Elephantmen has always been an unusual title, and Elephantmen #43 is no different. This latest issue certainly seems to offer a little bit of of everything. With a complex plot that seems to be splitting into several parallels, this issue does a decent enough job managing to contain it in one issue, without confusing the reader too much.
First, the official description from Image:
“SLEEPING PARTNERS” Part Two
Behind a wraparound cover by PROPHET and KING CITY’s Brandon Graham, Hip Flask and Vanity Case enjoy a cup of tea and sympathy, and Miki meets Apostrophe.
In terms of plot, its hard to accurately describe whats going on. One guy’s in hospital, another is going to space, another is being attacked by an invisible man… needless to say, there is a lot going on. Long time Elephantmen fans will have an easier time getting their head around it.
That being said, Elephantmen #43 does take time to focus on individual characters. In this issue, there’s a certain focus on Hip Flask. In particular, there is a segment that evokes the focus on Ebony in the previous issue. Unfortunately, its much shorter. Whilst the artwork in this segment is, again, a welcome break full of detail and mood, the writing itself just doesn’t compare. Ebony’s inner monologue focused on his personal feelings and cowardice towards himself. Whilst this was touching and atmospheric, Hip Flasks monologue focuses more on his base nature as a hippo. Its effective, definitely, but it doesn’t seem to connect with the character as well. Still, its something I would like to see more of in the series.
Of course, a larger part of the focus is given to Sahara and the unborn baby. This has been the focus of previous issues, and is clearly set to be an important part of the current and future arcs. It adds depth to the title’s universe, but the complex love triangles and deception going on between many of these characters does get a bit complicated; sometimes you can easily have too much melodrama.
Near the end, however, the title does pick up a bit. Its definitely clear the writers are holding back, rather than unloading streams of information to a confused audience. The ending to Elephantmen #43 focuses on one of the human characters, and definitely shows a lot of character. In a title that crosses the lines between human and animal, the actions near the end might seem like an obvious metaphor, but it works.