Friday 14 July 2017

Happy Bacch-omnibox day, part 2....

Another day, yet another Happy Bacchus-day. Here's the second of Agent Rob's Bacchus reviews (from Amazon)....

This is the second of Top Shelf Productions/IDW's long awaited Bacchus Omnibi, a whopping 550 pages featuring the final 5 (of the original 10) books, comprising '1001 Nights Of Bacchus' (6), 'The Eyeball Kid Double Bill' (7&8), 'King Bacchus' (9) and 'Banged Up' (10).

Book 6 begins in familiar Bacchus territory, Campbell and his assorted collaborators (Dylan Horrocks, Steve Stamatiadis & Pete Mullins on art, Wes Kublick, Marcus Moore, Daren White & Mark Campbell writing) employing the short story to great (comic) effect, riffing on a theme akin to 'Arabian Nights' – needless to say the pub'll stay open as long as Bacchus, the listener, can stay awake and many tall and varied tales ensue. This book concludes in anticipation of the events set to take place in Book 9's 'King Bacchus'.

Books 7 & 8 concern the return of The Eyeball Kid and Joe Theseus and their continued attempts to secure 'The Eye of Fate'. The first of these, book 7, 'Hermes Versus The Eyeball Kid' is, as Campbell states in his introduction, “an all-out slugfest as an homage to the great Hulk-Thing matches that Lee and Kirby would do” and he is ably assisted here artistically by Pete Mullins – his polished, classic linework adds a lush, clean quality that balances out Campbell's enjoyably rougher edges – and April Post, with Wes Kublick again contributing to the writing. Book 8, 'The Picture of Doreen Grey' sees Campbell and Mullins – and we mustn't forget eight-year-old Hayley Campbell contributing crayon drawings of God – pit Joe Theseus and his wife Big Ginny, Queen of the Amazons up against the sinister The Body Corporation (last glimpsed in Book 5).

In Book 9 Bacchus returns to the fold to be crowned King of the Castle and Frog pub, which has taken it upon itself to secede from Britain and become an independent state. Of course, this planned revolution doesn't quite go to plan – thanks in part to a few of Eddie's comic book contemporaries who cameo - and Book 10 finds Bacchus 'Banged Up', back in jail (just as he began Book 1) in a series of stories in part inspired by the BBC comedy series 'Porridge'. Will poor Bacchus while away his final days behind bars...?

Whilst never hitting the woozy, boozy heights of the first volume - this second volume feels somehow oddly inconsistent as it strives for storytelling consistency, perhaps in part due to it's erratic and jumbled release, many of the stories being created and published in tandem across a spread of titles and linking portions and gentle revisions added later to smooth out the transitions – this is still very much a recommended purchase. There is a strange shift in momentum to Books 9 & 10 as if the overarching story's suddenly anxious to get going while it's all secretly running out of steam behind the scenes. It's certainly another beautifully presented book, designed to compliment Volume 1 on the shelf, the two wide spines reading together as one.

Of course, sitting with the book at hand, trying to grasp the complexities of the stories within and convey them here is near impossible – and not just because the hefty tome weighs a tonne! - it simply begs to be read, the joys discovered for yourself.

Amazon Softcover -- Top Shelf (signed) Hardcover -- Top Shelf Omnibox

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