Maxwell Strangewell (2007)

“The bliss of its waters draws all souls. Can you not feel its pull?”

“All I feel is wind and sand up my ass!”

This is a 380 page graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics and was written and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers, Matthew and Shawn. I have read and enjoyed their Roadkill book, also from Dark Horse.

When Anna Gilmour investigates the crash site of an object that falls to Earth, the last thing that she expects to see is a giant, mute, humanoid walking from crater. She names the alien Maxwell and uniquely bonds with it. However, Max is a semi-mythical, powerful being that a lot of alien races want to exploit. The ensuing conflict threaten to consume the Earth and all living beings upon it.

I enjoyed this story but it had a bit of a multiple personality. It started out as a humorous Men in Black/X-files crossover with the Earth populated by many different races all spying on each other waiting for the return of the Strangewell. Then it mutated into an apocalyptic end of the world story as the power of the Strangewell was misappropriated by one delusional member of the alien race to which all accountants belong. Before finally becoming a morality tale on the abuse of power and knowledge. The size of the graphic novel gave the creators time to do this but it did feel like three books at times. Worth a look if you enjoyed Roadkill.

Roadkill (2008)

“Bitch, just give it up already.”

“It’s gotta end here, bitch.”

“I don’t know you well enough, but if they say you’re a bitch, then I’ll trust ’em on it.”

Roadkill cover

This 80 page graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics was written and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers, Matthew and Shawn. This is the first work of theirs that I have read – though I do have another, Maxwell Strangewell, in my to-read pile. They also produce a web comic, with writer Ed Hawkins, called Roninspoon Theater.

When a research project to genetically modify animals for super growth is compromised by a mutated, zombie byproduct, one of the researchers escapes with a giant rabbit before the facility goes into lockdown. Unfortunately the rabbit gets loose and is run over by a truck whose occupants are looking for roadkill to augment the burger meat at a local diner. Unfortunately, again, eating the meat of the genetically modified animals turns people into the aforementioned mutant zombies. Enter Jim Kowalski who works for Illuminati Trucking Inc., a mysterious firm fighting evil and the supernatural, and is sent to investigate the incident. Jim has to fight mutated cockroaches, deal with a death cult and clean up the mess left in the local town.

This is a fun, comic story featuring larger than life characters and outrageous circumstances. The artwork is quite cartoony in style but this complements the comedic nature of the story. The characters are well worn stereotypes but the energy of the increasingly bizarre story carries all before it. I look forward to reading Maxwell Strangewell.