Dolphin Squad II: A Death In The Pod [Part One]

7

Good

DolphinSquadII-minProudly proclaimed by “Deadstar Publishing” as a “follow-up to our best-selling Dolphin Squad: Heroes Of The Sea graphic novel”, this “all action” adventure provides plenty of simple guffaws and giggles up until Danny J. Weston’s narrative suddenly takes a surprising dive into thoughtful despair, and pens a genuinely sad scene involving the quite horrific demise of the Albino Avenger, Fabian. In fact, up until the aquatic mammal’s morbid murder, which as an aside potentially provides a notable nod to the origin of Doctor Manhattan in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor, this “full colour” publication’s plot appears to be as uncomplicated a comical yarn, as its delightful dialogue is pun-filled; “Hope you get my point, Ping Prong! Timberrr! Ha! Ping Prong, get it? Cuz forks have prongs!”

Ordinarily, such straightforward story-telling may well quickly turn into something of a chore for a reader, but on this occasion the dorsal finned crime-fighters’ creator uses the simplicity of a radioactive mutated beaver terrorising his mereswine troupe with an enraged “giant giant panda” to almost perpetually bombard his audience with wonderful witticisms and corny gags, such as a waffle-laden Vinny potentially delaying his pod’s pursuit of Evil Kbeaver because Laser-Eye won’t ordinarily allow him to eat food inside the Dolphin Mobile. These crackpot funnies really do help maintain a pleasingly fast pace to proceedings, and makes the Pink Protector’s death all the more shocking when it occurs from out of the blue.

Intriguingly, the scenes which immediately then follow the Dolphin Squad member’s terminal departure, particularly Fabian’s Central Megapolis Memorial, perhaps understandably appear to somewhat tone down the slap-stick shenanigans, and replace them with a far more tragic tone as the super-group’s leader shuts down the team, ostracises a distraught Vinny, and heartbreakingly starts spiralling downwards into a bottle or five (of lemonade). Of course Weston still imbues his work with plenty of tongue-in-cheek absurdity, as seen by Laser-Eye’s visit to the S.E.A.W.O.R.L.D.’s underground prison in order to talk to the likes of Spag-Yeti, Bearbarian and Whaleverine. But even this lengthy sequence has a stark seriousness and palpable meanness to it which wasn’t apparent in this book’s earlier, more light-hearted episodes, back before there was a death in the pod…

Adding to this graphic novel’s sense of hilarity is Danny’s rather unique-looking artwork, which appears somewhat reminiscent of the Nineties “Cartoon Network” animated cartoons “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Johnny Bravo”. Dynamically drawn, and astoundingly able to imbue even a motorbike riding beaver with an aura of utter evil, the British-born illustrator’s story-boards bring both boundless energy to his script, as well as a genuine sense of loss and utter helplessness to the titular characters when circumstances take a decidedly dire turn for the worse.

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.
7

Good

Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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