By Marc Ellerby
So far we’ve seen three issues (#1, #2, #3) of Ellerby’s disinterested monster hunter with the smart mouth and iffy attitude (just look at the great cover – attitude in spades!). And nothing has convinced me that I wasn’t absolutely spot on with what I said back in June 2009 when I first set eyes on her:
“Chloe Noonan, Monster Hunter is just such a fantastic idea, done so very well, that I just can’t help but think that if he gets the right bit of luck with it he’ll have a huge hit on his hands.”
“…..heaps of Scott Pilgrim style goings on; young folks, funky dialogue, bit of weirdness and smart cartooning. Chloe is a monster hunter (no, not like Buffy). She’s English, doesn’t have any special powers and frankly thinks this monster hunting lark is rather getting in the way”
That still covers it pretty much. This 24-page colour special fits in (sort of) with the events of issue 3, but Ellerby’s characters and stories are so tight by now that no real back story is necessary, you’ll soon pick it up. (And if you want to see where it all starts, we put up a 3-page preview back in November.
So far, everything in Noonan has been about Noonan just simply avoiding being the monster hunter. But for some reason, she’s it. She’s the monster hunter. But being it and being good at it are two different things.
Or as a slightly tipsy BFF Zoe puts it:
(Yep, a very bad monster hunter indeed. Chloe Noonan by Marc Ellerby)
This time round though there’s a mood shift. It’s small, but there’s definitely a move towards something a little deeper, a little more introspective and thoughtful.
Previously Noonan was all about a mix of monsters and friends, with Ellerby leaning heavily on the comedy dialogue he’s so good at. But longterm? Maybe something that would get a little same-y. The slight shift turns it from sketch show to potential long-running fantasy comedy series.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still packed with everything that made me love the book in the first place, and still full of comedy, full of the sparkling, quick-fire dialogue, but the last third of this colour special sees Noonan forced to face up to what she does and why she does it, made to take a look at this whole monster-hunter thing from the other side.
After suffering (never in silence, not the Noonan) all the fun of the indie disco she comes face to face with a monster looking stranger like a certain Beano character.
Or, as best mate Zoe puts it again:
And once she’s chased him down, he turns her world on its head, putting both a seed of doubt in her mind about what she’s doing, and introducing the possibility that the monsters may be thinking about moving against her.
And that points to the possibility of the comic having a denser, richer future, where Noonan has to ask herself what she’s doing… just like this…
Like I said, it’s a small shift, but it bodes well for the future. And damn it Ellerby, there better be a future. Lots of new Noonan adventures for 2012 please.
Because it’s simply one of the best comics I’ve read in the last few years, and you need to be reading it.
Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter – Colour Special is available for just £4 from Ellerby’s shop