Yeah, I know this is a little late, but holidays being what they are sometimes you fall behind on the important stuff. But I don’t want anyone to think that Evil Ernie has lost any of its steam already because, brother, it hasn’t!
This issue, written by Jesse Snider, who recently decided to drop ‘Blaze’ from his credit, continues to explain more about who Ernie is and also gives us some idea as to the limits of his powers. When we last saw our… ‘hero’ he was stalking his foster dad, Buford, in Widmark Prison and ends up coming face to face with nearly the entire general population of the place. Ernie’s troubles grow as the one good person in the place, Dr. Thomas, is being held by Buford who is threatening to do nasty things to the woman. Add to that the problem of Ernie’s power running out and you have an ugly situation.
There is also the appearance of Uriel, who claims to be an angel and begins to tell Ernie of his original purpose, something Smiley doesn’t take to kindly to and does something very interesting about it…
But I’m getting ahead of myself here… Not that it matters because the thing I really want to talk about here is Smiley. Jesse has really made him into something he’s never really been before: a fully formed character. At first I was alright with him simply being a button that cracked a joke here and there or maybe even gave Evil some advice once in a while but this was something I never expected. It was all set up last issue with Smiley having more of a ‘fleshy’ look, meaning he was able to stretch and look over Evil’s shoulder. This issue we see him from a new angle: he’s off Evil’s coat and we see what he looks like from behind. It isn’t pretty. He’s not a magic button anymore, he’s his own creature and his backside is truly something to behold, and not because ‘Smiley got back’. No, because he’s got thorns or teeth or something back there. But that’s not all! We also discover something new about him and it isn’t that he can eat the heart out of a man’s chest; no, it’s the shocking reveal that he can place himself in the hearts empty cavity and actually control the dead body!
This makes Smiley something far more than what he was before and while I have nothing but love and respect for the work the original Chaos! Crew did on this character, Jesse Snider has taken him to the next level and beyond! He’s a full on character and has the potential to be an actual threat.
So, while the actual bulk of this issue focused on Evil and his possible real destiny, the real star of this issue was, without a doubt, Smiley. The only thing this issue lacked was a Smiley-centric cover!
Speaking of covers… Having Kyle Hotz do covers for this book is a dream come true for me. I’ve loved this guy’s work for years. Sadly, those are the covers that sell out first at my LCS so I have to look for Hotz’s covers for the second and third issues. I’ll find them. Eventually.
The interior art by Jason Craig seems to get better with each new issue. His version of Evil still seems to be coming together, though the one thing that he does have is a basic look that helps him fit in this reality perfectly (I’m especially liking the inner conflict of is he supposed to be ‘Evil’ Ernie?). There are a lot of questions about this now and, surprisingly, they don’t bother me. It all makes sense in this reality.
As for his look, I’m sure there are going to be more tweaks. I’m hoping for more nods to his original look mixed with Craig’s own version, but no matter what Evil ends up looking like, there is enough there for me to love.
So, three issues in and the new Origin Of Evil is moving along smoothly… but that’s probably because of all the blood it’s sliding on. Once again my hat goes off to Jesse Snider for his fresh approach to a classic character that perfectly blends the past with an all new future. I also have to thank Dynamite Entertainment for not only bringing back one of my all time favorite characters but for also allowing Snider the freedom he needs to do it right. This isn’t Spider-Man or a “Rated T+” comic, this is EVIL ERNIE and he doesn’t play nice!
I’m looking forward to Evil Ernie #4!