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Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight #4: Review

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 9.05.41 PM

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 9.05.41 PM

Sex, violence and outer space — Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight #4 delivers all of these elements in spades. And while issue #4 marks this new series strongest arc to date, it still falls short of delivering a fully satisfying story.

Here’s the official word from Dark Horse:

The maniacal warden of the prison ship Antares has pushed its comely cons to the limits of human endurance—but these bad mamas won’t take their punishment lying down! Alex de Campi and Simon Fraser dish up the riotous finale to “Prison Ship Antares” in the proud sexploitation tradition!

After an appropriately gory and titillating set-up, the finale of “Prison Ship Antares” felt a bit flatter than Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 8.19.39 PMI’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Writer Alex de Campi presents the tale of a woman’s penal colony hurdling through outer space; these unlucky ladies have been selected to populate a new planet but they must be “cleansed” of their sins prior to arrival. Cleansing, of course, is brutal, and finally sparks a mutiny on board as the inmates try to kill the sexy half-naked warden. Most of issue #4 is dedicated to large panel action scenes where mostly naked inmates battle mostly naked guards, engaging in a style of fisticuffs that (not surprisingly) highlights T&A. While this sort of extravagant violence should be expected from a Grindhouse tale, De Campi lingers a bit too long on the opening battle scene for a 32 page comic. The result: he short-changes the rest of the story, which, ironically, contains some of the best moments of the series. If this were a three-part story, or a longer issue, the timing might have been perfect. But for now, it feels cramped.

Simon Fraser delivers some fun and engaging panels here – while the protracted fight scenes ultimately undercut De Campi’s script, they’re the very things that give Fraser an opportunity to shine. Yes, there was a few pages that felt rushed — details were loose or washed away, but for the most part Fraser delivered a visually engaging story.

Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight has yet to fully find it’s groove. But it’s getting closer everyday.

3.5 /5

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