Review: ‘Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight’ # 3

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This month marks the beginning of “Prison Ship Antares.” Another fantastically trashy chapter of “Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight.” The story is perfect sci fi camp brought to life once again by writer Alex De Campi. The script is sure to shock, disgust, and positively entertain with fantastic art by Simon Fraser.

This entirely new chapter is fantastically paced. The quick story is deeply rooted in grindhouse cinema taking all the rules of normal film and throwing them at wall. This series is pure tongue in cheek fun that never lets up for a moment.

WRITTEN BY: Alex De Campi
ART BY: Simon Fraser
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: December 4, 2013

It’s clear to me that Alex De Campi’s last name is no mistake given her mastery of camp. Since her new story “Prison Ship Antares” is so ripe with silly concepts that take themselves so seriously that she may as well offer a masterclass on writing grindhouse movies.

The correctional transport spaceship Antares is home to a bunch of badass babely women. The ship is home to an insane warden who wants nothing more than to “cleanse” the residents of her ship. Obviously a bunch of these badass babes won’t put up with the warden’s shit.

De Campi makes sure to work in a wonderful assortment of genre tropes. The script is delightfully busy and dripping with sexuality. Nothing is ever really lingered on long enough for any plot point to be questionable. Instead the script barrels ahead trading shocking moments for fun character moments in equal measure.

The result is a series of strong introductions to a wonderful cast of characters and a little bit of exposition hidden within for good measure. It had me marveling because artist Simon Fraser doesn’t waste a single panel.

His art perfectly compliments the cheese of the story. His depiction of the ship, or his wonderful display of the Warden’s power once she turns on the hose to “cleanse” the prisoner flexes his chops in the sci fi world. His characters are extremely expressive and ripe with details that help set them apart in a world of orange jumpsuits. His roots are 2000AD should be quite clear once you see any of his characters with a menacing face.

A particular flashback scene is paneled with such ferocity that the karate moves leap out of the page at the reader. The entire fight feels authentic and fluid and is quite possibly the best fight scene any grindhouse movie could ever hope for. Plus it ends with a horrid display that reminds the reader of the world they’ve entered.

The best way to describe this series is sensual. In that it appeals to the senses. It will arouse, disgust, and shock you. The entire ordeal is a provocative and irresistible tribute to an era of cinema long forgotten. The nice truth is that this comic is the perfection of the idea. This comic can achieve things in the voice of grindhouse that the cinema equivalent could never due to budgets, actors, and special effects. So the result is something better than the idea that inspired it. Which is a hard task to achieve but De Campi and Fraser make it look easy.

Rating: 4.5/5 Skulls