Al Ewing & Henry Flint’s hilarious and rather outrageous undead crime-fighter is back. THIS IS COMICS: weaponized zombies, mega-brained pop music moguls, male stripper minds in butt transplants, gung-ho military men-of-God, satanic Shadow Presidents and master of the Death Worlds: the genocidal Hank Epsilon!
It’s stuff like this that makes my life rather easy. F.i. why think up a title for this column when you already have the quite mad and titillating title of the new Zombo volume drifting right up your left nostril. The first Zombo : Can I Eat You, Please was a pleasant madcap and sardonic romp, rollicking along on great dialogue, kooky ideas and unexpected twists and turns. For this follow up volume, Al Ewing and Henry Flint spend a whole week together in one room, living off nose candy, PCP and whatever civilizations lived between the toes of their feet for sustenance. You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant is the demented successor to the mad king.
Zombo is now faced with the anti-Zombo, Obmoz, his own evil(-er) twin; faces his own death while the back-up male stripper brain implanted in his butt is reactivated; Hank Epsilon rides the Death World to earth, laser swords are being compared and the lunacy just keeps piling up to its inevitable conclusion: will Zombo finally get to eat somebody?
Al Ewing takes the piss about just anything he can think of. The bigger the house, the harder they fall: The Beatles, King of Comics Kirby, Japanese combining robots fads, superheroes, The Fantastic Four, The Evil Dead, whatever cultural icon you can think of. Half the fun is in figuring who is what but Ewing never lets it get in the way of the story… well okay, sometimes it does but The Fantastic Four spoof is just so hilarious that you can’t fault Ewing for putting it in nevertheless. Especially Johnny shouting out constantly ‘I LIKE HOT RODS!’ and Reed’s dismissal of the female element in the group is pretty uproarious. As is Ewing’s take on the digitized president who speaks constantly in Kirby-speak: obtuse, cosmic, full off indents and quotation marks. It’s a great spoof though of course only recognizable for comics people. I wonder how the joke comes across with non-Kirby adepts. It has its left torn-out eye aimed squarely at the 2000 AD/comics reading audience and its right eye (still in the socket hopefully) on the MAD-audience, on crack.
There’s a story in there somewhere too: an epic battle between Zombo and Obmoz and his ultimate confrontation with the Deathworld from Volume 1 but in the end Zombo has never been about the story but about our own inner psyches. Zombo confronts us with the futility of our own mass consumerism driven lives, the psychological narrative devoid of confrontational insights it seeks merely to entertain, to makes us revel in our pop library database and make us feel good about ourselves free from the constraints of more serious matters like child labour or war refugees or illegal immigration.
And Henry Flint certainly understands this. As fast as Al Ewing races along in snappy banter and mad ideas, Flint just runs with it with effortless ease. From the small moments like Zombo crying with half his brain shot out to a living planet hurtling towards earth filled with aliens and a robot with a head spiked on top, sideways. Flint does not care, Flint is the ultimate mad Scribbler, all bow to the mighty Flint. His scratchy busy style illustrates junky space ships, lush exotic jungles and cold presidential offices filled with demented cyber beings,, zombies and lackluster scientists with effortless ease.
And in a rather nice move for Rebellion and Simon & Schuster, they have released Zombo Vol. 2 simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic so no more checking Amazon release dates or badgering poor comics retailers in whatever continent you’re located in for your copy. The only difference in cover is that one has a green background and the other is brown, pure marketing genius I tell you! So run, don’t shuffle to your LCS and get the magnificent dementia-inducing Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant.
Zombo Vol. 2 You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant is published by 2000 AD and is distributed in the States by Simon & Schuster. It is a full colour softcover counting 128 pages and retails for $16.99.