It should be no secret that the Deadhouse is a place that loves gore. Hell, it’s in my moniker, Mister Gore. So as I looked to expand upon material that could be covered here, comics seemed like a natural progression. After all, in this day and age there are really no limits in comics, with the only limitations being that of the writers and illustrators imagination.
Many comics fans began their love of the drawn page at a young age, whether it be through DC’s Batman or Superman, or one of the countless great stories from the Marvel canon. I was actually not one of these people. I didn’t grow to love graphic novels until later in my life, specifically in my early to mid 20s. It was thanks to a friend who started me on some of the better and darker Batman graphic novels that I began to truly appreciate the art form. As I began expanding from my all-time favourite (Batman: The Long Halloween) it was Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic The Walking Dead and Tim Seeley’s fantastic Hack/Slash> series that I finally became what some might refer to as a comic nerd. Now, I don’t much prefer that term as I don’t have the collection of many of my acquaintances, but I am no longer afraid to get my hands dirty with a good solid graphic novel.
Which brings us to today’s review. As I began looking into some graphic novels that would work well within the confines of the Deadhouse, I came across one from Image Comics that the description alone had me intrigued. It was very similar to Kick-Ass, which has obviously become much more well known due to the big screen adaptation and its sequel. But it was set with more of a supernatural tone, and a hell of a lot more violence and gore. As a fan of Kick-Ass, this description obviously had my interest piqued. So I sought out The Strange Talent of Luther Strode.
The plot is nothing spectacular to write home about. Luther Strode is a nerdy high schooler. He constantly hangs out with his best friend Pete, who as the story begins throws him into his crush, Petra. Unfortunately for Luther, he also has the typical problem of any high school kid, the bully. In this case, he has constant run ins with Paul, who is a jock. After getting fed up with the way he is treated, Luther orders “The Hercules Method” from the back of a comic book. Unbeknownst to him, it is actually a guide created by an ancient murder cult that graces him with what appears to be super strength and invincibility. As the book goes on we find that there is more than meets the eye, and to go in to more detail would ruin half the fun.
As I mentioned, the book is obviously similar to Kick-Ass. Where it differentiates itself is in the supernatural undertones, as well as the extreme violence. Beheadings, crushed skulls and blood galore are the order of the day. If you are a fan of the graphic novel format, and a gorehound, there is much to like.
The story by Justin Jordan is a lot of fun, and although the characters aren’t fully expanded upon (which I contribute to the length of the series, as this first novel is a collection of only 6 issues) you do like the characters you’re supposed to like, and hate the ones who you aren’t.
The artwork by Tradd Moore with colours by Felipe Sobreiro are solid across the board. At times some of the characters may seem a little off, but that would be the only gripe. The colors are vivid, and the scenes involving bloodshed almost jump off the page.
While there are definite flaws, such as the fact that the murder cult that created the book is never really expanded upon, the book is a fun breezy read that doesn’t involve much thinking or emotional investment. If you have a spare hour or so and enjoy both gore and the comic format, you could do a lot worse. Is it going to change your life or the way you look at graphic novels? Not even close, but not every book or movie needs to be super impactful and have some deeper meaning.
If a book like The Walking Dead is similar to films like George A. Romero’s original Dead trilogy (Night, Dawn and Day) where it uses the horror as a way to get across a different message, then look at a book like The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode as an 80s B-Movie, like a Friday The 13th or a Sleepaway Camp movie. Just an excuse to turn off your brain and enjoy some mindless carnage in the form of a story.
Definitely check it out. You can grab a copy at Amazon Canada.