Evil Ernie is one of those characters you think you know about because he was a part of the huge comics boom in the early ’90s. Though I will admit I don’t know nyxg about the character because the ‘uber tough’ and overly violent comics of that era are of no interest to me. Since his creation, Evil Ernie has gone through a lot of different publishers and several miniseries featuring the character have come around but now he’s taken to the latest comic book trend and gone for the reboot.
Dynamite Entertainment has brought the character back to life, that’s a joke for those of you that are familiar with Ernie, and it’s not vapid or boring like some other characters’ reboots.
The first two issues of the newly polished series are in stores now and they’re a nice departure from the other stuff on the stands. While other horror comics are content in rehashing zombie stories, Evil Ernie is bringing back the Satanic mass murder subgenre and how can you not love that? Writer Jesse Blaze Snider, son of rocker Dee Snider, has brought the character back but contained him in a way that keeps him interesting. In ’90s comics it was all about how big and bad something can be, while that’s still on the table for this series it isn’t trying to outdo everything else in the market.
There certainly are some very gruesome moments in this comic but not without cause. When you’re telling the story of a mass murderer brought back to life by demonic forces with a talking smiley face pin then you can pretty much go in any direction. Nothing in this comic feels out of place or forced which is telling for something with as grandiose a story as this. It does have a very tongue in cheek comedic approach at times that didn’t work for me but that is more personal taste than the comic not working. One thing I think the comic needs more of is the flashbacks to Ernie’s past they’re barely in the first two issues but they’re some of the best storytelling aspects.
One thing I really like about the way this book is drawn is the influence in style. Evil Ernie has the ability to ‘see’ people’s sins, often depicted on their forehead with demonic features added to the person. These sequences are what we would have seen if John Carpenter’s They Live were a comic book. Artist Jason Craig does a good job of juggling the real, the fantasy, and the gore in the comic though sometimes the details get lost in some panels.
Evil Ernie starts off with a bang and doesn’t worry too much about repeating itself. Though it stays true to the basics of the mythology it takes plenty of liberties that end make the comic more enjoyable. There are tons of zombie and vampire comics out there that you can read, and that’s fine, but there’s only one Evil Ernie and it’s better than a lot of those.