, they assume someone is scientifically engineering chimeras, creatures with parts of other creatures.
And the final shocker, we encounter a sea creature in the water of what looks like a river on the island. This creature reminds me of the Cracken but, way uglier. This thing has one nasty mouth.
To me, this is a blatant rip off of LOST. My hopes have been seemingly dashed as we progress through the story and we only get little tidbits to tide us over. It is not lost on me (pun not intended but, still funny) that the show LOST was six seasons and this series is six issues. The reveals and progressions are so similar in fashion to LOST that I almost feel like I’m reading some sort of sequel…which LOST did NOT need.
One of the most frustrating things is that we keep getting introduced to stuff with no explanation. I spent six seasons getting that from the makers of LOST and honestly, it got old. It seems like every time we get an answer we are bombarded with three more things that have no answers. While I am a huge fam of real suspense, dragging things out for no reason kinda grates on me.
I have issue three. If something major doesn’t happen by the end of that issue, I am going to give up on this series.
Created/Written/Drawn by Rob Guillory
Colors by Taylor Wells
Lettering and Logo by Kody Chamberlain
Unfortunately, not a whole lot actually happens in this issue. It’s more background and foreshadowing if anything. We learn about the troubles of the family. We learn that there are long buried secrets in the family but, we don’t learn what they actually are yet. There’s definitely tension throughout the whole gene pool and everyone seems to be struggling with moving back to the family farm.
Zeke is having a hard time finding a job in this new town because everyone knows about his father’s special plant seed technology and they all want the inside scoop. There’s also problems with some of the small town goons who want to infiltrate the farm. He and some stoner that works for his father at the farm almost bite the dust at the hands of these goombas except a Pastor throws the good book at the bad guys…literally. (It’s funny stuff to see someone get whooped by a bible.)
As Zeke gets more frustrated with trying to cope with his new life situation his father is chugging along his scientific path, healing people with plant grown body parts. Things seem to be going well…sort of. One of his latest patients seems to be having some problems. Nothing too serious…just plants that look like rosebuds and stems growing out of her spine…nothing major.
Although we didn’t get a lot of solid action in this issue, it was definitely important information. There were a few spots where there was a taste of action but, it was just a teaser really. We get good insight into the family, their issues, the history, Zeke’s wife and kids and their troubles and a hint of what awaits us next issue. It really is an interesting issue if you want to truly get a better understanding of our characters.
The artwork remains well done and this artist definitely shows his own style off in each issue. The colors are, for the most part, bright, vibrant and full of life. It’s fitting for the idea of the story, that we can grow human body parts from plants, giving life back to people from all over the world.
The premise of this story continues to intrigue me and like last time, I’m looking forward to the next issue.
Written: W. Maxwell Prince
Artwork: Martin Morazzo
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Good Old Neon
Imagine a tall office building full of busy employees who are running around doing their normal daily work duties. Outside, a man throws himself from the roof of this building, waiting for the final splat of death to arrive as he falls past the many clear, shiny windows. I would think someone in a busy office building would notice a guy falling past a window, and another window, and another, and another. But they don’t. Why? We’ll get to that in a minute.
Now, our friendly flier. What in the world made him jump off towering building? You wouldn’t think that falling one hundred floors would take a lot of time. You also wouldn’t expect to get a lot worked out in your mind in that amount of time either. But, this guy…he’s letting his brain work overtime. As he falls, floor by floor, his last thoughts go through his mind…before it’s flattened on the pavement below. All these random thoughts going through his head and every so often, he continues a countdown to “splat”, one hundred floors, eighty-nine floors, seventy-one floors. He actually seems very excited about turning himself into a human sidewalk stain. He is using this free-fall time to confess some things to, well, nobody. Like the fact that he loves his wife…and his mistresses…he has two. (With a wife and two chicks on the side how did this guy even have time to work, shower, shave…come up for air? I mean, damn. It’s difficult enough to keep one woman happy let alone THREE. This guy is not only insane but OBVIOUSLY had pharmaceutical assistance in order to keep up with that kind of active sex life.)
As our suicidal genius continues to plummet through the air, things are getting weird inside the building. We have a buzzard snatching eyes from people’s heads, dead bodies in basements (eviscerated, not just dead), a married gay man, who happens to have brought the severed head of his husband to work today, all of a sudden professing love to a woman, and chimps working at computers. Things have really popped off here.
And then, SPLAT!!!
This was a very different story type than the previous issues. This was also the first one without an ice cream flavor name. I was kinda liking that little touch. Also, the Ice Cream Man doesn’t even make his appearance until the last page…and it’s a rather random cameo.
I did like the story of this one though. The guy committing suicide has a very nonchalant and almost sarcastic approach to leaping from the roof of a skyscraper. It’s comical the way he talks about it. It’s as if the man thinks going SPLAT on the sidewalk below will be somewhat fun and entertaining. Well, it entertained me anyways.
Also, the side story, the people in the office building, that was a nice touch, albeit somewhat random as well. We follow one woman through the building as she encounters some of the most outrageous things you can imagine.
The artwork is good, although there’s not as much detail in the blood and gore as I typically like. Still, this is a talented artist with a good colorist working at their side.
The truly interesting aspect of this tale was that we got the thoughts of the suicidal person told to us AS they were killing themselves. That’s a nice little fictitious insight right there. So many times people wonder what drove someone to do such a thing or what went through someone’s mind as they were dying, knowing full well that they are in fact about to reach their demise. It’s something that is often wondered and never answered.
I do think lovers of the dark and demented would like this issue. I can’t say that it was actually scary or thrilling or suspenseful per se BUT, it definitely is entertaining. It made me smiles, laugh and have a couple of “Holy &%$@!!!!” moments. Definitely worth the read.