“Axe Cop: President of the World” #1 picks up right where “Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth” left off, in another bizarrely satisfying “Axe Cop” adventure that spans time and space (specifically, one million years and several planets, including “the apple planet,” which is populated by sinister apple people). If you’re already a fan, this new installment won’t let you down.
If you have never heard of “Axe Cop,” this issue works fine as a jumping-on point. The draw of “Axe Cop” is that it’s written by an 8-year-old, the hyper-imaginative Malachai Nicolle, and drawn by Ethan Nicolle, his 31-year-old brother. Like previous “Axe Cop” webcomics and mini-series, “Axe Cop: President of the World” #1 has a consistently well-crafted and distinctive voice. Its unique charm continues to be Malachai Nicolle’s natural lack of any internal censor on plotting or content. Its breakneck plotting jumps around on all kinds of tangents, moving around a story the way an excited kid bumps his way around a playground pell-mell. No idea is too outlandish or too insane, and Malachai Nicolle has some really awesome ideas. A gorilla that can shoot airplanes out of its tail? Why not? How does Axe Cop spend his days? When he’s not healing dead animals, he’s on his lawn, practicing breaking out of chains!
Each page of “Axe Cop: President of the World” #1 has something snicker-out-loud-funny and surprising. There’s a panel where Junior Cobbb (three b’s, not a typo), a gorilla, feeds Axe Cop a gorilla-loving pill. The pill is heart-shaped with a gorilla image on it. In another panel, a man is relaxing in a tub, and his voiceover in the text box reads “I had gotten all wrinkly. That’s when they arrived.” It’s the visual and verbal precision in these jokes that make them so perfect. At times, the story arc seems to come close to veering off into tangents, but the Nicolles always nudge the story back on course and conclude the issue with a satisfying cliffhanger ending.
It’s amazing that Ethan Nicolle, the artist and older brother, is able to capture and preserve his eight-year-old brother’s voice and ideas while giving the story coherence and continuity. His storytelling and drawing abilities are exceptional. While the ideas may be Malachai Nicolle’s, Ethan Nicolle matches him in joy and enthusiasm for those ideas. No joke is too weird, no concept too insane for him to visually tackle, and he has a gift for drawing faces and bodies with hilariously exaggerated pathos. Non-human side characters Junior Cobbb and Goo Cop emote even more expressively than Axe Cop. Also, Nicolle’s backgrounds also have depth and detail and often contain additional, smaller jokes.
I casually mentioned to two friends that I was reviewing “Axe Cop: President of the World” #1. One of them asked to see it, and while I sipped tea calmly, she read a couple pages. Her eyes boggled. I could see her mind trying to wrap itself around “Axe Cop” without mental injury. She dropped it, saying “I think I’m too mature for Axe Cop,” to which the other friend immediately yelled, “God, don’t say such horrible things about yourself.” Yup, that about sums it up. Don’t let grown-up decorum or a silly adult insistence on “realism” or “moderation” stop you from enjoying the cornucopia of laughs that “Axe Cop: President of the World” #1 provides.