Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness (#1 – 4) – Eric Powell, Tracy Marsh

4 out of 5

Let us praise artist Kyle Hotz: for without his Kelley Jones-ied ghoulies and figures and animated framing, Billy the Kid’s adventures wouldn’t be half as entertaining as it is.  But there’s credit also due to the writing team-up of Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh, the combo of which keeps the wandering- and dramaturgy-prone Powell on task for a fun little monster mash-up of the titular Ness and some other surprise foes.

Trailing out and wrapping up some plotlines from our Oddities’ previous adventures, Billy and pals are off to investigate the reported Loch Ness monster, figurehead Sproule suspecting that the legends are masking another oddity-in-need, as well as being linked to the disappearance of their troupe’s lizardman.

Powell and Marsh set rowdy townsfolk, a cantankerous religious figurehead, and morphing monsters in the way, each member effectively contributing to the fight and enough sense of danger and stakes tossed in to keep it from having the tossed-off nature Goon sometimes did.  Scene transitions are nil; that prior plotline is just sorta jammed in and once we have need to jump between characters, there’s not a great sense of pacing, but that’s exactly where we can fall back on Hotz to maintain a tone of fun and energy throughout.

This was always one of the more compelling things to come out of the Goon camp for me, and it was sad that it didn’t go beyond a few collections, but Loch Ness was a good way to go, with an appreciated epilogue that winks at the audience as a cheerful goodbye.