Comic Reviewed by Will Cooling
Tozzer 2 Issue 3
Written by Rob Dunlop
Art by Peter Lumby
Published by Ablaze Media
(Same rules as before, I’m ignoring the wafer-thin parodies and calling characters by their “real names”)
Last issue we saw Michael Moore stuck in a phone booth desperately trying to claim a pizza whilst Vin Diesel was desperately searching for notorious child-molester Michael Jackson. With this issue we saw the sniper from Phone Booth go toe to toe with Lara Croft whilst Michael Jackson nears his target. In the midst of it all, Tozzer is struggling through his studies, trying to get his girl back and above all STAY ALIVE!!!
Okay let’s cover the positives first. I like the concept of this series, the main characters all show potential and the creative team are technically sound with Lumby delivering some good and Dunlop exhibiting a sound grasp of storytelling and humour. The art is particularly noteworthy, with Lumby have a pleasing blocky cartooney style with his versions of the celebrities/movie characters being enjoyable distortions and exaggerations. In particularly the sub-human nature of his Vin Diesel, his truly hideous Michael Moore and his all boobs and lips Lara Croft (actually she’s always like that isn’t she?).
However, this is all beside the point because this issue doesn’t really work.
Its not awful, it just feels flat. In many ways there are the same problems that there was with the first two issues with the pace being too slow, a poor choice of targets that wed the comic to the late nineties (Lara Croft! WHY!?!) and a tameness that means the whole comic lacks the edge needed to make this sort of comedy work. What makes it worse for this issue is that the parodies totally dominate the whole issue with hardly any development of the sub-plots featuring Tozzer and his supporting cast. Worse very few of these jokes actually hit the mark, there’s a good sequence featuring Rod as Dunlop deliciously satirises both movie’s kid friendly serial killers and the habit of “franchise characters” in all medias to process ridiculously good luck when it comes to near death experiences and that’s about it! The Phone-Booth send up horribly runs out of steam from the beginning whilst the Lara Croft scenes are like the Michael Jackson ones boring due to the fact that it’s the comedic equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel (more to the point the barrel is fairly bullet ridden).
I really hate being so negative cause this series has potential and I want to see more comics working within mainstream modern pop culture but this story simply isn’t working. Of course, I could just be missing the Michael Moore jokes…but who can really say?
The Last Word: This comic gets a 5.5, which is above average. Its main flaws are its slow pace and the poor choice of targets for its humour. That said, the art and production are very good for a Small Press title whilst the writing is solid with the dialogue being especially noteworthy. A disappointing issue that highlights how small the difference between a “good” and an “okayish” comic really is.