Terror, Inc.

by

Crowbar or machine gun...Gordon Freeman\'s dilemnaWell that was violent.  And gory.  And profane.  And awesome.

I know very little about David Lapham.  I’ve read that his work on Stray Bullets is incredible, but I’ve never taken the time or spent the money to see for myself.  I read his lackluster Daredevil vs. Punisher miniseries from a few years back, but as you can tell by my word choice I wasn’t too impressed.   know this, though: dude was born to write Terror, Inc.

Terror is a 1,550 year old corpse, cursed to rot for all eternity but never die.  He can replace his decaying limbs with fresh ones and absorb the abilities and memories of the appendages’ former owners.  If that’s not a great comic book premise, I don’t know what is.  This absorption thing extends to superheroes, but Lapham never taps that gold mine.  With any luck, that’ll be in the sequel I’m hoping Marvel is smart enough to let Lapham write.

This volume revolves around him being set up for the murder of a government official and working to clear his name blah, blah, blah, U. S. Marshalls.  That’s beside the point.  The point is this is a book about a 1,500 year old corpse that can slap new limbs on his body.  I’m glossing over the plot because it’s something we’ve all seen before and isn’t terribly interesting for the first 3 of the 5 issues.  The twist at the end of the third act isn’t one I saw coming (but really should have).  From there it’s a resurrection/revenge tale that only serves to let characters shoot and hack away at each other.

Patrick Zircher renders all of this with gleeful mania, so much so that I’m certain he watched 10 hours of old kung fu movies before sitting down to the drafting table.  You know the ones I’m talking about; lots of limbs get sworded off and the resulting blood spurts look like geysers (a la O-Ren decapitating a mob boss in Kill Bill vol. 1). 

Zircher hasn’t had a lot of notable comics experiences, so his excellent work here is a revelation.  I vaguely remember being impressed by his style when he drew some truly awful Devin Grayson written Nightwing stories, but as I’ve said before story matters much more to me than art so I pretty much blocked that crap from my memory.  There are times when the art is a little muddied and it can be hard to see what’s going on through the sheets of blood flying across the panels.  Aside from that, though, he’s got a detailed style that conveys action well.  Simply put, Zircher drew the hell out of this book.

Terror, Inc. is a fun book that touches on themes of loss and betrayal but doesn’t spend too much time exploring them.  While it’s not for the squeamish, I’d recommend it to anyone tired of the cape and tights set or simply looking for an enjoyable way to kill an hour.

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