“You can never unsee this comic!”.
Grindhouse is a movie genre built around the idea of exploitation and for some this Dark Horse comic can feel exploitative. However to disregard the book on this premise would be a big mistake as Alex De Campi and Chris Peterson/Simon Fraser have gone about crafting a wonderful homage to the genre. This trade is called a double feature as you get two stories from the series, Bee Vixens from Mars and Prison Ship Antares, both were released ass two part stories so you are getting good value for the trade.
The thing that sets this trade above most of the competition is its commitment to the source material. As most Grindhouse films were cheaply made they tended to be pretty short so in theatres they would be shown as a double feature with a number of trailers for other films shown in the interval. Obviously there are no trailers in this comic but instead we get are posters for what I hope will be other stories in this series. Obviously they could just be random ideas but Jackie Lantern especially sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
The stories themselves are completely over the top as you would expect. Bee Vixens is a tale that revolves around a small American town that is being overrun by you guessed it Martian Bees. The character models of the aliens are fun to see; they are not scary but feel somewhat grotesque which feels perfect for the story. The characterisation of our main protagonist is not deep you get the bare bones but that’s all you need as this is more of a funfest than a deeply intriguing narrative, and with only fifty pages a deep back-story would just feel like its wasting panel space. There is however one major change from the single issue in that we get a new ending it’s not huge but does give a “happier” ending.
The second story is set in a women’s prison but makes Orange is the New Black feel like a Sunday walk in the park. The prison is actually a floating spaceship that loses contact with earth as it drifts around the Milky Way. This allows the ships warden to try to eliminate a few prisoners in something of a religious purge. Trapped in space (where no one can hear them scream) the prisoners of cell block E the killings begin but the question is can this rag tag bunch of convicts but their differences aside for long enough to save themselves?
As a complete product this trade is right up there from the tear lines in the credits to the stories themselves everything feels like it comes from the Grindhouse era. Obviously this is an homage but if you like the genre or just want an over the top crazy read then this is probably the book for you. As a heads up you will get crass language and sexual imagery but it feels within the spirit of the book but if this sort of thing offends you then you may want to skip this series.
Issue Rating; 4.5/5
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Images courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
Comic - Provided by Publisher
Comic - Provided by Publisher