Awhile ago, I used to do a segment here called Just For The Hell of It Mondays, where I'd find fun or odd videos dealing with DC Comics and put them up here so anyone looking to have a smile could find them. That went on for a long time until eventually I thought I'd found every decent thing that was out there and was frankly, getting a little bored with it. So good old JFTHOIM's have been gone from Weird Science for awhile now, but after talking with Jim about what JFTHOIM's could be, we decided that even though this is a DC Comics only website, we could do anything.......... You know, just for the hell of it. With that in mind, I decided to finally begin slowly turning this comic site into a horror site and what better way to do that then reviewing a recent comic based off of one of my all time favorite horror series...........that's right, we're looking at the first issue of Puppet Master. Oh man, this should be fun. Let's get back to Just For The Hell of It Mondays with it's new format, where we do anything we like. Let's check it out.
Written By: Shawn Gabborin
Art By: Michela Da Sacco
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Publisher: Action Lab
The Killer Eight Are Full of Hate..... and Now They Have A New Comic!
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
The Puppet Master series really took a hit after it's fifth installment, when Paramount and Full Moon went their separate ways. Without the big company backing them, the series went downhill, which really shouldn't have been a problem because it's fifth installment was supposed to be "The Final Chapter". That didn't stop the fans from crying out that they wanted more puppet adventures though and I know personally because I was one of them, but it was never the same as it was during the early to mid 90's. The budgets were next to nothing and of course the films suffered because of it, but that doesn't matter here. We've got a whole new comic series dedicated to the stringless terrors and this time, it's only limitation is how far the writer and artist are willing to take it. So let's put a smile on my face, as we get into this first issue of Puppet Master and see if the puppets have a real place in the 21st Century.
Our story begins inside the infamous Bodega Bay Inn, where if you're unfamiliar was the setting of a number of the films preceding this story. Here we see a homeless man making this abandoned hotel his home and it's here where we realize that something isn't right because he's talking to a mysterious person off panel and when we begin with things like that, you know it can't be anyone good. Anyway, the conversation is interrupted when out of nowhere our eight puppets from the series finally come home and it looks like they aren't happy to have squatters because Torch deep fries him right there with his flame thrower hand. Oh you know what? You're probably not familiar with the stars of this book, the puppets! Let me run it down for you.
Jester: A practical joker, who's less violent than the rest and who's dressed the way you'd expect him to be..... a jester
Pinhead: A puppet with big arms and a broad chest, but as you could imagine, a tiny head. This puppet uses his brute strength to take his victims down.
Tunneler: A puppet with a drill on his head, who's favorite activities include traveling through you.
Blade: A hook for one hand and a knife for the other..... Yeah, he's the most popular and is quick to lash out.
Ms. Leech: Everyone calls her Leech Woman, but I'm sticking to how I was first introduced to her. This puppet is full of deadly leeches, that she regurgitates onto you.
Torch: One of my favorites, even though he's a hot head. Quick to anger and even quicker to setting people on fire.
Six-Shooter: A six armed cowboy puppet, armed with miniature revolvers. Don't let the size fool you, they're deadly.
Decapitron: Imbued with the soul of their original Puppet Master, Andre Toulon; this puppet has interchangeable heads, that give him different abilities.
Okay, now you're caught up, let's get back to the story. After we witness the puppets murder the hobo, we jump to two months later, where a group of college students plan on camping out in the supposedly haunted Bodega Bay Inn. This is really funny to me because all the exposition in the films are usually really brief and shrouded more in mystery about why terrible things happen in Bodega Bay, but this being the age of the internet, one of the college kids has all the info on Andre Toulon, his fight against the Nazis and his murderous puppets. It's a new age Puppet Master fans!
When our group enter the Inn, we find a new angle on the Puppet Master mythos that I find really cool. With all the tragedy surrounding the hotel, people began bringing dolls to it, as a way to appease the spirits inside and a legend began that making one of these offerings was a way to be given good fortune and even health. Hopefully, that means that the one girl in this group, who left a small stuffed animal off her key ring will be our sole survivor.
In the end, some of our group settle in to hear the full story of Andre Toulon, while a couple break off from the rest to go "fuck" as they put it and because of their blatant disregard of all the terrible things that have happened here, they're the first ones to go. Tunneler has one of the best kills I've ever seen him do here, by "tunneling" through the back of the guy's head, through his mouth and into the girl's mouth and out the back of her head........... Yeah, definitely don't have the budget for that in the films!
The storyteller of the group gets frustrated when he sees Jester tie his shoelaces together and none of the others believe him and of course instead of just leaving, he goes and sulks by himself, leading to Pinhead crushing his skull. As our issue closes, our group find their friend Barry dead and we know that the night has just begun for this group of exploring dummies.
That's it for this issue of Puppet Master and I had an excellent time with this story. I don't know if this is going to play to non fans of the series, but for those who watched and loved these movies, this is a love letter that goes to show you that Shawn Gabborin really cares about the fans and the Puppet Master series itself. It's just enough of the old to satiate what we knew we were looking for going in and Glabborin peppers in his own new takes and ways he plans on expanding the story enough to keep us interested. Like the one character said that she knew a psychic who owned some of Toulon's original puppets, so you know that's coming back later down the road. Also, this whole idea about the town leaving offerings to the puppets was a great addition to this story and I loved seeing our mini murderers returning home to where they belong. I loved the art and I loved the colors and it could just be because I'm a huge fan boy, but I like to think that it's us who this comic is talking to............ and I appreciate that.
Bits and Pieces:
While this issue might not get anyone on the Puppet Master trolley, I really think that it speaks to the fans, who've wanted a non budget restricted outing with their favorite killer puppets and that's exactly what we get here. Definitely handled with care and only makes me want to check out the continuing series. Kudos to Action Lab for taking a chance on this direct to video cult series and continuing it's legacy.