In “Axe Cop: President of the World” #2, Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle deliver another round of hyperactive, hilarious and fascinatingly inventiveness Axe Cop adventures. Whether it’s because writer Malachai Nicolle is eight years old, or because he’s terrifyingly creative (probably it’s both), there more ideas on one page than most comics have over an entire story arc, and Ethan Nicolle rises to demands of drawing those mind-boggling notions and all the nonstop, zigzagging action.
In no particular order, these things make “Axe Cop: President of the World” #2 worthy of your money and time: (1) Chee-rex, (2) the ultimate fate of Seattle’s Space Needle, (3) Bouncyworld. There are also several new characters, each quite distinctive. The Water Queen, one of the only female characters, who gets the memorable introduction and honor of being “one of Axe Cop’s best friends, and one of the only girls that he did not think was dumb.”
One of the pleasures of “Axe Cop,” besides its unrivaled insanity, is its unpredictability when it comes to plot points. Remember, at the end of the last issue, Seattle was attacked by an army of a gajillion bad guys, led by a Chee-rex (a half Cheetah, half T-Rex from outer space) on a motorcycle. This threat is neutralized within four pages, and there is just no way anyone, no matter how jaded, would be able to guess how that happens.
If humor and good stories come from specificity, “Axe Cop” is chock-full of goodness. It’s the weird, very precise details and word choices that make it so great, like the evil robots each sticking one of Satan’s horns in the middle of their foreheads, “like a rhino.” The casual dialogue is also disarmingly funny. One of my favorite lines is Axe Cop saying, “Hey what are you doing with the Space Needle?”
Ethan Nicolle is somehow able to draw all this and make it look ridiculously fun instead of surreal and overwhelming. No plot development is so far-fetched that the he can’t make it work on the page. His smooth transitions allow the story to hop around in time and space without any bumps of confusion, and his exaggerated facial expressions (mostly rage and surprise) and written sound effects like “STAB” and “LOB” carry a lot of the humor.
After two issues, it’s clear the “Axe Cop: President of the World” mini-series won’t have the typical short trajectory of exposition/rising action/climax/denouement. It keeps to its episodic webcomics roots, delivering a series of jokes, bouncing around from idea to idea. In “Axe Cop,” one thing happens after another after another, in an “Arabian Nights”-like structure, with a cast that gets larger (exponentially larger, if you count all the denizens of various planets) in each installment. It’s admirable that the Nicolles keep details and chronology internally consistent.
With Ethan Nicolle’s approachable art and the looser story structure, it’s easy to jump on the “Axe Cop” wagon at any time in spite of its rapid world-building, expanding cast and all the science fiction space travel and robots. “Axe Cop: President of the World” #2 rises above the usual funny games by its wild inventiveness and enthusiasm, and its lack of limits on where it can go, and by “where it can go,” I mean Bouncyworld.