Story: Anthony Bourdain/Joel Rose
Artwork: Salty Horse-Leonardo Manco/The Heads-Mateus Santolouco
Cover Art: Paul Pope
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Sal Cipriano
This is the second issue in this series. I was hoping things would get better but, they may have plateaued. In this issue we have two stories. We’ll start there and then I’ll tell you what I think…
We have a wealthy man by the name of Don Haro. He loves horsemeat. Lives for horsemeat. Craves horsemeat. He’ll do practically anything to get it. But, it wasn’t always so.
At first, he treated it like a delicacy, a special culinary treat that he got only once in a while. Then, he started wanting it more and more until it was all he wanted to dine on.
Now, since he is a wealthy man, he owns many things. Many expensive things. Included in his many possessions are prized horses that he keeps in his pasture. One by one he eats these stunning creatures until only one remains. It’s an old warhorse, old and stringy, unable to work or ride anyone. The man orders that even this horse be prepared and served at his table.
Once killed, the man devours every bit of the animal. However, the horse’s spirit was not devoured with the rest of it. The spirit appears before Don Haro, demanding Haro’s flesh as penance for eating the horse’s family and friends and proceeds to kill Don Haro.
The next story is The Heads:
This story starts with a young chef’s apprentice losing his job. A man he meets in an alley says he has work for him if he wants it.
He goes to the man’s house, where they sit down with others that live there for dinner. The man starts talking about all his wrong doings, that he bought and served black market cheese to save some money and his shortcut caused a customer to die.
Now, he seeks to help those who have sinned and help them repent.
Declaring he has not sinned and has nothing to repent for, the young apprentice goes to his new room to sleep.
He is awakened by noises. He goes to investigate and finds all the people from dinner sitting in the kitchen, headless. At first, he thinks they’ve been murdered but, there is no blood. Also, the area of separation is completely smooth and clean.
The heads appear and start flying around like angry, hungry insects. The apprentice knows from stories his grandmother told him that these things can’t live without the body being alive. If he can kill the bodies, the heads will die too.
So, he tosses the headless bodies out the window and they plummet to their deaths. Something goes wrong and the heads get angry and attack the apprentice. One head, the head of the man who brought him there, chomps at the apprentice’s sleeve and attaches itself to the sleeve.
Seeking to escape from this horror, he leaves, even with the head hanging off his sleeve. But, in public, with a head hanging off his arm, he is quickly arrested for murder. Upon examination of the head by an expert, the determination is made that the removal of the head is too smooth to have been murder and he is released.
Later, he is accosted by a robber. At first, the robber is disgusted by the head on his arm. Then he starts to think that this might be a good prop to assist in his robberies and requests the young apprentice to hand it over.
The young man tries to explain what has happened, why the shirt sleeve is still in its mouth and why the robber shouldn’t take it. The robber doesn’t listen and takes the head anyway. Now that it doesn’t have anything in its mouth it is free to bite something else, including the robber. The head attacks the robber and he dies.
Okay, I’m still waiting for the WOW factor here. I don’t think these stories are all that good and the artwork isn’t much better. I am left wondering if these are stories they are making up or if these are stories are something that Bourdain picked up during his travels. At first, I thought maybe they were like fables or something, and they might be, but, I just don’t think they are done well at all.
The stories are choppy. The endings are terrible and they don’t flow well for the reader. In the second story, we aren’t even really given character names. It all seems sort of random. And there is no explanation as to why the things that happen in each story happen. It’s just…blah.
I am not going to recommend this to anyone. At all.