February 13, 2012

Zenescope Reviews: The Theater #3 & 4

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Written by: Billy
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The Theater #3
Publisher: Zenescope
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artists: Robert Gill & Novo Malgado (cover by Nei Ruffino)

Now that I’ve read issue #3, I get what’s going on! Seriously, I didn’t have a clue what was going on between issues #1 and 2, but now I understand that the theater is just a backdrop for a different story every issue. Now that I have figured it out, I really enjoyed this issue, which contained a story called “Holes.” The story begins as we see some dude laying the pipe with his girlfriend. She tells him she has a new idea, and then the two of them head to a certain creepy theater to “finish.” We are next shown a man that is at a shrink, and he tells her that his wife has been cheating on him. Yes, the girl and her boy toy from the theater. It seems they had a pretty happy marriage initially, but then she started cheating on him with everybody in town. As the divorce gets ugly, one day the man notices a hole in the ceiling of his bedroom. He investigates, but cannot find where the hole is in his attic. He soon realizes that this hole has an evil purpose that will cost him everything, including his mind.

OK, not to sound like a broken record, but the second issue really threw me for a loop. Now that I understand the format, I’m much more impressed with the work itself. This was a story like you’d find in a classic horror anthology book like House of Mystery or The Vault of Horror. I really enjoyed the ending of this book, both parts I mean. There was an ending to “Holes” and then an ending to the two freaks doing it in the theater, as well. I almost want to go back and read the first two issues again, to see if they make me feel any different now that I know the format. Not that it would make any difference mind you, but I do think it would be interesting.

The artist, Robert Gill, is also doing another book for Zenescope, so I knew what to expect when I saw his name. He has a pretty clean style that looks like he’s been at it a while, or is just incredibly talented. His characters are probably his strong suit, but he’s also good at everything else, too. This is one of those stories that didn’t need to show you some giant hissing creature to be scary, and maybe that would have been cool as well, but I think this team hit the nail on the head (alternate cover below by Daniel Leister). Rating 3.5/5

The Theater #4
Publisher: Zenescope
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artists: Robert Gill & Novo Malgado (cover by Ebas & Nei Ruffino)

In issue #4, we see a geek at the theater that seems to be talking to himself as he gets a movie ready. We find out later that he’s definitely not alone, but in the presence of a man and a woman that seem destined to a gruesome fate. In the story “Down the Street,” we’re invited into a quaint little neighborhood with two lifelong friends, Ricky and Danny. The two guys are best friends and their families are close. One day a new guy moves into the neighborhood, and both guys help him out. They accept him into their little club, and things seem great for a while. One day, at the new guy’s house, they’re having a good time watching a game and drinking some beers, when Ricky heads to the kitchen and sees a piece of mail that piques his interest in this new friend. A day or two goes by and a visitor shows up to give the new guy some bad news, and the new guy seems very angry about it. It seems that he holds a dark secret that if it gets out, his new buddies won’t think so highly of him anymore. Well, his new buddies do find out, and what they do about it, is crazy!

The first thing I want to acknowledge, is the fact that this neighborhood was an obvious parody of Desperate Housewives (don’t ask how I know about that show). That was funny and gave this crazy story a humorous side. I also enjoyed the fact that a likeness of writer Raven Gregory was used at the very end of the main story. I still don’t know what is going to happen with the theater in the end, but I’m hoping for something pretty cool. The only thing that I thought was a bit off, was the dialog between the two best friends sometimes. It seemed as though these two “family guys” talk more like a couple of teenagers in heat rather than grown men with responsibilities. They honestly sounded like a couple of dim witted high school dudes. Other than that, no complaints about the story, although I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the last.

Artwork again by Robert Gill, and as usual, he did a solid job. The beginning seemed a little hazy or blurry, but I think he was trying to point out that it was raining (I hope). There was a part here and there where the characters seemed a little off, but it seemed more than likely it was rushed perhaps? Either way, Gill is still more than a serviceable artist to say the least. His pencils regarding architectural stuff are amazing. He could honestly do that for a living if he wanted out of the comic book industry one day. Heck, maybe it’s his day job for all I know. Again, the cover was by Ruffino and also Ebas as well. You know what you’re getting when you see that name! The alternate cover below is pretty sweet too, and that credit goes to Ale Garza and Ruffino. Rating 3/5

Billy Dunleavy



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