From the creative minds of “Hip Flask”, “Elephantmen” has been pacing along, entertaining more than a few readers. This issue presented itself as a “jumping on point.” Having checked out the preview on CBR, I decided it might not be too bad an issue to jump in with. This is part one of a planned eight-part story titled “Dangerous Liaisons.” Or so it bills itself on the top of the cover. At the bottom of that same cover, however, it claims to contain “Dark Heart,” which is offered as a “Complete Story in This Issue”.
The story reads fairly well, but the Silencer is not making his first appearance here, nor is he making his last, and not for an attempt by some folks. Starkings has a seedy, infested underworld developed in this book that stretches throughout the lives of many of the characters presented within. Perhaps it would have been better labeled as “Dangerous Liaisons: Prelude” or some such, as the story recounts some of the Silencer’s history while firmly establishing his life’s ambition. He fills a role as an assassin and, after all, every comic book universe needs one of those.
The art is rangy, from hyper-detailed, almost Frank Quitely-like art in the opening to a more eerie and ethereal Darwyn Cooke-inspired film noir study as the Silencer is reunited with his old flame, Destiny. I personally found it hard to believe that the entire issue was rendered by one artist, as credited, but if this is the case, Chris Burnham has quite a nice range and amazing repertoire to be able to click through a variety of styles like this issue does. Caballero’s colors are painfully garish, but astonishingly appropriate for this story.
As my first foray into the realm of “Elephantmen,” I was able to slot into the action, the actors, and the settings. The story bordered on disturbing, but not earth-shattering or soul-shaking. I found myself liking the concept, and curious about other adventures with these “Elephantmen.” Curious enough to special order it or track it down? No. But curious enough that I would definitely read more issues if I happened across them.
As an added bonus in this issue is a representation of “The Sleeze Brothers”, offered in flipbook format. While the connection between the two highly disparate stories escapes me, I am certain others more familiar with “The Sleeze Brothers” will see this as a welcome addition.