Madman All-New Giant-Size Super Ginchy Special One Shot Review
Ready for an insane adventure with Madman? I'm not and after reading this I never want to be. All four tales spun in this giant-sized issue definitely give you more pages (and it costs more for them too) but none have very interesting stories. They often lead to nowhere and seem to have no point, and the constantly changing art has its moments, but they are fleeting and not memorable enough for even an honorable mention. Only fans of the characters or of the beat generation may enjoy this Ginchy special.
The first story in this special one-shot is titled "If I Should Live to See the Day I Die!" Madman is talking to Cadaver and precedes to fall down a seemingly endless hole having enough time to write a novel twice in his head and listen to Pink Floyd. Sound crazy? It is called "Madman" after all...
This first story by Zane Michael "Doc" Allred has the most sustenance out of all the stories. You know Cadaver is an awesome character when the first thing you hear him say is "..and that's when I took her ear." He was the most interesting character in this entire serious, his face literally falling off while he talks to Madman. His performance in the comic upstages Madman's early on only to be shattered when he starts crying for his mommy. The actual story was just one long running joke that was not always that funny and lacked a very climactic ending.
The artwork was fairly decent. It had a Sunday-morning cartoon feel to it that fit with Madman's character: a loony and out-of-place-world not to be taken seriously. The art also had a vibrant appeal to the eye and the pin-up from this story was great.
The artwork still could not hide the fact that the story was far from Oscar worthy though it wasn't trying to be, and the gags it tried to pull were only successful about half the time, which is better than just striking out completely but not enough to hit a homerun.
The next story was a little ditty known as "It's All in the Song" about Madman discovering his girlfriend depressed over a song sung by Death Cab For Ugly! A nice play on words but the story itself... not as nice.
Emi Lenox wrote this short tale that really needed more pages dedicated to it to make the story more than just a seemingly random and bizarre event that could use a little more development. The art is also a little wonky with a different feel to it than the usual comic book art: now instead of a Sunday morning cartoon Madman looks like a fairly decent picture you could find on DeviantArt. The backgrounds lack detail but it was not really necessary with such a vague story – and the colors actually carried a mood with them that seemed very basic but it worked with the story.
The next story is an entire parody of the Beat culture classic novel "On the Road" – a take-off of Beat writer Jack Kerouac's novel. Sal and his friend Neel are going across galaxies in their spaceship to discover themselves and, mostly, sleep with "hot" alien chicks and get drunk off alien hooch.
For fans of the book "On the Road" this parody is well done and an interesting spin-off. Writer Matt Kindt's idea to have the captions look like they were typed by a typewriter were a nice touch, nodding to the real life fact that Kerouac wrote his entire manuscript about the trip he took on a typewriter. The art is definitely different, with every panel looking like a water-colored painting. It lacked the detail to be considered a masterpiece but was still an interesting artistic experience. And unlike the other stories the tale in this story is fleshed out enough and does not feel rushed or incomplete and the characters were fairly enjoyable – just don't expect to see more than a panel or two dedicated to showing Madman – he is almost virtually absent from this tale which may leave fans of the characters and not the beat culture frustrated.
The final story is "Bang!" This life-or-death story shows the medical consequences Madman faces after being shot and his girlfriend's desperate attempt to save him with the help of Dr. Flem.
The writer of "Bang!," Tonci Zonjic, finally started after the first three stories failures to get me more interested in Madman and his girlfriend. Their chemistry was great and his girlfriend's fight with Dr. Flem was pretty funny without having to try. The problem: the story was very confusing. Madman is shot and has an odd medical reaction that is not fully explained, and since I am not very invested in Madman's character, the fact that he may die (which seems highly unlikely since when do they ever kill off characters in comics unless they are going to bring them back) did not concern me very much. People following his character may find themselves emotionally invested, but the actual story still has a few holes in it that need to be filled in with some helpful answers. The art, again, is far from spectacular. There is a very nice image of Madman's skull that really does look like something out of a doctor's office and the colors at one point turn an eerie shade of green that adds to the mood.
Character-wise no characters other than Cadaver really interested me until the end – still only slightly. I am rather unfamiliar with them so there is not a strong connection with the characters but the situations presented in this issue that are supposed to make me feel for the characters fail. Followers of the characters may enjoy the zany characters and storylines more than me and followers of the Beat movement would be happy to see numerous references to the Beat culture in not only "On the Road" but in the other stories in much less obvious ways. The storylines still lead to nowhere and proved pointless – but that's how one-shots usually are. Just pointless tales that never really make big changes with a character and are just a tool to squander more of people's money. For those not following Madman religiously or the Beat culture the stories are mostly mediocre jumbles with matching artwork that may be worth it but for a lot less than the six bucks it is priced at.
Overall Score – 6.5/10