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With the clever setup established, SCREAMLAND #2 (Image
Comics) jumps right into the premise and starts off with its murder at a horror
convention. What if the possible suspects happen to be an alien, a slasher and
a werewolf? When you have a room full of monsters, where do you even actually
start? As the mystery plays out, this is also a smart and satirical look at
life as actors in Hollywood.
It’s not easy being an out-of-work actor, especially when
you look like a freak. Carl “The Wolfman” London and Travis Walters, ex-SPACE
PATH engineer, discovered the Invisible Man, Izzy, had a secret film in his
hands. Before he could reveal what the footage held, Izzy is suddenly found
murdered. Though no one at the convention can see the Invisible Man, Izzy’s
blood is splattered all over the walls and floor. With no help from the police,
Carl and Travis reluctantly appoint themselves to solve the murder.
In a room full of monsters, who could have wanted Izzy dead
and stolen the film from him? Travis believes the Mass, an alien blob from
outer space, had something to do with the murder. Carl disagrees and believes
they should be following the Midnight Slasher, who loves killing teenagers.
They argue amongst themselves while walking across the hallways of a horror
convention, passing leagues of annoying fans who all want autographs for their
These two has-been actors are not really the type of people
you want leading a murder investigation. Using knowledge from his acting gigs,
Method-trained Travis is pretending to be a brilliant detective. Rude and
overweight, Carl stumbles along from one important clue to another. Are they
really heading toward the culprit or is the real killer stalking them?
Author Harold Sipe (pictured) and Christopher Sebela have
crafted a quirky murder mystery, driven playfully by its humorous dialogue.
Travis has been depressed since the latest SPACE PATH movie was rebooted with a
younger cast. Now given a reason to live, Travis suddenly sprints back into
action. The amateur sleuth even dresses up as one of the characters he played
in a detective TV show. Even the protagonists, including Carl, have reasons to
murder Izzy. Could Carl, the actual killer, be investigating Izzy’s death,
hoping to find the clues that lead back to him?
The art by Lee Leslie pokes fun at popular culture by making
smart use of its setting, the Fanstasyscape Con. The hallways and hotel rooms
are always in tight and compact panels, creating a vibe of claustrophobia. In a
laugh-out-loud moment, Travis is using a phaser TV prop as his weapon of
choice. The washed-out colors by Buster Moody boost the cartoonish expressions
of the characters.
Hilarious and suspenseful, SCREAMLAND #2 is brilliant horror
satire and a spellbinding murder mystery at the same time. After being replaced
by CGI, would a movie monster resort to murder to become famous again? There’s
a killer lurking around at a horror convention… Why didn’t anyone think of this
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