REVIEW: A Taste For Killing #3: Reaper of the Abyss

(Acid i Comics 2014)

Story and Art by Nikkol Jelenic

Pinups and short stories by Leo Cherry, Jeff Bonesteel, Josh Shockley, James Dufendach, Mark McKenna, and Brian Spicer

I know I’m dating myself here, but my first experience with mermaids in pop culture was seeing Darryl Hannah splash about in a bath tub while Tom Hanks gawped at the floppy orange tail. Splash came out in 1984 and colored my vision of mer-people (wait, there are boy fish people?) for many years. There’s something you should know before reading A Taste For Killing #3…these ain’t Ron Howard’s mermaids.

It’s interesting, as the years go by, how you can watch the way that artists influence each other. Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen artists become rock stars and then the dilution of that same standard. It’s been over twenty years…argh…since those artists decided to break away from the big two and strike out on their own, an act that changed the way we think about how comics should be made.

Now…I can see the artists who were reading that stuff when it came out, when they were just kid, are coming into their own, and are producing work that looks hauntingly familiar.

Nikkol Jelenic is a freelance artist whose style evokes that of Jim Lee and Michael Turner. She favors long-necked women with Fathom-hair that was typical during those early days of Top Cow and Image books. I’ve seen her work before in some books from PLB Comics, a small publisher on the east coast, and it’s always stood out.

With A Taste For Killing #3, Jelenic revives her horror title, bringing us the story of an unrequited love and the lengths that men will go to possess what other have. It’s an engaging story with a great twist at the end, one that will keep you turning pages and wishing that the end weren’t approaching as fast as it is.

Also included in the comic are three short pieces of fiction by B. David Spicer, Josh Shockley, and James Dufendach, all one pagers that are different takes on the mermaid theme established by Jelenic in the body of the comic. It’s an interesting format that PLB has used in the past, a chance for the writers to add something to the comic as a whole, and to get more ideas into the limited page space. Nikkol Jelenic ties the story together well and carries the theme throughout, the revenge and lust that are inherent in the mermaid/siren mythology. Added into the mix are pinups by the likes of Leo Cherry, Jeff Bonesteel, and comic book veteran and indie publisher Mark McKenna.

A Taste For Killing #3 is not only a story of the sea and the mythology that surrounds it, it’s a chance for use to see the up-and-comers that watched as comic books boomed and busted. Nikkol Jelenic uses her specific style as homage to the likes of Michael Turner and the spirit of early Image creator, and writes a horror story that sucks you and in and holds you there with cold and watery tentacles.

Brad-profilepicBrad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.
Twitter – brad@comicwasteland

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