Beast Commandos (#1) – Roger Bonet

4 out of 5

My god, the bad duck puns are rampant.

What I think I like about Amigo Comics – and maybe this is an ignorant point of view, I’m not sure – is how the second hand English makes the genre work more innocent.  Whether it’s the Spanish creator directly trying their hand at our language or someone on the Amigo team helping to port it over, everyone (I’d believe) is coming at it as their non-primary, giving it those slight contractions / slang hiccups.  But: in the case of a lot of El Torres’ horror stuff, it never causes his intentions to stumble, and with Roger Bonet’s 90s comics muscle and guns tribute / parody Beast Commandos, what I imagine might be obnoxious in the hands of a local becomes more appealingly goofy in its Amigo version.  To clarify: that’s in no way meant to say that the stumbling English is humorous.  I just mean that someone who takes the language for granted would have likely approached this with a different idea of ‘parody’ that would have been overkill in a more obnoxious and dumb fashion.  Beast Commandos, on the other hand, has the sort of slap-happy silly of a ZAZ flick, albeit one filtered through 90s Image Comics.

The plot is hardly important beyond that you have the big, brawly Dark Shark violently shooting his way through anthropomorphic bad guys – mostly ducks, inspiration for ungodly puns – to track down drug kingpin Don Walrus.  This was a four part series that stalled during Amigo’s brief dark period, meaning we only (seemingly) have issue one, but it may be for the best because I’m not sure how far the joke could go: already in this issue some things are a stretch, and who knows how far that innocence buffer would extend.  However, on the flip side there are some wonderfully timed and surprisingly inventive gags – a bit with an undercover agent and a separate bit with a squirtgun come to mind – the general flow of the comic, blending bad pulp and B-movies and angst, is amusing throughout, and colorist Sonia Moruno does a great job of highlighting (without obscuring) Bonet’s expressive art.

Okay, yeah, maybe at least one more issue of this would’ve been cool.