It’s a rare breed of artistic freak that can take a hyper-realistic, often violent and usually creepy world he/she has created for their particular character and expand it into something completely different. That’s why we should all pat Eric Powell on the back, preferably when you see him in public and especially if he doesn’t know you. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid. Anyhoo, the reason for all this adulation is that Powell, the man who was gracious enough to bring us The Goon, has returned with another super awesome adventure involving Billy The Kid, this time having to do with the Loch Ness Monster.
Powell’s version of the old west is really fucked up. It’s like something Pumpkinhead would have come up with if it had been given the ability to write and think. Billy The Kid and his band of circus freaks are on the road. They’re chasing down the kidnapped Callahan (see Old Timey Oddities And Ghastly Fiend Of London), which has something to do with the Loch Ness monster. Meanwhile, Callahan and his captor are rocketing towards the Loch Ness in order for our kidnapped weirdo to be a sacrifice.
As is typical in these stories of muted freaks, mythic monsters and cowboy legends, our group runs afoul of local hill folk that want to string them up. Matters aren’t helped when, while defending against the hill folk, the true nature and mutated appendages of Billy’s crew become apparent. It’s okay, though - a skull made of metal that’s thousands of years old and once belonged to a monk who looked to protect the world from Loch Ness will decide the fate of Billy and his bunch. Did I mention that Callahan is taken into the cave of Loch Ness, where Dracula is waiting?
This is where I get to be The Rock for a second. Why? Because you’re about to open your mouth and say “I don’t understand,” to which I reply “It doesn’t MATTER if you understand!!” Really, though, it doesn’t. Powell has designed a comic book so kinetic, so filled with general weirdness and insanity that unless you read it, you’ll never get it. Explaining this to you is tantamount to trying to explain the inner circle of thought. Unless you’ve been there, you just won’t understand. Trust me though, you’re going to want to go there and you’re going to want to read Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities And The Orm Of Loch Ness #1.
However, say you’re not much of a reader. That’s cool, because the art in this comic is ridiculous. Don’t get overly despondent, but Powell isn’t the artist. Kyle Holtz is, and he kicks huge amounts of ass. There is a wisp of what Powell does in Holtz’s work on this book, but Holtz also adds the flavor of old time EC Comics like The Haunt Of Fear, Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror. Holtz’ thick lines and serious love of inks has that same in-your-face presence as the EC stuff, plus the art is always moving - every panel feels like it’ll jump off the page. Powell and Holtz have created words, plot and art that is as hateful as it is excellent and I am all on board for it.
(4.5 Story, 5 Art)