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Jason Howard, the artist to The Astounding Wolf-Man, opens up this comic with the story of Sea Bear, a bear that lives in the ocean and attacks innocents at sea. It starts with a gruesome attack which leaves a child alone. Flash forward 20 years, and this orphan is now back at the same beach and wishes to exact his revenge upon the ferocious Sea Bear. Seems simple…wrong.
There are some problems with Jason Howard’s story that should be pointed out. I believe that he takes himself way too seriously with this story and each twist he presents is just way too complicated for being worthwhile in a one-shot.
His name is Peter and he seems like normal man with the stock-standard lust for revenge. Well except for the fact that Pete is a cyborg with blades for arms who has escaped a secret government base. The government then sends a robotic assassin to try and apprehend him. Then to top it all off, the Sea Bear has offspring that lives on the land, and they also wish to kill him.
Jason Howard, with writing his first comic, it feels he just wanted to literally pack everything into it at once, no matter how farfetched it may seem. The feeling of being bombarded with ideas and twists is strong, however, confusion and boredom may well ensue when reading this. Not a lot can be said about the artwork as it is black and white, but Howard’s artwork is on-par with his work on The Astounding Wolf-Man; very much like a cartoon. Simple but effective.
Ryan Ottley saves this comic with the second story, a laugh-out-loud violent romp about a shark that lives in the forest, known in this world as the Grizzly Shark. The story follows a group of campers that are attacked by the Grizzly Shark and Ryan Ottley makes full use of his cartoon violence and obscure take on reality. One character is bitten in half, but survives as he is cauterized on fire, leading to the characters joking on his difficulty with normal bodily functions. Completely juvenile? Yes.
The comic then has a long segment of the Grizzly Shark attacking innocent people, and the violence and shock value, along with the timing just make this comic a fun read, but the ludicrous story does not stop here. The original campers then hunt down the Grizzly Shark and like Jaws; get picked off one by one until the final confrontation, which ends in an explosion of blood and guts.
Ryan Ottley seemed to exactly know what he wanted and what to do with this story. Ottley does not even care to explain how a shark can “swim” through the forest. This carefree attitude is what was needed for this comic, as well as the extreme violence and simple story that make it a success.
The artwork in Grizzly Shark is also black and white so nothing can really be said about color. Ottley continues his caricature style artwork which works well in this already unbelievable and mixed up world. They gray tones are done by Cliff Rathburn and he uses his shading to great effect.
With both these comics being in black and white, it works to their advantage, because if it was in color, the amount of blood and guts may be slightly disturbing. The use of black and white makes the extreme violence easily acceptable and tasteful in a bizarre sort of way.
Robert Kirkman, whom works with both of these artists writes an origin tale explaining the reverse nature of this world. At the beginning, land as we know it was water and water as we now know it was land. The creatures of the land we know now lived in the ocean and vice versa with the sea creatures. This little piece is slightly more confusing than helpful. I Suppose they felt they had to give the reader a reason as to why these two animals (land and sea) became mixed up in the first place.
In all I believe this comic is definitely worth picking up. I felt the first story was lacking but others may disagree I did feel however, that the second story made the price worth it overall.