reflection

Lovably crude and irresistibly gross, Soul Plumber #1 is good dumb fun in a predictable but hilarious horror-comedy package.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters

Review: SOUL PLUMBER #1 – Back-Alley Exorcism

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From writers Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski and artist John McCrea, along with colors from Mike Spicer and letters by Becca Carey, comes a gross and goofy slice of religious parody in Soul Plumber #1. Equal Parts Beavis & Butthead  and Preacher, this grimy opening chapter is both outrageously dumb and far wittier than it has any right to be.

“After attending a seminar hosted in a hotel conference room by a mysterious group called the Soul Plumbers, Edgar Wiggins, disgraced former seminary school student, discovers what he thinks is the secret to delivering souls from the thrall of Satan. But after stealing the blueprints and building the machine himself, out of whatever he can afford from his salary as a gas station attendant, Edgar misses the demon and instead pulls out an inter-dimensional alien with dire consequences for all of mankind.”

Writing & Plot

Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski bring the feeling of a Garth Ennis and Mike Judge collaboration in Soul Plumber #1. The irreverent humor of a wannabe priest, an insane combat vet, and a spazzy druggie on a quest to fight demons is already akin to something from an early Vertigo or underground comic. Plumber manages to be equally dumb and deceptively intelligent. Some of the trappings of its religious critique are old hat, but they’re hidden under how insane its characters are.

Despite how witless Edgar may be, his genuine desire to help and not judge his profane friends is genuinely endearing. He’s the kind of protagonist you want to root for, despite how dumb he actually is. Think Arseface from Preacher but as a seminary dropout and you’ve got a good picture. The dialogue is snappy, random, and laced with profanity. In other words, it’s perfect for this story. Each character has a different manner of speaking that makes it instantly easy to pin their personalities. Edgar’s naïve scripture quoting clashes with Elk’s friendly barrage of swearing, and even more with Scuzz’s nonsensical drug-fueled ramblings. Will this be a reading experience for everyone? Absolutely the hell not. For the right twisted readers though, this will be a blast.

Art Direction

I honestly couldn’t think of a better artist than John McCrea of Hitman fame to draw the grimy world of Soul Plumber #1. McCrea’s unique brand of messy yet expressive visuals bring these characters to life in spot-on sleazy glory. Each person is designed with their own instantly recognizable design that works perfectly under McCrea’s guiding hand. The scuzzy outer appearances of the cast blend them into this gross world yet become offset by their distinctive expressions. This mainly goes for Edgar, whose sympathetic looks manage to elevate him above his desolate surroundings – but just barely.

Mike Spicer comes through with the colors and therefore much of Plumber’s atmosphere and personality. There’s a distinct grungy indie comic feeling that Spicer’s work brings to the panels that is perfect for this issue. Everything is covered in a greasy green and brown-tinged palette. This kind of soupy look, the kind where it looks like everyone should be covered in cystic acne, is disgustingly perfect. Becca Carey’s letters manage to match the gnarly look of the art. Her rough-edged and sketchy fonts fit the art direction of the comic perfectly, while also ranging in size and focus to match the tone of the dialogue. Every nasty visual aspect of this opening issue offers the perfect amount of scuzzy detail.

Verdict

Soul Plumber #1 is a grimy, hilarious, and deceptively smart opening to this blasphemous mini-series. The script from Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski is complete with a colorful cast and irreverent humor that is sure to land with the right crowd. John McCrea and Mike Spicer’s art is detailed and perfectly scummy, crafting exactly the right atmosphere. Be sure to grab this new #1 when it hits shelves on 10/5!

 

 

 

 

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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