Friday, February 24, 2012

Comic Review -- X-Factor #107: Punch-O-Rama / Todd Dezago & Kerry Gammill

You know this issue is going to be hilarious just from the cover alone.  Never mind the conceptual image of Strong Guy and Blob knocking each other around like a pissed off pair of bop bags with arms.  Just look at the artwork!  They're so overly dramatic and ridiculously extended, flexed, and stretched, you can't help but giggle at the depiction.

In this laugh-a-panel issue of an otherwise none too interesting series (to me, at least--I just wasn't a fan of Havok in those days... err, well, ever), Strong Guy, whose civilian name is the equally hilarious Guido, tries to catch a plane at an airport, and ends up catching the Blob trying to hijack a plane to some doubtlessly sinister destination.  Guido tries to stop Blob, and of course, a fight breaks out.  Fat jokes, name-calling, and physical humor abound as they slug it out for dominance, to the amazed watchfulness of the airport and the possible destruction of the entire area.  X-Factor sees their teammate taking on his foe, and rushes to his aid, but by the time they get there, Guido has beaten the Blob, saved the airport, and basically won the day.  Before he can be interviewed, he collapses from exhaustion, leaving his teammates to say that he has no comment at this time.

Oh, my god.  I first read this story in college, some 15 years ago when I borrowed it from a friend, and I think I very nearly herniated myself as I laughed from one scene to the next at these two.  By the time I put it down, I had tears rolling down my cheeks, was shaking with laughter, and my stomach was viciously sore.  I finally found it in a comic shop this evening, purchased it, and sat down to read it, to very much the same effect as previously.  Best $3 I've yet spent on a comic book.

The writing in this story is top-notch if you're looking for a comedy.  This story is about these two ridiculously sized men beating the ever-lovin' crap out of one another--no more, no less--and it's brilliant.  Dezago keeps the pacing tight and the jokes are always present, from the very first line ("Today I learned that gravity is not our friend.") to near the end when describing how the Blob smelled like bacon as Guido dragged him away from a fire.  In a particularly amusing scene, they very briefly put aside their struggle when the luggage truck they're fighting on nearly barrels into a fuel truck due to the terrified driver's incompetence.

"Turn left!" the Blob screams, as Guido tries to right the truck.
"WHOSE left?!" Guido replies.
"THEY'RE BOTH THE SAME!!!" the Blob thunders.

Okay, I got this one for the lulz, and I swear to Godhand it's every bit as funny today as it was when I read it fifteen years ago.

Art-wise, the issue delivers very well.  I'm not familiar with Kerry Gammill's work, but he does an excellent job of support Dezago's script, keeping the expressions over-the-top, the positions weighted for maximum visual humor where needed, and the ridiculous size of the story's two stars in the forefront.  I really think these two guys had a whole lot of fun with this issue, and were probably laughing with one another through the entire scripting and illustrating process.

Overall, I really can't recommend this issue enough.  I'm generally not a fan of this incarnation of X-Factor, but this story alone is pure comedy gold in comic book form.  The script just pops with humor and slapstick, and the art amply supports it.  If you want some mindless violence with plenty of insults, physical humor and name-calling hilarity, look no further.  This story is exactly what you need.  I laughed from almost panel to panel, and so will you.  Very highly recommended.

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