Necessary Monsters issue 3 & 4
by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Sean Azzopardi
“There exists a world of horrors beneath the one we know. Where the creatures of our nightmares stalk amongst humanity and play their games of vengence, murder and intrigue. To police this world there is the Chain; a covert agency of monsters and killers, charged with keeping the human herd from ever growing too thin.”
(From the inside cover)
I last looked at Necessary Monsters here with the print versions of issues 1 & 2 (and reading issue 3 online – still a sure sign with my webcomic dislike that I’m enjoying a story) and I described it as:
Spy Horror Thrills galore with more than a touch of the magical thrown in. James Bond with Hellblazer characters perhaps. This is Necessary Monsters; a fantastic and fantastical series from Goodbrey and Azzopardi that manages to be an all-out, ballsy, cliché-ridden horror thriller and still be bloody great at the same time.
And now I’ve got issues 3 & 4 in print before me. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that it manages to keep up all the excitement and horror going nicely. In fact this time I had to really fight the urge to head online and read the next set of strips. Because I know there’s only one issue to go and it’s not yet finished online and I also know it’s going to be something I’m going to want to read in one go. But bloody hell, it was a struggle to resist.
(Threats and violence – and a classic cool as you like reply from Jonathan Gravehouse in Necessary Monsters.)
Following on from the first couple of issues we’re on the trail of Thomas Harp; renegade agent of The Chain and his chicken headed accomplice, as they seek to find the cipher that cracks the Conundrunomicon; the most secret and powerful codebook in history. As issue 3 opens we have a team of Chain agents assembled to track Harp down, including Jonathan Gravehouse (retired, dangerous, manipulative, nasty), Charlotte Hatred (spooky, goth, killer, moves through mirrors) Cowboy 13 (Texas Chainsaw type psycho) and the final team member; Tuesday Jones/Creeping Tuesday (new girl, daughter of original team member, quickly realising how shit her new life has become).
The good team of nasty bastards is tasked with infiltrating the Chain safehouse holding the cipher that Harp is after. Except the safehouse is hardly safe anymore; not only do they have to worry about Harp they also have to fight their way through the hordes of zombies belonging to the safehouse boss; The Ju Ju Man who’s running the facility just to protect the Cipher and doesn’t want anyone getting in, no matter what side they’re on.
So here in issue 3 & 4 we get the team fighting their way through the safehouse, The Ju Ju Man’s zombies and Harp’s forces as well. Things don’t go too well and Harp is well on the way to getting everything he wants:
(I really don’t think the Ju Ju Man’s got some voodoo solution for that one. From Necessary Monsters 4 by Goodbrey and Azzopardi.)
Or at least things don’t go too well for the good guys. For the reader it’s bloody brilliant stuff. Just as clichéd (in the best context of the word) as the first couple of issues. A cracking spy-horror thriller, full of nastiness, plenty of gore, rapid action and tremendous setpieces. Just like I’d been expecting.
Again, Goodbrey’s writing is a big draw to the book and I’m expecting him to get very successful in the US anytime soon, but Necessary Monsters is also Sean Azzopardi’s book, with his artwork, all stark black and white stuff, perfectly laid out for maximum energy and storytelling.
Necessary Monsters is a great series, well worth seeking out. The physical comics (issues 1-4) are available at comic shows. If you’re desperate to get hold of them before their next appearance. Daniel suggests emailing him through his website. You can also pick up a couple of Necessary Monsters prints from Sean’s website:
(One of two great Necessary Monsters prints by Sean Azzopardi – available here.)
The great news is that Necessary Monsters is going to be collected by AiT/Planet Lar once part 5 is done (sometime in 2009 hopefully).