The second full year of the Puppet Master comic book series means we’re treated to another Puppet Master Halloween Special. These two comics are so far the only standalone stories apart from the ongoing narrative of the series, which makes them very interesting to read on their own. They’re also both very effective jumping off points for new readers who aren’t sure where to hop into the ongoing story.
The two Halloween Specials complement each other nicely as well, especially for fans of the original film. Last year’s special was set just before the events of the movie, while this comic is set just after. There’s no explanation for anything regarding the continuity this time around, however. It’s great to see Megan Gallagher again, but we don’t get much insight into whatever kind of puppet master she turned out to be. If you’re wondering what happened to her, this is probably not the story for you.
Instead, it’s a simple, singular story. In fact, the simplicity is what makes the comic work. There’s almost no dialogue in the entire issue. All of the exposition comes—very effectively—at the end. I’m kind of amazed that the comics haven’t tried to pull off this kind of a story yet, because the main ensemble characters don’t actually talk. An issue devoted to the group by themselves, without the aid of the only talking puppet, Decapitron, means an issue without much of any vocal communication of any kind. Setting it at this point in time, means we don’t even get the occasional laugh from Six-Shooter.
Nope, this story is streamlined and reliant on action and visuals. Blade, Tunneler, Jester, Pinhead and Leech Woman go up against a mysterious monster invading the hotel and try their hardest to bring it down. An issue like this is incredibly dependent upon the visuals. The art is as important as the cinematography would be to a silent movie.
Parts of it, though, even the lack of dialogue, feel like a scene that may as well have been directly lifted from the original movie. From the puppet POV to the overall atmosphere to the composition of the action and the way the puppets attack, this could easily have been an epilogue to the first feature. And even now, that’s effectively what it is.
Of course, it also hinges on a twist that I will not go into here, but one that I will admit I did see coming a mile away. But it definitely works and makes for an effective, surprisingly emotional story. It also shows the inner turmoil of the puppets themselves and their struggle against their own violent tendencies. Even when they were trying to be the good guys, they did some bad things. That’s what I think the issue is ultimately about and it definitely impacts the way we look at the characters as the ongoing story moves forward.
This comic is a very accessible, easy to swallow standalone story. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it isn’t tryingto. It’s a departure from the tone and style of the ongoing series and that’s what makes it interesting. But it should also please fans of the series and hold readers over until the ongoing title returns with the anticipated “Retro Now” arc next month.
WICKED RATING: 7.5/10