Every issue, Evil Ernie seems to introduce a new and entertaining concept. First it was an origin story, then the development of some cool powers. Now with issue three we get not only more cool powers but an archangel who presents an interesting new concept. Unfortunately this is combined with the persistent array of overwhelming artwork and slow pace.After using his powers to terrorize the sinners of the prison, Ernie comes face-to-face with his father – and what a terrible time to lose his powers! Now, Ernie has to fight off his father and several inmates with a foul-mouthed button by his chest. Evil Ernie #3 starts with the usual flashback, used as always, to give Ernie’s character more sympathy. Now, while this series has been riddled with sympathy, these sympathetic openings are part of his origin – and this story arc is called “Origin of Evil.” But if they keep up these flashbacks and put them in the same place every time, they are going to get stale. While the sluggish pace of the comic almost makes the origin as a whole stale anyway, this issue is saved by doing what Snider has done well throughout the series: introducing new powers and a twist, which spread to other parts of the issue making them entertaining and making others… flawed. Ernie’s powers were already a buffet of badassery. Seemingly indestructible, Ernie is able to see people’s sins carved onto their foreheads. Ernie seemed unbeatable, but at the end of issue two, Snider found a way that adds suspense to the series by having Ernie lose his powers. The only problem is this suspense, like a lot of other moments in this issue, is pointless.His loss of powers mean Smiley has an opportunity to shine this issue.
Ernie’s button shows off some crazy powers in this issue. He curses more than ever before making this a title that should be skipped by younger audiences – if the blood and adult themes weren’t enough indication already that this was a mature title. Ernie’s loss of powers also leads to a very telling conversation between Smiley and Ernie’s father, which demonstrates Smiley’s personality and teaches us more about Ernie’s power. But while Smiley’s powers are awesome, he doesn’t provide as much comedic relief as he should for a talking smiley-faced button. There are some catchy words from Smiley though, including his nickname for himself, “my aluminum ass” and a homage to the Thing.The other positive is the twist involving a new character, the archangel Uriel. His story opens a whole new direction for the series and is a nice twist. Unfortunately, the ending, if it isn’t a misdirect, would be a huge missed opportunity regarding this twist. Hopefully the story arc will look at this aspect of the issue more and not just move on because there is a lot Snider can do with this.Jason Craig’s art comes back to haunt me full force with all it’s negative qualities. Parts of characters, usually their faces, have too many lines. Even worse, barely any of the backgrounds are given much of a design and are usually just some dull color with either nothing or speed lines. There is also a naked woman lying face down on a bed in a completely pointless panel. But Craig did succeed in making her look like a malnutrition model. But the biggest problem is how cluttered some of the pages are. The layout of the panels is often chaotic and without rhyme or reason.
The only parts of the artwork that I enjoy are the expressions Craig can put on people’s faces and the designs of both Ernie and his father. You can see the fear in Ernie’s father. The father’s design with his mismatched eyes does give him an eerie feel. It’s nice Craig can do this with a normal human-being who is supposed to be a terrible person without having to resort to drawing him like a zombie. Instead, Craig makes him creepy in a realistic way, making him the best designed human of this issue. Also, while Ernie still doesn’t look like he did in his glory days back in the 90s, his design still has intriguing qualities, like his non-existent stomach.Like the rest of the series, this is a solid issue with the same ups and downs of the previous issues. The series will become stale if it keeps following this tight pattern, especially if Jason Craig keeps up his chaotic art scheme. But I’m still looking forward to seeing more of Ernie and (thanks to this issue) Smiley’s powers and have hope that the story will move forward... if the ending of this issue is handled right in the next one.
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.