Four issues in and Evil Ernie has fast become one of the more unique books on my pull list. When this book began I was a bit worried because of the total change in his origin and basic character but this version of The Evil One has truly become something special.
Released last week, Evil Ernie #4 is still being written by Jesse Snider with always improving art by Jason Craig. This issue continues Evil’s quest to kill his foster father but we find Evil and Smiley, who can attach himself to a body, living or dead, and control it, arguing over the specifics of Evil’s deal. Last issue’s appearance of a man claiming to be an angel has gummed up the works some and it’s obvious Smiley knows more than he’s letting on. Evil’s threat of what he will do if Smiley kills another innocent is something I’ve never seen in an Evil Ernie story before. It was a surprise and adds another layer to this version.
Also new is Evil’s ability to replace lost, or I’m assuming very damaged, body parts. It reminded me of a 90′s Marvel character Terror and made me very happy to see.
So, Buford, Evil’s target, takes over the prison, takes the innocent doctor hostage and forces her to do something no doctor has really ever had to do. But that is after he opens the cells of the worst prisoners the place is holding. While they make their way to Evil, Buford forces the doctor to put Evil’s arm on his body in hopes of tapping into some of Evil’s power. The result is scary.
What isn’t scary is the fight between Evil Ernie and Smiley (who himself is decidedly scarier himself with his new ability to control bodies and the way his ‘bones’ move as legs and arms…there there is the image of what his back looks like…) versus the psychos of the prison. This is a fight of Chaotic proportions that ends with the arrival of… more angels? Add to this insanity the arrival of Buford with his new, and powerful, arm and you have a cliffhanger that would make any Evil fan happy and drooling for more!
Okay, look, I know there are still fans of the Chaos! Comics line out there mad at what Evil has become in this series. To you people I say: Please, give this book a chance. I’m serious. We’re never going to get those good old days when we first swore ourselves to the Black, but the direction Snider is taking Evil in this series blazes a new path for the horror icon while fully respecting what it was that made him special to us in the first place. That isn’t to say I think it’s perfect, the idea that Evil might actually be a ‘good guy’ raises an eyebrow or two but it’s obvious Snider has a love and respect for this character so I’m more than willing to go along for the ride with an open mind. It’s a new era and if we’re going to have Evil Ernie back we’re going to have to accept some changes. Snider has more than earned my confidence and seal of approval.
If there is one thing that is a little more difficult getting used to is his look. The covers showcase the Chaos! look while inside he is decidedly different. I would have preferred more of the classic look first then slowly change him into the Evil of the new era. I do miss seeing him the way he used to look, and still looks like on the cover, as I’m reading the book. It isn’t enough to distract me from enjoying the story but as a fair and open-minded reviewer I feel it’s my duty to mention this.
The next issue should be bringing the initial story, Origin Of Evil, to a close and I’m very curious as to what Evil Ernie is going to be like when this ends and even more curious as to where he goes from here and if we’re ever going to see more members of the former Chaos! Cosmos.
But the best part of this issue is I finally got my hands on one of those Kyle Hotz covers! I really, REALLY hope he continues to do covers for this series because they are AMAZING!