The Puppet Master series of films from Full Moon may not be a household name, but the movies definitely have a cult following. Hell, I was a huge fan as a kid and must have rented all of them several times. So when I saw there was a chance to review an issue of the on-going Puppet Master comic put out by Action Lab: Danger Zone, I pulled some strings and got the job.
Now full disclosure, I haven’t read any of the prior comics (this is issue #20) and it’s been years since I have seen or followed the films, but still I was eager so I just jumped right in.
I found Charles Band’s Puppet Master #20 to be a fun read with enough of an engaging mystery to hook a new reader. Although it’s obvious from its cast of characters that there has been a lot of mythology added by writer Shawn Gabborin, you still get a feel for the various motivations.
The main plot seems to involve a cult of people that want to transfer themselves into wooden “puppet” bodies in order to achieve immortality and that’s actually kind of a neat idea. The fact that there are human-sized puppet bodies is also a nice twist and the scene where we’re shown the ritual that is used to make that transfer is actually creepy. It was my favorite scene in the issue. I also really liked the Mephisto puppet and the scene depicting the play Faust which was not only a good sequence, but it also fit nicely with the themes that have always lingered in this series. I do think the book could use a brief synopsis or “previously in” opening to help newbies catch up on the franchise’s mythology and story.
As for the art, Marco David Carillo and colorist Yann Perrelet do a decent job. The art is clean and colorful, but I could have had more detail in the background to give the settings a better feel. The pencils of the characters are actually expressive and detailed which only highlights the lack of that in the backgrounds.
But the most important aspect is probably the depictions of the puppets and their design. In that department everything is good. Puppet Master fans will instantly recognize classic characters like Blade, Jester, and Pinhead. And the Mephisto puppet, in particular, is a great design with a very creepy and serene smile expression that I really liked.
If you have fond memories of Full Moon movies and Charles Band stuff I do suggest you pick up Puppet Master. It’s a light enough read that tickles the straight to video itch so many of us have. By no means is this title breaking new ground in horror comics, but the movie series wasn’t either and I definitely had fun watching the series.
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