Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini
Writer: Ben Meares
Artwork: Jason Muhr
Colors: Marco Lesko
Letters: Fabio Amelia
This issue deals with an urban legend involving gang initiations. I AM familiar with a number of versions of this story. Basically, a group of gang prospects all pile into a car at night and drive around with their lights off. Once someone flashes their own lights to tell them to turn their headlights on, they follow that person and shoot them, then flee. There’s also a version where the prospect hides under a car and waits for the owner to walk up and open the door. Once their feet are visible and within reach, the prospect slashes the Achilles tendons of the victim and runs off (or steals the car), leaving the victim there to bleed and helplessly wait for someone to come by, which could take hours if not days.
In this story, it’s a car full of guys. One is already a member and the other three are getting initiated, one a night for three nights.
The first one did his deed the night before. The second waits for the lights to flash on a passing car and shoots her as she driving down the street. Her car crashes and she and the vehicle both catch fire. She is burned alive as the gunshot wound didn’t take her life, only wounded her.
Then it comes time for the third guy. But he’s having second thoughts. Especially after they watched that young woman screaming as she burned to death. One of his friends finds out that he is having second thoughts and threatens him that, if he doesn’t go through with it, he is a witness to the murders the other two prospects committed and must therefore be eliminated.
Left with no choice, he decides he must take his turn.
Meanwhile, a family across town is getting up before the sun to get on the road for their family vacation to Zappyland (does that ACTUALLY sound FUN to anyone? Sounds like a place for electric shock treatments.). They get in the car and begin their journey. As all kids do, the two children in the backseat start to complain about being hungry. Dad says they’ll stop on the way and get something.
While on the hunt for someplace to eat so early in the morning, the family spots a car driving in the dark morning hours without its lights on. As the Dad flashes his lights the guys in the gang car start trying to amp up the last prospect, telling him to start shooting. But he just can’t bring himself to do it…no matter the risk to his life, no matter how much cocaine he snorts, no matter how much he drinks and no matter how much the gang members yell at him, he just can’t do it.
This is a huge problem because the leader points out that the family in the car had to have seen ALL their faces. They MUST eliminate the family. There is no other option in their eyes. So, the leader decides to make a quick U-turn in the middle of the street, speed up behind the family wagon and crash into the back end, hurling them into the air, flipping the car and sending it into a streetlight pole.
The Dad crawls out of the car and tries to escape but, the gang chases him down to shoot him and kill him. But, they are in for a surprise.
Meanwhile, our friend with a conscience goes to check on the family. As the wife and children are laying in the car he tries to apologize. He is catastrophically interrupted by the screams and cries of his cohorts, who have trapped their victim in a dead end alley…or should I say, their victim has trapped them.
Mr. Morality looks up in time to see this disgusting monster with a huge and grotesque mouth carrying out his pals by their feet, covered in blood. Then, all hell breaks loose. The whole family has transformed into these hideous creatures of death and are ripping the gang to shreds, feeding on them in a delicious gorge.
Our guilt ridden pal is the only one there when the cops show up. Standing in the middle of the gory massacre he is apprehended immediately. When he’s asked what happened he tries to explain that there were monsters that ate his friends. The cops don’t believe him but, can’t see how one man could have done such extensive damage due to the animal type bites and tears. They take him into custody and plan to get the “real” story once he comes down from his cocaine bender. But, they’ll never get the story they WANT to hear…just a babbling fool rambling on and on about monsters eating his friends.
This was a good twist on the regular urban legend this is based off of. I like the addition of monsters and the idea that this guy has to take the fall for a triple homicide when he was the only one that didn’t hurt anyone or anything, except himself. It’s just the kind of sick and twisted joke life would play on someone who was pushing their luck with tempting fate.
I will say there is a lot of back and forth in this issue and it was a little hard to follow at first. The layout and flow is a little jagged. Plus, there’s a lot of panels (or frames) with a time stamp on them. Normally, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me but, I think this time they took it a little too far. I mean, in some parts they pointed out the time second by second. Does it really run that deep? Talk about obsessing.
The artwork is pretty good in this issue but, I feel the way it’s all laid out takes away from the skill and finished look of the art itself. The best images are of the monsters. These are great pictures of some pretty nasty looking monster villains. And we still see part of their human characteristics so, that DOES make the monsters look somewhat creepier. But, again, the twist in the ending is really what makes this issue. It’s such a smack in the face with irony…REAL irony, making it new, fresh and interesting. Definitely a fun little story for bedtime.