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Tales to Admonish #2

Review by Paul Bowler

Tales to Admonish #2 is the latest issue by Australian author Andrez Bergen, writer of the detective noir superhero novel Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? Together with words and art by fellow Melbournian Matt Kyme (That Bullet Proof Kid), Tales to Admonish draws its influences from the Silver Age of comic books, with a deft tong-in-cheek slant, that offers a fresh synergy of storytelling and art.

For this second issue, Japan based writer Andrez Bergen’s delivers three very distinct stories, best surmised as an eclectic mix of the Kolchak the Night Stalker, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Twilight Zone. The twenty “full colour (well almost) pages by Matt Kyme channels the essence of Bergen’s stories perfectly, melding silver age styles and early Marvel ‘60s influences, to make Tales to Admonish one of the standout new Aussie iNDie comic book titles.

The first story, Adam’s Ribs, features the return of Roy Scherer and Suzie Miller, characters from The Condimental Op (Andrez Bergen’s collection of short stories, comics and articles of music, movies, and Japan) as they go about one of their darkly macabre, and very humorous, paranormal investigations. Bergen keeps the dark humour flowing right from the start, as Roy and Suzie’s attempts to deal with a Vampire doesn’t go quite according to plan. The chemistry between these Investigators of the Paranormal and the Supermundane is superb; Roy is the shady tough-guy private investigator, while Suzie is his enthusiastic partner. Adam’s Ribs is a perfect fusion of film noir and horror, the banter between Roy and Suzie is great, and this story was my favourite of the issue.

Tales to Admonish #2 Cover

Bullet Gal leaps into action in the second story: All Fur Coat, No Knickers. This character from Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa makes a big impression here, when her preparations for a date with Lee is interrupted by a heist at a nearby store. Fortunately she has time to kill before meeting Lee, so before the thieves can escape Bullet Gal quickly deals with them and manages to pick the perfect outfit for her date as well. I really enjoyed this story too, Bergen writes some cracking dialogue for Bullet Girl, making her tough, fun, and with a razor sharp edge, qualities that allows Kyme’s art to really shine as Bullet Girl fights crime and finds a killer look for her date.

The final story, Salvation Nation, is set in an apocalyptic future after WWIII has devastated the Earth. Two survivors in radiation suits search the ruins of what was once a gleaming metropolis, their oxygen supply is running low, but still they press on, determined to complete their mission at all costs. Deep beneath the city they manage to gain access to a secret laboratory, where they find a device that could make them the ultimate survivors of their doomed planet. Salvation Nation is the most Sci-Fi themed story of this issue, with some great art by Matt Kyme, who creates some impressive cityscapes and the complex machinery in the lab is also a knowing tip of the hat to the past, while Bergen’s story has a fittingly macabre sting in its tail for one of the characters.

The final pages feature some pin up art work by Matt Kyme, and the tong-in-cheek Silver Age theme continues through to the letters section, and the editorial notes about upcoming comics are also fun to browse. Tales to Admonish #2 has three great stories by Andrez Bergen, each being darkly humours and brimming with classic comic book influences. Matt Kyme’s art is consistent throughout, he has the versatility to give each tale is own style and tone, as well as varying the bold colour palette to accentuate the key moments as they unfold.

Tales to Admonish #2 was a fun and entertaining read, it will be interesting to see what Bergen and Kyme have in store their next issue. Tales to Admonish #2 was released in print form in Australia on January 26th, 2014, with the digital version also going online on the same day  (for $1), which is available from the link here.