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Elephantmen #31 – Review

A perfect jumping on point and a new story for fans are rolled into one in this issue of Elephantmen, along with several flaws.  The fan service is not as strong as the series urges to hook new readers the same way Image did by reprinting the first issue of Elephantmen #1.  This issue may have more flaws and less of an emotional impact than that issue, but it has its moments. Sahara continues to encourage man to accept the Elephantmen and the responsibility as their creators. All the while animals are being killed by a deranged madman and Hip Flask is on the case trying to track down the killer before more innocent people die. Image Elephantmen #31 written by Richard Starkings and drawn by Axel Medellin (2011).Richard Starkings has devised a story that seems to have a detective story thrown in at the last minute.  Without Elephantmen this comic would fail as a simple detective story.  But it has them and makes the comic a continually emotional experience.  The overall message to accept everyone is an old clichéd one constantly used but rarely effective.  This story manages to capture the better side of the cliché, though the issue can get a bit preachy about it at times.  Sahara is usually the cause.  She goes on for an entire page with a speech about men and the Elephantmen and it gets slightly boring about halfway through.  She is still an interesting character, but only when she avoids the page-long speeches.  There is also a lot of background on the history of the comic.  The issue is the second part of a three part story arc geared towards new readers, but still has a slowly progressing story while talking about the series’ history. The strongest points and biggest flaws both came from Axel Medellin’s art.  Starkings mostly failed with giving his message to “save the animals” subtlety.  Medellin made a much bigger emotional impact on the reader using no words, just the characters’ eyes.  He managed to draw such expressive details from a characters’ eyes, sometimes dedicated an entire panel to a close-up of an eye.  The look of pain Medellin can make in an Elephantman’s eye makes the character even more sympathetic, making the phrase “the eyes are a mirror of the soul” come true in the most delightful of ways.  Other than Medellin’s masterful work with irises, most fails to impress on any level.  The characters are drawn mediocre at best and often have too much light staining their features making them more memorable… for being as bright as a light bulb and nearly blinding me.  There is some surprisingly gorgeous full panel shots of settings, but the deep concentration on these settings seems to have Medellin forget that there were others.  He pays little attention to detail in every other background, which are almost completely neglected when the characters are wrapped up in dialogue which is most of the time.    Despite this mostly lackluster art from Medellin the eyes were truly mesmerizing and helped Starking tell his story.  A story that is both very unique and unfortunately preachy at times. Not very much is accomplished in the issue but it is a great read for new readers and does have a bit of a story for fans to read too – just try not to go blind because of the offsetting color palette. Overall – 7.5/10 *Good – Perfect for animal rights activists and new mature readers* For more Elephantmen, check out Dustin’s review of Elephantmen #30 and his review of Elephantmen: Man or Elephantman #1.


Meet the Author

About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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