A one-shot in the Elephantmen story line, Elephantmen #41 is an excellent example of story telling, taking one of the major aspects of the series and exploring it fully.
The official description from Image:
“A LONG AND GHASTLY KITCHEN”
DAVID HINE, co-creator of THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN, new writer of THE DARKNESS and creator of STRANGE EMBRACE, tells the story of the last days of MAPPO geneticist Javier Kubec…
Elephantmen has always, to an extent, been about appearances and moral choices. The titular characters themselves often outcasts because of their appearance. To this end, its good to see the title show an opposing side. Elephantmen #41 follows the dying moments of one of the geneticists, Javier Kubec.
Kubec is one of the men responsible for creating the Elephantmen. This issue has flashbacks of his decisions and reasons for creating the Elephantmen. It doesn’t offer any new plot development, but it highlights the reasons behind why such creatures exist; something that hasn’t always been clear in the past. Whilst its always been known, in the continuity, that the Elephantmen were sold as soldiers, it was never explained why they were created before this.
This is the main selling point of Elephantmen #41. In many ways, it goes behind the scenes on the in-story world and background.
As for the art itself, there have been much better examples in Elephantmen. The art here is rather basic, with very little definition and shading. In fact, the shading is a very stylistic and drastic approach. In some parts of the title, it fits the mood and atmosphere well. In other areas, it is lacking in a lot of detail or definition, some of the larger panels near the beginning feel very bland.
Near the end, however, the art work becomes much more relevant, the strong contrast and greater detail adding focus and emphasis to a dying man’s final moments.
In short, this is an excellent stand alone issue, bar the questionable artwork. Whether you’re a regular reader or not, the self-wrapped plot in Elephantmen #41 is a great starting point for new readers, whilst giving older readers new insight into old themes.