Evil Ernie #4 – Review: Blasphemous… and not in the good way.
I was enjoying Ernie's origin story
despite the series' shortcomings, but this fourth issue changes all that. Reaching an all-time low, this issue is trying my patience with writer Jesse Blaze Snider and artist Jason Craig. Even Ernie's demonic Smiley face button does more harm to readers than good!
Ernie is still trying to kill his scumbag of a father in a maximum security prison but runs into a couple of his old cellmates – and they aren't too happy to see him. With only one arm, can Ernie manage to kill his enemies with his newly acquired demonic powers?
If you haven't been reading, Snider says tough luck. This entire six-part origin story is not easily accessible to new readers unless you read it from the beginning. But is the promising start worth getting to an issue this poor? If the next two issues are even close to this bad than it definitely isn't worth the price.
We begin with the formulaic approach the Evil Ernie
series has shafted itself with. It's just an excuse for more violent imagery (which isn't much of a minus for graphic horror hounds) but previous flashbacks have felt much more powerful than this one because they were more emotional. The fact that each issue of this series always starts with a flashback that always only lasts a page which has become a somewhat tiresome layout. Though for some reason this flashback page doesn't have the normal flashback filter most of the other short flashback sequences have had. It isn't necessary to have this filter since the page itself tells us when we have a flashback and readers are smart enough to figure out when it is over, but the lack of a filter is noticeable after reading through several issues with it.
concept has always walked a fine line: it's a kid who tries to kill 666 people for a demon so he can get abilities and also, as he claims, help the world since he sees himself as a savior and not a demon. He even met an angel last issue. This battle between angels and demons may not normally resonate with more religious people but this issue took it a step too far for someone like me who normally loves carnage in every way... except in this issue Smiley has to bring up God, and crosses that fine line Snider managed to balance before. He goes on and on, saying things like "who care's about God's f-ing plan" and the entire speech just feels like an anti-religion monologue that really turned me off to the rest of this issue – and this happens right after the opening flashback.
After Smiley's rant we get a brief – and I mean brief – introduction to the cellmates Ernie has to face off against. This entire half a page was wasted on telling us the cellmates nicknames which are then immediately explained by Ernie and Smiley. This issue's developing a habit of redundancy.
To keep with this new habit, Evil Ernie #4
ends similar to how the last issue ended. I will say Ernie's father gets a new weapon by the end and it has powerful potential, but my interest is seriously waning after everything this issue put me through.
The only other new addition besides Ernie's father's new armament is an ability Smiley shows off in this issue: he can take control of another person's body. Though it's pretty obvious to the people around him considering his smug grin is the bloody neck of his meat puppet. I'm starting to think there are too many powers in Ernie between him and his smiley faced button to the point where it's almost as chaotic as the artwork.
Jason Craig's has always been my least favorite feature of Evil Ernie and this issue is no exception. It actually hits an all-time low here. The artwork and layout of the panels on the pages make the action scenes hard to follow. There is often more empty background space around the panels than there is artwork on the page. What's worse is that the artwork is nothing much to look at. The faces of characters are either poorly drawn or are so marred by lines that it doesn't matter how well they're drawn.
Overall this issue accomplished less than any former issue. There is some good dialogue between Smiley and Ernie and Ernie's father and his hostage. Unfortunately their dialogue cannot save this issue. Ernie's origin story has already been dragging on for too long and this issue made it all the more insufferable. I've quickly lost interest in the characters and the storyline because of this issue. The novelty of this series seems to have run out. Apparently Snider has very little left to offer us other than redundant situations immersed in poor pacing.