Following the previous issues one-shot, Elephantmen #42 kicks right back into the gritty world of Elephantmen. Cops, murder, espionage and talking animals. Like most issues of Elephantmen, it sounds daft on paper but it just works.
The official description from Image:
“”SLEEPING PARTNERS,” Part One
Sahara is pregnant, Panya is pregnant… and their lives are at risk.”
As the description suggests, a lot of focus is put on the pregnant women. Both Sahara and Panya are, of course, pregnant with the children of Elephantmen. This issue does a great job of exploring this concept, opening the issue with text boxes listing the laws prohibiting the creation of Elephantmen. Its not subtle, but it looms over the plot and suggests the intrigue and drama that is at the heart of Elephantmen.
This then cuts to a large segment featuring Ebony. The character is in a coma, and it is here that Elephantmen #42 really shines. This segment is very well detailed, with lots of care going into showing the private thoughts and world of a troubled character. Ebony’s narration is very well written, the repetition of “there’s a sword in my hand” lingers even after reading. As for the artwork itself, the detail in this section stands out completely. The detail and effort gone into Ebony’s skin gives the impression of an old and tired warrior. Likewise, the blowing snow and surroundings add a certain vibrancy to an otherwise dark section of the plot. It all adds up to a rather insightful and deep reveal of a character’s inner thoughts.
The rest of the title is devoted to showing the other Elephantmen. Its clear that some plot building is at work. There’s a very ominous atmosphere in Elephantmen #42, one that makes for great suspense and chilling reading. It never unveils anything, but there’s a constant gritty noir-ish feel on every page.
In closing, this is an excellent issue of Elephantmen. It might not be the most accessible for new readers, but the start of a new arc is the best chance you might get in a long time. With drama, suspense and emotion, I’m always impressed by this titles ability to create emotion in a world full of talking animals.