By Shannon Wheeler
I have very vague memories of seeing comics featuring Too Much Coffee Man, but have never read anything with him in it, or anything by Shannon Wheeler. So Astounding Villain House is my first taste of her work, and I have to say that my expectations were a bit all over the place, as I was not sure what to expect. One thing is for sure though; it will probably make you laugh out loud.
Astounding Villain House gives us four stories that involve people who have fallen on the wrong side of the tracks. The bad news tandem of the Squid and Pachyderm are currently incarcerated, but have big plans on how to break out. A first date goes great until, it’s discovered that Satan’s Son is a neighbor. The Buzzard is under house arrest, and has called in some favors from other baddies to pull off a brilliant scheme. Finally, Blind Mole-Rat King is trying to turn his life around, but the Fantastic Family just doesn’t believe him.
The great thing about this one shot is that Shannon Wheeler is not taking anything very seriously, and is poking fun at typical super hero books. She does a great job of parodying some of the current batch of popular heroes from Marvel, and makes it all very funny. The Blind Mole-Rat King is the standout in this batch, as it depicts a villain who is honestly trying to turn his life around, and a Fantastic Four-esque team badgers him anyway. This happens very often in our current comics, and it’s good to see Wheeler acknowledging how silly it can be sometimes. Wheeler really does leave you wanting more from every short story; you want to see what the characters are up to next. While the Blind Mole-Rat King stands out, they are all entertaining and well written. It’s hard to make a comic book funny, but Wheeler pulls it off with style.
Wheeler also does the artwork on this book, which looks exactly like it was cut out from the Sunday paper. The likeness she uses in Satan’s Son to characters like Doctor Doom and Hulk are comical and will get the reader to smile. The benefit of writing and drawing your own book is that you know what you want and how to set it up. She does an excellent job with her panels, and shows us everything a reader would want to see.
It’s not hard to see why Wheeler is an Eisner award winner. This is a really fun and funny book, and it’s great to take a break from a serious super hero book and pick this up and read it for fun, because let’s be honest, that’s what we’re all here to do. Have fun!