Elementals #12 – Reviews Of Old Comics
I’m resurrecting another favorite old series of mine, Elementals, by Bill Willingham. This time it’s an issue that I remember being exceptionally good. Will this be another case of memory being fooled by a more critical eye years later? Let’s have a look.
Story: Bill Willingham
Pencils: Bill Willingham
Colors: Kurt Mausert
Tommy Czuchra, aka Monolith was badly injured while fighting the assassin Sanction. In his comatose state he begins dreaming about his father beating him when he was a younger child, apparently for possibly being gay. In the real world, his back begins bleeding. In his dream, his father turns into the villain Behemoth who smashes the ground he is lying on sending him falling through the sky. He’s caught by his teammate Vortex, but they fly in the path of a bird that turns into a dragon. The dragon promptly incinerating Vortex, and sending Tommy falling again. In the real world, he’s sent into cardiac arrest.
After he lands, the dragon takes the form of the villain Shapeshifter. She tells Tommy that she’s already infiltrated the Elementals’ household in order to gain revenge against Morningstar. She leads him to Vortex again, still alive until he’s killed by Ratman who begins eating Vortex. Fathom chides Ratman for spoiling his dinner. She then proceeds to tell Tommy that she couldn’t wait for him forever, and married Ratman.
Tommy is then greeted by Lord Saker, who tells Tommy that he was tortured in Hell for hundreds of years. He is in Tommy’s dream and shows him the far future, where he and Morningstar have assembled massive space armadas to fight each other long after Earth has been destroyed. Tommy spies on Morningstar trying to recruit Vortex to her side in vain, as he remains neutral. Tommy will have Vortex assassinated and has balanced his army so he and Morningstar will annihilate each other. Tommy has decided that mankind needs to guide itself instead of worshiping virtually immortal Elementals.
Saker informs Tommy that this is a possible future, but in order to prevent it, he has to wake up. While he was severely injured as Monolith, he healed as soon as he reverted to Tommy. Tommy changes to Monolith in order to break through the last mental barrier. Doing so, he wakes up, forgetting his long dream.
This comic serves to foreshadow several developments Bill Willingham had started for Elementals. Shapeshifter’s claim that she had infiltrated the Elementals would not come to pass for many years. This let Willingham allow his readers to forget this claim, making it a genuine surprise. The relationships between the teammates would begin to show strain, but Willingham never had the chance to fully develop this. The crush that Ratman had on Fathom, first explored in Elementals #8, was alluded to here and would become a major plot point in the future. Saker’s imprisonment would not go as described here, but he would indeed escape his imprisonment in Hell. The use of foreshadowing is obvious, but welcome in a comic that has just wrapped up a dozen issues with the Elementals trying to discover what they are supposed to do now that their primary purpose has been fulfilled.
Bill Willingham’s art style remains very organic in this issue. At times the artwork looks rushed, but this could be as much from a new inker becoming accustomed to Willingham’s style, which was more unique than most other artists of the time. The shifting environments add to the dreamlike motif of the story, but are so detailed that they seem almost too concrete to exist within a dream. It’s extremely well-written and is obvious in its foreshadowing, but artistically, fails to hit on all cylinders. To it’s benefit, it does hit far more than it misses., as with the twelfth page, a giant splash of a dragon, which I couldn’t help but share with you here.
This issue as with other Elemental issues I have reviewed, has never been collected and is likely never to be, as the rights are up in the air. If you’re looking for the individual issue, then you shouldn’t have to pay more than few bucks for it, even in pristine condition. You may even be able to find a copy in bargain bins.
FINAL RATING: 7.0 (out of a possible 10) There are flaws, but the story is good, the flaws to begin to distract a little in this particular story.