I was a metal-head growing up. Of course I was a metal-head growing up in the era of hair bands, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the classics. It just means that well, Alice Cooper was mostly just a name until I saw him in the Wayne’s World movie. But that movie gave us a peek behind his onstage persona, and on-screen I saw a man who was not only musically gifted, but was also very intelligent and had a wicked sense of humor. I’ve been a fan of Alice ever since, so when I saw that Dynamite was launching an Alice Cooper comic I jumped at the chance to review it. In the press release for the new series, Alice
said “There is so much you can do in the form of a comic that we’d never been able to do onstage. It’s just a different way of storytelling, and it really has almost limitless possibilities. We’re looking forward to stretching the existing boundaries of the comic
If the first issue is any indication, the creative team has done just that. They’ve started by weaving a complex tale with a lot of moving parts. Sometime before the action starts, Alice has apparently gotten himself shackled to a real sleaze of a manager, Lucius Black. It’s not clear if Lucius is the devil, or a demon, or what, but the contract between them has the look of black magic about it, complete with an upside down pentagram. Alice’s part of the deal states that he is supposed to bring Lucius fresh talent, but a run-in with a fan reminds him of who he really is and he escapes Black. Alice immediately wakes up in “The Nightmare Place,” where the snake Kachina finds him. They begin to prep for Black’s inevitable attempt to get him back under contract. Simultaneously, a young boy who has been the victim of bullying inadvertently summons the Lord of Nightmares when the Alice Cooper LP he found at a yard sale plays itself (backwards, of course).
The story’s complexity is its biggest draw and its biggest weakness. I admire the scope of the story Joe Harris is trying to tell, but it’s so ambitious that I was often confused. Eman Casallos’ artwork does a good job at helping lay the groundwork for the story by evoking both old school rock and roll comics and current day fantasy books, but I was still left with a lot of questions. Is Alice the larger than life Lord of Nightmares all the time, or does he retain some of his humanity? Where is the Nightmare Place? And how the hell did usually savvy Alice get himself sucked into a contract with Lucius Black? Here’s hoping future issues will tell. For now, I’m giving Alice Cooper #1 a solid 3.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
ALICE COOPER #1
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Eman Casallos
Colors: Aikau Oliva
Letters: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 9/3/14