Who Doesn't Love A Good Story?
Written By: Shawn Gabborin
Art By: Antonio Ontiveros, Daniel Morales Olvera
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016
Publisher: Action Labs: Danger Zone
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It's Monday and that's means that it's Puppet Master time....... you know, just for the hell of it and all that. I've gone on and on about how much I love the Puppet Master films, especially the first five and like any good fan of something, I've thought throughout the years how I'd probably be able to create something within the series with my own stories and the one I came up with was a sequel to where we left off in Puppet Master 2. Well, Shawn Gabborin went and threw a monkey wrench in that one because he actually had the gumption to go ahead and do something with it and that's what we're dealing with in this story arc, a continuation of where we left off in Puppet Master 2 and man it's been fun. With that film being my favorite in the series, I couldn't help but smile when seeing places like the Bouldeston Institute for Troubled Tots and Teens and finding out that the antagonist to this story is none other than the twist at the end of the flick, where the Puppets revived one of their victims named Camille by placing her essence into a female wooden body......... and as we all know from watching that movie..... or Pet Semetary....... or really any flick where someone is brought back to life. Sometimes Dead Is Better. Let's jump into this issue and see what's what because as we left the last issue it looked like Camille's return was greatly exaggerated and the murders taking place at the Institute were being perpetrated by a deranged doctor with a Camille infatuation. Let's check it out.
Our issue picks up exactly where we left off previously with the reveal that Dr. Jenn has been masquerading at Camille this whole time and her reasoning behind it is....... well, it's just kind of thrown out there and doesn't have the impact I hoped it would. Now that our new Puppet Master and hero of our story Anthony is drugged and unable to move, Dr. Jenn feels it's ample time to lay out the exposition about what's been going down at the Bouldeston Institute and her motives behind the murders she's committed in the guise of Camille........ It's because she likes the stories. That's all it is. When Dr. Jenn began working at the Institute, she became enamored with the stories that the kids would tell about Camille, but eventually the stories dried up and fizzled out and Dr. Jenn decided that she could just as easily keep her stories coming by terrorizing the kids. Now I understand that Dr. Jenn could just be cuckoo for Camille puffs, but even that seems lackluster for this whole story and also the timeline doesn't really add up to me because Camille first went to the Institute back in '90 and Dr. Jenn seems like the cool young Doctor that all the kids flock to because she's not all uptight like the rest of the staff, but with that, she'd be way too young to have heard these stories from the kids because as we find out in this comic, the real Camille pretty much became inert right after the Puppets left her. Now that the super-villain exposition is out of the way, it's time for Dr. Jenn to kill Anthony but before she could get her stabbing going on, she's interrupted by a knock at the door from the young girl who was helping Anthony look for Camille and because the young girl claims to have seen Camille in one of the rooms, Dr. Jenn decides that this might be more pressing than murdering a young crippled boy right away.
While Dr. Jenn is off realizing that she's been duped, the Puppets find the real Camille and find out from the weirdo janitor who's been keeping her wooden body in hiding because he's in love with her...... and probably using it in other ways, that Dr. Jenn is the only person besides him who knows about her and thankfully this revelation gets our Puppet heroes back to Anthony before Dr. Jenn can make a new story out of him....... which leads to a classic Puppet Master end scene where the would-be Puppet Master gets what's coming to them, but here we see that Anthony is taking some real satisfaction about his little friends going to town on his would-be killer. Now that Dr. Jenn is out of the way and we found out from the janitor's exposition how Camille wasn't really evil....... because even though she talked about murdering children at the end of Puppet Master 2, she never actually did it. So with some extra Re-Animator fluid, our Puppets bring Camille out of the living hell that is being trapped inside one's body........ but it seems that the stories of her being on the up and up were greatly exaggerated as well because she immediately starts talking about killing Anthony and his friends. It's a good thing that the Puppets had a contingency in mind because before Camille could enact her rage against the younger generation, she falls down dead.......... and this is a bit of nonsense to me because the reason behind it is that Leech Woman laid some leeches on her neck that sucked out the life-giving fluid.......... It's a wooden body though! Yeah, that last bit with Camille is a bit disappointing and I kind of wish it wasn't included in this story because it really served no purpose to me.
In the end, Anthony says goodbye to his young female friend, who finally tells us her name is Cedar and the reason that Anthony says goodbye is because the girl believes that she still needs the Institute and can't go with him like he wanted..... which may or may not be true because we see that when she looks at Anthony, she sees him as some sort of Sutekh demon...... which is very fucked up, yet still very apart of this story. As Anthony leaves with his Puppets, we see an epilogue a week later where Anthony's father shows up to see him and we find out that Anthony's last name is in fact Gallagher....... and while that might not mean something to everyone, it sure means a lot to Puppet Master fans because it turns out that Anthony's father is Neil Gallagher, who was the villain of the original Puppet Master movie.......... who we all saw die at the end of that flick. In that movie, the psychic hero Alex Whitaker saw visions of an already deceased Neil blowing his brains out with a handgun...... which we find out is how the character killed himself before using Andre Toulon's secrets to bring himself back. Now the weirdest part about the ending of this issue........ besides for Neil Gallagher being back, is that Neil goes and blows his brains out in the Institute after finding out that Anthony has gone missing. Now depending on how the story goes in the following issues of this book, my whole problem with the timeline might be explained away now that I know that Neil is still kicking about.
That's it for this issue of Puppet Master and while I can't imagine how anyone who isn't a Puppet Master fan can get into this comic........ because goddamn is there a lot of fan service going on..... and I don't mean that as a bad thing, I'm happy as hell that I am a fan because this comic is truly the sequels that I always wanted out of the film series. Yeah, even with having some issues with motivations, timelines and wood sucking leeches in this story, I still had a fun time reading it and love the reveals that Shawn Gabborin keeps throwing at us, like this kid that we've really come to care about is actually the son of the biggest monster in the Puppet Master series........ you know, except for the Nazis of course. The art like always was great and I love the panels where you actually see the Puppets emoting without actually emoting........ does that make sense? We have scenes where you can tell the Puppets are contemplating their next move or realizing something and the art works really well in highlighting these scenes as a way to make the emotionless puppets actually feel like legitimate characters, who are more than just tools of destruction. So yeah, while this wasn't the huge, eye opening, jaw dropping conclusion that I would have liked from this story arc, I still find myself really intrigued with where the story is going and can't wait to see how Shawn Gabborin brings back Neil Gallagher.
Bits and Pieces:
While I can't say that this conclusion is the best that I've seen from this series' story arcs, I did enjoy myself all the way through and was blown away by the epilogue's cliffhanger. We've got a whole ton of stories floating around from things that happened in this arc and the previous one and I can't wait to see how they all play out as this series continues and I can't get enough of the awesome art that this comic always gives us.