Sunday, October 8, 2023

Comics Review: "ELVIRA in Monsterland Volume 1 #5" Assembles an Raucous Endgame


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

Rated Teen+

Chapter Five: “The Monster Mash”

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), where she joins the “Space-Time Cops” in order to stop Vlad the Impaler from creating a monster army.

Elvira in Monsterland Volume 1 #5 (“The Monster Mash”) opens with the Mistress of the Dark putting a writer pal in check.  Then, it's on to the big confrontation with Vlad and his benefactor, the disgraced film director, Stanley Salivia.  And they're both out for sweet revenge against Elvira, so what will she do when she loses Agent Grant?  Call in reinforcements?

Here, comes the “Revengers” and the “Justice Guild,” two superhero teams straight out of the multiverse of movies and ready to brawl.  So is this the endgame or is there more madness of the Multiverse of Movies to come?

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 #5, one of many Dynamite/David Avallone Elvira comic books that I have read and enjoyed.

As much as I've enjoyed Elvira in Monsterland (and I have), I never knew what to expect of it.  Even when I suspected that writer David Avallone was going to spoof werewolf movies, including of the classic early 1980s horror flick, An American Werewolf in London (1981), I did not know what was coming.  That was a good thing.

I totally didn't see his epic finale for this series going down the way “The Monster Mash” does.  Avallone's riff on Disney/Marvel's saga-ending Avengers: Endgame is the vehicle by which he is drives Elvira through her current dilemma.  If some of “The Monster Mash” resembles the 1987 cult film, The Monster Squad, that's because Elvira has a squad of monsters that needs to be dealt with by another another, friendlier Monster Squad.

Artist Kewber Baal is an excellent match for Avallone's humor.  Baal's storytelling has a breezy pace and is quite good at capturing the essences of American cinema and its obvious soft spots, which are ripe for spoofing.  Colorist Walter Pereya replicates the garish colors of traditional superhero comic books, and letterer Taylor Esposito provides a kind of end-of-the-saga soundtrack.

Elvira in Monsterland is a delightful romp, and I'm going to miss Felini's magic remote.  But H.P. Lovecraft is coming soon.

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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