Dynamite Entertainment looks to add a new spin on an old tale with their reboot of Chaos! Comics and Devil’s Due Publishing’s EVIL ERNIE but is the new as good as the old?
Here is the official description from Dynamite:
ORIGIN OF EVIL PART 1! Ernest Fairchild was a kind and gentle soul…until one day something in him snapped, leading him to one of the most notorious killing sprees in American history. With 665 kills to his name, “Evil Ernie” requires ONE more murder to complete the ritual he started and seal his deal with the Devil. Problem is: he’s just been EXECUTED! What led an ordinary boy to become a leather-clad angel of death? How does he wield such blasphemous power? And what is the secret behind his hideous smiley-face button? This October, you may hate the sin, but you’ll LOVE the SINNER! Jesse Blaze Snider (HULK: LET THE BATTLE BEGIN) and JASON CRAIG (FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH) dive into the heart of darkness with Dynamite’s bold, terrifying new relaunch of EVIL ERNIE!
Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t stray far from the big 2 often, but the sick story of young Ernest “Ernie” Fairchild pulls you in from the jump. Opening in a town of unknown (but unimportant) location as we see what can be assumed as Ernie’s father driving his mother, who is pregnant with our protagonist, to the hospital with his older brother in the backseat. His father is suddenly possessed (go figure) and rams the car into a pole, killing his father and brother and propelling his mother into the side of a 18-wheeler, killing her, but somehow baby Ernest survives. We cut to 13 years later, June 6th, 2006 (Omen anyone?), as we see a now 13 year old Ernest leaving the town of Lucretia with blood on his face as he walks toward Widmark Maximum Security Prison to see his step-father. What could have been a loving reunion of “father” and son turns into a bloody attempt by Ernest on his step-father’s life. As Ernest is restrained by police, we cut to present day where the details on what happened in Lucretia are revealed and they are NOT for the faint of heart.
Jesse Blaze Snider does a nice job introducing new readers to “Evil Ernie”, breathing new life into the character by crafting a script that leaves thing like how Ernest survived the car crash, and how he became who he is open, but keeps these details ambiguous enough that readers will come back issue after issue to unravel the mystery. He gives Ernie the personality of a kid who really thinks what he’s doing is right. I wouldn’t say this makes him a sympathetic character, but he’s not evil either. By all outward appearances, he’s just a normal kid, just with you know, explosive fits of psychotic rage. These personality traits really keep you engaged on how this happened to him and why.
Jason Craig’s gritty art compliments Snider’s dark narrative really well, showing a gruesome, yet artful look at the Ernie’s world. While it may be a little inconsistent at points, it really shines through when we are able to get a peek at how Ernie sees the world, giving us enough haunting, and creepy visuals that are sure to keep you up at night.
Overall, a pretty good number one issue. Establishing the main character well, with enough mystery and intrigue surrounding him to keep you coming back for more, and having enough appealing yet horrifying imagery to keep you entertained. If your new to “Evil Ernie”, like me, you’ll enjoy this, if you been with it since the beginning, this a reboot worth checking out. Recommended.