Art By: Antonio Ontiveros, Daniel Morales Olvera
Cover Price: $3.99
Our issue opens with a boy just getting the crap kicked out of him by some bullies at a Halloween party at the Bouldeston Institute for Mentally Troubled Tots and Teens and it seems that these kids are where they're supposed to be because the reason for this beat down was to successfully take off the victim's wooden leg.......... fucking monsters. To add to how terrible these kids are, they even call this poor kid Pinocchio to add to his humiliation. With that kind of storytelling going on, I immediately like this kid and hope to see those other little bastards die.......... and I almost instantly get my wish. After the bullies have left Pinocchio, he goes to a closed wing of the institute and calls out for Camille, who he's heard stories about her haunting the place and asks her to help him with his asshole problem because he can't live like that any longer.
Before he gets a reply, the custodian shows up and sends him on his way, reminding Pinocchio that there has never been a Camille in the hospital. I like the idea of the kids calling our main character Pinocchio, even if it is cruel, but just so you know, the boy's actual name is Anthony and even though he didn't specify the type of help he was looking for in Camille, he totally regrets it once the bullies are found dead the next morning and boy were their deaths brutal.
The next morning, the administration is talking to a bunch of the kids, wondering what they know of the other patients' deaths and Anthony begins making the situation worse by talking about how Camille must have done it because he called out to her........ I say worse because these kids must be in this institute for a reason and blaming a wooden woman for the murders of children just doesn't do much in proving that Anthony's stable. When the doctor questioning Anthony excuses herself to talk to another doctor, Pinocchio uses that opportunity to escape out a window and one legs it up to the Bodega Bay Inn, where I guess everyone has heard the stories about the living puppets that haunt the abandoned hotel's halls. Once the boy is inside, he immediately becomes a target for our puppets, but while explaining his situation about Camille, while fixing one of the dolls that litter the lobby of the hotel, the puppets show themselves and it seems that they are down to help.
In the end, Anthony solidifies his role as the puppets new master when he shows them that he's a bit like them and flaunts his wooden leg, but boy does Anthony have lousy timing in getting the puppets to help him. As our issue closes we see that Anapa's servants........ kind of like men in black, have come to the hotel to begin the first of the seven tasks that Torch promised Anapa they would do if he spared their souls in the previous issue. I love this because not only are we getting a continuation of both the previous story arc and Puppet Master 2, but Shawn Gabborin is also adding these men in black characters that serve Anapa, who we first encountered in Retro Puppet Master....... That's Puppet Master 7 to you fools.
That's it for this issue of Puppet Master and while the mystery of Camille wasn't really explored much in this issue, it set up a great new character for the puppets to help out and it was a hell of a first chapter to this story arc. The beauty of this book for me is how much it feels made for fans with callbacks that only they would get, while still not alienating new fans that just might want to check out a strange comic called Puppet Master.......... Well, maybe it alienates them a little, but at this point in my Puppet Master fandom, it's hard to tell. It's just so much fun reading a story by a guy who really seems to be a fan of the material he's working on and even trying see all the Easter Eggs that are thrown in........ like Shredder Khan sitting on a book shelf in this issue who the rest of the puppets trying to get to, gives me an extra bit of excitement every time I open one of these issues. I could go on stroking Shawn Gabborin for hours for what I've seen him do in this series, but there's always next issue for that. We've got a new artist joining the book this issue and while it will be hard to top Michela Da Sacco's art from the first seven issues, I really dug what we got here as well and I can't wait to see what else Antonio Ontiveros has for us continuing this story arc.
Bits and Pieces:
I don't know if you're a Puppet Master fan or not, but from all the fun and enjoyment that I get out of this series, you probably should get on that trolley because there's so much to offer fans in this issue that's it's crazy. Not only are we continuing the mythos established in the previous issues of this series, but we're also getting callbacks to both Puppet Master 2 and Retro Puppet Master as well and it was an awesome fusion of ideas that just tickled me as a fan. Shawn Gabborin does a fantastic job in blending his stories with what's come before and with incredible art all the way through, this continues to be the best place to continue the Puppet Master fun that started from the film series.