I reviewed Vol. 1 of PITCHED! back in Dec. 2009 (read HERE) and, y’know, I could have sworn that I reviewed the 2nd one when it came out. I know I planned to. But I checked my archives and there isn’t one. So, obviously, I never did. Well, better (extremely) late than never, right?
Like the first volume, the issue contains multiple short stories (seven, to be exact), most written by Eric San Juan, but each drawn by a different artist. Starting with
THE VOICE OF THE UNIVERSE, an 8-page Alternate Reality tale. It takes place in a remote jungle, a man named Gurnek, wearing a turbin (I guess he’s Sikh or Indian or something), is leading a group of similarly dressed men, riding elephants, though a remote jungle. We learn that it is August 1986, and all the power in the world has been out for the past 37 years. Gurnek believes that he is being personally lead by God, who has charged him with making sure no one is allowed into the jungle because, apparently, the means to turn the worldwide power back on exists there, and God does not want that to happen. We actually see Gurnek speaking to the disembodied voice which he believes is God, and he is told that he must do whatever it takes to allow this to happen. And when Gurnek’s men encounter a couple of American researchers, and man and a woman, who are searching the jungle to find the secret to the power outage, Gurnek reacts violently.
This story felt like a really great set-up, but otherwise is very incomplete, with a bunch of unanswered questions. Rick Lundeen draws the story, and does a very good job.
SOME TIME WITH THE FAMILY, A Tale of Brotherly Love is an 8-page horror story, drawn by Logan Reilly (inked by Jim Pipik and lettered by John Meitus). It opens with a man named Robert Woodward dragging his a dead body into a cemetery late one night. He hates his entire family, and wants to outlive them. The body he’s dragging is his brother, and he’s brought the body to a tomb in order to preform a ritual to raise a demon whom he will command to grant him immortality. Without spoiling what happens next, I’ll say it features demons, ghosts, and zombies. A very spooky tale, with incredible artwork by Reilly, who really captures the mood.
ACE STARSTRUCK AND THE ROSTEF CODEX is a 9-page sci-fi story drawn by Frank Saxon (with letters by James Hanson). Ace Starstruck (I love that name) is a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers type of space hero. He and his crew, of the Starship Starhopper are shot down and forced to land on an alien planet, where they must keep this special “Codex” from falling into the wrong hands. A good action packed story, drawn in cartoonish sort of style, that I really like.
PRECINCT 42: THE BLUE SELL OUT is co-written by Clayton Cooke, who also drew the story (with letters by Lee Flowers). It’s 13 pages, plus a pin-up, but I had to skip this one because I just didn’t like the artwork. @ all. I skimmed through it, it appears to be some kind of police story, except the police are all aliens or monsters or something. But I could barely make out what was happening, and couldn’t be arsed to read the actual story. Sorry.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER aka The Proposal is an 8-page fairytale, drawn by Trevor Giberson (& lettered by John Mietus). Taking place in a old village, a poor man henpecked by his morbidly obese wife, leaves here and plans to marry the beautiful Princess. He finds an old witch hwho gives him a magic necklace which will make the princess fall in love with him if she wears it. But first he has to get into the heavily guarded castle to see the princess, so he tries to sneak in by dressing as a woman. A funny little story, although Giberson’s artwork was a little rough around the edges.
SISTERS, A Melodrama in 10 Parts is a very interesting concept. It is a story told entirely with real photographic images, taken by Ian Sokoliwski (lettered by Kat Durko), with two models, Kelsie Scott and Tina Marie Wednesday Manjzii. The story is that these ladies were two mannequins, put on display in a store window, who eventually come to life and venture out into the real world. It’s pretty darn cool.
TIME UNRAVELED appeared in the first volume. This is a revised version of the same story which appeared in Volume 1. Eric San Juan said he wasn’t happy with the way the story turned out the first time, so he re-wrote the script. My main reaction remains the same, though. It’s not like it’s a “bad” story, it’s just clearly meant to be continued, it’s listed as Chapter 1, so I would have preferred if he’d actually included Chapter 2 here, instead of doing this over, so I could see if the extra info makes it more understandable in context.
AQUABOT is the final story, 5 pages long, this one co-written by Greg O’Driscoll and by James Hanson, who also provides the artwork. It’s a fun little story featuring an undersea robot whom was created by and Reptillian being named Aquarius, who was like an underwater superhero, and now Aquabot is taking his place, and has to stop and evil Killer Whale from using a stolen device which can cause massive underwater disturbances like whirlpools. It’s silly, but in a good way, and the artwork is very clean. Good job.
Once again, not perfect, but few anthologies are. Nevertheless, over all, I’d say it’s worth the money, as the good stories make up for the couple I didn’t care for.
Three and a half out of five stars.