Sunday, September 10, 2023

Comics Review: "ELVIRA in Monsterland Volume 1 #4"


STORY: David Avallone
ART: Kewber Baal
COLORS: Walter Pereya
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Dave Acosta with Walter Pereya
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2023)

Rated Teen+

Chapter Four: “You Don't Look Kaiju-ish”

In 1981, actress and model Cassandra Peterson created the “horror hostess character,” known as “Elvira.”  Elvira gradually grew in popularity and eventually became a brand name.  As Elvira, Peterson endorsed many products and became a pitch-woman, appearing in numerous television commercials throughout the 1980s.

Elvira also appeared in comic books, beginning in 1986 with the short-lived series from DC Comics, Elvira's House of Mystery.  In 2018, Elvira returned to comic books via Dynamite Entertainment.  Elvira's latest comic book series is Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1.  The series is written by David Avallone; drawn by Kewber Baal; colored by Walter Pereyra; and lettered by Taylor Esposito.  The series finds Elvira returning to the Multiverse of Movies (a bunch of “pocket dimensions” created by the existence of movies) in order to stop Vlad the Impaler and the creation of a monster army.

Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #4 (“You Don't Look Kaiju-ish”) opens at that pivotal moment when the Mistress of the Dark discovers that she has arrived in “Monsterland.”  Of course, it's filled with the giant monsters that have come to define the Japanese genre known as “kaiju.”

Elvira stands no chance against such big baddies as “Kingzilla” (a surrogate for Godzilla), “Crowdan” (Rodan), and “Maripothra” (Mothra), to name a few.  But what about “Mecha-Elvira?”  Can she rise up and k-o the kaiju? 

THE LOWDOWN:  Since July 2021, Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department has been providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #4, one of many Dynamite/David Avallone Elvira comic books that I have read and enjoyed.

I am a huge fan of werewolf movies, so I looked forward to Elvira in Monsterland #3.  I'm not that big of a fan of Japanese kaiju movies (although I am a big fan of kaiju comic books like the ones produced by writer-artist, Carter Allen, including the Ectyron Omnibus Vol. 1).  However, I am a big fan of writer David Avallone's sparkling dialogue, so I knew he would make big monsters big fun.  My favorite wit in this issue is the following bit, “Going down! And not in the fun way...”  Avallone's witty repartee has made his various Elvira comic books series some of the best humor comic books of the past decade, and Monsterland is not the exception.

Artist Kewber Baal is an excellent match for Avallone's humor.  Baal's storytelling has a breezy pace, as if the story were dancing across the pop culture and entertainment space-time continuum and finding all the humorous soft spots.  Walter Pereya's colors ground the story so that it doesn't become fanciful.  Avallone's Elvira stories punch and kick, so Elvira in Monsterland should not look like a colorful kids' humor comic. Thus, Pereya's colors set the proper surreal tone.

Elvira in Monsterland is a romp through monster movie history, and because we aren't getting an Elvira television or streaming series, this comic book is perfect.  Don't call it a substitute, however; it's the real deal in comic book comedy.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Elvira and of David Avallone's Elvira comic books will want to read Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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