I can’t believe I’m about to make this statement—I liked Milgrom’s story the best. It’s some charming little thing about a guy treating his roaches as pets (after all other attempts at pet owning in New York fail). Milgrom’s style is more comic strip than I’ve seen and it works. Even if the protagonist does look like Peter Parker with a receding hairline.
Pope’s One Trick opens the issue and I remembered all the characters in this installment. One of them was mentioned briefly in the first installment. One Trick doesn’t seem to be meant for a lengthy, interrupted read. Pope’s pacing suggests it should be read in a sitting (I know Dark Horse traded it eventually).
Devil Chef ends this issue… it’s a slightly less annoying read knowing Pollock won’t be back with it next time.
And French’s Ninth Gland? Still no real story, just incredibly, uncomfortably weird.
The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Nine; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. Devil Chef, Part Three; story and art by Jack Pollock. The Ninth Gland, Part Four; story and art by Renée French. New York Pets; story and art by Al Milgrom. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.
Ninth Gland is fairly gross this issue, though French still hasn’t done anything to tell the reader what the story’s about. There’s something growing in the alien horse and the two girls who brought it to the hospital maintenance man will be affected somehow. It’s creepy.
Pollock’s Devil Chef installment is somewhat less annoying than usual for most of the pages, then it has a moronic ending. The concept—the FDA approving food with a parasite in it to force consumers to eat only that foodstuff—is interesting, actually. Too bad Pollock’s writing is awful.
Then Pope’s got problems with One Trick. It’s impossible to keep his characters straight here (I swear he’s changed one character’s hair color from blond to brown). Also, it feels a little padded. Nice last page though.
DeMos and Gillis have an anti-suicide story. Gillis’s art is fine. DeMos wrote two lines of dialogue.
The Ninth Gland, Part Three; story and art by Renée French. Devil Chef, Part Two; story and art by Jack Pollock. The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Eight; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. The Perfect Tree; story by Jeff DeMos; art by Scott Gillis. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.
I’ll start with the worst—Devil Chef. Pollock threatens a second installment. He can draw, this story shows, he just choses not to. It’s an unfunny strip with a lot of details and zero charm.
On the other hand, Purcell and Mignola’s Rusty Razorciam is quite a bit of fun. Mignola’s not a good fit for sci-fi (it’s hard to tell what he’s trying to convey, action-wise, at times), but Purcell’s got an amusing set of characters. The protagonist narrates an incomplete adventure. It’s really rather nice, even with the art problems.
French’s Ninth Gland is weird and ominous. Not much happens this issue (the emphasis is on making the reader uncomfortable), but French’s art is fine; the story works.
Pope’s at a bridging point in One Trick. It’s a Paul Pope talking heads story, actually. It’s a good installment, very cinematically paced.
Geary does another inconsequential page.
Rusty Razorclam; story by Steve Purcell; art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Lois Buhalis. The Ninth Gland, Part Two; story and art by Renée French. The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Seven; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. Devil Chef, Part One; story and art by Jack Pollock. Humiliation and Debasement; story and art by Rick Geary. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.