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Elephantmen: Volumes 1 And 2 (2008)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Elephantmen: Volumes 1 And 2 (2008) This huge graphic novel, WOUNDED ANIMALS, is sort of like THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU gone global. It's several hundred years in the future and a great war recently ended. Thousands of transgenic soldiers were made with the DNA of Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos, et cetera. This was done by a renegade scientist named Mappo who incubated these creatures in human women. None of the women survived. Now, the majority have been acclimated into human society since they basically have human minds/intelligence and all the needs/wants that go with that. In the opening story a little girl comes upon an Elephant-man named Ebony and they talk. This cuts back and forth with flashbacks form his violent past, in which he was conditioned to be a fighter/killer. Of course, the contrast of these two situations gets the point across, that the negative view people have of these animal people is taught to their children and based upon what they used to be. There are also stories about Hip Flask, a Hippo-man and a billionaire Rhino-Man, Obadiah, who is with a beautiful African woman. However, there are a few tales I didn't quite care for, like the "make believe" ones of Captain Stoneheart, in which a Hippo is telling a little girl a story and it takes place in a make-believe land, with the Elephantmen as characters. But not all Elephantmen are kind. There are criminals and killers. Just like regular people. The artwork is widely diverse, from realistic to one that's exactly in the style of Jack Kirby (KAMANDI), which I thought was very cool. Recommended.

Vol 2, FATAL DISEASES (2009) collects issues #8-15 of the comic book series and continues the threads of the first book. Hip Flask (a Hippo) is confused because he thought he had a human girl who liked him. There's an amusing story about an ape inventor that's much more "cartoony" than the other tales. I didn't find this collection quite as interesting as Volume 1 because much of the novelty of talking animals has worn off.

created by Richard Starkings

art: various

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