Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Carlos Pedro
Colours: Axel Medellin
Cover: Dan Panosian
(additional story with art by Tula Lotay)
The last issue of Elephantmen brought us into a hard-boiled story in which Hip Flask, going to meet his friend Farrell in the latter’s office, was met by a strange, sexy woman with a gun – and by his friend and Information Agency colleague Vanity (the Information Agency is pretty much the Elephantmen version of the Police), one of the few humans he respects, also captured by the strange woman. As Hip opens a box that turns out to contain a white gold elephant, a transparent sniper shoots… the woman. Probably. As he takes out some of her men who were protecting the building, the woman reveals that the sniper is the River Killer (who appeared around issue #40 of Elephantmen) and that she is the only member of her family who has not been killed or at least seriously hurt by him. As soon as we find out that the killer is not actually looking for the woman but for the golden elephant, multimillionaire Obadiah Horn makes his appearance.
In the newest issue, we find out that multimillionaire Horn – an old acquaintance of Flask’s (and ours) – also wants the elephant. So it is the mysterious woman, the killer and the rich guy.
The two-part story about the white elephant is concluded in this issue, full of inner monologues in the style of a Humphrey Bogart film, in a very interesting way that leaves a lot of possible future developments open.
The always fantastic Richard Starkings embraces the hard-boiled style and makes it alive, without betraying what Elephantmen has always been: rather, this enriches even more the already very solid world of the series, showing to newer readers another side of favourite character Hip Flask and reminding people who have read Elephantmen for longer of who he is.
Another great issue of Elephantmen then, getting us ready and hungry for next month when… well, the cover of the next issue suggests that something huge will happen.
Also, if we turn the book upside down, we can read a nice short story by Starkings with art by Tula Lotay, linked to the main story in the issue in a way that I won’t anticipate.