Adrienne Fox

Apocalypse Al is Our One-Woman Defense Against the End of the World

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The Adventures of Apocalypse Al #1 is as cool as it is funny. Straczynski pens a witty female detective with supporting a cast of sweet and menacing supernatural characters. Kotian’s excellent art suits both human and demonic subjects quite well.

Apocalypse Al #1 cover from imagecomics.com

Apocalypse Al #1 cover from imagecomics.com

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
Color: Bill Farmer
Publisher: Image Comics
Release date: February 5, 2014

Allison Carter is a wise-cracking private investigator specializing in end-of-the-world scenarios. She is damn good at saving the world’s bacon—lucky for us.

The Adventures of Apocalypse Al #1 opens with impending doom. Allison Carter shows off her wicked humor and sharp shooter skills destroying the seal of Balthasar. Now the sorcerer who summoned the world eater is in for a very long night or very short life at the maw of the demon. Back at her office, Carter’s zombie pal and ex-LAPD detective, Mike Rose, shows up to give her a new lead from “The Committee.” Turns out, some amateur is using the Book of Keys to bring about the end of the world. He needs to be stopped. For some insight into this new case, Carter visits her trusted prophet, Max. Max uses his psychic ability to search for the Book of Keys and give Carter the lead she needs. When Carter arrives at Hollywood and Vine, she is too late. The world is already changing as a dreamscape engulfs the Hollywood Hills. Carter fights her nightmares of legal temping and sensible shoes to get back to reality. With the spell broken, she heads homes for some rest. This is a noir tale, so of course she finds no rest as she is summoned to meet with Mr. Abernathy and a very special client, called the Ultimate Darkness. Hopefully, Carter can keep her sense of humor no matter what happens next.

It is great to see Straczynski knocking out some comedic work. This book is funny. Plus, it embraces with all its tropes. (And, I dig that.) But instead of a Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, we get Allison Carter. So far, she fits the hard-boiled detective bill just fine. (I dig this even more.) In the first The Adventures of Apocalypse Al, Carter is the lone female in a sea of male supporting characters. I hope that more female characters, human or demon, are introduced. Given the gender-swap of the lead, can we get the male equivalent of a femme fatale?

My one criticism is that when Carter left her house to go see Mr. Abernathy, she did not take 30 seconds to put on skinny jeans, sweatpants, short-shorts, or any other sort of pants. So there she is center of the page in her lingerie. A male friend of mine said, “Well, that’s comics.” But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pants would have made sense here. Carter does not need to be all buttoned-up Victorian. She can still be sexy—in pants.

The supporting characters were fun, quirky, and easy to like, even Mr. Abernathy the big-shot businessman. I would enjoy having a prophet like Max on my side. He tells Carter when George Clooney is in town and which bar he frequents. If someone could tell me the same about Idris Elba, I would be grateful.

Recommendation: For folks into demons and detectives like Cal McDonald, John Constantine, and Anita Blake.

If you want to buy a physical copy to be delivered to you of the next issue (Pile on #1): Apocalypse Al #2 (of 4) (Cover A – Kotian & Farmer)

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