3 out of 5
You there, the semi-creative with the lack of focus: Come up with any cool sounding character names lately? Like ‘Johnny Caronte, zombie detective?’ Yeah man, pretty swank. Nah – don’t worry about a story for now. That can come later. We know he’s a detective, and a zombie, and has a cool name. The rest are just blanks to fill in.
…And such has many a book / comic / movie been created, including this prestige-y thing, which is comprised of two short stories – one being Zombie, the other The Revolver, about a stolen gun from Hell. True to the totally realistic scenario outlined above, Johnny half of the book does, indeed, have a zombie detective, which logically lends itself to something to detect – the mayor’s daughter l, murdered! – but besides that it’s an amalgamated shell of various detective / mystery / supernatural tropes, with a rather inconsistent view on death in the mobster-filled landscape in which the story take place.
In The Revolver, the cool premise (this Hell gun is capable of annihilating anything) churns out some wackily cool random concepts to go along with it, but otherwise follows suit: It’s an idea first, with just enough story to get us through the pages.
But: The book is just fun enough to work. Tony Sandoval’s free-form, notebook doodle style has a lot of personality, getting is past some of the more confusing action sequences, and each script has dots of character that brighten it up in unique ways. There’s no hiding that the stories are essentially about nothing, but Sandoval and crew – especially in The Revolver – let their tongue slip into their cheeks here and there, making it goofy or indulgent, and, yeah, it’s enough.