Why would anyone review Heavy Metal #280? Because it's the first issue edited by everyone's favorite God of All Comics, so famed commenter and Previews-post contributor Travis Pelkie picked it up and checked it out, and now he's going to write about it! Join me under the cut for everything you want to know about nekkid sci-fi weirdness!
"Beautiful and Stoned" -- the "new" Heavy Metal from Grant Morrison.
This past week, Heavy Metal 280 came out, the first issue with Grant Morrison at the helm as editor-in-chief. I've gotten HM in the past, and while it's a decent magazine with pretty art, it's not something that appeals to me that much. I know, you're thinking, "But it's got boobs and blood, how do YOU not like it?" It's ok, but it's not a must have for me. Too many other cool comics. But I wanted to see if GMozz would change things up any significant amount, so I'm in for a few issues, at least.
I was a little disappointed that one of the variant covers wasn't the one shown in Previews with GMozz giving the double middle finger. I got this delightfully creepy thing (called "Grin God") from Ron English, and there are a couple of others, from Gail Potocki and Mozchops, both artists that are featured in the mag.
The magazine opens with a GMozz text piece, wherein he lays out a wacky new gospel interpretation and tells of how he selected the stories in this issue. He admits outright to being mostly a figurehead, but teases some of the neat stories he's doing for the magazine, including a cool cutup "collaboration" between Bowie and Burroughs (William S., although ERB would be neat too). There are spooky paintings of the big man himself that are quite neat (are they by Ms. Potocki? I'm not sure!).
The opening story pairs GMozz with Benjamin Marra (One Man War On Terror) -- it's pretty, but needs to get to the ironic twist already. Having to wait an issue for what will inevitably be a dumb "origin story" for humanity is too long to wait, at a bimonthly rate. It's like something from 2000AD, or EC stuff, but it's not a great story. No bared breasts.
Anna Kornum's piece, "A Mind Bomb," is a creepy story about the evil within the human mind and the atomic bomb, with some weird creatures with pupil-less eyes. Also, in the HM tradition, bare breasts.
Ryan Ferrier and Hugo Petrus give us a beautiful Charles Vess-esque looking story of a young girl coming across a village in Dark Ages era Ireland, and what happens when the village is called to account for their hunting ways. Somehow breasts are not bared in this one.
Aladin Saad (which I suspect is an alias) gives us a weird piece filled with typos that is odd but strangely charming. Tintin cameos, as well as Santa Claus, as we're told how Galileo got his telescope. Sort of. A side shot of silhouetted bare breasts appears here.
Enki Bilal gives us part 7 of a weird retelling (?) of Romeo and Juliet on a ship (?), called "Julia & Roem." Nice to look at, but not much substance (the HM motto!). A lot of dream stuff, I guess, done in what appears to be colored pencils. The panel of a polar bear dragging someone under a break in arctic ice is amusing. No breasts were bared for this story.
The art features are nice. Mimi Scholz is interviewed and her neat cartoony hyperreal stuff is shown. It's very Japanese influenced "cute" stuff. Breasts are covered by strategically placed hair! Another feature is about the Century Guild art gallery in LA, which features gothic illustrative stuff from the Art Nouveau and Symbolist eras as well as contemporary artists influenced by the same. Very neat stuff that features art by Gail Potocki. Yes, bare breasts here!
Massimiliano Frezzato's story "The Key" is an odd little piece with archer people high up in trees, using keys to open up their torsos. Of course there are bare breasts here!
"Time Served" is a story by Kyle Charles (with writing help by Michael Moreci) involving a time travel drug (?) and a '90s style mutant team breaking out of a space prison. I think. This one was confusing. Perhaps because of the lack of bare breasts.
The "49th Key part 8" (a different key than in the Frezzato story) is written by Erika Lewis with art by JK Woodward. It's pretty looking art but the panel to panel storytelling just doesn't seem to be all that great. There are fight scenes where things just happen, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason as to how the events in one panel led to the next. I suspect it's a page count issue, in part, but in part the painterly style of Woodward. All breasts remain covered here.
There's a neat little one pager by Eric Esquivel and drawn by Scott Godlewski, but nothing of substance. No bared breasts, either.
Gary Becks gives us "Fiendy," an amusing satire of art lectures, with a manga/Phil Foglio look to the art. Of course there are bare breasts!
Emilio Balcarce and Gaston Vivanco give us a tale called "Lepidopteran," where a jet fighter encounters a UFO, with an EC style twist ending. No bare human breasts.
The finale of the issue takes a bit to get into, but turns out to be the most interesting story of the issue. Mozchops gives us "Salsa Invertebraxa," a presumably digitally painted poetic look at the life cycles of bugs. It's the first of 6 parts, and surprisingly I'm quite interested. "Eyes re-boot for lightless vision." No bare human breasts, but I think some of them bugs is doin' it.
Overall this "new" HM doesn't look that new, and it's questionable how much GMozz will influence it beyond just having a story in each issue. There's not a whole lot of substance in these stories, but occasionally something like the Mozchops piece is surprising and leaves you wanting more. I'm intrigued to find out where the magazine heads from here, but if you're not already a fan of this type of story, I don't think this issue will persuade you to change your mind. Recommended for hardcore GMozz fans and regular HM fans, as well as fans of drawn bare breasts.