Tuesday, 14 June 2011

‘Axe Cop Volume 1’ – Malachai Nicolle & Ethan Nicolle (Dark Horse Books)

After spending a lot of time wondering just when my reading mojo would return, I can tell you the exact moment that it did. I was in Forbidden Planet, the other day, and I saw ‘Axe Cop Volume 1’ sat there on the shelf waiting for me to pick it up. I say it was ‘sat there’, it was actually more a case of the book being hidden amongst several really thick ‘Avengers’ volumes, almost like it was trying to make sure that no-one else got to it before I did. I was very grateful for this as I’d spent a long time trying to track this one down (and don’t talk to me about Amazon, that’s just too easy).
I didn’t even hang around reading this one by the shelf, like I normally do with comic books, ‘Axe Cop’ was bought and paid before anyone else knew what was going on. One relatively quick train ride later, I was curled up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a book that I just knew would have me in fits of laughter.

This is the bit where I’d give you a little taster of what the book is all about, my own little blurb if you will :o) When you’re looking at a book that has been written by a five year old boy though, well... it’s a little harder than normal to come up with something coherent! Look, there’s a cop who dispenses swift justice by chopping bad guy’s heads off with a fireman’s axe and his partner might be a flute toting cop but could just as easily be an avocado or a gun toting dinosaur (it all depends on who has the magic unicorn’s horn). Talking of dinosaurs, check out Axe Cop’s pet... a flying T-Rex with gatling guns strapped to his arms (he can breathe fire as well).
And all of that is before the bad guys get involved, most of them are stupid but some of them can give Axe Cop a run for his money even if the ultimate outcome is never in any doubt at all.

‘Axe Cop Volume 1’ is one of the books that will have you laughing your head off and feeling just a little bit nostalgic for your childhood all at the same time. Absolutely anything can happen (and it’s that uncertainty that keeps the book ticking along nicely) and it all gets resolved using the best kind of logic, the logic that a five year old uses to make sure that the hero in his game will always win through (no matter how evil the villain).
You can imagine how this approach translates onto the page with our hero being set up against regular bad guys, aliens, vampires and, erm... turd soldiers (we are talking about a five year boy here and I’ve got to fess’ up and say that I sniggered a bit as well). We’re talking full on comic book mayhem that is going to stand as a monument to the imagination of one small boy who has clearly been eating too much sugar. It’s one hell of a ride though and I defy you not to enjoy it, you’ll enjoy it...

Malachai’s big brother Ethan has to take some of the credit here for harnessing this madcap tale and getting it onto the written page. I wasn’t to keen on the artwork to begin with (not as polished as it could have been, perhaps Ethan never saw things going the way they did?) but as things tighten up he really defines Axe Cop’s world and just what it means to live in it (basically, be prepared for battle at all times...) I love the seventies style cops and the villains who all look like they wouldn’t be out of place in ‘Double Dragon’.
What I really love though is the way in which Ethan has fleshed out the world of Axe Cop but made it all about Malachai at the same time. I’m talking about ‘Ask Axe Cop’, a feature that Ethan set up but let Malachai run with. Some of the things that arise from reader questions have to be seen to be believed – don’t read the bit with the mermaid if you’re feeling at all sad (you’ll feel worse once you’ve finished it), how Axe Cop celebrates Independence Day though... absolutely superb.

If you’re done with childish things then you might just want to give ‘Axe Cop’ a miss and read something else instead. If you want to reconnect with your inner five year old though, or just fancy a really good laugh, then stop reading this and go grab yourself a copy right now. You can thank me later. Quite possibly the best comic book I’ll read this year.

Nine and a Half out of Ten

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Nice review Sir. Love me some Axe Cop. I laughed out out so much when I was reading this...Often in somewhat embarrassing places where people look at you funny if you make noise, like public transit, and the library.

You should check out Malachai and Ehtan's Dark Horse 3 issue mini series called Axe Cop Bad Guy Earth. More great Axe Cop mayhem.

Carmen Wing said...

Oh I definitely will check this out - I've read a bit of Axe Cop online but how much better to be able to read it whenever, wherever :D